The Sanctuary Challenge: The Logistics

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Dear Yuliya,

We’ve both personalized the journey to our own needs. Here are the complementary resources that working best for us.We spoke earlier this week about The Sanctuary Challenge and how our commitment to this journey has been serving us on an emotional and a mental level. If you missed it, be sure to check out that article first for details on what this challenge is and how it works. Today, we wanted to dig a little deeper into the logistics of how we’ve been able to incorporate and track each element of this challenge, complete with the specific products or applications that are working best for us! When you sign up for the Sanctuary Challenge, you receive their own tracking sheets, but we’ve definitely added some additional materials into our own journey. We hope that this will be a useful resource for anyone else looking to take on this challenge (or incorporate any of these commitments in their life in general).



I love that I can easily customize my meditation everyday.Dani

Although I started off using the guided meditation that the founder, Ryan Weiss, provides free of charge to anyone who participates in the challenge, I didn’t feel this was the best fit for me. Instead, I started using the free app Insight Timer.

Insight Timer: They have an exhaustive collection of guided meditations, relaxing music, yoga, dealing with stress and anxiety lessons, and more! Personally, my favorite is to simply use the timer for a non-guided meditation. This function allows me to select from a range of different background sounds, a range of different start and finish indication noises, and also set any bells I’d like in between whatever length of time I choose to meditate for. It’s so easily customizable that I’m able to switch it up everyday if I feel the need!


While we are supposed to use the guided meditation that is shared by Ryan Weiss and team in the morning, this really didn’t work for me. While others in my accountability crew, like Dani, use other apps or different meditations, I have found that this morning meditation actually works really well when I am trying to go to bed. I just put on the meditation and let it play, usually falling asleep in the process. Unfortunately, I don’t have any good tools to help you with this but I am thinking about trying this breathing series (recommended by a friend of mine) when the Sanctuary Challenges ends. I really like what he says about different types of breathing on his podcast and think that it could be a direction that my meditation could go in looking forward.


Healthy eating


I consider myself to already have a well-balanced diet and was not looking to make changes to my food intake or habits through this challenge. On the other hand, staying well hydrated is something that I believe is incredibly important but also incredibly underrated. Many times, unhealthy eating habits stem from binge-eating between meals when, in reality, your body was trying to tell you that it needed water. Being aware of this, I knew that focusing on my water-intake was what mattered most to me.

Fitbit: If you have a Fitbit watch (which I highly recommend for all the following commitments!), you can add a section to your app’s dashboard to keep track of your water intake. Although this tracking is not automatic as many other categories are, it’s rather easy to get into the habit of doing it yourself, especially with a water bottle like mine! (You can also add this section to your watch to track there but I experienced a few glitches in the past and prefer to input it directly to the app.)

You wouldn’t believe how much use I get out of this bottle.Contigo Water Bottles: I’ve tried a number of different water bottles over the years and this one is by far my favorite (in fact, I like it so much that I’ve purchased them for a lot of my family members). I carry this bottle with me wherever I go, including just back and forth to different rooms of my house. The best feature of this product is that it has clear markings along the side to easily keep track of how much water you’re drinking. Bonus, the 750 ml (24 oz), 500 ml (16 oz), and 250 ml (8 oz) amounts denoted on the bottle are the exact same amounts listed in the Fitbit app so, although you can manually input any amount of water, it’s super easy to track these amounts with the click of one button. I’ve been trying to get to three liters each day and the focus on this is helping so much!


Like Dani, I like to think I have a pretty well-balanced diet and tend to focus on eating lots of healthy things (which is made easier by the fact that I love foods like salads or veggie stir frys). For me, the healthy eating part of this journey has mainly been to make sure I am drinking enough water and upping my calorie intake now that I am running more. This isn’t always easy as sometimes I get sucked into my own routine and stop paying attention to the things around me.

A good infusion for hydration should never be passed up!A Kitchen Scale: While the one I have doesn’t seem to be available outside of the Nordic regions, any old kitchen scale will do (this one has fabulous reviews on Amazon). While some people are using their kitchen scale to make sure they are eating the right portion sizes, I normally use my scale to make cookies or other things that benefit by precise measurements. A big part of my healthy diet is also making sure that I indulge from time to time!

Infusions: Unlike Dani, I don’t drink that much plain water but prefer to consume my water in tea or infusion form. The mug I use holds just under a half a liter of water, so if I drink around six a day, plus any other bits I may drink, I can easily get to three liters. There is some debate whether or not caffeinated beverages dehydrate you more than they hydrate you, but I tend to mostly drink uncaffeinated versions anyway. I usually like to buy my teas from a proper tea shop, but both Clipper and Pukka offer good boxed options as well.




As I mentioned in our other post, I mostly count my morning yoga as my movement for the day but (about half the time) I try to add something more intensive as well. No matter what activity I work into the day, my watch is likely to come into play again!

Yoga with Adriene: Claudia and I are both fans of Adriene’s at-home-yoga videos and this year’s 30-day journey, Breath, has been a unique experience! Although it’s often slower and less strenuous than her practices generally are, it’s provided us with some breath techniques that have proven helpful in terms of meditation as well. I am personally a member of Adriene’s Find What Feels Good membership and I will say that I really enjoy the additional content and functions of the program (even though there’s tons of value for free on YouTube).

