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Four Ways to Detox After the Holidays

Photo by Ashleigh Amoroso Photography

Well we made it! Whew. That was a close one! But in fact, we are on the other side of holiday season (except Mardi Gras, of course) and we are also on the other side of the-year-we-do-not-speak-of. Let’s pause and give ourselves a pat on the back!! Yay Us!

The end of the year often feels like a mad dash between holiday parties and buying presents and road trips to Grandma’s house and making sure it’s the hap-hap-happiest season of all. Lot’s of people set aside January to focus on healthy physical changes, which I am ALL ABOUT! And on another day I will write a blog about the connection between physical health and mental health! But today I want to look at things we can do to detox from the “stuff” that effected our emotional well-being through the holiday season.

Detox from hurry. If 2017 is truly going to be any different than 2016, now is the time to create some intentional space and consider what you’d like to see change over the course of the next year. Let’s let January be a time where we say “no” to some stuff so that we can day dream a bit, make a few goal lists, and really consider how we’d like to see growth unfold in ourselves over the next 365. My husband and I have an ongoing discussion to this end and two things that have surfaced strongly for us both is that we intentionally disconnect from our phones when we are together and that we spend a full day on the weekend not working but focusing on quality time and special activities as a family. When I look back on the movie of my life, I don’t want to see myself running around town all the time in my car to unnecessary stuff or staring at the rectangle in my hand like it is giving me life.

Detox from the myth that “more is more.” If you’re like most people, you spent extra money on purchases throughout the holiday season and you received some new possessions. I hope that you spent and received things mindfully and it wasn’t done out of compulsion or obligation. But whatever the case, the focus almost always is on “more.” Unless we’re talking about coffee or dark chocolate, I’m actually a believer that LESS is more. To that end, I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism that was another step on the journey for me towards simplifying my life. I actually wrote a blog about this topic this time last year, but little did I know how good August would be at clearing out my material possessions. (Thanks for that hard-fought lesson, Amite River.) After a season of “more” I just think it’s a great palate cleanser to pair down, clean out, and make more space for what really matters in life.

Detox from unhealthy people. Did your family treat you like your 16 year old self this Christmas? Did you find yourself acting like a person you barely recognized when you got around your siblings or in-laws? Did Aunt Linda shame you for not being married yet or the extra weight or your unruly kids? Was it all you could do to not tell Aunt Linda where she can shove it?! Whether it’s people wanting to put their expectations on your life, or political discussion that made you forget to chew your spiral cut ham, we have all had the experience where being around certain people just brought out the worst in us. To some people, the best thing about the holidays is that it only comes once a year!

Use January to remember who you really are. How you’ve changed. What you’ve overcome. Why you’ve left some people behind and embraced others. Don’t let being around old “triggers” cause you to slip into old patterns of behavior or thinking. If you need some extra help in this area, I can’t recommend this book enough. And of course, lots of people reach out for counseling at this time of year to discuss family issues that have come to light or brought back into sight. If you want to make an appointment to get help with this type of thing or something else, contact me here.

Detox from unhealthy food. Now I said at the beginning of this post that I’d save this topic for another day. But because I just can’t help myself, here is a plan that I really believe in. While I’m a mental health professional and not at all a dietician, this is what my husband and I like to do a few times a year (with vary degrees of “success”…sometimes it send up being a “Whole 14,” in all honesty). What I believe is that the simple acts of eating mindfully, having to think ahead, get creative and, yes, deny yourself things that aren’t helpful for your health, are exponentially good for your health in surprising ways. Discipline begets discipline. And when you add more discipline to your life, the ripple effects are many and varied.

So there you have it. What is January good for if not a fresh start? Take a minute. Press pause. Don’t let this month pass by without considering and planning towards how you want your life to look this time next year.

 

Springing Into The New Season

Hooray! Yesterday was the first day of spring! I know that title is cheesy but spring has sprung and I can’t help myself!! Here at Spring Life Counseling, LLC we love springtime. After all…it’s on our name!

Spring is so naturally encouraging and energizing. For me, this season has a way of bringing back to mind positive memories of good times. It feels like wide open spaces and fresh breezes. Everything is transitioning from being cooped up and tucked away to being out in the open and coming back to life.

So many lessons live in the regularity of the seasons. Grace. Forgiveness. Moving on. Starting afresh. Without fail, spring always follows winter. Before you know it, you forget what it was like in the cold. What held you inside in the wintertime is no longer a factor. You can enjoy fresh air, fresh locations, fresh routines and fresh color. The restraints of winter have been cast off and the possibilities for springtime feel limitless!

