At the beginning of each New Year, many people choose to do a dietary cleanse. They eliminate the heaviness of certain foods, like sugar and alcohol – things that are demanding on the digestive system. The intention behind a dietary cleanse is to create the space for bodily rest. At the end of the cleanse, they feel lighter and more energized, ready to create improved results.
What if we treated our patterns of time and daily habits in the same way? We could call it a ‘life cleanse,’ with the intention to feel emotionally lighter and more energized. Similar to a dietary cleanse, a ‘life cleanse’ means taking a break from the heaviness of our distractions, our ‘shoulds’ and our stressors – things that weigh us down and drain energy. Creating that space helps us to put life back in perspective, focusing on what truly matters most.
Distractions or ‘shoulds’ that might seem like they are serving a purpose may be exposed as causing emotional bloat when we stop doing them for a time. Habitual patterns of thinking and feeling create a “trance” of thinking that this is just the way things are. Just as a dietary cleanse can help you break out of an addiction for sugar or alcohol, a life cleanse can help you break out of addictions that zap your energy – perhaps mindlessly scrolling on social media, or tolerating a toxic relationship. And just like a dietary cleanse, a life cleanse helps to put life back in perspective.
Focusing on what you put into your head is just as crucial to a fresh start as what you’re putting into your physical body. In fact, your ‘life cleanse’ is a critical complement to any dietary cleanse you’re doing! If you’re juicing carrots all day but still feeling mentally bogged down by negative self-talk, that’s just a different flavor of junk food.
What does a ‘life cleanse’ look like for you? I suggest at least 10 days of eliminating things like:
- Distractions like social media, mindless TV, video games. The more you feel compelled to engage with these activities, the greater the benefit you will probably feel when you do eliminate them.
- News, especially negative, sensational news, and especially first thing in the morning and right before bed at night. Their desire IS to create a sense of stress with you so you’ll keep watching.
- Relationships that disempower you, or that create stress. You may not be able to totally avoid certain relationships, but you can intentionally seek to minimize the impact and duration of the contact. You can also choose to “reset” your energy after the contact, to make sure you’re keeping your energy and focus high.
- Staying up too late at night, so that you’re depleted in the morning. Unless you’re a true night owl, anything you would force yourself to do at night will be better done the next day, from a fresher perspective.
- Negative mental chatter, such as beating yourself up, comparing yourself negatively to other people, or telling yourself you ‘should’ do something without following through? You would be amazed at how much energy that steals from you.
- What’s your unique mental or emotional drain?
Whatever your choices are, set reminders to eliminate that from your life for just 10 days. Be kind toward yourself if you forget, and just reset and commit to the next 10 days. It may take a few tries to be successful at your first life cleanse, but I promise that the resulting lightness and energy are worth it!