Time Out: Give Yourself the Gift of an Integrated Spring Cleanse
Spring is a time for checking in. Purification rituals help bring our bodies back into balance, release unnecessary accumulations, and become more equanimous. Cleanses usually involve taking stress off the nervous system: emptying out the body, clarifying the mind, releasing what’s no longer needed.
Spring and Fall cleanses are traditional in many cultures. Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, tells us that “Fall cleansing supports us in releasing excess heat from the body and prepares our immune system, while Spring cleansing helps to release excess that has accumulated from the heaviness of winter.”
Can you give yourself a 3- or 5-day (or even longer) Spring Cleanse? Here’s what it might involve:
Beginning the Cleanse
Get clear on your why. Set an intention. Make space in your calendar. Tell anybody who needs to know. Gather your foods and other supplies.
Environmental Detox: Get into Nature as Much as Possible
Get into the forest or out to a waterfront to give the body a break from air pollution. Inside, create clean and beautiful spaces. Surround yourself only with supportive people and positive energies.
Diet Simplification: Light and Non-Taxing
You want simple foods. A plant-based, vegetarian diet without dairy, caffeine, chocolate, corn, eggs, fermented foods, gluten, meats, nuts, oils (except for ghee), processed foods, peanuts, seafood, soy, sweeteners, table salt, or alcohol.
Go a step further with a juice fest or water-and-tea fast. This can even be a few days right in the middle of the broader cleanse. As always, drink a lot of water. Avoid spices like peppers and other things that would challenge your system. If you want to learn more about Ayruvedic seasonal cooking we recommend Ayurvedic Cooking for Beginners by Laura Plumb.
Movement: Integrated, Non-Jarring Movement:
Move twice a day, at the pace of your enjoyment—where you can feel your body in flow. Think dance, yoga, mindful walking, hiking.
Sweat it Out
Heat purification rituals often include time in sweat lodges. You can improvise a sweat lodge using a hot, sauna dry sauna bathing ritual. Try LYMPH BRUSHING with our Perfect Skin Brush.
You might also do a cleanse from what you take in visually, and through your ears. Turn off your screens. Take a break from the news cycle. Play only gentle music, or things that bring the nervous system into balance—like 60 bpm tracks, or calming nature sounds. Or, you might just enjoy silence. As you sit in silence, allow your thoughts, tensions, and preoccupations to “off-gas” from your mind and body, evaporating into this ether. [link to how to relax blog post]
Try writing down some of the things that arise within you during your time out—things you would like to release as you invite yourself deeper and deeper into your own heart and center. Freewriting, invented in 1972 by Peter Elbow, is a great method for letting go of such thoughts as they arise. To freewrite effectively, try to silence the inner critic, and write whatever may come into your mind. Keep your hands moving on the paper for 15 minutes. Ignore grammar or spelling. Write in sentence and paragraph form- not just bullets. If you can’t think of anything, write nonsense sentences or describe what you see in the room around you or feel in your body.
The Heart of Purification: Rituals for Releasing
Often at the heart of a detox there is a grief ritual, forgiveness ritual, or reconciliation ritual. These differ in some important ways. A grief ritual is centered around something that has seized your heart; you’re acknowledging the pain of it, and moving on to being current and living your life anyway. In a forgiveness ritual, you’re harboring withholds and resentment toward someone; you need to clear that out in order to be free of those toxins within yourself. A reconciliation ritual is when you have done your forgiveness work—your own internal work—and are ready to make amends and/or reconnect with someone and come back into harmony together.
Closing the Cleanse
Revisit your Intentions. Where were you successful? Journal and/or state out loud your outcomes and impacts, insights. Express gratitude for what you’ve achieved, and even for where you’ve fallen short. I personally like this blessing: “I am thankful for what I see—and for what I don’t see.” You can also affirm your trust in yourself, your community, the world, the outcome, or the process itself.
Finally, return to your “default” life, embodying the positive results of your cleanse by keeping your heart and mind as open and uncluttered as possible.