ASDA’s monthly Wellness Challenges ask you to change your behavior in a way that will positively affect your wellness. Each challenge varies in length and activity, but the goal is the same: to get you paying more attention to your well-being and developing good wellness habits. Each challenge will target one (or more) of ASDA’s five dimensions of wellness: emotional, physical, intellectual, occupational and environmental.
Each month, we’ll preview a new challenge in Word of Mouth. You can sign on to the challenge on ASDA’s Facebook page and play along with your fellow students. Choose your own start date, and then let us know if you successfully completed that month’s challenge.
I can’t rock climb.
It’s not like I haven’t tried. I have; I just can’t rock climb.
I don’t know if it’s my inability to find the next hand or foothold or my lack of upper body strength, but I can’t seem to make it more than two feet off the ground.
However, two feet is better than nothing. Two feet means I faced the challenge and tackled a new activity, even if unsuccessfully. This month’s wellness challenge is about just that.
For June, the wellness challenge is to try a new physical activity for the first time. Physical activities are good for your body, mind and soul. Plus, there are a lot of added benefits to taking on something new. You might overcome a fear, flex your muscles, break up your old routines and just have fun.
So sign up for a new workout or dance class, or try out that new activity you’ve been meaning to try. Then share your feats (good or bad) on Instagram with #BeWellASDA.
Read along with ASDA
Challenge 7 (May 2016)
Goal: Read along with ASDA
When: Month of May
Why: We all say it: “I don’t have time to read for fun.” Yet studies have shown that reading for 30 minutes a day increases self-satisfaction, self-esteem, empathy, and awareness of social issues and cultural diversity. Reading also reduces symptoms of depression and the impact of stress. Knowing all of that, how can we afford not to make time to read?
This month’s wellness challenge urges you to pick up a book – for your own intellectual wellness, for greater understanding and empathy, and for better dinnertime conversation. We’ll make it easy for you: ASDA has chosen “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” for our first virtual “book club.” It’s a riveting true story about the intersection of ethics, race, medicine and scientific discovery. Grab a copy and read along. Find a friend at your chapter who’s reading it and share the insights you discover along the way. Post a question or comment on ASDA’s Facebook event and see what kind of discussion you can generate. But most important of all, just make time to read.
Reconnect with a friend
Reconnect with a forgotten friend
Kim Kelly, senior publications manager, ASDA
My college roommate and I were inseparable. We had the same friends and most of the same classes. We would hang out in our dorm room, talking, laughing and listening to Elliot Smith.
When my dad suddenly passed away around spring break of our sophomore year, my roommate was there for me. It was a tough time in our relationship; living with someone who is grieving like that isn’t easy. But she was understanding and relentlessly patient with me.
By the end of senior year, our lives started to diverge due to school workloads and serious relationships. Our personalities had changed a bit too. We never had a falling out, but there was some tension and things were never quite the same again. After college, we lost touch and went on with our lives.
It’s been 10 years since we lived together, and I often think back on our friendship with a pang of guilt. Despite not speaking with or seeing each other in years, she sends me a message every year on the anniversary of my dad’s death. This year—the 10th anniversary—she sent a card.
There are moments in our lives that bind us to someone. My college roommate is one of those people for me, and it’s about time I reconnect with her. I want my husband to meet her to better understand what I was like in college. I want to tell her what I’ve been up to the past decade. I want to know what music she listens to now.
April’s wellness challenge is all about reconnecting.Whether you lost touch with someone years ago or there’s someone back home who hasn’t heard from you in a month or two (e.g. when’s the last time you called your grandma?). Reaching out to lost connections can repair relationships or provide closure. You may learn something new, go on an adventure or just make someone’s day by rekindling a forgotten relationship.
Challenge 6 (April 2016)
Goal: Reconnect with a forgotten friend
When: Anytime in April
- RSVP to our challenge event on Facebook
- Reconnect with someone you've lost touch with by...
- Arranging an in-person meeting
- A phone call
- A handwritten note
- Note: email and text don't count!
- Fill out this survey to tell us about the experience! You may see your response compiled into a blog post later this year.
- BONUS: Do you have an email in your inbox that’s gone unanswered and now you feel it’s awkward to reply? In the spirit of tying up loose ends, we suggest you participate in “Email Debt Forgiveness Day.” Find out more here.
