I love to “cleanse” – that’s what I call taking a break from anything that might not be serving my best intentions. I frequently challenge myself to 21-day cleanses from Facebook, alcohol, drama, etc. Whenever I question something’s value in my life, I abstain from it.
I did a card reading recently, and I pulled this amazing quote from the deck:
You can either live in the joy of your unlimited creative power, or you can dwell with addiction, but you can’t exist with both.
To clarify, the card defined addiction as: “everything in your lower nature” and “compulsive needs.” Examples were: alcohol, food, overspending, fear and disappointment. I’ve been succumbing to many of these! I’ve also redeveloped a bad habit of compulsively checking email and social media; I’m a recovering clickaholic.
Truth be told, I’ve been overindulging in behaviors I know to be sabotaging to my wellbeing.
On November 1, I started a 21-day cleanse. My goal was to abstain from both social media and alcohol for at least three weeks. I did an excellent job with the alcohol portion of the cleanse, but my social media cleanse was a fail and one I’ll have to repeat with stricter boundaries.
Why Cleansing is Important
“Lower nature” habits and “compulsive needs” have funny side effects on your happiness and wellbeing. Take social media for example. Last Friday I was having a stellar day: Sales were coming through at the Energy Shop, Your Best Year 2015 was climbing the best-seller’s ladder on Amazon and my blog was seeing its highest week in traffic of all time. I’d just gotten off the phone with a colleague and confidante, and we’d had a great chat about the future of business. Sounds like a great day, right?
Just before I closed shop, I had a few minutes to spare so I browsed the internet and did a little clicking. I was barely paying attention to the sites I was visiting; I was checked out. A few minutes later,
I got up from the computer feeling completely defeated after a brilliant day of work.
Wait. What? I’d been having such a great day! I immediately made myself retrace my time on the web: where had I been and what horrible thing had happened to leave me feeling so deflated? You’re not going to believe the answer. I realized that only moments before, I’d checked back on some of my own pins on Pinterest and realized no one had repinned a post I’d shared from my blog a few days before.
This made me feel like a complete and utter failure in the midst of glorious success.
I know I’m not alone on this. That’s the power we give to social media: we’ve come to look at it as a source of approval and validation. On some level, the fact that no one had pinned my blog post was instantaneous disapproval of my work.
We’ve all read articles about how sites, such as Facebook, that are meant to connect us are actually causing us a disconnect, and I believe that’s true on many levels. I also think social media causes shame and disappointment when we don’t get the validation we’re looking for, and that we’re becoming more and more addicted to its feedback in the form of digital notifications (that little red number every time you open Facebook! Who can resist it?).
Take the Challenge
The following is an excerpt from Your Best Year 2015: Productivity Workbook and Creative Business Planner.
I challenge you to cleanse from your biggest time-waster for a full 21 days and create a new habit of living without it (or at least much less of it). If it’s Facebook and you’re worried about business, use a tool such as Hootsuite. At the start of your cleanse, schedule all of your posts in advance and then quit it for a full 3-week period. Why? Because …
You need time to be gentle with yourself.
A cleanse will help you claim that time. Earlier this year, I started a 3-day food “master cleanse” (based on a lemon drink) in which I abstained from food to allow my system time to settle and heal. During the cleanse, my mood shifted dramatically … for the better! A calm and gentle aura washed over my being, and my family was especially drawn to me. My children came home from school, gathered round and just sat near me. I’ve never gotten so many impromptu hugs and kisses! They found me very snuggly and irresistible, and I loved it.
When I started the master cleanse, I took inventory of my day. There was still work to be done and a family to care for. I did the most important things first, but as the day wore on and my energy dropped, I’d ease up. I’d sip my master cleanse concoction and play my favorite iPad game or nap. I napped a lot!
My goal for all three days was simply to complete the master cleanse. I considered anything beyond that (work, tasks and chores) an amazing accomplishment, and I was still getting a lot done. I was gentle with my own expectations. I nurtured myself, and isn’t it neat that my self-care made my children feel such a loving connection with me? I think so. My inner-gentleness seemed to cast a spell on everyone.
A cleanse is performed to help you make room for better habits. Try it and see!
Here are some lower nature activities I’ve cleansed from in the past:
What I’ve Done
- Reduce social media usage. In November I set out to abstain from social media (specifically Facebook and Twitter), however I failed at the cleanse and used both platforms regularly. The main reason for my failure was the timing. I’d just returned from a hometown visit, and I was in ongoing discussions with friends and family on Facebook about that. I’m also my neighborhood’s party planner, and I needed to have lots of conversations with my neighbors about our holiday events. Because I so blatantly failed with Facebook, I just gave up on the cleanse and used Twitter as well. Timing is important! Lesson learned.
- Abstain from alcohol. I love a glass of wine with a beer chaser! However this cleanse is one of my absolute favorites, and one I love to embark on. After a while, I begin to use alcohol to signal “quitting” time and it subconsciously gives me permission to shut my working mind down for the day. A 21-day cleanse makes me retrain that thought process and find a more healthy way to wind down. Plus, nothing beats waking up hydrated and refreshed after 20 good night sleeps in a row! I successfully completed this cleanse in November.
- The “Master Cleanse.” As mentioned above in the article.
What I’m Trying Next
- Abstain from social media. I’m serious about this challenge, so I’ll be coming back to it soon. However, this time I’ll give the timing of the cleanse more consideration so that I can set myself up for success.
- Abstain from alcohol (January). The wine will be flowing and the beer will be tapped throughout the holidays, but I’m equally as excited about a dry first month of the year!
- Another “Master Cleanse” (January). Three days + no food = a calmer, gentler me.
- Reduce email usage. I don’t even want to know how many times I check my email a day. I don’t even want to know! Again timing is everything here, but when I take this cleanse, I’m going to limit my email checking to three times per day. I’m sure it’s going to result in a much more fulfilling and productive workday.
How do you steer yourself away from bad habits?
I’d love to know! Until next time and all the best,