Detox

If you're at the point where your small indulgences have led to big, bad habits, you may be in need of a complete reset. 

I spend a lot of time on a computer for my work. I run a digital marketing agency, which requires a lot of time at a computer, and in the time of coronavirus, many things that used to be in person are now via computer. I’m always looking to optimize my workflow on my computer, looking for the next app or shortcut that will streamline my tasks. 

But, sometimes, things will get a little glitchy on my laptop. I’ll notice an app that starts to lag or crash, or act up altogether. It’s a signal for me that it’s time to reset my computer, which I hate to do because I’ve set up my desktop windows “just so.” Yet, once it’s done, things start to go better and the time I was wasting fighting an app that just needed to start over far outweighs the time spent setting up my desktop windows again. 

I can’t think of many seasons in my life that have felt as stressful as the second quarter of 2020, and I say that with full knowledge that I’m among the luckiest when it comes to the bad hand this year has dealt. The pervasive, intense cultural stress we’re all feeling seems to only intensify each week. Even though nothing in my personal life is inherently bad, I feel like a sponge for stress this year, and I haven’t been processing through it healthily. As I talk with my friends and family, I know I’m far from alone in that.

I’m at a point where I feel desperate for a restart in my mind, body and spirit. At first, the signs that it was time to reset were small: little bouts of anxiety, bad sleep, secret stashes of chocolate. But, as stress increased, my indulgences have too. Rather than meeting my stress head on with healthy habits, I gave into quick fixes and avoidance. Truthfully, it often felt like doing the healthy thing would take too long, and time and energy have been at a premium.

A year ago, I was living my healthiest life as it relates to nutrition and exercise. Yet, amidst the stress I have leaned into my vices: comfort food, sugar and alcohol to comfort my anxious body. My choices weren’t unconscious. I felt out of control this year, and I could control what I was eating. I felt like so much had been taken from us, but I could delight in indulgence. Small choices lead to bad habits, and my bad habits only made me feel worse in the end.

So, today, I am resetting. I’m beginning a three week detox aimed at restoring healthy habits and giving my body, mind and spirit a chance to process through the backlog of toxins and stressors. I’m giving myself space to renew and I’m making the hard choices to not give into my every craving and whim. I’m acknowledging that the way my physical body feels is directly impacting my mind and spirit, and the choices I make to nourish my body will also pour over into every other aspect of my life.

This is my third detox. The first time I went through a detox, I was incredibly anxious about it, concerned about how I would navigate all the social situations and find the foods that I was trying to be intentional about eating. This time around, I feel confident. I’ve been successful with this in the past, and I know exactly what to do. 

To succeed, I need to choose this way of life each day. For three full weeks, I cannot make allowances, I must adhere strictly to the protocol of my detox, because I know that if I give myself an inch, I’ll take a mile. I need to hold myself accountable, and I’ll use a habit tracker to reward myself with a successful daily check-in. My husband is my partner in this, detoxing along with me, and that is critical because I know we won’t let each other down. Each day, I’ll journal about my food choices, my mood, and make a gratitude list, shifting my focus from what’s difficult in this season to what’s wonderful. 

Then, when three weeks are up, I’ll have a plan for how I’ll maintain my healthy lifestyle in this next season, regardless of the stress. I dipped my toes back into an old lifestyle that didn’t suit me, and it didn’t bring me what I was looking for, and I don’t want to do that again. I could fail, but I don’t think I will. And, even if I were to fail, I know how to get back on track, so I’ll start over again.

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Colleen Cook works full-time as the Director of Operations at Vinyl Marketing in Ashland, where she resides with her husband Mike and three young daughters. She's an insatiable extrovert who enjoys finding reasons to gather people.