Here Are All the Weekly Challenges for 52 Small Things
52 Small Things is The Mighty’s weekly self-care program. Though we officially started in January, it’s never too late to join. For those just getting started, we recommend checking out our introduction to 52 Small Things as well as our frequently asked questions page before jumping in.
You can make a list of small things you’d like to accomplish this year, or you can follow our 52 Small Things challenge page and use our suggestions. If you don’t like a suggestion, feel free to skip it or come up with your own weekly challenge. You can also re-do a week or go back and do another challenge again.
New challenges are sent out via email every Sunday. Following The Mighty’s 52 Small Things page automatically signs you up for the challenge emails. Not a fan of emails? You can also check this page to see the weekly challenges.
Here are the challenges so far.
Week 1: Identify Your Goals
Click the image above to share your goals for this year with The Mighty community!
We suggest using the first week of the program to make a plan and get yourself set up for success. Whether you are following our suggestions or making your own weekly challenges, identifying your goals will help you prioritize where and how you want to spend your time.
This will mean different things for different people. It might mean organizing your pills in your pill case so you remember to take them or getting a planner to help you stay organized. It could also mean scheduling that doctors appointment you’ve been putting off or downloading a productivity-based app.
If any of these tasks sound like things you need to do, check out these articles:
- 17 Apps That Can Make Life Easier When Brain Fog Takes Over
- 12 Planners That Can Help You Stay Organized When You Are Overwhelmed
- 14 Pill Organizers That Can Help You Keep Track of Your Medications
Week 2: Gratitude
Studies show there are physical and mental health benefits that come with practicing gratitude. Some of these benefits include decreased anxiety, improved sleep, reduced depression, stress relief and help fighting illness.
For those choosing to practice gratitude, write down three things you are grateful for every day this week. You can write them on a piece of paper or share them as a thought on The Mighty.
Want to learn more about the benefits of practicing gratitude? Check out on our article on how to be happier in 30 days.
Week 3: Three-Minute Journaling
Journaling can help manage anxiety and depression and reduce stress as well as benefit your overall physical health.
This week, take some time to try journaling. We’re challenging you to spend three minutes writing down your thoughts. At the end of the three minutes, you should jot down at least one thing you are grateful for. You don’t need to go out and buy a journal to do this — in fact, it’s probably better to try writing out your thoughts for a week before you make the investment. You can journal as a Thought on The Mighty with the hashtag #52SmallThings, on a random piece of paper, or on your phone — wherever you feel comfortable.
Want to know how journaling has helped others? Here are two articles from Mighty contributors about how journaling helped with anxiety and panic attacks:
Week 4: Staying Hydrated
Stay hydrated this week! Dehydration not only affects our physical health but our mental health as well. Studies show that even mild dehydration can impair many aspects of brain function, including our mood, memory and brain performance.
There is no one-size-fits-all amount of water to drink, The standard rule of thumb has been eight glasses per day, but that’s actually a myth. Our bodies are all different. How much you need to drink depends on a number of factors. There are formulas you can use to figure out how much you should be drinking, or you can try drinking eight glasses per day (though that’s often more than most people need). Maybe this week you drink an extra glass of water when you wake up in the morning or grab a piece of fruit to snack on during the day. You know what’s best for your body.
Looking for some hydration inspiration? Check out these tips.
Week 5: Kindness
While we might not be able to change the world in one week, we can certainly work on doing small things to start being kinder to our selves and others. Kindness not only increases endorphins, which can help boost your mood and help relieve pain, it’s also contagious! The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.”
If you decide to practice kindness, take this week to perform three acts of kindness: One for yourself, another for a stranger and the last for a loved one.
For tips and suggestions, check out these articles:
- 7 Acts of Kindness You Can Do for Your Chronically Ill Friends
- 8 Small Acts of Kindness You Can Do for Someone in Need
- 16 Simple (but Unforgettable) Acts of Kindness Witnessed in a Hospital
Week 6: Self-Confidence
Low self-confidence can increase the risk of mental health problems and can even have an impact on our physical health. The good news is, studies show we can start to rewire our brains to boost our confidence through methods like practicing positive self-talk and shifting our concentration to things that make us feel empowered.
If you’re looking to build self-confidence, try this challenge: Write down one thing you like about yourself every day.
