If you follow HerAfter on Twitter or Instagram, you surely know we spent the last week and a half abroad, with a 10 day trip to celebrate 10 years of cancer free living. It was an emotional celebration, with pints toasted in London and olive oil literally drank on the beaches of Greece.
But after 10 days of eating out every single meal, I came home with the overwhelming (bloating, uncomfortable) need of a little cleansing. I spent the entire trip without attachment to email or my phone, which was a cleanse in itself we’ll talk about later. But for someone who usually eats three veggie-centric square meals a day, I could desperately use a detox. However, to be frank, I’m not the dieting type.
It’s a funny thing that these sort of vice-purges are usually built into our lives naturally. Maybe it is that this kind, loving universe knows what’s good for us, and implements the breaks we need every so often. That I couldn’t log on, call or text while relaxing on the beach was one such break, as often is the experience of chemotherapy, when we are forced to sit still, reassess, and allow our bodies to fight. No longer can we be trapped in a manic schedule, and for many fighters it’s an awakening experience of self-questioning.
Back to the subject at hand: the detox. With ‘cold-press’ the new buzz words, it seems there is a detox diet regimen for every state of constitution. But with all this work to clear out our organs, isn’t it time we start to give a little love to our mental health as well?
For anyone hooked on the idea of a ‘detox’, and other daily deprivation practices to help clear the clutter and streamline internal functioning, these non-diet based detoxes are the perfect way to get your head and heart back on track for a fruitful summer.
Tea-Tox: the tea based detox
Online, you’ll find a plethora of companies offering tea detox programs that help with weight reduction and bloating, among other benefits. Many of these are not regulated by the FDA, so be sure you read the ingredients and do a little research on your own.
But if you’re looking for a new detox routine to simply bring more peace to your life, head to a nearby Fairway or Wholefoods (my new instagram bffs), or better yet a locally owned tea store, and invest in high quality tea that appeals to your taste buds. Make it a priority to sit quietly once or twice a day, steep the tea, and sit in silence while you enjoy it. The clear and free half hour ritual will rest your mind, and the routine will be something you’ll look forward to on particularly chaotic work days.
Lemon zest, lavender, chamomile, and old fashion green tea are great for stress reduction and retuning in the afternoon. Some find Chamomile too relaxing for afternoon drinking, making it a great pre-bedtime tea.
Feed Detox: social media detox
Excluding any emergencies that might be occurring on your profile (which, let’s be honest, are hard to justify), then two weeks away from your social media accounts won’t kill you. In fact, if you’re the type of person who checks your profile first thing in the morning, you might actually be zapping your productivity for the rest of the day. Just ask Brendon Burchard. Additionally, since many of us aren’t as happy as we portray ourselves online, giving your online persona a breather will give you a chance to reconnect with reality, and get in touch with people in real life (rather than through chats and comments). Take this info to heart from an article on PsychCentral.com:
A study conducted by The University of Gothenburg in Sweden surveyed 335 men and 676 women (average age 32) to help determine the link between self-esteem and Facebook usage. A significant negative relationship between the two was uncovered (as Facebook interaction increased, self-esteem decreased), though the main difference was between genders. Women who used Facebook were apt to feel less happy and content with their lives.
-Lauren Suval, Facebook Happiness and Self-Esteem (source)
Make a vow to give the accounts a rest for a few weeks, and replace the time you would normally log on with something more productive or beneficial. Say, reading positive affirmations in the morning, or going for a leisurely walk in the afternoon. Both of these can boost your creativity, mood, and productivity far more than checking in ever would.
Negativity and Self Sabotage detox: a detox from mental self-sabotage
It can be difficult to keep a positive outlook and keep our focus on choosing happiness rather than waiting for it to find us (a topic we discuss more in this article on my website), but it is possible. It just takes diligent practice. Because face it: if you took away the time and energy you use up telling yourself negative messages, you’d have more time and energy to spend on something so much better and more enjoyable.
For the next two weeks, vow to banish any negative messages you tell yourself or pop up in your mind. When a negative message comes in, you can either replace it: IE instead of “I feel fat today” say “I want to get in a really great workout that will boost my mood”. Or you can choose to simply take away it’s power and focus on the breath. When your mind says “I did a really terrible job”, use a mental broom to push out the thought from your mind, and bring your attention to a deep inhalation; breathe out both the thought and it’s stress on your exhale. Then move on.
It will be difficult at first, but after a few days you’ll have developed your own tools for banishing your self doubts.
Yes, you will feel silly doing this at first. But don’t you feel silly doing anything for the first time? Allow for a learning curve, no one can see what’s going on in there anyway. Once you learn the practice, you can turn the practice into habit.
Schedule Detox: De-cluttering your day
Setting the stage for a great day starts with how you prepare in the morning, and the mood you bring into it. Make your routine a little smoother with a few simple preparations that will take it from chaotic to enjoyable. Packing your lunch for the next day, preparing the coffee maker, setting out gym clothes, and making a great morning playlist are great ways to make the morning a smooth prep-time. Also, reducing sugar intake, staying away from your inbox, and adding a positive-thinking podcast to your morning drive – like On Being which was recommended by the gorgeous woman behind Mama and Bean, or The Charged Life for entrepreneurial types, or my personal favorite, Here’s the Thing – will keep the craziness at bay. After all, like Barbara Taylor Brown says on this episode of Super Soul Sunday, without a few calm minutes to plan out your day, the to-do list can come at you like a Mach Truck. Just a few extra minutes to make the morning more soothing and relaxing will carry into the rest of your day. For more ideas, check out this article on making your morning more productive.
And of course, add a meditation to your daily routine. If you can, replace a bad habit with your new meditation habit. If you usually veg out on the couch after work, meditate instead.