Balancing work, family, social, and other obligations means we could likely all use a break from the stress of our modern world. Just as chemicals, food preservatives, and other toxic substances can build up in our bodies and negatively affect our health, our minds can hold onto their own forms of toxins. Clinging to negative thoughts and beliefs or past failures can rob your life of joy and leave you feeling drained, for example. That makes it crucial to find ways to let go of these practices and create more health-focused habits for the future.
It’s important to remember that successfully cleansing your mind has two aspects: a mental side and a physical one. This guide will talk about ways to detox your lifestyle in 2021 and help you feel your best.
A Balanced Approach to Lifestyle Detoxification
As you begin formulating your lifestyle detox plan, you’ll want to focus on creating a balance among three key areas: diet, exercise and emotions. Here are a few tips for easing the stresses involved in each element:
Diet: Practice “Positive Eating”
Positive eating means having a healthy relationship with food. That involves:
- Staying away from deprivation diets
- Including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein and good fats
Proper balance is key here – some people feel better eating a vegetarian diet, some prefer lean meats like chicken and fish, and others find their bodies feel their best when consuming red meat in moderation.
Supplements can work alongside your diet to help remove toxins and promote liver health. Certain vitamins, minerals and nutrients contribute to healthy organ function, for example, thus improving your body’s ability to remove waste and impurities.
Exercise: Engage in Stress-Reducing Movements
Physical activity can make a dramatic impact on your overall mental health. Great examples include:
- Tai chi
A simple walk around the block, along a nature trail, at a park, or other pleasant space can work wonders for gaining control of unwanted emotions, for example. Don’t forget to “get out of your head” by people watching or taking in your surroundings as you stroll.
Emotions: Practice Emotionally Healthy Living
Human beings were built to experience the full range of emotions, and it’s not a perfect world. Making some changes to your lifestyle can minimize bad days and help you control negative thoughts and feelings when you have them. Try:
- Devoting time each week to practice something you enjoy
- Eating regularly and getting sufficient sleep each night
- Incorporating what gives your life meaning into your schedule
- Engaging in exercises that make you sweat, such as jogging, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), biking, or cardio workouts
- Practicing deep breathing and mindfulness
- Visiting a sauna for 20 minutes, one to three times per week
- Getting a therapeutic massage to relieve stress, anxiety and tension
- Limiting social media scrolling, checking email, and time on the phone
- Doing a daily meditation session to clear away mental clutter
If you need further guidance on where to start, there are many online resources. Consider reaching out to an expert such as a yoga teacher, life coach, or other qualified provider. They can suggest additional powerful ways to embark upon your mental detox journey.
6 Tips for How to Detox Your Lifestyle
The following tips will help you structure your life to release both mental and physical negativity. It may help to keep a notebook and list your vision for what you’d like to achieve. You can then write down your experiences, such as thoughts, feelings, energy levels, a new idea, a reason for adding or dropping a part of your routine, or anything else you’d like to track as you create healthier physical and mental habits.
1. Remove Toxic Foods
- Eating organic fruits and vegetables and grass-fed animal products
- Consuming a vegetable-rich diet with dark leafy greens, which are important for nutrients, antioxidants and fiber, as well as brain health
- Eating berries, as evidence shows that blueberries, blackberries and strawberries positively affect brain health and mental clarity
- Avoiding processed meats and entrées like hot dogs, bacon and pizza
- Drinking spring, filtered or purified water instead of tap water
- Avoiding refined grains such as white rice, white pasta and sugary cereals
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Incorporating liver-healthy foods like small fish, eggs, cruciferous vegetables and beans
When in doubt, think about how close a food is to its natural state. A raw apple is much more beneficial than a slice of apple pie, for example.
2. Wear Natural Fiber Clothing
Natural fabrics are better for both you and the environment. Natural fibers, such as cotton and linen, are more breathable than synthetic material and are a friendlier option for sensitive skin.
3. Optimize Digestion and Elimination
By optimizing your digestion and waste elimination systems, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your new healthy eating plan. Consider:
- Eating to support a healthy gut bacteria balance
- Taking probiotics
- Supporting digestion with digestive enzymes
- Promoting GI healing with herbs
- Promoting elimination with a fiber supplement or flax seeds
- Spreading out your meals to avoid overeating
Note: If you’ve previously indulged in unhealthy eating habits, it can take as long as 6 months to restore your gut flora and heal digestion fully.
4. Use Safe Household Products and Skin Care Items
Your skin is your largest organ. It protects you from pathogens, but it also absorbs many substances with which it comes into contact. To protect it, consider:
- Using “healthy” body care and cleaning products
- Checking for hormone-like substances such as parabens, dioxins and phthalates
- Avoiding synthetic fragrances, air fresheners and candles, which contain toxins
An eco-friendly name on a label doesn’t always mean a product is safe, either. You can check for harmful ingredients on cleaning and hygiene bottles here, plus get an overall score of the product’s safety.
5. Monitor Indoor Air Quality
Studies have found that poor indoor air quality leads to stress, putting your body in fight-or-flight mode. In addition, air pollution has been linked to inflammation and changes in metabolism. To avoid these issues:
- Use HEPA air filters in your HVAC system
- Check your home for mold, as the toxins released by fungi can cause lung, heart, nervous system, skin and immune system complications
- Use non-toxic paints that don’t contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
If the season allows, open the windows and let in some fresh air. According to the EPA, outdoor air is often two to five times cleaner than indoor air.
6. Use Safe Cookware
Avoid Teflon and aluminum cookware. Chemicals found in Teflon pans have been shown to cause cancer and other health problems. Aluminum from cookware can leach into food, which may cause health issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
A New Mind for the New Year
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a busy entrepreneur, or both, many people have trouble winding down or finding a way to relax. Carving out time for self-care is essential to our physical health, as well as that of our minds. A mental and physical detox is just the thing to help usher in a fresh, new perspective for the New Year and start building healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
Contact Village Green Apothecary to speak with one of our nutrition advisors about starting a lifestyle detox plan and get your questions answered.