What is a wellness challenge?
I’m sure you or a family member, first degree friend or colleague, has had the chance to take part in one before. You may not have completed the challenge, but you attempted it.
Below are some examples of wellness challenges, that you may already be very familiar with.
Corporate Steps Challenge
Almost every corporate has engaged in a company-wide steps challenge. Pitting against each other or where departments compete toe to toe on the collective total number of steps reflected on a leaderboard. This could be for a duration of anything from one week to months.
Clean Eating Challenge
Have you tried the 30-day or 14-day clean eating challenge? It’s about replacing a usually highly processed food meal, with whole foods. This also means limiting refined sugar intake and alcohol. We are talking about whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats and fresh fruits and vegetables. Many have sworn by this challenge, where the challenge conditions the body and mind to build a new lifestyle habit for perpetuity.
Weekly Journal Challenge
What about a gratitude journal where you pen your thoughts and appreciation at the end of the busy work week? Acknowledging the mini-milestones you’ve achieved for yourself and giving yourself a pat on the back. This act of journaling helps reduce stress and anxiety because you are taking note of what you have completed, and not about being overly concerned about what you have not. I know of many who have tried it, and continue it because such a simple act, elevates mental wellbeing, and they not only feel good about themselves, but also about life in general.
What is the Allure?
Everything that I mentioned above are all considered wellness challenges. And of course, the list goes on. But what really is the allure of the wellness challenge, that keeps people coming back and wanting to do more.
Feel Good – When we challenge ourselves and we complete the challenge our brain releases serotonin and dopamine which are neurotransmitters are responsible for the state of “feeling good”.
Positive Habits – When a challenge is attempted over a longer duration of time, your mind and body recognize the positive feelings associated with the activity and this “rewards” system then triggers your brain to build that positive habit with the right triggers and actions.
Social Element – Most challenges are social in nature. You have the company of family, friends, or colleagues and by being accountable for each other and supporting each other in your own challenges or endeavors, it strengthens the relationships.
Competition – Everyone likes some form of competition. From time-based challenges to quantity-based challenges, competitors are out there to top the leaderboard and to have that bragging rights. Competition, if taken in the right spirit, is fun and also contributes to the social element.
Challenge – What’s the difference between competition and challenge? Well, in a competition there are absolute winners, but in a challenge, as long as you complete it, everyone is a winner. So it is more inclusive and less stressful!
Novelty – Some challenges are unique and really a tests of your talents, abilities and perseverance. Have you seen someone try to stand up while lying face down, and having their hands clasped at the bottom of their back? Some of these challenges are hilarious and also very entertaining to not just attempt, but also watch.
Trending – Maybe just because everyone is doing it! So you might also want to give it a go.
Level Up Your Challenge
There are some who are obsessed with challenging either themselves or with others, and that’s where they engage in extreme challenges. Most of them require a period of conditioning and cannot be performed or attempted without the necessary progression and training. Still wellness centric but more displaying the values of resilience and mental toughness.
One example would be the 75 Hard Challenge. The challenge consists of sticking to five main pillars for 75 days straight: You must drink one gallon of water a day. You must pick a diet and stick to it, with no cheat meals (also, no alcohol). You must work out twice a day for 45 minutes, and one of the workouts must be done outdoors.
The catch is that it must be consecutively completed and if you miss or skip a day, you reset back to Day 1. Not something for the faint-hearted, but definitely worth checking out!
How is the Wellness Challenge Changing Lives?
The brain recognizes small challenges we undertake within our wellness domains and this loop prepares us for greater adversity and challenges in life. Resilience is innate only to a certain extent, it is what we put ourselves through on a daily basis, that helps the extend the mental threshold for resilience.
Compared to someone who does not engage in any challenges whatsoever, this person is not building resilience like their counterpart who is actively engaged in wellness challenges. Small doses do help to build resilience and mental toughness.
Convinced now and revving to go? Or maybe you’d like to introduce wellness for your organization by kickstarting a wellness challenge.
Here are some tips on how and where to start!
Find a buddy or group/community to do it with;
If you’re planning it for your organization, have you done a needs analysis?;
Decide if you want something one-off or structured and ongoing;
Explore free apps which roll out regular wellness challenges;
Sign up for physical in-person paid challenges or an interactive app;
Enquire more about the Actxa Wellness Programme!
Hope this article helped shed some light and you’re now better informed to plan and complete that next wellness challenge.
About Actxa Wellness
Actxa Wellness’ mission is to bring about sustainable lifestyle solutions through fitness, health, and wellness. Our flagship programme is the Actxa Wellness Programme which provides employee wellness solutions to team build and create culture; elevate engagement and happiness, and improve overall mental wellbeing.
From providing hardware to track personalised physiological data, to leveraging a proprietary algorithm called the Healthy Living Score (HLS), to incorporating a tried-and-tested curriculum that includes workshops and challenges to engage and build sustainable positive lifestyle habits revolving around EAT, REST, and EXERCISE, we have got our clients well covered.
About Alex Loh
Alex Loh is a consultant and coach in the fitness, health, and wellness space, business owner, podcast host, loving husband, and doting father. His compass is guided by the desire to help people. His focus is to help businesses and organisations harness fitness, health, and wellness as the vehicle to build sustainable solutions. These sustainable solutions translate into elevated happiness and fulfilment for the individual and organisation.
As an everyday athlete active in various sports and fitness activities, he is a firm believer in wellness being the cornerstone of life. As a Wellbeing Champion, he is constantly exploring new ideas, activities and modalities on we can achieve greater general wellbeing. We only have one life, so we must live responsibly and be able to enjoy it.