To kick off the new year, I'm doing a series of posts focused more in depth about 4 of the 5 new year practices from this recent post : detox, new systems, gratitude, and connection. For more information on vision board, refer to my old vision board tutorial here.
Let's get started!
So many New Year's resolutions include what we want to add into our lives (e.g. exercise, meditation, gratitude journaling). Figuring out what you need to subtract is just as important. I like to refer to the subtracting as an overall detox. In my vision board creation, I used 4 main categories to guide my vision brainstorming: health/wellness, love/relationships, career/finance, creative/lifestyle and I think these are appropriate categories for implementing a life detox as well.
Health/Wellness: Detoxing our physical health is fairly straight-forward. What factors are damaging your body? Common foods to detox from include processed sugar, grains, gluten, factory farmed meats, dairy, processed foods, and alcohol. Some wellness changes I've made include replacing my grain-filled morning oatmeal with a green smoothie, and bringing a plant-based lunch to work. Physical detox could also include decreased sitting, decreased high heel wearing (if you're often in heels), detox from unnatural/toxic toiletries/beauty products. Detoxing our emotions and minds, however can be a bit trickier. Take time to reflect on harmful behaviors and thoughts and how to detox from those behaviors and thoughts. Get ready for work earlier if running late stresses you out, notice and stop yourself from comparing your life with others' if you realize this is a problem for you, use daily affirmations to change some of your most negative thoughts, do regular deep breathing to help detox from anxiety. Just by reflecting on what you'd like to detox from can be a healthy step in the right direction.
Love/Relationships: I think we've all had exposure to toxic relationships. Tune into how you feel around different people in your life. If you feel drained, depressed, sad, angry, or stressed consistently after meeting or talking with a person, chances are it's a toxic relationship. Setting healthy boundaries can be one strategy to improve relationships. If that doesn't work, limiting time spent with unhealthy people, or eliminating these relationships all together may be necessary. I like to ask myself "does this relationship build me up, or break me down" or "do I feel energized or drained" as ways to determine whether a relationship is toxic or not.
Career/Finance: This category can be a bit tricky. Sometimes, the detox may include finding a new job altogether. If you dislike or feel stagnant in your job, it may be time for something new. A job place or agency could also be a toxic relationship if you often feel disrespected, devalued, or dismissed on the regular. Sometimes you've simply done all the growing you can do in a position or within an agency. Other ways to detox in the career/finance category may include saying "no" to extra responsibilities so you have better balance in your life, or requesting a new responsibility/position change to increase opportunities for personal growth within your career. Another piece to this category of detox includes detoxing from unnecessary spending. There's a Swedish proverb that goes something like "he who buys what he does not need steals from himself". It's true though, and we've all done it. Our time is limited. We will die someday. Spending money on things that don't make us happy is like stealing time and ultimately life from ourselves. Spending money on things that don't make us happy ultimately steals our freedom and perpetuates our dependency on work. There's so little we actually need but buying items we truly want is a lovely treat. Detoxing from certain foods is hardest in the beginning and then becomes easier and easier. Once you're detoxed from a certain food (e.g. sugar) you become much more sensitive to it. After detoxing from sugar, I now need very little to get my sweet fix. Detoxing from spending can help to reset your spending baseline and increase your sensitivity to that reward. You will need to buy less for the same gratification post detox.
Lifestyle/Creativity: Are there major parts of your lifestyle which are unhealthy? For instance, do you travel too much, or too little. Do you need more structure or less structure in your day to detox from negative feelings. Possible lifestyle detoxes include, detoxing from visits to clubs/bars, going to bed too late, over binging Netflix, electronics/social media, multitasking, overly busy daily/weekly schedule, and cleaning out unnecessary items from your home.
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify. You will feel lighter, brighter, healthier, happier by detoxing your life. First step is always awareness and reflection, identifying what in your life is unhealthy, and what you'd like to detox from. Next create a plan, take it step by step if that feels easier, or all at once. There's no right way to do it, but rather do what feels doable. If you feel overwhelmed, you've taken on too much and need to start with a smaller step, or a simpler detox. Detoxing is something I'm currently in the process of, in all of these categories, and I know, though difficult, it will make for some better changes in my life. Best of luck through the detox process.