It feels like it's been years now that cleanses have been the fitness fad of choice, but what about other types of cleanses that aren't about dieting? You know how it goes: Replacing meals with pressed green juices almost seems like a good idea, until you are about two hours in and realize that you like food WAY too much to be playing games like this. One Chipotle trip later and we're all convinced that cleanses are crazy — well, that was me at least. Plus, Odd Lifestyle Maven Gwyneth Paltrow even admitted to hallucinating after a 10-day cleanse. That sounds a little unhealthy if you ask, well, anyone.
Strictly banning something from your diet (whether it be gluten, dairy, or food entirely) is supposed to have both physical and mental effects. People claim bouts of euphoria and glowing skin. While the concept of cleansing can certainly be taken to extremes, I must admit that the idea of temporarily removing something from your life once you have over-indulged in it seems refreshing. So why can't you use cleanses in all aspects of your life to find some equilibrium? Here are a few unconventional cleanses that don't require a juicer — just a change in thinking.
1. Tech Detox
Chances are, you are obsessed with the Internet. It's OK, so is everyone else born in the '90s. But think about your day-to-day: You have to carve out serious time from your life just to maintain your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and LinkedIn accounts, while simultaneously receiving texts from your best friend, all of your family members, and your significant other (read: googling Seamless discounts). A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions reported that female college students spend, on average, 10 hours of their day on cell phones, and male students rack up an average of 8. We certainly are a generation infatuated with excess.
Saying it is a lot easier than actually doing it, but just unplug. Whether it's for a half hour before bed just to clear your mind and help you sleep, or a weekend away with friends so you can better enjoy their company, make the effort to ditch your iPhone and laptop for a scheduled amount of time. You'll be reminded of what it feels like to not impulsively Instagram every meal and actually enjoy meaningful conversations.
2. Gym Break
If you are a gym fiend (especially one who is new to the fitness game) you just might be overdoing it. Going to the gym seven days a week or putting in several hour long workouts might sound like it's good for your health, but too much exercise can actually be really bad for you. According to Women's Health, working out too hard can make you more susceptible to sickness, cause headaches, strain muscles, and even cause trouble sleeping.
You should be giving yourself at least one or two days a week off from the gym, so your muscles can repair themselves and grow while you rest. Taking breaks is a huge part of workout progress, so if you've been going hard for months, give yourself a week off. Drink lots of water, stretch a little bit, and just lay around with a good book. Do not even think about the gym. I'm serious.
3. Dating Detox
Giving yourself time to prioritize your own needs is never a selfish thing, it is simply self care. If you've gone on one too many Tinder dates ending in disaster or are just generally losing faith in romance (as we all have at one stage or another) sometimes, you just need to date yourself. Delete your dating apps for a while, put your phone on silent during the weekend to avoid any late-night texts, and enjoy your own company. Treat yourself to the date you've been looking for (but no one has delivered), because sneaking strawberries and a flask of prosecco on your own is potentially the best way to spend your time. According to PsychCentral, practicing self-love is crucial to being healthy and, "helps to realize that you are as important as anyone else, and what you think and feel is valid." That seems pretty essential to me.
Don't give up faith entirely and know that this is just temporary. You are choosing to focus on yourself, your goals, and your own interests, so that when you do meet someone worth your time, you will feel more self-fulfilled than ever.
4. Product Purge
Spring cleaning is hardly limited to one season. I don't know about you, but anytime I feel like my life is getting too overwhelming and out of control, tidying up my living space really helps me feel more focused. There is something very calming about knowing where everything is and feeling like everything in your life has a place. The National Sleep Foundation conducted a survey and found that 62 percent of participants slept better in a clean room rather than a messy one.
First thing's first: Tackle your desk. It's where you probably do the majority of your work when you're home, and where you're most likely to dump clutter. Get rid of papers and useless odds and ends and you'll feel better instantaneously. Move on to your closet, drawers, under the bed. Before you know it your room will be in its sharpest state yet, and so will your mind.
5. City Escape
If you are city-dweller, you're probably so used to cars honking and babies screaming that nothing phases you anymore. That is not a good thing. It's summer, and that means now is the most opportune time to do an environment cleanse. Get the hell out of town! And if you think living in an urban environment isn't affecting you, you might be wrong. According to a study published in science journal Nature, "urban living was found to raise the risk of anxiety disorders and mood disorders by 21 percent and 39 percent."
Even if you aren't necessarily depressed or anxious, try visiting your parents in the suburbs or renting a house in the country with a few friends and rekindle your love for going on walks not through garbage-filled streets, but through forests — with real trees. You'll remember how different air feels in less polluted parts of the world, and will return to your city life with a clear head. At least for a little while.