YMCA OF METROPOLITAN MILWAUKEE

Six weeks, 20 minutes a day, five days a week! We’ll experiment with challenges and rhythms designed to open us up to a purpose-driven life that is STRONG. Take the Challenge, have some fun, and discover what it means to be STRONG.  Don’t forget to pick up or download your activity tracker today and join the Facebook STRONG challenge community!

Register for the STRONG Challenge

 

Stay safe! Please ensure you are following all CDC recommendations with social distancing when CONNECTing with others!

 

week 6: November 23-29

balance

Congratulations STRONG Challenger, you have made it to the final week! Now, equip your STRONG arsenal (Achieve, Play, Rest, Connect, Serve) with the final secret weapon, Balance, to be complete.  

ACCOUNTABILITY

The Strong Challenge may be over but the habits will remain. We encourage you to remain a part of the Strong Challenge Community on Facebook and to grow your accountability network. Stay tuned for the next challenge coming soon! 

WORK-LIFE BALANCE IDEAS

Below are some ideas for work-life balance found on this website –https://www.mhanational.org/work-life-balance 

At Work 

  • Set manageable goals each day. Being able to meet priorities helps us feel a sense of accomplishment and control. The latest research shows that the more control we have over our work, the less stressed we get. So be realistic about workloads and deadlines. Make a “to do” list, and take care of important tasks first and eliminate unessential ones. Ask for help when necessary.
  • Be efficient with your time at work. When we procrastinate, the task often grows in our minds until it seems insurmountable. So when you face a big project at work or home, start by dividing it into smaller tasks. Complete the first one before moving on to the next. Give yourself small rewards upon each completion, whether it’s a five-minute break or a walk to the coffee shop. If you feel overwhelmed by routines that seem unnecessary, tell your boss. The less time you spend doing busy work or procrastinating, the more time you can spend productively, or with friends or family.
  • Ask for flexibility. Flex time and telecommuting are quickly becoming established as necessities in today’s business world, and many companies are drafting work/life policies. If you ask, they might allow you to work flexible hours or from home a day a week. Research shows that employees who work flexible schedules are more productive and loyal to their employers.
  • Take five. Taking a break at work isn’t only acceptable, it’s often encouraged by many employers. Small breaks at work—or on any project—will help clear your head, and improve your ability to deal with stress, and make good decisions when you jump back into the grind.
  • Tune in. Listen to your favorite music at work to foster concentration, reduce stress and anxiety, and stimulate creativity. Studies dating back more than 30 years show the benefits of music in everyday life, including lowered blood pressure. Be sure to wear headphones on the job, and then pump up the volume—and your productivity.
  • Communicate effectively. Be honest with colleagues or your boss when you feel you’re in a bind. Chances are, you’re not alone. But don’t just complain—suggest practical alternatives. Looking at a situation from someone else’s viewpoint can also reduce your stress. In a tense situation, either rethink your strategy or stand your ground, calmly, and rationally. Make allowances for other opinions, and compromise. Retreat before you lose control, and allow time for all involved to cool off. You’ll be better equipped to handle the problem constructively later.
  • Give yourself a break. No one’s perfect! Allow yourself to be human and just do the best you can.

At Home 

  • Unplug. The same technology that makes it so easy for workers to do their jobs flexibly can also burn us out if we use them 24/7. By all means, make yourself available—especially if you’ve earned the right to “flex” your hours—but recognize the need for personal time, too.
  • Divide and conquer. Make sure responsibilities at home are evenly distributed and clearly outlined—you’ll avoid confusion and problems later.
  • Don’t over commit. Do you feel stressed when you just glance at your calendar? If you’re overscheduled with activities, learn to say,” no.” Shed the superman/superwoman urge!
  • Get support. Chatting with friends and family can be important to your success at home—or at work—and can even improve your health. People with stronger support systems have more aggressive immune responses to illnesses than those who lack such support.
  • Take advantage of your company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Many organizations offer resources through an EAP, which can save you precious time by providing guidance on issues like where to find a daycare center and caretaking for an elderly parent, as well as referrals to mental health and other services.
  • Stay active. Aside from its well-known physical benefits, regular exercise reduces stress, depression, and anxiety, and enables people to better cope with adversity, according to researchers. It’ll also boost your immune system and keep you out of the doctor’s office. Make time in your schedule for the gym or to take a walk during lunch—and have some fun!
  • Treat your body right. Being in good shape physically increases your tolerance to stress and reduces sick days. Eat right, exercise, and get adequate rest. Don’t rely on drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes to cope with stress; they’ll only lead to more problems.
  • Get help if you need it. Don’t let stress stand in the way of your health and happiness. If you are persistently overwhelmed, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness—taking care of yourself is a sign of strength. 

For more local strong activities, visit your YMCA’s website, search “STRONG Challenge.” 

