Wellness was hardly a word a few decades back; most thought it was just plain bad English. Now it appears everywhere, everyday and has gripped the western world with its gently massaging hands. Ironically, since the mid-century birth of the concept of wellness, we’re becoming increasingly in need of it. Detox is mainstream now, and for good reason. So as we drift into the new year, what can we resolve to clean out for the betterment of our health?
We’re supposed to feel safe at home, yet it’s now believed that indoor air is typically twice as polluted as outdoor air, and ironically this is due to our incessant commitment to a ‘better’ home; one that’s regularly repainted, kept very clean and always smells nice… you get where we’re going with this. Thankfully, we’re now approaching the era of a pared back cleaning cupboard (Millennials apparently don’t ‘get’ the need for fabric softener). We can detox our home by sourcing biodegradable products free of fragrance, carcinogens and hormone disruptors. We can also try to avoid the VOCs from many air fresheners, paints and building supplies, chlorine bleach and cheap candles.
The ultimate in diet trends set to sweep the country is intermittent fasting. Already practised by many on paleo or keto regimes, ‘(no-break)fast’ – or pushing through 12-plus hours of no food intermittently (most easily done by skipping breakfast) – is said to have benefits that go beyond weight loss. The idea is to mirror early man’s eating schedule (or lack thereof); they often didn’t eat until late in the day when they’d finally caught up with the wooly mammoth or foraged for berries and plants. Scientists say the period of running on stored energy can be mentally therapeutic as well as physically. It can improve brain metabolic processes, resulting in enhanced brain function and general clarity. It’s been linked to better blood sugar balance and cellular repair, and can also reduce the risk of inflammation.
It’s a concept ironically writ all over the internet, of course. Intrepid Travel offers digital detox tours and, failing those, it’s predicted we are entering the era of the Digital Detox Day – weekly or fortnightly days away from the screen to swap mind-full for mindful. There are (digital) guides everywhere to the DIY digital detox cleanse. It’s not surprising; studies on the side effects of post-digital living have found social media promotes narcissism, smartphones cause insomnia, and screens are making our kids less empathetic.
We bandy the word ‘addiction’ around like it was going out of fashion, but it certainly isn’t doing that. The Cabin rehab centres treat more than just substance addiction; they talk about ‘process’ addictions; gambling, compulsive overeating, compulsive sexuality, and view it all as part of the same disorder in terms of treatment. The good news is, seeking help via psychotherapy and/or cognitive-behavioral therapy is less taboo now than it used to be, as we head the way of those shrink-seeing New Yorkers.
Celebs made it a thing a few years ago with their “relationship cleanses” and now the friend detox is another promoted way to rid your life of toxins. Usually associated with those who are already battling other toxins such as alcohol or drugs and need to clean up their social network, the idea is to let go of friends who lead you astray or bring you down. There are varying degrees – from unfollowing their invasively prolific Insta feed to telling a friend it’s over. Your emotional health will thank you.