There’s something magical about the beginning of a new year – the time of newfound enthusiasm and fresh possibilities. In the spirit of new beginnings, it’s also an opportune time to start developing healthier habits to help our bodies with their detoxification efforts – especially if we’ve indulged in sugary and fatty foods or had a few too many festive tipples over the past month! Making a few positive lifestyle tweaks here and there can produce many benefits, such as higher energy levels, a more efficient immune system, a clearer mind and skin and an all-round wellbeing boost. What’s not to love?
1. The three-way cleanse for a clearer complexion
Start your new year’s detox with a deep facial cleanse to freshen up a tired complexion. Combine the powers of a cleanser, a mask and an exfoliant for the most radiant results. Be careful though to avoid chemical laden beauty products and use only natural formulations – after all, we’re trying to decrease the toxic load, not increase it!
To effectively remove impurities without drying the skin, look no further than our multi-award winning Cleansing Oil Dé-Maq. To wipe away signs of fatigue and to revitalise your complexion go for our award winning Herbal Face Mask. And don’t forget to exfoliate! Polish and energise your skin by removing dead skin cells with our regenerative multi-award winning Gentle Exfoliant.
2. Eat fresh, feel fresh
Fear not, we’re not about to recommend a week-long juice cleanse! There’s no scientific evidence that subsisting on liquids for days on end will flush all the toxins out of your body. However, making better dietary choices will support your liver, intestines and kidneys in their detoxifying efforts, so read on!
Support the detox superhero
Your liver is the workhorse when it comes to detoxing your body and often at this time of year its working extra hard at its job. We can support our cleansing superhero by limiting fatty meats, dairy, processed foods, alcohol and caffeine. Instead, show your liver some love by topping up on vitamin and antioxidant-packed fresh fruit and veggies – go for organic or biodynamic whenever you can to avoid exposure to herbicides and pesticides!
A top tip for those who dislike and end up resisting dietary restrictions: go for ‘crowding out’ instead. Simply put, keep the focus on adding more of the good stuff until your body actually starts to crave it. With consistency, your new good habits will eventually replace the old!
Get that healthy gut feeling
Our gut is another key player in toxin removal and a sluggish bowel function will slow down toxin elimination. Adding fibre – both soluble and insoluble – promotes gut health and regular excretion of toxins and waste through bowel movements, lightening the pressure on the liver. For your fibre fix, turn to oats, flaxseeds, beans, avocadoes and veggies such as sweet potatoes and – if you can still face them – brussels sprouts.
Lighten the liver’s burden further by building up the amount of good bacteria in your gut – go for foods high in prebiotics, such as asparagus and artichokes, and probiotic foods like natural yoghurt and cultured veggies. And finally, drink eight glasses of water every day to help your digestive system operate at a healthy rate. As a bonus, it’ll also help to flush out waste through the lymphatic system and the kidneys.
3. Move your body, move your lymph
You may have heard us enthuse about the complexion-boosting and invigorating effects of exercise before, but a daily dose of moderate aerobic exercise will also aid your detoxing efforts. The lymphatic system is responsible for collecting waste from our cells and filtering it out via the lymph nodes, but in order to move efficiently the lymph fluid needs muscular contractions – exercise, that is. For best results, aim for at least 30 minutes of activities like rebounding, jogging or cycling every day – or why not try something new to celebrate the new year? From indoor climbing to tap dancing, the possibilities are endless!
For a lymph-moving exercise that you can do right in your own living room, roll out your yoga mat. The best yoga poses to boost the lymphatic system involve movements that take your head below your heart. Try the Standing Forward Bend or Uttanasana:
- 1. Begin in a standing position with hands on hips, exhale and bend forwards from the hips.
- 2. With knees straight, if able, let your head drop down and bring your palms (or fingertips) down to the floor in front of your feet.
- 3. Stay in the position for up to a minute, lifting your torso slightly with each inhalation and sinking deeper into the forward bend with each exhalation. Come up from the pose by bringing your hands back to your hips, and with an inhalation, lift your torso up with your back straight.
Want more ways to boost lymphatic circulation and detoxification? Deep breathing, massage, dry skin brushing and sauna bathing all help to get your lymph moving and those toxins out!
4. Get enough shut-eye
You may well know that your body does most of its detoxification and repair while you’re asleep… So it comes as no surprise then that getting enough sleep is a vital part of your detox plan. Swap late night TV and a social media binge with early nights and give your body its best chance to zap impurities and to restore itself. Having trouble nodding off? Embrace your inner sleep geek and establish a regular bedtime routine, avoid energetic activities a couple of hours before sleep, keep your bedroom cool and dark, try a soothing bath with calming bath salts or sip some chamomile tea before bed… the results will speak for themselves.
5. Detox your mind
A holistic detox wouldn’t be complete without purifying the mind too. Toxic thought patterns, stress and anxiety can diminish the positive effects of even the cleanest diet and most beneficial exercise plan. Hmm… what can we do then to become free of toxic mental burdens and to rewire our minds to experience more peace and joy?
Appreciate the present
A simple place to start is to practice mindfulness (you might’ve noticed we’re more than a little into our omming of late, but we’ve felt the results!) – that is, to bring your full attention to the present moment whenever possible and tuning into what is going on both internally and externally. Done regularly, mindfulness has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety and depression. Meditation makes for another powerful tool in a mental detox kit – if one style of meditation doesn’t suit you, it’s worth exploring other techniques to find one that you enjoy.
Write it down
Perhaps you’re someone who prefers a more ‘hands-on’ approach – if that’s the case you might enjoy ‘morning pages’. Developed by Julia Cameron (the author of The Artist’s Way), you’ll write three pages every morning, longhand, as stream of consciousness. The process can help to quiet down an overactive mind, assist in working through issues and worries, increase intuition and unleash creativity. Explore affirmations too (positive statements that are repeated on a regular basis) – maybe even write some down after your morning pages!
Detox your home
If you have a tendency to feel chaotic inside, look around your home and see if a de-clutter is in order. Stuff accumulates quickly and most of us have things knocking about that we neither want or need anymore. Clearing out all the superfluous clothing, bric-a-brac, books, etc. can feel very liberating and help our minds to move onto fresh tracks. And once you’ve got all that lovely empty space, why not bring home an air-cleansing plant or two? Some of the best air-purifiers include spider plants, snake plants, dracaenas and peace lilies.
Take a leaf out of the ultimate clutter therapist, Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying: ask yourself ‘Does it bring me joy?’ If the answer’s ‘yes’ then keep it, if you hesitate or say no then discard it or give it to charity.1