Here are some articles you may relate to if you struggle with low self-confidence:
- 3 Ways to Boost Self-Confidence If Your Weight Has Fluctuated Due to Illness
- How I’m Building My Self-Esteem With Borderline Personality Disorder
- 12 Red Flags You Might Actually Need to Get Help for Your Self-Esteem
Week 7: Expressing Love
We all know how nice it feels to be loved or appreciated, but it turns out the benefits of expressing love go both ways. By expressing love you can potentially lower your stress hormones, cholesterol, blood pressure and strengthen your immune system.
Spread the love with this challenge. Share three valentines — one to yourself, one to a loved one and one to The Mighty community.
Have a friend who lives with a mental illness? Here are some ways to show them you care.
Week 8: Honoring Your Needs
While taking care of others is important and fulfilling, taking care of ourselves is often just as important. Like oxygen on an airplane, you can’t help others until you help yourself. Honoring your needs can not only have a positive impact on your mental health, physical well-being, productivity and happiness, but it can also increase your ability to take care of others.
If you find it difficult to put your needs first, take this challenge. Jot down one thing you need physically, mentally and emotionally every morning. Check in with yourself throughout the day to see if you’ve been meeting your needs or if your needs have changed.
Here are some self-care articles to get your started:
- 101 Self-Care Suggestions for When It All Feels Like Too Much
- 6 Basic and Brutally Honest Ways I Practice Self-Care
Week 9: Connecting With Your Community
Social support is one of most important factors in improving our physical and mental health and well-being. That’s why connecting with a like-minded community — big or small — can make a difference. If connecting in-person is difficult for you or not an option, online health communities have been shown to provide emotional support, motivation and advice that can help us through whatever health challenges you or a loved one might face.
Take this challenge and reach out to one person in your own life or someone on The Mighty every day. A simple, “How are you?” can benefit both you and others. To give and get support from The Mighty community, you can always #CheckInWithMe at any time.
Week 10: Improving Your Sleep Hygiene
Most experts have concluded that getting enough high-quality sleep may be as important to overall health and well-being as nutrition and exercise.
If your health condition makes it hard to get those high-quality zzz’s, take this challenge to improve your sleep hygiene by doing one of the following: no screens before bed, set a bed and wake-up time or use your bed for sleep-only.
If you have a different way to catch more zzz’s that you’d like to try, you are more than welcome to. These are just our science-backed suggestions! If you want to read more about building positive sleep habits, check out these articles:
- 15 Bedtime Routines You Can Try When Anxiety Makes It Hard to Sleep
- Here’s How Your Sleep Schedule May Be Making Your Mental Health Worse, and What You Can Do
- 16 Products to Use When Painsomnia Keeps You Up at Night
- 6 Things Mighty Editors Tried to Sleep Better
Week 11: Being Creative
While we might not all consider ourselves “artists,” adding in one just creative activity to your day can significantly lessen stress in the body, regardless of experience or talent. The benefits of artistic expression go beyond relaxation, it can also improve your mental health, confidence and pain levels.
If you’ve lost touch with your creativity or want to be more creative, take this week’s challenge and do one creative thing every day.
Here are a few creative activities to help you get started:
- Photography. Check out the #Photography page for some inspiration!
- Pick up the musical instrument you used to play.
- Write some poetry. Check out our #MightyPoets poetry prompts here!
- Write a personal essay (and submit it to The Mighty!).
- Create some art. Check out the #Art page for some inspiration!
- Craft: scrapbook, make some jewelry or crochet/knit.
- Doodle in a journal, or color in a coloring book.
Week 12: Mood Tracking
Whether you struggle with mental illness or not, tracking your mood can help you learn more about yourself and overall mental well-being — what makes you feel bad and what makes you feel good. Take this week’s challenge and track your mood every day. You can download this mood tracking template, post on the 52 Small Things page or use an app!
While different forms of mood tracking may work better for every person, here are some articles to help you get started:
- 15 Creative Ways to Track Your Mental Health
- This Mood Tracker Finally Helped Me Understand My Emotions
Week 13: Humor
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Laughter is the best medicine.” While it may not always be the best, it does have physical, mental and social benefits that include: lowering stress hormones, decreasing physical pain, relaxing muscles, easing anxiety and tension, relieving stress, improving mood and strengthening relationships.
Add some laughter to your life by taking this challenge. Reframe something negative to try and find the humor in it — or look for humor in an unexpected place.
