It comes every year at this time: the influx of new diets, latest detox, and cleanses, supposedly made to help us say goodbye to our old, toxic selves, and hello to a New You.
“Eat more of this, but make sure not to eat that,” they tell us, wherein “this” and “that” are always something different, following fads and trends. “Drink this, but never drink that.”
You pick one to start, truly believing that this time, your life will change for the better. And the next thing you know, you’re desperately searching your cabinets for something on the “do not eat” list. Sound familiar?
This “New Year, New You” media surge becomes the perfect setup for feelings of lack, deprivation, emptiness, and denial – the exact opposite of what we’re hoping to achieve when we hop onto the latest detox wagon.
So, this year, why not try something a little different?
Green Mountain at Fox Run thinks about the word detox in another way. This is our version of a three-day detox. And this one most definitely won’t leave you feeling deprived.
Day 1: Detox From Your Negative Self-Talk
Begin by detoxing from your inner mean girl, that bully that lives inside your head, telling you that you’re not good enough, smart enough, thin enough, or successful enough.
She pounces every chance she gets, and she becomes louder and meaner by the minute until you fall into her trap and do whatever it is that she wants.
Here are some step-by-step instructions for day one:
- Become familiar with the voice by hearing it when it appears. Take notice of the fact that it’s different from your own voice and that the self-criticisms are often unfair.
- Once you hear that voice, acknowledge it. Don’t try to push it away. It’s only by hearing it and being aware of it that you’re able to make a change. We need to face her head-on.
- Instead of ignoring her, redirect the voice. Listen with nonjudgmental curiosity, and respond in a kind and compassionate way (yes, even though she doesn’t really deserve it).
- Repeat! To help strengthen this new compassionate and kind voice, repeat the new thoughts over and over again. This strategy taken from cognitive behavioral therapy will help you build new neural pathways in the brain.
This year, begin to strengthen a kinder internal voice by making her your friend, not your enemy.
Day 2: Detox From Your Hunt for Perfection
Where in the handbook of life did it say that on the day you were born, you were required to look and be perfect? And what does perfection look like anyway?
As you move into the second day of your detox, begin to ingest a different concept. Instead of always trying to look a certain way, act the way others think you should, have the job that you’re “supposed” to have, or be the woman that others expect you to be, why not embrace yourself just as you are?
What a wild idea, right?
But you can do this by realizing that all of the experiences, challenges, and mistakes you’ve made have shaped you into the stronger, wiser, and more resilient person that you have become.
These experiences enable you to create the connections and relatedness with others that truly make a difference – for you, for others, and for the world.
You are who you are because of your imperfections and mistakes. That’s a powerful thing.
This hunt, this quest, this search to be and act “perfect” ends up decreasing your self-esteem and self-worth, leading to higher stress, more anxiety, and even depression.
This year, embrace yourself and your uniqueness. The world needs you, just as you are.
Day 3: Detoxing From Your Energy-Draining Relationships
Do you have people in your life that you love and enjoy being around? You know the type: folks who give you energy, support, and encouragement – the kind of people who you feel better and more fulfilled around. Spending time with them is easy and good for your soul.
These relationships are what we call energy-giving. Like sunshine for a flower, these people help us bloom.
But there are also probably some people in your life who suck all the energy out of you, who drain your energy and bring you down. When you see them on the caller ID, you sigh and turn your phone off, or when you ultimately make plans to meet them for dinner, you find yourself hoping you come down with a cold.
We call these energy-draining relationships. So ask yourself this question: Why do you continue to spend time with them?
The first step to this part of the detox is to become aware of the types of people you have in your life. Sit down with a piece of scrap paper and consider: Who are the five people you spend the most time with? Are they energy-giving or energy-draining? How can you phase out the latter and replace them with the former?
By realizing that particular relationships bring you down; decrease your self-worth and self-esteem; and make you sad, angry, or depressed, you create an opportunity to make a change.
2018 might be the year to think twice about how much time you really need to spend with these relationships.
Here are some steps to help:
- Create a time constraint: “I have 10 minutes to talk, what’s up?”
- Distance the time between talks and visits slowly if that feels easier than an all-out friend break-up
- Do something with the time that occupies you both: plan to go to a movie, show, or class
- Add in book-ends of self-care. Prepare yourself by being in a relaxed place (by having taken additional time for fuel, fluid, rest, and maybe an energetic music bath). And plan something fun for directly after the interaction.
Imagine a teeter-totter for a minute. If on one side you stacked up all of the energy givers in your life, and on the other side, all of the energy drainers, what would happen? Which side would fall to the ground?
As you move into January, see if you can spend more time with the energy-giving people you have in your life – and slowly detox from the energy-draining folks.
Sometimes, we can find ourselves blaming our bodies for our unhappiness. It’s easy to focus our energy on one thing, thinking that if we can change it, then we can change our lives. But the truth is that the roots of our unhappiness lie deeper than that – in our self-talk, in our hunt for perfection, in our relationships.
But taking the time to detox those will do a lot more for us than a body-related detox ever will.
So try a detox this year that will make you feel better all around – by treating yourself with kindness and compassion, embracing and owning your beautiful uniqueness, and surrounding yourself with positive, energy-giving people.