The new year is always a time when many people vow to try to eat healthier, exercise more, and in general, recommit themselves to being their best selves. And if you want to start the year of right, a great way to do that is by finding ways to detox our body, mind and spirit.
Here are a few easy suggestions you can try to help rid your body of toxins and your mind of excess clutter, and to clear away negative energy from your energy field.
We all know that indulging too much in lots of sugar, alcohol and processed foods during the holidays can make us gain weight. But did you know that all of those unhealthy habits can also affect how your organs function?
Dr. Kelsie Lazzell, DC, DN, a naturopathic practitioner at the Center for Holistic Medicine, says when our body has too many toxins from sugar, alcohol, food preservatives and chemicals in the environment, our major organs are so busy trying to fight off these toxins that they are not able to function properly.
For example, she says sugar, alcohol, and processed foods all slow down liver processing and can lead to liver cell death over time. Signs of slow liver processing can be digestive problems like constipation, floating/pale colored stool, bloating, skin issues like acne, eczema and rashes.
Here are five things Dr. Lazzell suggests for detoxing your body:
Dr. Lazzell says getting your body moving is important because it helps pump your lymphatic system, one of the body’s main routes of detoxification. “The lymphatic system is only pumped through our when our muscles contract around the lymphatic vessels,” Lazzell explains. “A gentle 20-minute walk a day can help support this.”
- Try Dry Brushing
Dry brushing is an ancient Chinese medicine technique that involves using a dry, stiff brush to massage your body, which helps promote blood circulation and the drainage of your lymph nodes. Dr. Lazzell suggests doing it once a day before you take a shower. (You can watch this video on YouTube to learn more).
- Eat Foods That Help Detox Your Liver
“The liver is one of the main organs of detoxification, and one of the most abused organs in our body,” Dr. Lazzell says. That’s why she says it’s important to eat lots of foods that support your liver’s ability to heal and detox, especially right before and after drinking alcohol. Some of the foods she suggests are dark leafy greens, such as kale, arugula, spinach, or swiss char; artichoke hearts (try marinating them and adding them to a salad of dark leafy greens for even better results), as well as any foods that contain sulfur, such as egg yolks, onion, garlic, leeks, and shallots.
- Drink Detoxifying Tea
“There are lots of really fantastic teas out there that support liver health, like dandelion root, burdock root, milk thistle, and green tea,” Dr. Lazzell says. “Three cups is considered a medicinal dose, so start slow and work your way up if trying to detox your liver.”
- Sweat It Out
Another main system of detoxification is our skin, which helps removes toxins when we sweat. Unfortunately, we usually sweat less during the winter months, so Dr. Lazzell says it is important to find ways to increase our sweat during the winter months. “Ways to help stimulate sweating are exercise, infrared sauna use, or a weekly hot bath to heat your core and stimulate sweating,” she says.
Although many people are familiar with the concept of detoxing the body, fewer people are familiar with the idea that we also need to detox our mind so we can feel more peaceful in the present.
“Detoxification of our minds is essential to our mental health and clarity,” says Soula Souflakis, LCPC, a therapist at the Center for Holistic Medicine.
Here are three things Souflakis says you can try to detox your mind.
- Set an Intention to Stay in the Present
“Our brains are cluttered with traumatic memories from the past or anxieties about the future,” Souflakis says. “By setting an intention to solely focus on the present, that clears up more space in our minds to feel more mindfulness, more resilient and less anxious. When you walk through life on a conscious level rather than a subconscious level, you feel more control of your mind and body.”
- Limit Your Television, News and Screen Time
Want to feel calmer and more at peace? Souflakis says you might need to cut back on the amount of time spent on TV, social media, news or video games. She says cutting your screentime down to one hour per day. “The reality is that these platforms play a big role on our depression, anxiety, overstimulation and inability to look within ourselves and stimulate and reinforce self-awareness and self-confidence,” Souflakis says.
- Spend Time Journaling or Being Creative
Souflakis says finding time that to journal or express yourself through the arts is key in gaining more mental clarity. “Expressive journaling, drawing, painting, and listening to music is a way to detox some of the rumination of negative thoughts, emotional pain, deep fears, irrational fears, depression and triggers,” Souflakis says. “There is significant scientific evidence and literature that suggests that expressive arts and journaling can unravel the chaotic and overwhelming toxins in our minds. There is something that feels so liberating about purging and dismantling that chaotic web of thoughts in our heads and putting them onto paper.”
Mary Ellen Boyte, a naprapathic practitioner at the Center for Holistic Medicine who also specializes in energy medicine, says that just as we can detoxify our bodies and minds, we should also take time to clear our energy field to make us feel more centered.
Here are a few of her tips:
- Get Outside
Boyte says one of the easiest things you can do to improve your spirit is spend some time outside, even when it’s cold. “Fresh air and sunshine can really boost your mood,” she says.
- Do Some Deep Breathing
Want to feel more invigorated? Boyte suggests trying this simple deep breathing technique. As you exhale through your mouth, put your hands over your head and arch your upper back as if you are diving. As you inhale, bend back to open up your chest while your hands are stretched out to the sides. Continue to inhale and exhale for four to five cycles. Boyte says this technique helps revitalize the body by bringing fresh blood to your brain.
- Do Gentle Knee Bends
If you want to feel more grounded, Boyte suggests trying some gentle knee bends. “Gently bend your knees down just a few inches and straighten back up again, almost as if you are bouncing,” she says. “I like to look out the window and up at the sky while I do it. Do this for about a minute, or until you’ve reached a count of 50.”
- Take a Salt Bath
If you’re looking to clear away negative energy, Boyte suggests taking a bath in salt water for no more than 20 minutes. “While you’re soaking, your body is expelling negative energies,” she says. Be sure to use regular table salt, though, instead of Epsom salts because Epsom salts contain magnesium, which absorbs energy into the body instead of expelling it.
- Sign Up for a Pranic Healing Session
Boyte specializes in a type of energy healing called pranic healing, which is a no-touch energy technique that helps clear away blocked or stuck energy around a patient’s 11 major chakras, before bringing healing energy into those areas. “Pranic healing is great for people looking for a deeper cleansing of their energy field, chakra balancing or emotional healing on a deeper level,” Boyte says.