While the jury’s still out on the overall benefits of a concentrated detox in the traditional sense, it’s always a good idea to treat your body well.
Getting rid of stuff you don’t need? That’s the kind of detoxing we can get behind.
Fostering habits that nurture your inner wellbeing? Yes, please.
Rather than straight-up detoxing, think of the process as a spring cleanse.
Consider these 5 healthy, non-deprivational tips to be your blueprint for a comprehensive reboot:
Start From the Outside in with a Skincare Detox
Since your skin is your biggest organ, we'll start there.
The FDA is pretty lax on regulations for skincare products, so it falls on you as a consumer to navigate the ingredient list. Hello Glow and HuffPost both compiled roundups of the top ingredients considered toxic for your body. Common culprits include sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, and anything labeled "fragrance" (which is a broad, unregulated category that often includes chemicals).
If you're not sure whether a product is safe to put on your skin, you can run it past the EWG Skin Deep database. The best general rule of thumb is to opt for ingredients you can pronounce. According to Little Green Dot, preservatives like methylparaben and butylparaben are not only a mouthful, they’re potentially harmful to your overall health as well.
And in case you’re wondering, the ingredients in Alder New York products are always either natural, naturally-derived, or man-made but guaranteed to be safe.
Dispose of old Beauty Products Responsibly
So you’re cleaning out any excess products that no longer fit your clean skincare bill. Is that bottle of shampoo considered recyclable by your local facility? What about your face wash?
According to Glamour, many beauty items aren’t easy to recycle because their containers are comprised of different materials. If you can’t figure out whether your empty bottle of castile soap is good to go in your curbside recycling, there’s a surefire way to skip the landfill:
Sign up for TerraCycle.
The company offers a variety of free, comprehensive waste-eliminating recycling programs. Slots fill quickly, so your best bet is to sign up ASAP and get on their waitlist. Moving forward, opt for products that are packaged in recyclable plastic, glass, and/or aluminum. It’ll make being kind to the earth way easier.
Eat Clean to Live Clean
For fruits and veggies, it helps to be versed in what's topping the top pesticide-riddled produce known as the Dirty Dozen. In an ideal world, we'd be able to afford organic versions of everything. But in this world, we often have to budget to stay healthy. So if you have the resources, do avoid non-organic varieties of the list toppers, like apples, strawberries, spinach, and celery.
And the good news? The "Clean 15" are safe to buy conventionally-produced. The roster includes yummy staples like avocado, cauliflower, and pineapple.
Plus, Rodale’s Wellness has a great list of 30 foods that are naturally detoxing. Surprise, surprise – most of the most effective detoxifiers are whole fruits and veggies like apples, kale, and lemon. No juicing necessary.
Don’t forget to hydrate. Our bodies are 60% water, and our individual intake to replenish that percentage after a workout or other drainage needs depend on our weight and sex.
According to Livestrong, women should shoot for 2.7 liters (91 oz) per day, and men 3.7 (125 oz), in order to keep your body running and properly flushing toxins.
Feeling Brave? Here's How to Handle an Emotional Detox
Our emotions are pretty powerful forces. Studies consistently reveal a connection between some chronic pain and stress/emotional issues. Chronic stress can directly lead to cardiovascular risk, high blood pressure, and other long-term effects.
And while there’s no miracle cure for these issues (though if there were, it would probably look a lot like exercise), there are certain lifestyle changes that can help alleviate them.
One such way? An emotional detox. Also known as a mental cleanse, it’s a gentle way to face the hidden stressors in your life.
Joy from Joyous Life put together a five-step plan to “spring clean your mind”:
- Write for seven days. Aim for one entire page filled with stream of consciousness; don’t stop yourself or edit as you go.
- Practice yoga: With its long, concentrated focus on breathwork and self kindness, yoga is vastly beneficial for mental health both on and off the mat.
- Write a letter to someone, without the intention of actually sending it. Vent your anger and frustration in this safe space.
- Face your emotions head-on, rather than distracting yourself with food, alcohol, or binge-watching Netflix. This is what Psychology Today refers to as sitting in the belly of your personal dragon – and it’s only scary until you actually do it.
- Write down a positive affirmation for yourself. Read it before bed or first thing in the morning (or both!).
You’ll find the clouds of your emotions clearing in no time at all.
The Final Step: Detox Everything Else
Your last step in this spring cleaning journey is to make sure you’re not exposing yourself to any unnecessary toxins via seemingly innocuous outlets.
You already know to avoid water bottles because of their high BPA exposure (not to mention their rapid accumulation in global landfills). But that same hormone disruptor could be lurking in your tomato sauce and even canned baby food. Stick with glass jars for packaged goods, and buy in bulk where possible, just to be safe.
Moving forward, make easy swaps for your health. Cook your healthy fare in a cast-iron skillet or stainless steel in lieu of teflon, which has controversial coating. Switch out any hazardous cleaning supplies for easy DIY ones.
And as we plan for spring, enjoy a life that’s just a little bit cleaner.
This is a guest post from MakeSpace storage, a full-service storage company that picks up, stores, and delivers your stuff so you never have to visit a self-storage unit.