By Gina Duncan

Every year I choose a word to reflect upon that will lead my actions and help define my goals. My word for this year is “Intentional”. The plan is to be more purposeful with my actions and actively engage in choices that help me to live a more meaningful life. Part of that intention is to destress, detox, and declutter myself and my surroundings.

Life can be full of stress. You can feel overworked, over-scheduled, your inbox has over 50,000 messages, and you are simply exhausted by your lifestyle. You realise it’s time to detoxify your life.

Detoxing is more than giving up sweets and junk food. If you want to make intentional changes in all aspects of your life, we might have just the solution for you. The Beginner’s Guide to Detox Your Life in A Week.

When Should You Start?

You can start your detox anytime. However, I found that certain days make it easier to transition into your seven-day detox: like the beginning of the month or the start of the working week. Let your detox begin when you mark a special event like your birthday, New Year’s Day, or as part of a staycation. It could even mark a significant life transition; like the lead up to a new job, or at the end of a relationship. Whatever the situation, whenever you are ready, take time to set your intention, and you are ready for day one.

Preparing For Your Detox

Take a little time before you start to figure out what your detox plan will be and to prepare yourself to be open to receiving new habits. Download any apps or playlists you might use during your detox. As you prep for your week of detox, be forgiving and loving towards yourself.

Take A Break From Social Media

What’s the first thing you do you when you wake up in the morning? Scroll through Instagram? Snapchat? Do you have FOMO if you haven’t checked social media in a while? Do you get upset when Instagram changes its algorithms and you aren’t getting as many likes on your photos? If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, then maybe it is time for a social media detox and for you to beginhaving conversations in person again.

I’m not saying you have to delete social media from your phone forever. Just turn off social media for seven days. It’s going to be difficult, but these steps should make it a little easier: 

  • Keep your phone in your pocket or purse – out-of-sight, out-of-mind was never so true.
  • Turn off both sound and banner notifications.
  • Don’t take your phone into the bathroom.
  • Keep your phone in flight mode.
  • Leave your phone at home or turn it off.
  • Go for a walk every day this week without your phone.
  • Tell someone else what you are doing (an accountability partner).

Journal Daily

Make daily journaling part of your detox week. Pick a time each day to write in it. I prefer writing morning pages. Before getting out of bed, or with a cup of coffee do a brain dump: three pages of free-flow, stream-of-consciousness writing about anything that crosses your mind. 

Morning is best, but any time of the day during this week is fine. You can also try more directive journaling by asking yourself questions like “What’s working and not working in my life? What can I do better? Are there any activities or people that are draining my energy and are not worthy of my time? What are my goals? What are my dreams? How can I achieve them?”

Whatever you do, once you unburden your mind into your journal, reflect on it, and leave it there. You have cleansed your mind of it, now let it go. Journaling can give you self-clarity, relieve anxiety, and help you discover your creativity.

Meditate

Meditation is a way to clear your mind of clutter. Did you know that the average mind has at least 50,000 thoughts a day? Which is why it’s so easy to get distracted.  Meditation makes you focus on one thought at a time. It is an easy way to reconnect with your true intentions.

Make meditation a daily part of your seven-day detox. Find a quiet place and try different meditation styles to find one which suits you. You can find great guided meditations apps, and most of these are free or have a seven-day free trial period –check out Calm, Insight Timer, Breethe, or search for meditations on YouTube

It might feel a little weird at first, but once you focus on being present in your mind, it just might be something that becomes a part of your routine. 

Yoga Or Exercise

There has never been a time that I’ve left a yoga class and felt worse than when I went in. Exercise is part of every detox plan because of how great it makes you feel afterwards and how good it is for your health. 

Adding yoga is a great way to start from where you are and also moving forward, you can practise yoga at home using an app or with guided instruction on YouTube.  This is the perfect week to see where your interests lie. Try a dance class, Muay Thai boxing, Tai Chi,  anything that piques your interest. Many places will let you take your first class for free, so why not sign up.

Call a friend and see if they will join you. It’s less daunting if you do it with someone else, and the laughs that you can have with a friend are well worth the stretching and sweating.

Practise Self-Kindness

Practising self-kindness is giving yourself permission to have self-compassion. You can do this during your journaling or meditation time. To begin, find a comfortable position and take a few deep cleansing breaths. Think of something that is consuming your time. Notice how it makes you feel. Acknowledge these thoughts and feelings.

Begin to say your chosen phrases silently. There are many mantras for self-kindness, this is just one to get you started during your detox. Try this one:

  • May I give myself the compassion I need.
  • May I learn to accept myself as I am.
  • May I forgive myself.
  • May I be strong.
  • May I be patient.

Declutter Your Physical Space

Did you know that most people only wear 50% of the clothes in their closet? Take a look inside yours and see how much space you would have if you got rid of half your clothes. The declutter guru Marie Kondo is popular on Netflix because her method for decluttering your physical space is a gentle, joyful, organising movement. When your living space is organised – and the clutter is gone – so will the stress. 

Eliminate The Negative

Why stay connected to people on social media who are being negative, leaving rude comments, and making you angry? We all know someone like that. Unfollow them. If a colleague, family member or friend is not being supportive and is causing you unnecessary stress, it might be time to distance yourself or at least stop engaging with them. Unfollowing and disengaging from the negative people in your life that you know are not good for you, will increase your happiness.

When you feel unmotivated, when everything becomes too much, it may be time for a detox! It may seem daunting at first but give it a try, and you will undoubtedly be pleasantly surprised by the positive space, positive thoughts and positive you that starts to blossom. It’s incredible what can happen in a week.