We’re exposed to many toxins over the course of our lives, and luckily our bodies are well equipped to “detox” naturally and constantly through our internal organs (big thanks to you, liver and kidneys!).
That said, if you’ve been making less-than-healthy dietary or lifestyle choices, you might start to feel the drain on your vitality and health. A summer “detox” is a great way to gain back strength and energy. Detoxing doesn’t mean that you have to eat like a bunny or live off of lemon juice with cayenne pepper for a month (yuck). We’re talking about detoxing your entire life, in a healthy way.
How to do a healthy detox
We collect environmental and dietary toxins, but we also collect “toxic” thoughts, emotions, clutter, and relationships along the way. In order to grow and shine, it can be vital to take the time to assess what in our life is good for us, and what no longer serves us well. Read on for our advice on how to do a healthy detox (no extreme juice cleanse needed!).
Your skin is the largest organ of your body and plays an important role in detox and sweating through your skin’s pores doesn’t just help your body stay cool and keeps your skin glowing, it also excretes toxins. Of course, exercise is one of the best ways to sweat, plus it improves your overall health and boosts those “feel good” endorphins (as you might remember from either high school biology or Legally Blonde). Hot tubs or saunas, which have been used for thousands of years, will also get your blood circulating and skin perspiring. Be extra careful if you have any health conditions and make sure to hydrate with extra fluid whenever you exercise or use the sauna.
Remove processed foods
Think of your liver as a funnel. If you add too many things at once, it gets backed-up and has a hard time processing the excess at its normal rate. As a result, the toxins end up overflowing into your body, leading to inflammation, potential injury to your body, and even disease. In order to keep things flowing properly, give your liver a break by steering clear of packaged and processed foods with ingredients that you can’t pronounce, and choosing to remove sugar, caffeine, alcohol, or all of the above this week. Addicted to the sweet life? Learn about how to break up with sugar.
Support your liver
Liver detox has two phases. In phase one, toxic chemicals we consumer (food additives, alcohol, drugs) are converted into a less harmful chemical. During the second phase, the liver makes it so the chemical can be excreted by the body. What many people don’t know is that you need nutrients to support both of these pathways. Antioxidants are great for the first phase, while cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, help support the second phase. Aim to add a cruciferous veg to at least one meal a day, most days of the week.
Mind your mind
Finding quiet and stillness in your day can help you clear your mind, process emotions, and handle stress more effectively. We all have recurring thoughts, but when we hold onto them, resist them, or stuff them down, they can become worse. By addressing them and then letting them go, you’ll leave space to grow. Find an activity to foster this practice that you enjoy, and commit to devoting at least five minutes per day to it this week. We recommend deep breathing, meditation, simple quiet time with a cup of tea, yoga, daily journaling, or talking with a friend or loved one.
Move your body
Staying active not only keeps you healthy and strong, it also helps your body detoxify. Exercise gets the blood circulating, which helps your organs eliminate what doesn’t belong. The more you move, the more your liver and lymph nodes cleanse and purify. Breathing, stretching, circulating, and sweating makes it easier for your body to flush toxins. Find a routine that works for you, ideally, one that includes a variety of movement – for example, stretching twice per week plus an 8fit workout 3 times per week.
If you’re feeling drained, it might be time to examine who in your life uplifts you and who drains you. Think of one or two people in your life who help inspire you to be better and call or text them to make plans to meet up. On the flipside, do what you can to avoid or limit the amount of time you allocate to the those who you don’t feel supported by (perhaps you don’t feel heard or appreciated, or you feel your energy drained after an interaction with that person). It’s also important for your health to not overextend yourself. If you’re feeling exhausted and have nothing to give, take a day to yourself. It’s better for everyone involved, trust us! If you’re honest and simply communicate your needs rather than coming up with some flimsy excuse, your friends will understand.
Declutter your surroundings
Ever have one of those mornings when you spend 10 minutes digging through a pile of clothes to find your favorite shirt? Having too much stuff can make you feel less relaxed and less productive. As part of this detox, consider making some boundaries for your clutter: for example, every time you buy something new, you get rid of two or three older items things. You can start with small steps, like one hour of cleaning this weekend – you can even recruit a friend to help stay motivated. Grab a box of old papers or a dresser drawer, listen to good music, and declutter together (fashion show of outdated wardrobe items is optional, but encouraged).
Detox your inbox
You can decrease stress and increase your productivity by detoxing at work, and you’ll likely feel less stressed at home from the ripple effect. Try to write a list of the to-dos for the day, then highlight those that are top priority and leave the rest for tomorrow. If you’re still feeling unmotivated, start by accomplishing the smaller and easier tasks. Is your inbox reaching critical levels? Schedule a couple hours on your calendar and reduce your emails by half. This last tip is a big one: if you’re taking vacation, really take a vacation. No emails and no calls if you can avoid it – and most of us can really unplug without the company burning down. It will reduce your stress, help you be more productive when you return, and let you actually enjoy your vacation!