HOW TO DETOX MINDFULLY
Updated: Apr 23
The beginning of the year is a great time to let your body rest and recuperate after the festive season, as well as kick start any healthy new habits. We're not big proponents of aggressive, unsustainable diets and programmes that advocate living off lemon water and air, so read on for some gentler ways to get your body ready for 2020 and The Year of the Rat. We're all about moderation and starting slowly and safely. Set yourself realistic targets or you'll st yourself up for failure.
1. GET YOUR ANNUAL PHYSICAL DONE
Many of us are great at taking care of others, not so great at taking care of ourselves. A baseline understanding of our health is essential, and we should be getting annual physicals, and talking to our doctors about any niggling issues that could in fact be the results of nutrition deficiencies, blood sugar issues, thyroid problems etc. Talk through your wellness goals with your doctor to ensure you get the green light.
2. CUT OUT OR LIMIT ALCOHOL AND CAFFEINE
Having a dry month is not a challenge - if you're not an avid oenophile or barfly. But for those that are, we recommend being realistic about your goals. If you typically drink 3-5 times a week, can you cap it at 1 glass of wine per week, and make it a really good one? Similarly with coffee, try weaning yourself off the multiple cappuccinos and stick to one black coffee or Bulletproof coffee in the morning - if you really can't bear the thought of life sans java.
Kick it up a notch: Cut out all sugary drinks and stick to water and herbal teas.
3. SAY BYE TO PROCESSED FOODS & SUGAR
Eat plants. More of them. Ensure meat and fish are organic and wild. Cut out unnecessary carbs like white rice and packaged bread. If you don't have time to cook fresh, home-made foods, seek out salad bars and restaurants where you can get nutritious whole foods that are minimally processed.Prep healthy snacks like carrot sticks and hummus for the office to beat the mid-afternoon munchies and crisps/chocolate dash.
Kick it up a notch: If you really want to hit the reset button and reduce inflammation, cut out all dairy and gluten. Gluten is hard to digest, as is dairy and many people report feeling better off them.
Kick it up even further: Go on an elimination diet under the supervision of a nutritionist who can help guide you through the process and figure out exactly which foods make you feel your best, and which are good to avoid.
4. MOVE MINDFULLY
Assess where you are on your fitness journey and make it a priority to increase the frequency and intensity of your movement, as well as incorporating relaxation and stretching in gentle Pilates or yoga classes. It's important to build cardiovascular endurance as well as muscle so your routine should be well balanced and manageable. If you've never run before, try 10 minutes on the treadmill - it's better than nothing! If you're an F45 maniac but don't take time out for stretching, start taking some yin classes. slow and build it up. Safety is of the utmost importance! Too many people go in all guns a blazing and end up with preventable injuries.
Kick it up a notch: If budget permits, signing up with a personal trainer can help build a regime and safely take you through proper form in weight bearing exercises.
5. PRIORITISE SLEEP
One of the single most important factors in our wellbeing is getting enough zzzs. All the green juice in the world isn't going to make you feel better if you're compromising on the quantity and quality of your sleep. Look at your habits pre-bedtime - are you glued to your screen, writing work emails at 11 pm, mindlessly scrolling through social media? Aside from the issue of blue light which interferes with your circadian rhythm, these behaviours don't set you up for a good night of rest. Set an alarm to institute a digital ban at least 1-2 hours before bed, put the phone in the living room and invest in an alarm clock so you're not tempted. Your environment
Kick it up a notch: Invest in the Oura ring, which tracks your nightly sleep cycle: the amount and timing of deep, REM, light sleep, and possible awake time during the night. Quantifying your nights of sleep allow you to build a baseline of data of your sleep patterns, and then begin to address how to improve it.
6. GET OUT INTO NATURE
There's a reason why forest bathing has become an international trend - it's the ultimate eco-antidote to stressful, concrete urban living and has the research and evidence to prove it. This 'nature deficit disorder' is remedied by spending regular time in oxygen rich, peaceful green environs, especially evergreen forests, as they contain the highest amount of photoncides, natural oils that are part of a plant’s defense system against bacteria, insects, and fungi. Exposure to these substances can reduce physiological stress is reduced, blood pressure and heart rates. Ideally you'd take meditative solo walks where you consciously connect with the environment around you, but you can also take your exercise outdoors, meet friends for picnics rather than coffee shop dates and see how you feel.
Kick it up a notch: Instead of another city break, book your next holiday in a peaceful Japanese forest, trek through the mountains of Nepal or head on a camping trip.
7. DETOX YOUR MIND WITH MEDITATION AND BREATHWORK
Our thoughts are our best friends and worst enemies. Negative thoughts can have such a huge impact on our wellbeing, and one of the best ways to gain control over our emotions and stress responses is through a regular (and I mean DAILY) meditation practice. I like to incorporate meditation with breathwork as you can adapt the practice to be energizing or relaxing, and provides multiple benefits at once. There are lots of different styles as well as guided options available online, so experiment and see what suits you. Pranayama, or yogic breathing is a great place to start. Dr. Andrew Weil, the founder of Center For Integrative Medicine has an article with videos on three different breathing styles. A few minutes of conscious breathing per day will bring calm and peace to your mind and body.
Kick it up a notch: Holotropic breathing has been getting traction in wellness circles in recent years, and is was developed by psychiatrists Stanislav and Christina Grof in the 1970s out of their interest in altered states of consciousness as a potential therapeutic tool. Typically practiced in a group setting with evocative music, participants breathe rapid inhales and exhales for at least an hour, usually two, and under the supervision of a trained facilitator. Check out this Yoga Journal video for more information.
8. SWEAT IT OUT
Being Scandinavians, we're both huge fans of sweating it out, especially in an infrared sauna, which penetrates your body from the inside, rather than heating up the air around you like the conventional saunas. They are said to enhance metabolic function, de-stress, detoxify, and assist in the recovery of pain, injury, and illness by dilating blood vessels to increase circulation and deliver oxygen throughout your body. And they feel great!