Have you been looking for some great ideas for a self-care month challenge? How about a picnicking self-care challenge? I love it! Eating a healthy picnic outside is something I had to challenge myself to do as I was recovering from suicidal depression. I wanted to re-engage with the world and enjoy being in nature. A colorful picnic always does this for me!
The picture above was taken last year near the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. You can see the beautiful horses whom I was watching eating their dinner while I was eating my healthy plant-based diet picnic brought from home (Atlanta, GA). Notice how colorful the food is as well as the picture! And you can see me on my blanket, the same one I take with me everywhere. It’s my picnic blanket.
The image on the cover of this blog was taken last year in Historic Norcross, GA at the Lilian Webb Park, and you can see me eating my own picnic on that same picnic blanket. I love it!
I love being in nature, I love the bright vivid colors from the views I get outside, I love enjoying my homemade food in peace, I love feeling one with God! I love life, I love God’s creation, I love being fully alive!
Yet, there was a time, just a few years ago, when I was nearly dead and I even contemplated suicide from the deep dark depression that was weighing me down. Everything felt dull. I felt worthless. Life felt worthless, and I even wrote in my journal: “It sucks to be alive. My life sucks, and it sucks to be me…”
I was going through my third divorce, I was enduring narcissistic relationship abuse, I was very sick, I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD, I was experiencing betrayal by friends, and I just felt hopeless from the unbearable and unexplainable emotional pain of my marriage with the narcissist. I was exhausted from living with him and preferred to die.
READ: My Suicide Story
Three years have passed since that devastating season. My life is beautiful. My desire to live is strong. My lifestyle has been transformed. My body and mind are both healthy. I am healed and I engage with life passionately today. I appreciate life. I value the opportunity to live.
I am grateful to God for second chances. I am grateful that He restored my burning desire to be fully and passionately engaged with the world, the people, and the art of living the good life. The good life is not lived inside four walls. The good life implies that we spend time outside, breathing fresh air, eating healthy food, and being still with God while experiencing joy from the beauty of His creation.
What helped my narcissistic abuse recovery?
Self-care! Yes, taking care of myself (my body, mind, spirit, and soul) has been the key to my depression recovery and the healing of my wounds. If at any point you feel like I am overly-excited about the self-care strategies I share on my blog, know that it’s because self-care saved my life. I shared many self-care ideas with you on this website. Here are some of the articles I wrote to empower you to practice self-care.
- 100 Squats a Day Self-Care Challenge
- 10000 Steps Self-Care Challenge
- Healthy at Home: Self-Care Ideas
- Hiking Self-Care Challenge
- Hula Hoop Workout Self-Care Challenge
- Kayaking Self-Care Challenge
- Meditation Self-Care Challenge
- Picnicking Self-Care Challenge
- Self-Care Tips
- Travel Adventure Self-Care Challenge
The picture below was taken a few days ago by my neighbor Mary. She and her two little children joined me on my picnic blanket for the picnicking self-care challenge. We had such a good time! It was right outside our front door. Once you decide to do this challenge, you will find places to enjoy because you will be looking for them with an open mind and your eyes wide open, too. God’s beauty is everywhere – if you’re searching, you’ll find it. It’s so much better than watching TV or playing video games!
Picnicking Self-Care Challenge
As a kid, I didn’t have a father. I watched many children enjoy picnics with their families in nature but it was not something we did. Though one time, my mom picked me up early from kindergarten and took me to the beach on the river. We lived in the city of Kursk in Russia. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. It was hot and sunny. My mom brought big red strawberries that were homegrown, roasted potatoes, boiled eggs, and bread. I felt so blessed! My mom and I picnicked on the river. It was only one time, and it is one of the very few good childhood memories I have.
School was different, though. In Russia, every year several school cohorts got together, led by the teachers and a few parents, and the teens were taken into the woods to play, dance, sing, and eat one massive potluck picnic. Everyone’s food was homemade and healthy.
We ran around, played guitars, sang songs, and had so much fun. I cherish those memories with all my heart. Though I must say, I dreamed of more picnics with my mom, and I always secretly hoped that my father would come to be with us. He was in jail and had several other families.
Picnicking today means so much to me. I do it at least three times a week by myself but I also do it with friends often. It’s something every person enjoys, always, which is why… Now, I want to invite you to do a picnicking self-care challenge!
All you need is commit to making your own healthy picnic, choose a beautiful place that you enjoy, go outside, and eat your meal peacefully in nature without any social media or stress. You can read a book or a magazine, journal, or draw.
