Spring is a perfect time of year to give your mind and body a refresh. Here is my personal spring project and what I have learned from it.
Lately, I haven’t been cutting myself any slack, tell me if you feel the same. There are so many inspirational posts online, urging you to “do the things”, motivating you with powerful messages about starting projects and becoming consistent to be successful. Oppositely, there are everyday posts suggesting living in the moment, urging you to stop, slow down, and be kind to yourself. It can get downright confusing! You can spend all day playing ping pong with your life decisions based on these posts, and ultimately it can cause stress paralysation (a term I use all the time from this movie) on what is best for you to do.
These past couple of years living in high-level angst has played a number on my self-confidence, my self-care and even my self-worth. So as a mental health comfort blanket to myself, I decided to write about something I do every year (even during this time) and share it with you. When I looked at this annual activity, I realizes it might be something you do unconsciously as well, so this post is out so we can all pat ourselves on the back. Here we go!
Detox, cleanse, whatever you call it
For over 30 years now, I have been doing something each and every winter-end as a body-mind-spirit refresher. Shockingly, I have not looked at it as such until now, which is ridiculous, so here I am, currently reminding myself of it. I bet that you are doing something in this genre too, but maybe you haven’t named it yet.
Since I was younger, I have practiced the fasting of Lent before Easter. My family and I never fasted in the traditional sense, and truthfully that tradition has long stopped (to read more about the traditions of Lent, click here). But as a family, we did remove certain treats or extra foods we didn’t need during Lent. I remember one year, when sodas were still a typical drink at the table, my father made an announcement that he and mom decided we would remove soda during Lent. And guess what? It was such a shift in our drinking habit that we removed soda entirely (except for special occasions).
Metaphorically, that is what Lent is about – removing something that is not doing any good for your wellbeing (food or otherwise) and seeing how your life is after 40 days. Ideally, the new habit we create sticks for the better.
What should children give up?
Of course, one of the suggestions for children has always been to remove chocolate, since typically children are gifted chocolate for Easter. But if your child loves a certain fruit drink or soda, or always gravitates to chips or candy, these could be better options. For whatever reason, the chocolate thing stuck for me, and ever since then, I have given up chocolate during Lent. And for a chocolate lover like myself, it has been difficult at times! I also try to give up most sweets, sugar in my coffee and any added treats. The funny thing is that after not having chocolate for 40 days straight, when Easter comes, I just take a little bit of chocolate and that is enough. Remember the soda story? My tastebuds change, and I go into the spring season with less desire to have chocolate all the time.
Giving up more than chocolate
This year, on top of chocolate, and most sugars, I decided to give up booze too. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a big thing, but I am going to be honest with you here. Over the course of this pandemic, I leaned into a glass of wine a little more than normal. At the start of the pandemic, it was just a thing, “let’s have a glass of wine with dinner…again, because why not?” We had nowhere to go, and nothing to do for a long while, so it was fine. But that habit quickly effected my sleep, my mood and my general state of feeling controlled by that desire. So this Lent, I took it off the table too.
As we get closer to Easter, my mind has shifted, as it does every year, and I see things a little clearer. I wanted to share the changes that occur for me during this time. Maybe you have never practiced a fast of sorts, or maybe you just never looked at it this way. Here are some shifts that happen for me during this 40-day journey. Consider it my own personal experiment where I have compiled over 20 years of data to share with you.
- To begin, I feel confident and excited for this shift. After years of making it work and sticking with it, I know it is possible.
- Before I get more energy, I am tired, down and can even have headaches. It really is a detox of sorts. I keep going.
- My mind makes a conscious decision to change my habits. I never remove all sweets out of the home, so I am reminded daily of this conscious decision.
- My boys have begun the idea of fasting during Lent, but they don’t stop eating chocolate completely, so the temptation is around me. I manage to remain calm and without.
- There are some days that I crave a sweet more. I make sure to have nuts, fruit, and other items to calm this craving. When things are emotionally difficult and I want the item that makes me “feel” better – be it chocolate or wine, having the will power to not get it, also reminds me that I am capable of not having it, even when I want it.
- There are always times in the 40 days that merit a celebration for someone, or a delicious treat is offered to me. On those occasions, I have learned to say, “no thank you”.
- Towards to end of the 40 days, my tastes have changed. Even sweet things like jam, or juice tend to taste too sweet for me.
- When it is time to celebrate for Easter, I take a sweet treat to break the fast, but a little is enough. I feel satisfied physically and spiritually.
Is a spring detox right for you?
So tell me, have you ever done a cleanse or detox when it comes to food? What about the shift in behaviour when the weather begins to change? Do you spring clean your home? Do you begin to take long walks outside again? All of these shifts are ways of clearing our physical and mental state for a rebirth.
We unknowingly change our habits with the seasons. And we all live in our own seasons as well. What ever season you are in, I hope you take the time to reflect as I have and name your shifts. I know we are all dealing with different things, but what unites us is our ability to change and grow in big and small ways.
Happy Easter to those of you celebrating!
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out some of my other posts on taking care of yourself and your family: