“True healing comes with the nourishing of the mind, the body and the soul” – Unknown
This time of year we hear all quite a bit of talk about cleanses and I have even participated in some over the years. It seems we over indulge during the holiday season and then dive into something to erase the pounds of cookies, fudge and eggnog we enjoyed for weeks.
I wonder what would happen if instead of taking extreme measures we simply implemented some daily habits into our life so that there is less of a need to swing the pendulum from enjoying all the good things to eliminating and withholding?
As a person who sees the whole person, I think many of us good benefit from minor tweaks to our daily habits as a way to clean up our mind, body and spirit, rather than focusing only on detoxing the body. Small, subtle changes to our everyday routines could provide a great impact to our overall wellbeing. I know that I am working on making these part of my everyday life, not just during the the new year season.
Our mind can be constantly recycling our past experiences or predicting the potential disasters of the future, most of which never occur. Ask yourself how much time do you spend during the day participating in an inner narrative about the past and the future? How much of the time do we get stuck in the past, reliving the same old miseries? How much time do you spend assuming expectations or anticipating future events? Take some quiet time to look at your thoughts and emotions. Are they mostly happy and optimistic or are you mostly recycling the same worries, doubts, and regrets?
Meditating cleanses your mind, body and spirit. To sit in silence and connect is pure bliss. Think of meditation as a way to cleanse your mind of any negative thoughts and create space for yourself to listen with a relaxed focus.
There are many different meditation techniques and practices, the most important thing is finding one that resonates with you and is one that you will return to time and time again.
Journalling is a great way to get things out of your head and onto paper, it allows you to fully process things that are bothering you and for you to see them in a different light.
There is no need to follow any structure, allow yourself to write freely and see what comes up.
If you have trouble getting started with journaling, try answering these questions as a starting point:
- Write down everything that’s taking up space in your mind.
- What can you do to get yourself some nourishment and self-care?
- What would you like more of in your life
- Rather than write your thoughts, doodle and draw pictures simply to empty the mind
Take a non tech day
Take time out away from your computer, phone and social media. for 24hrs. Give yourself a break away from the screens and the external world.
Give your eyes and mind a rest and do some more nurturing activities like getting out in nature, cooking nourishing food, playing board games, doing yoga, journaling, spending time with family and friends, do something art or simply do nothing. Taking some time out in silence is another great way to connect and check in with yourself.
Sleep is a powerful and very needed reset for the mind. A quality sleep can help you to be more resilient to the stressors of life and will help you access your coping strategies when life does get hard. Try to go to bed early and aim for 8-9 hours of sleep. Limiting screen time and sipping on a chamomile or lavender tea can prepare the mind and body for sleep. Some of my favorite sleep essential oils are cedarwood, bergamot, lavender, siberian fir, vetiver, and eucalyptus. This free ebook describes some of the amazing uses of essential oils beyond just for sleep.
Affirmations are an amazing strategy to switch our thinking from a negative to a positive. The repeated use of affirmations can be life-changing.
I do believe that the two most powerful words we speak are I AM. Whatever we speak after that we are inviting into our life.
When you catch yourself saying a negative I AM, immediately replace it with a positive I AM. Post positive statements where you will see them.
- I AM a failure to I AM trying to overcome this.
- I AM a mess to I AM working hard.
- I AM a loser to I AM doing my best.
Detoxing the body can be something you do seasonally, yearly, or whenever you feel like your body is in need of a refreshed feel. Some cleanses last anywhere from a one day cleanse to month long cleanses. If you are not comfortable taking that on, you can also implement these habits into your daily life to maintain a detoxed and lighter body.
- Start the day with a glass of warm water and lemon juice, drink lots of room temperature water throughout the day. I also add a drop of lemon or grapefruit oil to my water.
- Have a light breakfast, maybe a green smoothie and or fruit, avoid or limit caffeine, if possible.
- Make lunch your main meal with lots of colorful vegetables and a light lean protein.
- Avoid processed and packaged foods and heavy proteins, minimize sugars.
- Get some light exercise such as walking, yogic stretching.
- Eat an early, light dinner. Ideally eating no later than 6pm can help your body properly digest food and help with a solid sleep.
