How My Life Changed Over 21 Days: My Feel Whole Challenge Experience.

Benny snorkeling during the Feel Whole Challenge.
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I was wearing a wet suit to keep warm in the frigid Florida spring water, which was a deep blue—a blue I’d never seen before, when a baby manatee waded right up to me.

My instructor told me it was just a few weeks old, but even so, the baby manatee was as large as a vending machine.

When I stop and think about my Feel Whole Challenge now, and my day seven challenge of “do something you always wanted to try,” I think about that experience. I don’t know how it translates, but I was more aware of my place in the world. It was the caution I had to not scare them, and to be thankful for them to allow me to be there.

An arial shot of Benny's adventure

My name is “Benny” Holder. I’m 25 and I work in the community relations unit at a sheriff’s office north of Tampa, Florida, and I had never experienced anything like that before. That challenge was just one of the several that have made good, lasting impacts in my life since the spring when I took the 21-day Feel Whole Challenge, a collection of small, daily activities intended to create a lifetime of positive habits that was launched by AdventHealth this fall.

You can schedule the challenges in any order you want and you can make them as easy or as intense as you want. I tell my friends this: “At the end of the day, you are challenging yourself.”

For me, an activity that started out as “examine your sleep routine” turned into putting my phone on “Do Not Disturb” and limiting my screen time every night before bed. The yoga I tried out during the Feel Whole Challenge? That’s turned into a daily morning stretch routine. Volunteering became painting elderly ladies’ nails at a nursing home.

And finally, the daily devotions and prayers for others have re-ignited my need for a community that helps me grow. Believe it or not, I actually picked up my Bible again and claimed a new church home two months ago.

The challenge has given me a wealth of new experiences, both fun and mind-altering.

My husband, Stephen, and I just had a conversation about this a couple weeks ago: the most important change to me is that I have become more intentional about how and who I spend my time with. He said I’ve have taken ownership of the things I had put on the backburner.

Benny Reflecting on the Feel Whole Challenge

Since I’ve taken it, I’ve recommended the Feel Whole Challenge to my three closest friends. The same women I realized I wanted to give hand-written notes to, as part of the exercise, “think of someone you’re grateful for and tell them,” and all three have taken it up.

I think if everyone were to take the challenge, and take it seriously, they could walk away with at least one change in their life that’s for the better. Maybe the same way that baby manatee suddenly did for me, they could see their world in a new way.

The opinions in this blog have been written by a sponsored guest blogger, who is not an AdventHealth employee. This material is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment and/or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

Benny Holder, Feel Whole Challenge participant.
Writer: Benny Holder

Benny is a Feel Whole Challenge participant who works in the community relations unit at a sheriff’s office north of Tampa, Florida. She believes if everyone were to take the challenge, and take it seriously, they could walk away with at least one change in their life that’s for the better.

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