It's Imbolic here in the northern hemisphere, which marks the last chapter of winter and the early signs of spring. I love to follow the seasons and find nature is a really helpful guide when it comes to wellbeing and what we need our self-care toolkits.
When spring is on the way, our energy starts to increase and we feel that stirring of motivation return. The shoots and buds are peaking through in the garden and as the days gradually start getting longer, we find ourselves felling inspired, forming new ideas and building interest in our goals. This is great news for those who set themselves resolutions in the New Year but never quite got round to putting them into action. Quite simply, you just weren't ready - you were going against the flow of nature!
Now is the time to start reflecting on what you have learnt through the quieter months of winter, starting to visualise your goals and forming action plans for the year ahead. Spring is when you will start really feeling the full force of your energy and motivation return to you.
If you had planned to go on a health kick in January but failed, don't worry!
If you had intended to lose weight this year and feel disappointed your jeans aren't getting baggy yet, no problem!
If you had a vision of getting fit and feeling energised but instead you're training gear still has tags on and you're just feeling sluggish, all is not lost!
This is actually a much better time to get clarity on your vision of success and spring will be the time to really take action.
So, let's focus in on the topic of detoxing!
The purpose of a detox is to expel all the toxic substances that can be harmful to us. Some argue that all the clever systems in the human body are continuously working to rid us of any such toxins and therefore question the need to detox. However, when you look back over the course of time, fasting has been used by many cultures to support health and fasting is a highly effective method of cleaning up damaged cells through a process called autophagy, "self eating". It's a form of detoxing.
Considering the amount of oxidative stress and free radical damage most of us are exposed to these days (pesticides, pollution, stress, ultra processed foods, poor diets, smoking, alcohol, diabesity, to name just a few), many nutritional therapists are pro-detoxing. I am one of these advocates but with some caution...
I am very cautious of calling any short-term health practice a miracle cure. Whilst a detox can be powerful and valuable, it is absolutely not going to provide a silver bullet to cure all ills in one short burst. It certainly isn't justification for a low nutrient, poor diet and sedentary lifestyle the rest of the year. As such, I help my clients understand the power of food as medicine - not all calories are created equal. Once we clean up their diet and lifestyle with a long-term view, they soon fall in love with looking after themselves in this wholesome, holistic way. We might discuss a short-term detox, (which may or may not involve fasting or time restrictive eating), but always with a personalised and targeted approach. This can be a highly effective way of kick starting a longer-term shift.
So, as your energy builds as we approach spring and you start thinking about your health and wellbeing goals, you might consider some sort of detox. Here are some of the benefits you can experience from cleaning up your diet with focus:
Helps your gut to heal, which reduces inflammation
Builds a healthy gut microbione to boost your immune system and mental health
Supports your liver detox pathways, which can help to reduce head aches, balance hormones and clear brain fog
Reduces harmful free radical damage, therefore reducing the risk of chronic disease
Increases your nutrient intake, ensuring your mind and body function properly, therefore increasing energy and boost mood and wellbeing
Creates a positive mindset, providing a "reset" about how you take care of yourself, building motivation for a long-term outlook about good health and wellbeing
You will feel even better for your detox if you also add in plenty of movement to your daily routine as well as pressing pause frequently for mindful moments. This combination will help to reduce stress and allow for reflection time. This is truly what it means to nourish yourself, mind, body and soul. Once you start to feel the results you will feel inspired and committed to a making a lifestyle shift as opposed to a short-term detox. The key is building in good healthy practices to your daily routine and making it feel achievable long-term. This isn't always an easy journey and it can be really helpful to join a group / community of long-minded people so you can support and inspire each other along the way. Get in touch if you'd like more details about our wellbeing workshops and community for working mums.
Always consult your GP before undertaking a new health regime, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.