Need some instant laughs? Here are some meme articles you might find funny and relatable:
- 18 Memes That Nail What It’s Like to Live With Chronic Illness
- 3o Memes That Might Make You Laugh If You Live With a Mental Illness
- If You’ve Ever Been Told You Don’t ‘Look’ Sick, These 14 Memes Are for You
- Memes That Describe Parents at IEP Meetings
Week 14: Prioritizing
We only have so much time and energy in a day, which can make it hard to balance and prioritize our health, work, finances, relationships, responsibilities and self-care. While we might not get to every task on our to-do list, a recent study found that just making a plan to get those tasks done can lessen our anxiety.
If you have a lot on your plate or find it difficult to prioritize, take this week’s challenge and make a to-do list of your top three priorities every day.
If you’re having trouble motivating yourself to get things on your list done, here are 24 little motivational tricks for getting through a bad mental health day.
If your symptoms make getting things done more difficult, check out these 16 things that can make it easier to get up in the morning if chronic illness makes you exhausted.
Week 15: Mindful Eating
A recent surge of research has found mindfulness to positively impact a wide range of measures of personal health including stress, anxiety and physical well-being — but what about when it comes to food? While we all have a different relationship with food, taking time to notice the colors, smells or flavors of what you’re eating without distractions, or learning to cope with the guilt and anxiety you may experience around food, can have similar benefits.
Take this week’s challenge to gain a better understanding of your relationship with food by eating one or more mindful meals this week.
New to mindfulness? Here are 7 tips for bringing mindfulness into your life.
Week 16: Mental Health Time Out
Taking time to rest — even for just two minutes a day — can replenish the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourage productivity and creativity, and help us perform and remember better, according to recent research.
If you need a little bit of mental rest and relaxation, take this week’s challenge and do one positive thing for your mental health every day.
Try one of these 101 self-care tips for when it all feels like too much to start.
Week 17: Going Green
Nature can be healing. Research done in hospitals found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety. Nature can also be soothing and restorative — studies show nature helps us cope with pain and improves our mood.
Take this 2-for-1 challenge and make one environmentally friendly change this week, which might also have a positive impact on your own well-being.
Planning to plant something? Here are 10 tips for gardening with an illness or disability.
Choosing to use an environmentally friendly straw? If your disability requires a plastic straw, that’s OK, too!
Week 18: Being Present
Recent research has found that we spend almost half our lives thinking about something other than what we’re doing. While it may be difficult to “stay present” when you’re experiencing painful or uncomfortable symptoms of a health condition, focusing on being present can help reduce the many side effects of stress that can exacerbate symptoms.
Practice being in the moment by identifying one way or time you can be present each day — whether you’re by yourself or with others.
One way to stay present is by being more mindful. Check out these 7 tips for bringing mindfulness in your life.
Week 19: Dental Hygiene
Research shows that your emotional well-being might have an impact on your oral health, and problems that originate in the mouth may be associated with mental disorders like depression.
Take this week’s challenge and make an effort to practice better dental hygiene — floss or brush your teeth more, or make that dentist appointment you’ve been putting off.
If this challenge feels like too big of an ask for you, we’ve broken down some dentist-approved hygiene “hacks” for when you are feeling too depressed or fatigued to prioritize your oral care.
Week 20: Advocating
Advocating for your own needs or helping someone fulfill theirs can be more powerful than we might expect. One study shows that advocating can improve confidence and self-esteem. It can also help yourself and others make more informed decisions and receive proper support.
Take this week’s challenge and tell us one new way you’ll try advocating for yourself or others.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, here are 7 easy but important ways to get involved.
Week 21: Celebrating Your Small Victories
Celebrations don’t have to be grand gestures. Studies have found that celebrating our small wins can bring significant benefits, including improved physical health, better coping strategies and increase in sense of well-being. People who take time to reflect on — and celebrate — their successes are generally more optimistic, take better care of themselves and tend to be less stressed.
Boost your spirits and take this week’s challenge: acknowledge your small wins this week.
Need a place to share your victories with a community who understands their importance? Post to the #CheerMeOn community to celebrate and be celebrated!
Week 22: Going Outside
Research has found that being outdoors can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, decrease inflammation, lessen fatigue and have a positive impact on your mental health.
Take this week’s challenge and try to get outside one or more times — even if it’s just going to your car or opening your front door. If you can’t get outside, try looking out your window.