WEEK 1: OCTOBER 19-25

GOALS

Your STRONG Challenge begins with setting fitness goals. Although we’ll be encouraging you in other areas of your life, we want to start by focusing on physical health and wellness. Start by setting goals to achieve during the next six weeks (watch the video for guidance). Whether you are at the “walk around the block” level or at the “run the next marathon” level, start where you are, and we’ll grow from there. Achieving goals will set the foundation for healthier habits for life. You were made for more!

ACCOUNTABILITY

Write your goals on the Strong Tracking Sheet and post them in a prominent place in your home, somewhere that will remind you of your progress and commitment every day. Next, find an accountability buddy or partner who will provide the motivation you’ll need for the next few weeks (this is a critical step). Finally, join the Facebook Community Group and share your struggles, failures, and success with your new friends!

VIRTUAL OFFERINGS

AT HOME

  • Couch to 5K 
  • Strength training workout – Nike Training Club or 8Fit
  • Outdoor Bike – 20 minutes
  • Hiking/Walking Trails
  • STRONG Challenge Wednesday Workout
  • Body Weight Circuit
  • Push-up Challenge

FAMILY FRIENDLY

IN-PERSON AT THE YMCA (YMCA MEMBERSHIP REQUIRED)

  • Group Exercise Class – Reserve a space at your Y
  • Fitness Center – 20-minute weight training rotation
  • Fitness Center – 20 minutes on elliptical/treadmill/stationary bike
  • Lap swimming at the Walter Schroeder Aquatic Center
WEEK 2: OCTOBER 26-NOVEMBER 1

PLAY

Your STRONG Challenge continues by rediscovering Play! Research affirms that we are STRONGER when we are having fun; remember the number of times in a day you laughed as a kid? Remember feeling invincible? What about now?

This week we will add to our fitness goals two tall servings of fun. Rediscovering your joy will add to your foundation of strength. You were made to PLAY! 

ACCOUNTABILITY

Add 2 PLAY activities to the Strong Tracking Sheet  (download here) and remember to post it in a prominent place.  Share your goals with your accountability buddy AND, join the Facebook Community Group, and share your fun-filled week with your new friends! 

Below are some ideas to get you off the couch and onto a new healthier life. This is how we’ll fight, how we’ll get STRONG.

STRONG ACTIVITIES 

Keep moving 20 minutes a day and participating in physical fitness activities. Add 2 PLAY ideas to get you laughing and enjoying more.   PLAY is how we’ll fight this week; how we’ll get STRONG. 

VIRTUAL OFFERINGS

AT HOME (WITH FAMILY)

  • Family board game night 
  • Play outside for 20 mins 
  • Hide and seek 
  • Playground time 
  • Ride bikes 
  • Play catch 
  • Wii family night 
  • Family Card Games 
  • Basketball 
  • Football 
  • Baseball 
  • Hike with friends/family  
  • Puzzles 
  • Visit a Milwaukee County Park 
  • Visit a Wisconsin State Park 
WEEK 3: NOVEMBER 2-NOVEMBER 8

CONNECT

Your STRONG Challenge continues with Connect! This week we will get STRONGer through CONNECTing with our friends, family, and community. 
 
Did you know that on average we receive over 6000 messages a day? Let that sink in… These constant beeps, dings, buzzes, and tweets are demanding our attention and severely hurting our health. And worse, they are pulling us away from the things that truly matter the most in our short lives. This week, you will be challenged to go mentally deeper into the Challenge. You got this and we believe in YOU because YOU are STRONG. 

ACCOUNTABILITY

There has never been a better week in the challenge to connect with your accountability buddy! Call them, ask how they are doing. Offer some encouragement and STRONG cheerleader spirit! AND, join the Facebook Community Group (link here) to share your moments of connection with your new friends! When we connect, we are STRONG.

Download your tracking sheet here and remember to post it in a prominent place.  Connect with your accountability buddy to make sure they are doing the same! Go team go!

There has never been a better week in the challenge to connect with your accountability buddy! Call them, ask how they are doing. Offer some encouragement and STRONG cheerleader spirit! AND, join the Facebook Community Group (link here) to share your moments of connection with your new friends! When we connect, we are STRONG. 

Download your tracking sheet here and remember to post it in a prominent place.  Connect with your accountability buddy to make sure they are doing the same! Go team go! 

STRONG ACTIVITIES

Ideas to get you off the couch and onto a new healthier life.   This is how we’ll fight, how we’ll get STRONG. 

VIRTUAL OFFERINGS

IN-PERSON OUTDOORS

AT HOME

  • Body Weight Circuit 
  • Push-up Challenge 

FAMILY FRIENDLY

IN-PERSON AT THE Y

  • Group Exercise Class 
  • Fitness Center – 20-minute rotation 
  • Cycle – 20 minutes 
WEEK 4: NOVEMBER 9-NOVEMBER 15

REST

Your STRONG Challenge continues with finding ways to REST! Chillaxing, naps, a good night’s sleep…REST. It’s something we all need desperately to thrive but ignore its mystical powers. Why does REST always seem to get put on the backburner of our 1000 MPH-paced lives. We all fall victim to not falling asleep at a regular time, ignoring quiet time or not designating a rest day for our week. This week, we reclaim our health with the power naps, sleeping in, quieting our minds…this week, we REST! 

