With spring in full swing, it’s all about cleaning out the old and starting fresh. But scrubbing the house and organizing objects is just the tip of the iceberg. The true “spring cleaning” goes beyond the surface and rid your house, body, and mind of junk.
Detox your stuff
As I started doing my own research and striving towards a more nontoxic and healthy lifestyle, I came to the realization that a ton of the stuff I owned, wore, used, and lived with were packed with chemicals.
- Switch to all natural (and organic, if possible) clothing. What you put against your skin everyday matters. Synthetic fibers like polyester, rayon, nylon, acrylic, acetate, triacetate, and fibers that are wrinkle free and stain or flame resistant. These synthetic fibers are made of highly processed petroleum based plastics and can lead to chemical build up, rashes, irritation, allergic reactions, hormone disruption, and more. Researchers found that cancer cells grow more rapidly in test tubes made of polyester. Plus, these fabrics do no breath, hindering the body’s natural detox abilities. Stick to all natural fibers like cotton (organic, please!), hemp, and linen. *Bamboo is naturally based, but highly processed and chemical laden, so I don’t recommend it. Fair trade is an even bigger plus!
- Rid your bathroom of chemical and fragrance packed products. Take a look at the ingredients of your shampoo, conditioner, lotion, makeup, deodorant, hair products, perfumes, toothpaste, mouthwash, soaps, etc. It’s not just what’s on the bottles, the terms “fragrance” or “perfume” can mean hundreds of chemicals that don’t have to be listed. That’s thousands of chemicals being applied to your body every day. Check out your local health food stores for a good place to start. And check out http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ to see where your products stand and which products have less junk.
- Clean green. What you use to clean your house can get into your body through inhalation and skin contact. Use things like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice to clean without the chemical junk. Check out my post about greener cleaning here: The Green Spring Cleaning Guide
- Detox the kitchen. What you cook in and eat off of matters. Nonstick coatings like teflon, plastics, and melamine are just a few ways your kitchen items are giving you doses of harmful chemicals. Also, many dishes, crockpots, stoneware, and ceramics have traces of heavy metals like lead and cadmium. U.S. and European made kitchen items are great places to start. Also, materials like glass, stainless steel, and cast iron are less likely to contain harmful things. Here’s some more info on safe cookware and food storage: Safe Cookware and Better Food Storage.
- Beware of antiques. As someone with a history degree, I love antiques and old things. I love the history and memories that they hold and I appreciate the craftsmanship of years ago. But, especially if there are children around, we need to be really careful about what antiques and furniture we choose to keep and use. Because these were made before laws controlling lead were in place, many antiques and old houses are packed full of lead. Lead is very seriously toxic, especially to children and pregnant women. To keep everyone safe, if you choose to keep these objects, make sure that old paint, varnishes, and stains are properly encapsulated or removed (for furniture, walls, and structures). Other smaller objects should really just be used as decor and out the reach of small children.
Detox your body
Winter was the season for indulgence. I know I had my fair share of sugar, processed foods, preservatives, dyes, and chemicals. I believe that a bit of indulgence is good for the soul, but it’s also good to spend some time letting your body catch up on cleaning out the junk that’s accumulated.
- Eat lots of organic fruits and vegetables. If nothing else is done, this is the best thing you can do for your body. Increasing fruits and veggies gives the body health boosting nutrients and leaves less room for the yucky foods.
- Juice! Juicing fruits and vegetables is another great way to give the body a quick boost of vitamins and minerals. It helps to flush out the system and is easy for the body to digest and process.
- Cut down on meat, dairy, and eggs. I know not everyone wants to go vegan or even vegetarian, but cutting out animal products even just a little helps to reduce your exposure to harmful substances. Plus, plant based foods are easier to digest which gives your body more time to detox itself.
- No more processed food. Aside from eating more veggies, the absolute biggest thing you can do for your health is cutting out processed foods. That means no prepacked meals, crackers, cookies, bleached flour, refined sugar, corn syrup, fried foods, candy, artificial dyes, artificial sweeteners, or anything with a crazy long shelf life and strange ingredients. Our bodies cannot use these artificial and altered ingredients and all they do is make us fat, tired, and toxic.
- Drink more water. Yes, yes, I know. You’ve heard this a zillion times. But I need to remind myself constantly to drink water, so I think it’s good to hear. Drinking water will keep you feeling good and help your body to flush out toxins.
Detox your mind
Mental health can translate to physical health, so it’s important to work towards a stress free and happy mind. There are plenty of things that are out of our control that affect mental health, but there are changes that can be made towards happiness.
- Meditate. Meditation, or even just taking some time out of each day to breathe and relax, is incredibly beneficial. It can help you to unwind, destress, and develop a more peaceful and positive outlook on life.
- Sleep. Although the physical benefits to more sleep are super important, it’s definitely a great way to keep your brain sharp and focused as well as boost your mood.
- Exercise. Exercise not only tones your muscles and strengthens your heart, it releases hormones that make you feel happy.
- Get outside. Simply being outside and looking at nature makes you happy by sending sensory signals to your brain.
- Organize. If you are stressed out with a packed schedule and too many things to keep track of, organize. I used to roll my eyes at the words “time management”, but seriously, taking the time to plan everything out prevents a ton of stress. Also, by keeping our surroundings clean and organizing, it can help to relieve stress because things are visually orderly and under control.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Get rid of toxic people in your life. Friends that bring you down everytime you see them or that you know are terrible influences should not be taking up your time. It may sound mean, but limiting or cutting time with toxic people frees up your time for positive people and happy events.
- Think positive. The power of the mind is so much greater than we know. It has the power to create the placebo effect and changes the way you feel and view yourself. If you think things like, “I am beautiful” or “I am smart” or “I can do anything”, not only will you feel happier, but these positive thoughts will help you work towards goals.