Detox: a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.
In this world, we’ll never be free of stress, but we can do things to reduce its hold on us. In addition to standard techniques like relaxation, exercise, and meditation, simple activities like the seven listed below can help us detox from the effects of stress in our lives, and enable us to handle life on a more even keel moving forward.
These are not five-minute fixes, but the hour or so you spend on each strategy will pay big dividends.
Why don’t you give them a try?
A week of stress detox activities that don’t require fancy facilities, vacation time, or kale smoothies.
Part One: Bring some order your physical space
Day One. Declutter some area in your life that saps your energy. One that makes you wince with regret every time you see it, yet you hate to face it so you put it off. Again and again. It might be your closet, your desk, the kitchen, the car, the bedroom. If there are multiple areas that fit this description, pick one you can tackle in an hour or two. Not sure how to start? This post has suggestions on how to declutter like a pro.
Day Two. Declutter your electronic “space”. Delete any apps you haven’t used in the last month or desktop icons you no longer use. Unfollow people on social media who post rants or comments that upset you. Unsubscribe from newsletters you never read, and all those retail notification emails you get because you once ordered something. (They are required to have an unsubscribe option. Look for the link at the bottom of the email.)
Part Two: Bring some order to your inner space
Day Three. Get rid of some nagging tasks. We all have a list of minor stuff we keep putting off: Anything from downloading updates to making a vet appointment to filing the teetering pile of papers stacked on top of the filing cabinet. Make a list of all the nagging tasks you can think of. Block out an hour and see how many of them you can finish. If you’re competitive, actually set a timer and race to see how many you can accomplish. Award gold stars if you take care of the entire list.
Day Four. Let it go. We all hold on to things that weigh us down and keep us from being our best selves. Things like past hurts, unrealistic expectations, and relationships that are no longer beneficial. Time for some mental detox. Start by listing worries, fears, attitudes, and relationships that you are holding on to, but that you know add stress. Now consider what you can do to let go of them. Need help? This blog post has good advice on the what and how of letting go. And this post talks about facing our fears and worries with a “Yes, but…” attitude.
Day Five. Practice mindfulness with a “quarantine the screen” time. Block out a chunk of time (at least an hour but preferably more) to set aside your phone, tablet, and other devices. Either turn them off or put them where you can’t hear them (not even a tiny bit). Without the constant distraction of incoming notifications, you will find it easier to pay attention to the people around you, and focus on whatever activity you are doing. For best results, develop a regular “quarantine the screen” habit.
Part Three: Reconnect with your purpose and values
Day Six. Plan a date with someone you respect and trust (your mom, sister, mentor, an old friend). Ban your phone. Resist the urge to gossip, complain about work, or embark on your favorite rant. Instead, decide to be vulnerable. Share your struggles and your dreams. Talk about the things that get your heart pounding—either because you can’t stand the injustice or because the topic excites you.
Day Seven. Reconsider your values and priorities. List the ten to twenty things or ideals you value most in life. (Yes, really. Write them down.) Ponder the list, and then consider how well your current life reflects them. Do your goals, priorities, and lifestyle support your values, or hinder them? What can you give up or change to bring your lifestyle closer to what you really value?
Not sure what your core values really are? Try this helpful guiding values quiz.
I hope by the end of this week you are feeling less stressed, less bogged down, and more in touch with your true self.
What other strategies have you found helpful to detox from stress?