Being able to look back at my exercise stats is oddly satisfying.Fitbit: For all other exercise, my Fitbit watch and app are the main tools I rely on. When I do an elliptical workout, I select that activity from my watch’s exercise shortcuts (customizable on the Fitbit website) and use the heart rate tracker that pops up (indicating ‘fat burn,’ ‘cardio,’ and ‘peak’ zones based on my personal attributes) to ensure I’m pacing myself well. When I go out for a walk, I track it with my app, which uses my GPS to draw a map of where I’ve been, how many steps I take, and similar data (which for some reason is really fun for me to look back on later). Alternatively, I can choose not to manually track any of this and Fitbit will pick up on my exercise automatically, which usually happens when I play Beat Saber or do another activity on the fun ways to exercise list that I talk about here.


Like Dani, around half the time, I will count my morning yoga (also with Adriene) as my exercise. However, the other half of the time I try to get in something a little bit more intense and, given the current state of things and a lack of team activities, I have taken up running. With a friend, we have set a goal of running 1,000 km in 2021, so that is my new aim as I head out and hit the payment.

For me, this affordable, runner-friendly smart watch was an excellent investment.Garmin Forerunner 45S and Garmin Connect App: Before I started this running challenge, I probably would have been one of the last people in my friend group to get a smart watch. However, as I want to make sure I am staying aware of how far I am running, I thought it was necessary to get a watch to help me track. I checked the recommendations for runners using GPS and it seems that Garmin is always at the top list. I went with the Forerunner 45S as it is not the newest version (read: cheaper) and is made for people with small wrists. As I do have small wrists, this intrigued me because I didn’t want something totally overwhelming.

While I have only had the watch for about a month, I am really enjoying all the different tools it has to help me better understand how much I exercise in a day. Previously, I used my phone to track steps, etc. but I feel like the watch does a much better job and helps me stick closer to my activity goals.


Goddess Time

Going for walks or tending to our inner artists are two ways we enjoy getting in goddess time.Dani

This commitment is often a tricky one for me to fit in, perhaps because it’s the most open-ended one of them all. For the most part, my goddess time has consisted of things like reading, painting my nails, journaling, chatting with a friend, or watching a movie and as such I don’t have many specific tools to recommend. However, I did start listening to audiobooks for the first time this year, so that has found its way into my goddess time.

Audible: Aside from using Insight Timer while I’m journaling or putting my legs up the wall, Audible is the main app I’ve used during my goddess time. I love to take a walk around town and get lost in a story. Particularly, I’ve been listening to Barack Obama’s A Promised Land and listening to President Obama’s voice is so soothing I don’t know how I could not consider this self-care. Audible can be purchased directly through your Amazon account (although it’s not necessary) and costs approximately $15/month, which includes access to Audible Channels and credit to purchase one new book (which is yours to keep, even if you cancel your membership) per month. I got a 2 for 1 deal in January, though!


Like for Dani, finding time to treat myself as a goddess isn’t always easy and I am not always sure I am “doing it right.” However, in our sanctuary crew, we try to get rid of the idea of what you ‘should’ be doing and just focus on what you are doing and how it feels right. Sometimes for me that means making (and eating) cookies—yes, I count them both as healthy eating and goddess time—or putting my feet up the wall. Sometimes, I just light all the candles, put some lavender oil into my shower, or get into bed early with a good book. I am trying not to pressure myself with extras in this area because I already feel like I have enough on my plate.

The Artist’s Way: We have probably talked about this book on the blog once or twice before but if I am stuck on my goddess time, I will pull out The Artist’s Way and think about ways I can treat my inner artist. Sometimes that means making myself a wonderful coffee or taking myself out on a date. Other times I spend time listening to music while drawing or taking part in other types of crafting. I find that, for me, allowing my inner artist to have some time at the table is a great way to spend my goddess time.



Whichever app you opt for, a smartwatch that can track your sleep is a great resource.Dani

As I mentioned in our previous article, sleep has been the hardest commitment for me to maintain. Who knew getting eight hours was so difficult! In January, I only managed to achieve this eight times but as The Sanctuary Challenge Tracker states “There’s no such thing as failing, just trying is succeeding.”

Fitbit: As you may have expected, my main tool for tracking and understanding my sleep is Fitbit. My watch automatically tracks my heart rate overnight and approximates not only how much sleep I’m getting but also how much time I spend in each phase of sleep (light, deep, and REM) vs. restless. From this data, it generates a sleep score, too. I find this function super helpful as it allows me to go back and see patterns I hadn’t noticed at the time.


Especially as I see other people struggle in this journey of getting enough sleep, I feel very thankful that I already had a relatively strong sleep routine structured. Of course, that doesn’t always mean that I stick to it, but it did mean that I had a good idea of how much I was sleeping each night and I am able to get my eight hours pretty regularly. One of the things I have been curious about for a while though is how well I sleep, which is where my watch comes in as well.

The Sanctuary Challenge_ The Logistics.pngGarmin Forerunner 45S and Garmin Connect App: While I wouldn’t have bought the watch only to track my sleeping, I must admit it was one of the things that I was most curious about when I first got it. For about a week I tracked my sleeping patterns and how much time I spent in each phase of sleep to get a good idea of how I was doing quality wise. By having a better understanding of how I sleep, I can take steps to make the sleep even better. Now I don’t use it every day but I will put it on some nights just to check how I am doing.

What are the tools you use to help yourself be the best version of yourself? Let us know in the comments!

Dani and Claudia

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