A breath of fresh air
Challenge 5 (March 2016)
Goal: A breath of fresh air
When: 10 days of your choosing in March
Why: Studies have shown that exposure to nature has positive effects on both physical and emotional health. Spending time outdoors boosts your feeling of vitality, increases energy levels and strengthens your immune system. Exposure to sunlight increase your body’s production of vitamin D and releases endorphins into your bloodstream. In his book, “The Yosemite,” naturalist John Muir wrote, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”
With the approach of spring, it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy the natural world around you. On any 10 days in March, spend 30 minutes outside. Read a book outside, enjoy a picnic lunch, throw around a Frisbee or plan a longer hike in an area park. Weather permitting, you could hold a committee meeting or book club session outside. You’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated, and possibly even sleep better at night. Let the green spaces around you give strength to your body and soul.
Next steps: RSVP to the challenge on ASDA’s Facebook.
Seven days of home cooking
Challenge 4 (February 2016)
Goal: Seven days of home cooking
When: Seven consecutive days in February
Why: It’s no surprise that meals we cook at home are better balanced nutritionally and better for us in the long run than fast food or take-out. They usually involve fresher ingredients, lower fat and sodium. Knowing all of this, why don’t many of us cook at home more often? As Digital Content Coordinator Kerri Richardson explains in her blog post, “Nowadays, we’d rather order food from Grubhub than make something ourselves. Our rationalization? Saves time. But does it?... ASDA’s February Wellness Challenge encourages you to face this predicament head-on. Eat only home-cooked meals for seven days. I completed the challenge for this blog post and it was extremely difficult, but rewarding.”
Next steps: RSVP to the challenge on ASDA’s Facebook. Share your challenge images on social media using #BeWellASDA.
Take a posture break
Challenge 3 (January 2016)
Goal: Take a posture break
When: 14 consecutive days of your choosing in January
Dimensions: Occupational, physical
Why: Maintaining a hunched-over and tilted upper-body position for hours a day puts a lot of demand on the body’s muscles. Kathryn Dickmann, Detroit-Mercy ’17, wrote in a Mouthing Off post, “When the head, neck and trunk are tilted to one side, as often done while working, the muscles in use on one side become shorter and stronger and the other side becomes lengthened and weakened. The overall effect is muscle imbalance with the shortened muscles getting poorer blood supply, too. The unequal tension on the spine can cause some serious pain.”
It’s time to get proactive about your posture and stave off that serious pain with some simply daily stretches. Refer to the chart of posture break stretches in the blog post and commit to incorporating them into your routine for 14 days straight. Who knows? By day 15 you may have created a daily habit.
Next steps: RSVP to the challenge on ASDA’s Facebook.
Take a field trip of cultural exploration
By Kasia Chalko, ASDA marketing manager
I’ll never forget the word “lapilli.”
Years ago, I went to a special exhibit on Pompeii at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. My friends and I spent hours exploring recovered artifacts and mummified bodies, learning the history of that day when Mount Vesuvius buried three Italian towns in volcanic ash. The word lapilli – a type of dense, stony, volcanic residue – showed up on nearly every exhibition placard. I haven’t forgotten it 10 years later.
That exhibition was more memorable to me, an experiential learner, than anything I had ever studied about Pompeii in any classroom. And though I didn’t realize it at the time, it was an exercise in boosting intellectual wellness.
Intellectual wellness improves when we engage in creative and mentally stimulating activities. It relies on nurturing curiosity and lifelong learning. It supports what you learn in the classroom every day, helps you think more critically and be open to new experiences.
Which brings us to the wellness challenge for December:
Challenge 2 (December 2015)
Goal: Take a field trip of cultural exploration
When: Any day in December
Why: When you improve your intellectual wellness, it helps you to think more critically, be open to new ideas and experiences and enriches your life in unexpected ways.
Next steps: RSVP to the challenge on ASDA’s Facebook. Then, pick a day in December, and head to a museum, gallery or cultural institution of your choice. Whether it’s archeological finds, Dutch Renaissance art, robotics or medical discoveries, there’s an exhibit out there that will captivate your intellectual curiosity. Snap a photo of yourself with something new and memorable and share it in the Facebook event page or on Instagram (tag @dentalstudents and use #BeWellASDA).
Get out there, find something that’s new to you and flex your intellectual curiosity.
Go dark for 24 hours
Challenge 1 (November 2015)
Goal: Go dark for 24 hours
When: A 24-hour period of your choosing in November
Dimensions: Emotional, environmental
Why: As Publications Manager Kim Kelly explains in her blog post, “My iPhone used to be useful, but now it's making me feel disconnected and out of touch… For 24 hours I am going to turn off my phone, my TV and my computer. I'm going to be more present at every point of my day and focus on what's in front of me instead of what's on a screen.”
Next steps: RSVP to the challenge on ASDA’s Facebook. Then, pick a 24-hour period in November, and turn off all your tech: phone, TV, laptop, tablet. Live for 24 hours without those distractions and open yourself up to the people and occurrences going on around you.
It’s just 24 hours. See you on the other side.