The New Year/New You frenzy brings with it an inevitable slew of detox regimes to cleanse our body of unwanted toxins. It’s tempting to pin our hopes for health and happiness on the latest detoxifying wonder ingredient or diet. But a short-term detox in the context of a toxic life is pretty meaningless. A two-day juice fast might make you feel virtuous for a week: but what about the habits that might be dogging your wellbeing the other 363 days of the year?
While we tend to think mainly of toxins as things like heavy metals or hormone-disrupting chemicals that we ingest or absorb, it’s also important to consider what else is toxic in our lives. For instance, toxic thought patterns or toxic relationships can have just as negative an effect on our health and wellbeing as toxins in our food or environment.
You might be suffering the effects of a relationship that’s gone sour and is now making you feel bad about yourself. Or something seemingly harmless that you hadn’t previously looked at as potentially toxic. You might ask yourself: what’s sabotaging your sleep or wrecking your self-esteem or driving you to make food choices that you’ll later regret? They could well be things that you could let go from your life to make space for something else that fulfils you. A case in point: does your Facebook or Instagram habit enrich your life… or steal your time, energy and confidence?
January is a great time to re-evaluate how we choose to spend our time and what we should consider shedding. To consider what we may be clinging on to in our life that’s no longer serving us. To envision the year that we actually want, rather than the one we’re currently stuck in.
Escaping the clutches of being chronically overcommitted requires will and determination. So many of us run from task to task, year after year, in a constant state of low-level stress, trying to please everyone while battling with an endless things to do list. It’s no wonder that self-care is so often overlooked.
If that sounds like you, then you might like to grab a piece of paper and answer the following questions:
Who/what brings me joy?
Who/what drags me down?
List what you find uplifting, energy-giving and meaningful and then work out how much space you currently make for that in your life. Now do the same with what you find energy-sapping. You might well find that you are expending your precious time and energy on something that brings you nothing in return, whilst neglecting the true sources of fulfilment in your life. Now might be the time to graciously bid goodbye to something or someone that’s draining you.
There’s much to be said for a pared-down life. What can you cleanse from yours?
To inspire you to start giving your life a bit of a clean-up so you can fill it with the things you choose to, I’ll leave you with this beautiful quote from Mary Oliver:
‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’