Many times throughout the year, we fall victim to the overconsumption of fat, sugar, and alcohol that often leaves us feeling fatigued, constipated, gloomy and hating ourselves.
While an over-indulgence from time to time is ok, we can end up putting a lot of stress on our bodies, more so during the holidays. Whether you are in a regular season of life or you blame the end of the year festivities, there is no time like today to start a healthy detox for your mind and body.
These 5 steps to a mind-body detox are essential in creating mindfulness, easing stress on your body, clearing the mind, and re-centering yourself. You will become focused, energized, healthy and resilient when the stress comes knocking. Whether you have 4 kids, a 60 hour work week, or you're traveling around the world, these detox tips are meant to be easy enough to incorporate into your schedule. Daily practice will force a routine and show you the best results. Clearing out the bad only leaves room for the good to settle in.
5 Steps to a Mind-Body Detox
1. Tea Time Is Me Time
I guess you could say I have a small obsession with tea. Not only do I have tea time in the morning when I wake up but I also unwind at the end of the day with a cup. I usually buy loose leaf tea from Teavana because it does not lose its purity during production, like tea bags usually do. I take this time during the morning to find calmness and a clear mind. Tea has great mental and physical benefits, especially when it comes to detox! You can create your own morning tea with hot water, lemon, a dash of cayenne pepper and a tablespoon of raw honey. This mixture is great for detox because the lemon and cayenne pepper work to draw impurities out of your system. They also speed up metabolism. Citrus teas have great detoxing capabilities, not to mention antioxidants and cancer fighting capabilities. Tea that has lavender is great for relaxation and rejuvenation. Whether you need help digesting food, fighting a cold or some help gaining mental clarity, a simple tea ritual in the morning or at night can be your answer.
My go to tea from Teavana Citrus Lavender Sage
*Be sure you stay away from artificial sweeteners when adding sugar to your tea. I like to add natural raw honey. Truvia is also a better option.
2. Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation has a couple of different components. Mindfulness brings awareness and clarity to feelings and emotions in the present moment, which helps to realize your needs, wants, and triggers for stress. Mindfulness also helps you to focus on the present moment which can create peace and happiness in your life instead of depression (focusing on the past) and anxiety (worrying about the future). Mindfulness meditation also allows you to clear your mind of everything. Working to clear your mind for a couple minutes a day can greatly reduce stress and “unclog” the negative thoughts that can impact your mental and physical health. Mindfulness mediation allows for self-acceptance, appreciation, and gratitude. You will feel both mental and physical, benefits of mindfulness meditation. You will also learn about yourself and experience personal growth. Here’s how to start your mindfulness meditation practice:
- Find a quiet space where you feel comfortable
- Sit or lay down and close your eyes
- Take three deep breaths in through the nose, feel your tummy expand outward. Then exhale through the nose, feeling your tummy push back in toward the spine
- Work to clear your mind. Bring awareness to your immediate thoughts and work to block them out. Silencing the mind is the difficult part. We are not used to turning off our mind chatter. Where is it that your mind wanders toward? You can learn about yourself through this practice. Ultimately you want to be calm and have a clear mindset. A cue word often helps. I use the word “settle” and this helps to focus on quieting my thoughts.
- Focus on your breath, deep inhales and exhales, find your body relaxing
- Settle your shoulders, feel where the tension leaves your body (I find most of my tension releases through my face and shoulders)
- Do this for 3-5 minutes every morning or before bed
You can feel the benefits of mindfulness anywhere! Here is how you can find mindfulness wherever you are:
- Wherever you find yourself during the day, take at least 2 minutes to really soak in your surroundings
- Block unwanted or negative thoughts (Your list of things to do, what is for dinner, your weight gain, a fight)
- Use a cue word to help block your thoughts
- Dive into your surroundings using your senses (what are you seeing, touching, feeling, hearing)
- Find beauty and appreciation for what it is you are doing in the present moment
I often find myself practicing mindfulness during my tea rituals. I want to fully taste what I am sipping on, I feel the warmth of the tea go through my body. I feel my body relax with every sip and I find myself smiling and thinking of my gratitude. I feel quite happy and relaxed after I am finished with my tea. My mindset changes every time. Easy enough!
3. Gratitude List
A gratitude list is one of the simplest rituals you can do that has tremendous benefits. I recommend a gratitude list to my clients that are facing anxiety, depression, and grief. A gratitude list can help you detox your mind by eliminating the focus on negative thoughts and feelings and help to refocus on positive aspects of life. This does not have to be a long list. I like to write three things daily that I am thankful for. I suggest doing this in the morning when you wake up because you will start your day with a positive mindset. Then before bed, revisit your list. This allows for peace of mind before bed and eliminates the stress and negativity that you may come into contact with during your day. After habitual practice of gratitude, research shows a significant elevation in happiness. Who doesn’t want that!? This could be what you need the most during the holiday season!
Examples of gratitude:
- My car started
- The sun is shining
- Warm water for my shower
- My significant other
- I am breathing
4. Baths: Not Just For Your 2-Year-Old
Our bodies are exposed to harsh chemicals and toxins on a daily basis. Our bodies naturally try to clear toxins out of our systems every day, however we can help the process and find tremendous relaxing benefits by taking a 20 minute detox bath. Harmful chemicals are found in our detergents, water bottles, prepared foods….everywhere! Epsom salts are commonly used for detox baths because they pull toxins from the body and provides the body with magnesium. Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salts are great because they can be found at Target or Walmart and use aromatherapy ingredients like lavender or eucalyptus. Lavender is great for relaxation and Eucalyptus is known to aid in stress relief. You can release toxins with this natural detox soak:
- 1-2 Cups Epsom Salts
- 10 drops Lavender and/or Eucalyptus Essential Oils
Have a little time on your hands? Try this Green Tea Detox Bath!
- 1 Cup Epsom Salts
- 1 Cup Baking Soda
- 3-4 Bags Green Tea
Staying hydrated with water daily will keep your cravings at bay and also flush your system. Adding lemon to your water is a quick and easy way to help detox your body throughout the day. Adding extras like mint and cucumber are great ways to reduce stress, increase metabolism, and cleanse your body.
Do you have tried and true steps for detoxing your mind and body? Let us know in the comments below.
Kelsey Ruffing, M.A, LPC is a licensed professional counselor, a holistic practitioner, and a believer in the mind/body connection. I love helping people on their journeys to become the best versions of themselves!
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