With the spirit of spring in mind, take the time today to do a little personal inventory. I’d recommend you write out your responses to these questions (and whatever else comes up in the vein) so that you can keep good track of your process and have more clarity about where you’re heading. I find journaling to be really helpful to this end.

  • Was there anything you felt committed to during winter that you’ve slacked up on lately? (I.e., New Years Resolutions)
  • Is there anything you need to let go of that you brought with you from he winter?
    • People experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder get to naturally transition out of the dark at this time!
    • Do you have any relational bad habits that you picked up when everyone was stuck together all winter?
  • What changes would you like to see relationally in this next season of life?
    • Is there someone you’d like to get to know more deeply?
    • Is there anyone you need to take a step back from?
  • What new routines would you like to put into place? This holistically: physically, mentally, socially, financially, spiritually, etc.
  • What do you want to be able to do during the summer that you can’t do today?

My sincere hope for you is that this season blows you away with all the amazing things in store for you and yours!

Spring is also a great time to engage in the counseling process in order to weed out negative things in your life. If you’d like more information about the counseling process, click here.

Clearing Out Emotional Clutter

imageOn January 1, 2016 I woke up and looked around my house and thought to myself, “I need to throw some junk away.” Thus began the 2 day period that I’m calling “The Great Purge of 2016.”

I’m what some might describe as “comfortable” with clutter. I don’t like things to be dirty but I’m ok with a pile of papers. As you might imagine, this can lead to some pretty creative organizational methods. Where is my light bill right now? In the stack of papers furthest to the left on my kitchen island. I know exactly where it is and when it’s due, but someone else would have trouble finding it. Sound familiar?

It’s obvious to see…there are many problems with this particular organizational method. For starters, I can get accustomed to the piles and not realize how much harder I’m making things on myself by living this way. One of my goals for 2016 is to increase simplicity and productivity, so streamlining my house and organizational processes falls under that resolution. As I walk around my house post-purge, random items that need to find new places to live are sticking out like sore thumbs. I think to myself as I scan a room, “just because I’m used to seeing this here doesn’t mean it belongs here.” Then I gather up those items and either toss, donate or put them where they need to be.

It occurred to me that the same can be said for things that clutter up our inner lives. Just because we’re used to something doesn’t mean it needs to be there. Isn’t it interesting to think how you may have grown accustomed to something (or someone) and assumed you’re stuck with it…but what you really need is a plan to purge it from your life?

You may be used to negative self-talk, anxiety, irritability, un-forgiveness or an unhealthy relationship, but that doesn’t mean it really belongs in your life. Maybe it’s something more physical and chronic like headaches, worsening eye sight, and stomach problems? Regularly, I hear from clients who are experiencing symptoms like these. They assume there is a medical cause (not a bad guess!) only to be told by their physician that there is nothing wrong with them. Only then do these individuals start to wonder if perhaps the cause of their symptoms is more rooted in their inner, emotional life.

What about you? Does any of this sound familiar? This is a great time of year to assess if there’s anything in your life that you’ve grown accustomed to that is keeping you from living your best life. A vibrant life full of freedom and peace is available to those who are willing to put in the work to purge the unnecessary and pursue better things. Why keep clutter that you’re comfortable with when a better way of doing life is available?  Start the journey today!

Staying On Track in 2016


 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been preparing to hit the ground running in 2016. Like most people, I’ve been reflecting, making goals, considering how I can pursue simplicity, efficiency and productivity. And honestly, I’m pretty excited about what’s ahead in 2016!

Goal setting is the hot thing to do this time of year and you can find advice on this topic everywhere you turn. I do see a lot of value in reflecting on where you’re at and setting new goals. I believe in the old adage, “if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?”

All of this thinking about goals and productivity makes me feel awesome about myself! And I hope and plan to keep on target. But let’s be honest…I tend to be somewhat “spurt-y” in pretty much all of my pursuits. So guess how upset I’ll be if in a few weeks or months if I notice that I’ve let up on my goals? Zero Percent! And I’ll tell you why…

My theory is: life is a marathon, not a sprint! The important part is to keep heading towards the finish line…pacing is not the tell-tale sign of success. Some people run the whole way through the marathon. Those people are called “superheroes.” 🙂 But if you’re like me, sometimes I run and other times I get caught up in other things and realize I’m only walking towards the finish line. At those moments when I realize I’ve let my pace slip, I just figure out where I am in relation to my goal, why I’ve slowed down (there may be a good reason that rest is necessary) and then I get back to it! No guilt. Just start back running again. Any moment is a good time to kick it back in gear!

So remember with me as 2016 gets rolling: As long as you keep on the race route, you’re doing great!

Don’t let the guilt of missed goals or regrets keep you from enjoying the race. Set up a counseling appointment to talk if you need help shaking the negativity off in 2016! The best is yet to come.