It’s Winter… Detox Gently!
If you feel you need to recover from the holidays, I wrote this for you.
Was your 2016 intense? Have you over-indulged or got stressed over Christmas? Maybe you made some resolutions you now regret, to start the year with a radical detox, a fasting cleanse or an extreme diet change and much exercise?
You can drop this resolution without feeling bad about it. January is the worst time for a detox. It’s Winter. Nature is resting and so should you. In Chinese philosophy, Winter is a time for introspection and exploration – planting the seed for new growth in Spring. You feel more tired and cold and not quite like getting up early for the gym or a morning run. It’s dark. You need rest and warmth and nourishment. There is a time and place for raw juice and salad, but that’s not the UK Winter.
Try following these tips instead:
- Keep hydrated. Start the day with a drink of hot water with a slice of lemon and/or ginger. Say no to ice cubes at the bar. Have herbal teas and drink hot soup. Chicken soup has a lifting energy in Chinese medicine, one reason it’s so good when you feel run down.
- Choose nourishing foods. Don’t leave your body under-fed in Winter. Eat mostly warm and cooked. Root vegetables are ideal, especially sweet potatoes. You can even cook a pear or bake an apple to enjoy with warming cinnamon. Think about cutting out added sugar. It can lower your immunity and exhaust your adrenals. In the Chinese approach, it weakens the core energetic system that helps us process food and thought. Can you find other ways to bring sweetness into your life?
- Exercise (gently) and breathe. Deep breathing, increased blood and lymph circulation and mild sweating will encourage the elimination of toxins. Choose exercise you truly enjoy, adapted to your energy levels. You’re not looking to burn calories now. Go for Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, or something as simple as regular outdoor walks (but wrap up warm).
- Practise dry skin brushing daily, before your morning shower. One third of your body’s toxins are excreted through the skin. Dry skin brushing can help by decongesting your pores, kick starting your lymphatic system and improving your energy levels. Use a natural bristle brush and work from the extremities towards the heart in long sweeping movements, clockwise on the abdomen.
- Have Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). Any nurturing touch and massage is beneficial. MLD in particular will target your body’s own purification and drainage system, so a yearly course of sessions will be the ideal reset. Contrary to what you might expect from its name, it’s one of the gentlest types of bodywork you can have.
- Take warm baths to relieve stress, soothe your muscles and soften your skin. Look into Epsom salts, rich in magnesium and sulphates, well known for their health and detoxification benefits.
- Tune into your mind. If meditation or mindfulness aren’t your thing, simply relax with a good book. Let the short days and early nights remind you to slow down and nurture yourself from the inside.
And don’t forget, if you have any health issues or concerns check with your doctor before you make any changes to your lifestyle.
To a happy and healthy 2017!