Make sure that whatever you choose as your activity helps you relax and doesn’t stress you out. I want you to commit to doing this a few weeks in a row and see how this simple self-care challenge enriches your life, increases your vitamin D, makes your skin glow, helps you sleep better, and enhances your life satisfaction.
Below a picture of me picnicking outside my front door on the floating dock. It’s the Chattahoochee River. I live within the National Recreational Area on the river. When I moved here in 2017, I was severely suicidal and wasn’t willing to go outside or even talk to people.
The picnicking self-care challenge helped me engage with nature, God, and people – one small step at a time. Today, I picnic outside regularly and encourage others to do so because it truly is a magical experience.
Why not do a picnic? I can’t think of any reasons.
So, let’s commit to this challenge for a month and see how you’ll feel after a few weeks! I know that you will be glad you did my self-care challenge. I was glad when I committed to it, though, at first, my brain preferred to stay inside and cry all day. It took a little effort to get me excited about this idea of picnicking but now it’s a healthy habit that makes my life so much better!
Self-Care Month Challenge
Why not make this month your self-care month? Start right now and decide to invest the time, energy, and effort your body, mind, soul, and spirit deserve. If you can do a picnic on a weekend only, so be it.
Plan it. Prepare it. Practice it.
If you live somewhere where there’s some green space, beach, lawn, park, playground, or even a pool, try eating there on a blanket or on the grass at least a few days a week. And if you’re really committed, eat lunch or dinner outside in nature every day for a month.
What do you think will happen?
READ: Self-Care Plan
Your physical wellbeing, mental health, productivity, focus, skin, sleep, and happiness all will improve. Most importantly, doing the picnicking self-care challenge will make you at peace with yourself because you’ll appreciate the investment you make into your wellness.
Recently, I was inspired to go a step further in my adventures and take a few trips to the beach. I drove to Hilton Head, SC last Saturday to eat my lunch near the ocean. It was 4.5 hours of travel each way but the experience of picnicking on the white sand of the oceanside was worth it. I’ll share a picture with you at the end of this blog.
What am I saying?
I am encouraging you to do something simple yet extraordinary, something we as a busy and overwhelmed society typically don’t take time to do, which is practicing self-care.
Why do it?
You deserve the picnicking self-care month!
The 7 Day Self-Care Challenge
Let’s say I persuaded you and you totally want to do it, yet, a self-care month sounds like too much of a commitment. I get it. No problem. Let’s do the 7 day self-care challenge! You can do anything for just a week.
Simply plan your picnic meals, find the location or a few locations you’ll explore, and set this self-care challenge on your calendar. Commit and follow through. Do it! And then come back here and let me know in the comments below about the impact of eating a healthy meal outside for a week on your wellbeing and the level of your satisfaction with life.
And hey, if you can’t do a week, that’s ok, too.
Try to do a picnic outside someday soon and see what happens. If you want to make it simple, go to a nearby local park. If you want it to be a little fancy, go hiking and eat your picnic on top of a mountain. If you want some extra-adventure, take a trip to the beach as I did last Saturday.
You deserve a break. The picnicking self-care challenge will help you take some time for yourself, intentionally, mindfully, and consistently. It can help you transform your habits and lifestyle. It can enhance your physical wellbeing, mental health, and spiritual awareness.
I explained how you can do a self-care month challenge or even a 7 day self-care challenge. My hope is that you start wherever you are and progress to the next level at your own pace. If you don’t have any time, do a picnic this next upcoming weekend, just once, and see what happens.
If you enjoy it, commit to the 7 day self-care challenge!
I want to share with you some resources:
- Three Reasons to Picnic Every Day
- Three Ways to Plan a Picnic
- Ten Health Benefits of Going on a Picnic
- Ten Picnic Ideas for the Weekend
My picnicking adventures had begun when I decided to live my life fully alive. I decided to be fully engaged in the process of living and care for my body, mind, soul, and spirit. To get started, I had to commit to believing that I am worthy of self-care.
Such a belief came from the Bible, which commands us to honor God with our bodies, think about whatever is praiseworthy, and be still. When I stopped focusing on what the world said about me and how the world viewed me, then I was able to discover what God says about me.
Today, I help women see themselves the way God sees them. I’ve specifically been focusing on identity in Christ. From the Bible, I discovered 52 incredibly-positive things God says about us as His daughters. Those 52 precious discoveries turned into 52 Biblical affirmations I created to encourage and empower Christian women.
To help share this life-changing information with you, I created an ebook called #52Devotionals. Download it now for free.
Anna Szabo is the founder of Online Discipleship For Women, a Christian ministry committed to alleviating suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. Anna teaches how to create a joyful life by embracing God’s word based on her own journey of faith and fortitude.
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