When I say the word “mental cleanse” what do you think? Is it kale? Goop? Linen pants?
That’s what comes to mind when I hear the words mental cleanse and I’ll admit- I attach some pretty negative connotations to it.
That doesn’t have to be the case. Cleansing is historically a term reserved to describe the process of weaning off of a harmful chemical or drug. It’s also widely used in diet culture as a way to promote dangerously low calorie and restrictive meal plans.
You don’t need that in your life. We’re here to change our thinking and improve our emotional wellbeing.
So what about a mind body cleanse that’s more holistic and well rounded? One that isn’t a quick fix but does allow you to tap into your pain points quickly and find solutions?
So why do a mental cleanse?
To get your mind right, you first have to start with what’s going on upstairs. What brought you to the point of wanting or *needing* to mentally cleanse?
Common reasons to wanting to start a mental cleanse:
We feel a calling to rebalance and cleanse our soul
We feel out of alignment
We experience a shift in mood and feel the need to counteract it
No matter the reason why we start, having accountability can make or break for some of us to continuing on our journey to healing our bodies.
Either committing to action with a friend, writing down our goals and reassessing daily or weekly or starting a Facebook group for accountability can be a great help.
Emotional Cleansing & Healing Work
Instead of depriving yourself, like in a traditional cleanse or detox- I want you to try adding in behaviours. How likely do you feel you’ll be to see through a week-long cleanse if you’re afraid of getting “in trouble”?
Give yourself the gift of these new habits:
- Journal for 15 minutes daily
This can be free journaling where you write, stream of consciousness style to restore some mental balance
- Go Vegetarian for a week
Or vegan, if you’re already vegetarian. How will this help on your mind cleanse journey? Aside from saving heaps of money on meat, going veggie even for a short while helps free up a lot of mental space often reserved for meal planning and preparing.
- No Scrolling During Meals
Uhh….I can’t be serious can I?
I’m so guilty of this. Convincing myself that in the name of “time management” I’m going to use my phone during dinner or a meal so I can be more present afterwards.
If this is you also, try giving it a miss for just one day. 3 meals without screens and see how you feel. See how mindfully you eat, see if you feel any FOMO. Be curious about your experience.
- Write a letter to the future!
I’ve been doing this since around 2013. It’s probably my favourite suggestion on the entire list. I use the free service http://futureyou.org that allows you to draft and send an email to yourself and set a date of when to send it. You can also add photo attachments.
Here’s an example of what it looks like in your inbox when you receive one.
Writing letters to yourself may feel a little bizarre at first. The idea is to get yourself thinking about those longer-term goals and put yourself in the mindset of personal growth.
What do you think future you would think of you person who wrote this letter?
Where do you think you’ll be when you get to read it? Send the letter as far into the future as you think you’ll need. I recommend only a few months for your first one.
- Start and end each day with a stretch
I don’t have to explain this one (or do I..)
Sometimes we’re so busy rushing that we don’t realise we haven’t intentionally moved our bodies all day. Try it, just for the duration of the mental detox.
- It may seem like every personal development blog you read advises you to make a gratitude list to improve your mood and wellbeing. That’s because it works! Gratitude changes our mindset and outlook over time.
- Declutter Facebook groups AND TURN OFF PUSH NOTIFS!
I’m a part of a gazillion Facebook groups (approximately). I didn’t realise just how much time and mental energy they were taking up until I got checked out the Digital Wellbeing App that’s on my Pixel phone. Now those notifications are switched off, I’m not interrupted upwards of 300 times a day!
- Practice active listening-
For more information on active listening, see this post
Why would I want to cleanse my mind?
We talked before about feeling out of alignment, or just plain off. Maybe you feel overwhelmed, or burnt-out. Like your brain needs decluttering, or like you wish you could clear your mind.
Maybe mediation hasn’t worked for you (meditation often isn’t a quick fix but I advise you to keep trying!). Perhaps you are looking for a little lifestyle change or just know you need to incorporate healthier habits into your day.
Meditation for mental balance
Even if you’re convinced you “can’t do” meditation, I’m sure you can lay in bed and listen to a voice…right? Ooh I’m a hard sell.
The act of even taking ten minutes, heck even eight minutes out of our day can seem ludicrous to those workaholics among us *cough*me*cough*
That’s when you know you probably need it the most. I want to recommend a completely free app you can download on your phone that has a series of beginners programs, kids programs and even meditation for couples.
It’s called Smiling Mind. A not-for-profit founded in Australia, there goal is to reach 5 million children and young people by 2021 at schools and in the home.
I’ve written about the benefits my relationship has seen from couples meditation here
What will happen when I start detoxing?
Doing emotional work is hard stuff you could get pretty sleepy.
You could also find yourself asking bigger questions, feeling more open to change and shift.
What do I enjoy spending my time on?
What do I feel aligned with?
What behaviours do I want to stop doing or do less of?
What brings me joy when I do/experience it?
I feel the most “me” when I’m…
You could find yourself becoming more introverted and “hibernating” during this transitional time of mentally purging and cleansing yourself.
On the flip side, you could feel totally invigorated and want to chat with everyone! It’s personal.
Allow yourself time and grace to make these changes, as well as congratulating yourself for taking these steps to work on your personal development.
This Anxious Mum