I get it. You’re busy. Who isn’t? If you don’t take care of yourself, who will? Leap into December with this fun month-long challenge. I call it “Advent Adventures.” It’s custom-tailored for busy, active adventurers who feel stressed out. Each is designed to be short, manageable, and doable during the winter season. Are you ready? Take a look at your daily rewards for all that you do, and join me in getting unstuck!
Advent Adventures Dec. 1-5
The guidelines are easy: find time in your calendar to carve out 5-20 minutes in your day devoted solely to you. If you know one of the challenges won’t work on a given day, find one that will. Then get out from behind your computer and do something nice for yourself. And if you prefer using this as a calling to generate your own challenges, feel free.
Dec. 1: Morning Stretch Routine: Start your day with a 10-minute stretching routine to energize your body.
Dec. 2: Indoor Plant Care: Spend 15 minutes caring for indoor plants, reconnecting with nature indoors.
Dec. 3: Winter Nature Walk: Take a brisk 20-minute walk in a nearby park, focusing on the winter scenery.
Dec. 4: Mindful Hot Beverage Break: Enjoy a hot cup of tea or coffee outdoors, savoring the warmth and flavors.
Dec. 5: Winter Sunrise Viewing: Watch a winter sunrise, reflecting on your intentions for the day.
Advent Adventures Days 6-15
Good work! You’re on a roll. What have you enjoyed about your challenge so far? What do you notice when you make some time for yourself? Have you smiled? Did you tell anyone about your journey? Here are the next ten adventures to get you to your halfway point.
Dec. 6: Bird Watching: Spend time observing birds from your balcony, backyard, walk, or window.
Dec. 7: 5-Minute Outdoor Meditation: Practice a quick meditation or deep breathing exercise on your porch or yard.
Dec. 8: Photo a Day: Capture a daily photo of something outdoors that brings you joy or peace.
Dec. 9: Guided Outdoor Stretching: Follow a short guided stretching or yoga video outside.
Dec. 10: Gratitude Journaling: Write down three things you’re grateful for, ideally in an outdoor setting.
Dec. 11: Star Gazing Moment: Spend a few minutes gazing at the stars, contemplating the vastness of the universe.
Dec. 12: Quick Nature Sketching: Sketch something you see in nature, even if it’s only for 5 minutes.
Dec. 13: Lunch Break Walk: Take a brief walk during your lunch break, focusing on being mindful and paying attention to all five senses. What can you observe that you don’t normally notice?
Dec. 14: Evening Candle Meditation: Meditate with a candle or stare into a fire for a few minutes, focusing on the dancing flame. If you don’t have candles or a fireplace, try a walk around the block to view holiday lights.
Dec. 15: Frosty Morning Observation: Spend a few minutes observing frost patterns on leaves or windows.
Notice and Name: Days 16-25
You’ve reached the halfway mark in your Advent Adventures challenge. Have you missed a day or two? That’s okay! The point is to do something kind for yourself each day that allows you to think about what is important and what matters. Self-care is a skill just like bike mechanics or publishing a blog. The more we practice a skill, the more second nature it becomes. Keep going and reap more benefits.
Dec. 16: Winter Bird Feeding: Set up or refill a bird feeder and watch visiting birds.
Dec. 17: Indoor Yoga Flow: Do a quick yoga session inside, focusing on breathing and balance.
Dec. 18: Window Garden Tending: Spend some time tending to a small herb or flower garden on your windowsill.
Dec. 19: Moon Journaling: Write in your journal by moonlight or near a window on a moonlit night.
Dec. 20: Holiday Lights Walk: Take an evening walk to enjoy neighborhood holiday lights.
Dec. 21: Short Hike: The shortest day (light) of the year! Embark on a short, local hike, appreciating the winter landscape. Feel gratitude that from here on out the days start to get longer again.
Dec. 22: Sunset Reflection Time: Watch a sunset and reflect on your achievements and challenges of the day.
Dec. 23: Indoor Strength Session: Enjoy a quick, focused 15-minute yoga, strength, or pilates workout to strengthen and center your body.
Dec. 24: Snowflake Study: Let it snow! If it does, take a moment to observe the uniqueness of snowflakes.
Dec. 25: Holiday Decoration Tour: Take a walk to enjoy holiday decorations in your area.
Finish the Year Strong: Dec. 26-31
Most advent calendars end on December 25. But we are about to launch a new year and a new you. If you’ve missed any days and wish to replace — or even repeat — a few from the previous adventures, feel free. This is your life and what replenishes your spirit is unique to you. Here are the final suggestions and warmest wishes for a wonderful end to 2023.
- Early Morning Silence: Experience the quiet of early morning before the day begins.
- Nature Poetry Reading: Read a nature-themed poem outdoors or near an open window.
- Outdoor Aromatherapy: Use essential oils outdoors for a quick aromatherapy session.
- Flashlight Night Walk: Take a brief walk at night with a flashlight, exploring the familiar in a new light.
- Recap what went well in 2023: List your five favorite memories or accomplishments from 2023. What five things would you most like to have happen in 2024? Write them down.
- Quick Cold-Weather Swim: If accessible, take a brief swim in an indoor or heated pool. Or better yet, if you’re in the Seattle area and feeling brave, head to Matthews Beach at noon on New Year’s Day for the wildly popular Polar Bear Plunge. This shot was from January 1, 2023. Hope to see you there to kick off 2024!