- Dry brushing is a method of gently exfoliating your skin using a special firm-bristled brush. Some people use it as part of their skin routine to try to restore firmness, get rid of dry skin flaking, and encourage blood flow to certain areas of the body. It also helps detoxify your skin by increasing blood circulation and promoting lymph flow/drainage
- Coffee to tea swap. As much as I love coffee, I am trying to swap my afternoon brew for a yummy tea. A work in progress. Some say that coffee can cause the adrenal glands to work extra hard and this ultimately causes fatigue and stress in the body.
- Salt Baths are my favorite way to relax and detox the body. I love to add essential oils such as lavender, cypress, cedarwood, basil, eucalyptus and peppermint to one cup of epsom salt. Soaking for 20 minutes can support a natural detox for the body. Himalayan salt is also a great alternative to epsom.
Breathing is living and a function of life, without it we wouldn’t be here. Every single cell and organ in our bodies needs our breath to fully function. With a regular breath practice we can lower stress levels and prevent disease.
Moving your body is vital to feeling good and detoxing your mind, body and soul. Any form of exercise supports the functionality of your organs and the natural detox process and gets your cardiovascular system going, improves your blood flow and, thereby, has a positive impact on your body’s systems and processes.
Yoga is beneficial for your body in general. Iyengar stated that twisting poses compress the muscles and organs, blocking the flow of blood. When releasing the poses, the blood flows back into those areas, improving circulation. Twists are an important part of a balanced yoga practice as they improve circulation – which certainly is beneficial to your internal organs. I have a full library of yoga videos on my website!
When we commit to taking care of our mind and our body, we have a natural and beautiful awakening of the spirit, however there are times when heavy emotions weigh us down and prevent our light from truly shining. Caring for our spirit involves recognizing parts of ourselves that we are holding onto that are interfering with our ability to show up fully in life, and can also prevent us from giving and receiving the goodness of life.
Ask yourself if some of these resonate:
- I have regrets
- I carry resentment.
- I feel guilt.
- I need to forgive myself or someone else.
- I blame others for my pain.
- I feel ashamed of my actions or thoughts.
- I do not feel worthy.
- I am in constant disappointment.
- I worry much of the time.
- I fear the worst.
- I rarely laugh or find joy in everyday moments.
If a statement above hits you in your gut, it is likely that your spirit could use a little cleaning. I like to think of this as simply polishing off some smudges that have accumulated on our light. With some similar mindful practices to the mind, you can work on clearing out the dark spaces in your heart that are taking up space for something much more beautiful.
A gratitude practice can be a wonderful balm for a sore spirit. The research supports that a deliberate gratitude practice can shift our minds (and spirits) from a place of lack and limitations, which we are hardwired to think/feel, to a place of abundance and grace. What is a deliberate gratitude practice?
- Look for 3-5 experiences throughout your day to jot down in a book.
- Notice the feelings that these experiences bring to you. Write that down.
- Go beyond the touchable and tangible (family, friends, home) and go for the deeper reason why these matter.
- Review your gratitudes weekly and sit with all that is noticeably good.
Meditation, proper sleep, connecting with trusted people, walks in nature, praying, attending a spiritual community gathering, silence, gardening, and other ways that you identify feed you can get your spirit cleaned up so that you can be the best person you can be.
There is a beautiful story of a temple in Thailand where for years people worshipped what they thought was a clay statue of the Buddha. One day, one of the workers who was cleaning the statue accidentally dislodged some of the clay and discovered that beneath inches of tightly-packed clay, the statue was actually solid gold. Centuries before, to hide it from invading looters, the monks had covered the Golden Buddha with clay. Those who knew its true form had fled the invasion and its true identity was forgotten. All worshippers thereafter assumed the image was one of clay, until the day, hundreds of years later, the pure gold core was discovered. Unfortunately, most of us have allowed our true identity to be covered over and forgotten. Our spiritual journey is to remove the clay revealing the magnificent Being inside.
So whether you chip away at the clay or pull out a polishing cloth, you can bring out the most golden and beautiful Self that is always in there.
Caring for our whole Self is a powerful and life sustaining practice that can enhance all areas of your life. When we are clear and engaged in ourselves we can show up better for the world. These simple steps should not feel like a heavy and insurmountable undertaking, but instead should feel like a way of being and something you can carry into each season of the year.