If the word “cleanse” makes your stomach growl with hunger, don’t worry; it doesn’t have to be a trigger word. It’s the start of a new year, and while some of us are racing to join fitness studios, embracing Dry January, and enrolling in hydration challenges, we’re taking another path. We’re putting a new lens on the meaning of “cleanse.” Whether your goals are big or small, clarity and commitment are the common undercurrent to successful outcomes. So, how do we get clear and stay committed? We start with a new meaning of cleansing that extends well beyond diet.
1. The Monkey Mind
Most of our minds are operating in a state of fight or flight. We live with near-constant stimulation and content overload from screens in every room of our homes (and in our pockets). The start of the new year is an excellent time to create new boundaries on the type of media we consume. Above all, this exercise helps edit the noise that doesn’t support our goals.
Let’s get started with a few leading sources of brain drain:
- Email: If opening your inbox causes your heart to skip a beat, it’s probably a sign you need to clear out some clutter. Set aside time for an inbox cleanse with a service like me, which helps you bulk unsubscribe to newsletters from brands and businesses.
- Social Media: These platforms can open Pandora’s box and introduce a new level of competition. We used to “keep up with the Joneses,” and now we’re keeping up with the Joneses, people from high school, celebrities, influencers, and everyone in between. Replace mindless scrolling with intentional cleansing and edit the content, unfollow, or “mute” accounts.
- Bad News: The news is a reliable source of content to stay informed on local and global issues; it’s also a stream of content that operates by stimulating your fear response. The Covid-19 pandemic triggered an illusion that a constant connection to content could keep us safe, but research shows this behavior pattern can harm mental health. Find boundaries around news consumption and try setting limits to under an hour in the AM or PM. Anything that you need to know will make it into those segments.
- Beware of the Binge: We used to watch shows that had a beginning, middle, and end. Remember cliffhangers? Those days of waiting a whole week between airings are long gone. Now, we sink into the sofa and binge an entire season of a show without blinking. Research shows these binges correlate with psychological and mental health symptoms, including stress, loneliness, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
2. Beyond the Body
Cleansing the body doesn’t have to mean restriction, green juices, or hunger. So let’s look at cleansing holistically – from the inside out and the outside in.
- How’s Your Diet?: Get candid with yourself; you have the answers. If you need to cut back or eliminate a substance like caffeine, sugar, or alcohol – start there. Look for more nutritious options to fill the void. There are fantastic alternatives to almost every vice. Consider adding some cleansing foods to support your body’s natural detoxification. Leaders of the pack include lemons, cucumbers, cilantro, beets, and chia seeds. Multiple mocktails and other alternatives are on the market, including CBD-infused drinks and options for low-sugar snacks and treats.
- Revamp the Vanity: Take some time to edit your bathroom vanity. Clear out expired products and read over ingredient labels. You don’t need to overhaul the entire collection completely, but you can start with the most frequently used ones like deodorant, toothpaste, and skincare.
- Cleansing the Closet: If you haven’t worn it in the past year, do you really need it? Look at each item; how do you feel when you wear it? Does each piece in your closet reflect the person you are working to become? Ask these questions as you consider what should be donated or hung back up.
3. Soul Showers
Cleansing our energy is a step often neglected. We can free up space mentally and emotionally to find more clarity and lightness.
- Breathwork: Using controlled breathing with intention is a great way to clear out stagnant energy and emotions.
- Meditation: Seeking out quiet time to sit with your energy is a great way to strengthen the connection to your intuition and gain more clarity in the decisions you are facing.
- Journaling: Sometimes, we think we have nothing to say, but after some breathwork or meditation, you might be surprised by what pours from the tip of your pen onto a page. Writing is an excellent way to free up space internally and put those thoughts, ideas, and worries onto a page.
- Energy Work: Consider seeking energy work such as forest bathing, Reiki, or a Sound Bath to clear out blockages in the energetic and emotional body.
- Aura Cleanse: Cleanse your aura with Epsom salt baths and by burning ethically sourced palo santo, sage, or copal.
Cleansing our mind, body, and soul is a way to care for ourselves holistically. Clearing out what doesn’t serve us helps reduce symptoms of burnout, depression, and anxiety so we can be clear and committed to working toward our goals.