If it’s difficult to leave your house due to your health condition or disability, here’s some inspiration from people who’ve been there:
- The Benefits of Connecting With Nature When Living With a Chronic Illness
- 4 Badass Women Who Prove We Can Be Anxious, Depressed and Adventurous
Week 23: Finding Comfort
They say it’s important to “step out of your comfort zone.” But sometimes self-care means seeking out a place, person or item that feels cozy in order to recharge. Need proof? Researchers have learned that embracing coziness and life’s little pleasures can improve overall happiness.
Take this week’s challenge if you just need to feel safe or supported. If you don’t know where to start, check out this list of 36 ‘comfort items’ people turn to when they’re struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Week 24: Morning Routine
Sticking to a morning routine can be difficult when your health is unpredictable or you’re going through something. But even small changes to your daily habits can help decrease stress and positively impact your mental health.
Take this challenge and practice a morning routine every day this week. Maybe that means remembering to take your meds as soon as you wake up, or you try taking a shower every morning at the same time.
If mornings are difficult for you, check out the “one hour rule” one Mighty member uses when mental illness makes it hard for her to get out of bed in the morning.
Week 25: Creating Positive Spaces
The physical places we spend our time in can affect our mental, physical and emotional well-being. Maybe your workplace feels cold, making it hard to feel productive. Maybe there are rooms in your home that feel cluttered, making it hard to feel relaxed.
If you find that your surroundings impact your health, take this challenge and do one thing this week that makes your physical space feel more inviting.
If cleaning will make your space feel more positive but your health condition limits your ability to clean, these articles are for you:
- 15 ‘Hacks’ to Make Cleaning Easier When You Struggle With Depression
- 26 ‘Hacks’ That Can Make Cleaning Easier If You Have a Chronic Illness
Week 26: Positive Affirmations
Research has shown that positive affirmations are a critical tool to help maintain a positive self-image, making it harder for threatening situations to affect our mental health. Practicing positive affirmations can also decrease stress, help self-esteem, and even improve school grades.
Take this challenge and change up your self-talk by writing down one encouraging phrase and practice reading it through the day.
Here is one of our favorites from Winnie the Pooh: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than your think.”
Positive affirmations don’t have to be big declarations. If crafting positive affirmations is difficult for you, start small. Check out these 12 morning affirmations that can help you slay arthritis (or any health condition) for examples.
Week 27: Try Something New
Adjusting to a new diagnosis or navigating a new normal can be difficult, but it doesn’t mean you’ve missed out on the opportunity to discover a new passion. In fact, trying new things has been shown to positively affect the brain by making new neurological connections. More of these connections can help strengthen our thinking skills and protect against cognitive decline.
Take this challenge and try one new thing this week– no matter how big or small. Reconnect with an old friend or post your first Thought or Question in the community.
No matter what you choose, we are here to cheer you on!
For ideas on what to try, check out these articles:
- 25 Things to Do When You are Too Sick to Leave Bed
- How I Survive Social Isolation When My Condition Causes Heat Intolerance
- 5 Things to Do If You Are Bored at Home With Chronic Illness
Week 28: Empathy
Research shows practicing and receiving empathy can have a profound impact on our wellbeing, both individually and as a society. Practicing empathy can improve your ability to share emotions, needs and experiences with others, which can strengthen social bonds between people. It also can help reduce stress and prevent burn-out.
Take this challenge by finding one or more ways to make a meaningful connection this week. Practicing empathy can be as simple as actively listening to someone else or learning about life experiences different than your own.
If living with an illness has made it difficult to connect with others, check out these articles:
- Why It Is Important to Connect With Others When Living With Chronic Pain
- How to Be Heard When It Feels Like No One Wants to Hear About Your Pain
For more tips on how to practice empathy, try the podcast, You, Me, Empathy by Non Wels.
Week 29: Patience
Did you know that being more patient can help you feel less angry or annoyed during stressful situations? Practicing patience can reduce these negative feelings because it can improve compassion (let’s not forget self-compassion, too) and tolerance for stress.
When living with an illness, there are many things we have to be patient about and it can sometimes get overwhelming. If you’ve been feeling inpatient recently, take this challenge and identify one thing each day you’ll be more patient about. It can be something little, like celebrating small achievements or the steps you’ve already taken toward a goal.
If you’re struggling to find ways to practice patience, check out these articles from Mighty members who’ve been there:
- Finding Patience in Moments of Health-Related Anxiety
- How I’m Learning to Manage Stress as Someone With Chronic Illness