ACCOUNTABILITY

This week, we will add to our fitness goals two, ten-minute helpings of meditation/prayer and one day of complete rest. Mark your tracking sheet in places where you will REST. Join the Facebook Community Group (link here) to share your moments of rest with your new friends! When we rest, we are STRONG. 

Download your tracking sheet here and remember to post it in a prominent place.  Connect with your accountability buddy to make sure they are doing the same! Go team go! 

STRONG ACTIVITIES

Below are some ideas to help us rest this week 

ON YOUR OWN

  • Meditate – Unplug for 10 minutes minimum. Do everything you can to lay still, rest your mind, and monitor your breathing. 
  • Take a day, preferably Sunday, and DO NOTHING. Rest, chillax, have 5 naps. Kid screen time is totally acceptable while you regroup your life for another week. 
  • Unplug tech for 20 minutes and sit outside. Take in your surroundings. Journal your experience! 

WITH A LITTLE HELP

Try any of these apps for guided meditation, stress relief, and rest 

  • Calm:Find Your Calm. Sleep more. Stress less. Live better. 
  • Shine: Daily self-care, Lifelong healing. Make a habit out of caring for your mental and emotional health.

Join us on Friday night for a cooking demo on a dinner the whole family can enjoy- Check out the info and ingredient list here.

WEEK 5: NOVEMBER 16-NOVEMBER 22

Service

Why do we always seem to have time for “I” but not for “us”? Time for self-centered binging and not for moments of serving others. For some, it is fear or a recent loss that drives them to hold tightly to what is theirs. The problem is, we are designed to live differently, to be givers and not just takers. To take hold of a weapon of the spirit and look out for our friends and our neighbors. 
 
If we are willing to prioritize the needs of others, to reach for our best things to give, and to carve out time to serve, we will discover the transformational rewards that come only from practicing heroic love. The rewards are great, but the motivation to do nothing can be greater... push through! Be STRONG. 
 
This week, along with your 20-minute fitness goals, open up a can of loving others. The Y will be hosting a contactless food drive to support the community at the Rite-Hite Family YMCA from 8am-12pm and 4pm-6pm on Wednesday November 18th.  Drive up and drop off your donation on the west side of the building (summer temporary entrance).  If you are coming inside to workout- donation bins will be located across from the Welcome Desk.

ACCOUNTABILITY

This week we will add one service opportunity to our tracker. We were designed to give our time and talents and serve. This week find opportunities to help others. 

Download your tracking sheet here and remember to post it in a prominent place.  Connect with your accountability buddy to make sure they are doing the same! Go team go! 

STRONG ACTIVITIES

WAYS TO SERVE 

  1. Donate Blood – Listed below is the link to the sign up schedule where you’ll find available donation appointment times at Wauwatosa Donor Center and some convenient local blood drives. Click the link, find an available time slot and BE SURE to add “RITE HITE” to the appointment notes. Family and friends are also welcome!
    Wauwatosa Donor Center
    Downtown Milwaukee Donor Center
    Uihlein Soccer Park/Milwaukee Kickers Soccer Club
    Brown Deer Community
  2. Mow a neighbor's lawn/rake a neighbor's leaves  
  3. Send a gift certificate to someone who lost their job (Amazon) 
  4. Perform a Random Act of Kindness  
  5. Deliver meals (Meals on Wheels) 
  6. Volunteer (Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts) 
  7. Mentor a youth (Big Brothers/Big Sisters) 
  8. Fill a box of some good stuff and donate it (Goodwill) 
  9. Buy school supplies for youth (bring it to you local school) 
  10. Pray for someone in need (and tell them) 
  11. Help someone find a job (use your network) 
  12. Pay for someone’s coffee (Starbucks) 
  13. Write an inspiring article and share it (LinkedIn) 
  14. Stop complaining, get involved (Social Justice) 
  15. Sponsor someone (a YMCA scholarship) 
  16. Buy lunch for someone (Uber Eats)  
  17. Do extra stuff around the house (stop being lazy) 
  18. Encourage five people on the Strong Challenge (Facebook group) 
  19. Fill a box with food and donate it Wednesday November 18th at the Rite-Hite Family YMCA food drive 
  20. Build a house!  (Habitat For Humanity) 
  21. Call a senior, check-in, and ask if they need help. 
  22. Clean a park (bring your own garbage bags) 
  23. Donate to the Humane Society or adopt a dog (or cat) 
  24. Sign up for a virtual 5k for a good cause 
  25. Make a wish come true (Make-A-Wish Foundation) 
  26. Donate cash (be generous—give big) 
  27. Donate sanitizing supplies to a child care or senior care facility 
  28. Make PPE masks for childcare workers, students, seniors…. 
  29. Say nice things on your zoom meetings this week  

Need other ideas? Check out opportunities through United Way   https://www.unitedwaygmwc.org/Volunteer