I am not alone in feeling that January is an ideal time to cleanse. A new year, a clean slate, a time to regroup and “start over”. A ‘cleanse’ or ‘detox’ can mean many things to many different people. Maybe you are just breaking off from a relationship and beginning anew romantically. Or maybe you’ve just given up smoking. Perhaps you’ve decided that 2013 is the year to lose those pesky 5lbs that have monopolized your thoughts in 2012! Maybe you will start an exercise routine or resolve an argument that just went on too long. The examples are endless, but unquestionably personal. Starting this year (1/1/13) I decided to go alcohol free (end date TBD)! I’ve done this exercise two times before (for 30 days at a time) and although I admit original intentions were physical benefits (give body a break, clean out toxins, regain energy, sleep better and if lucky lose a few pounds), what I truly gained from the experiences were mental ones. The truth is this: if you are a person like myself who appreciates taking the edge off with a drink (or whatever your vice of choice is), eliminating it from your life helps put into perspective your relationship to that habit. It gives you time to assess why you engage in what you’re doing, what purpose does it serve whether positive or negative and how do you cope with and without it. You are welcomed with the opportunity to clear your head while simultaneously finding healthier substitutions to your normal cadence. Unhealthy habits take over all of us and it is only when you try and stop that you can make sense of the dependency. It is day 12 for me and I’m going strong. Last night we had a dinner party with friends and the temptation of a drink was there. I wanted it – trust me! Not a norm to refrain but a useful test to force me to be embrace the raw uninterrupted version of myself. And I had a blast! I encourage you to think about what your coping mechanisms are and further evaluate whether they are worth giving up. Even if it’s just a moment of walking away so that you gain insight, perspective and an awareness of yourself when you come back to it and another step towards strengthening your most important relationship – the one with yourself.
Would love to hear some of your methods of cleansing too. Don’t forget to share!