Going on a cleanse appears to be very current. And hey, it does the body good. (Or, so I hear; I could never go more than three days without meat.)
But, let’s not forget about the cleanses we should all be on — the ones that are good for the soul.
1. The “Follow” Cleanse
What it is: Unfollow every person you’re “friends” with because you want to cyber-stalk them out of jealousy, selfish amusement, to see if they’re dating someone new, etc.
Yes, ladies, this includes ex-boyfriends and frenemies, casual acquaintances and that person from your hometown you follow just to know you aren’t the saddest person in existence.
Why should you do it? I’ll start with the shallow reason first: It clogs your feed. How many damn Starbucks lattes with misspelled names do you have to scroll through just to find a picture of your ex-BFF calling a beach her “office for the day?” The answer is too many.
On a more thoughtful note, you should because making the conscious decision to follow someone out of spite or jealousy, or because you might need something from him or her one day, is equivalent to paying good money to a movie you know is going to suck. What’s the point?
That just makes you self-righteous critic (read: assh*le). Its level of foul intent is on par with the student in “Mean Girls” who says, “I don’t hate you because you’re fat. You’re fat because I hate you.”
Do you want to be that girl? No. Everyone wants to be Damien or the principal who “did not leave the south side for this!”
What are the benefits? I recently went on this cleanse after experiencing a feeling I had become too familiar with: loathing.
Social media is this remarkable, paradoxical vortex of self-absorption and self-loathing.
Since unfollowing the random and the forgotten, I’ve experienced a disposition far greater than anything I could experience from snarking at someone’s latest picture or overprotested caption.
2. The Digital Detox
What it is: keeping “quiet hours” each day in which you cannot have your phone or go on the computer. I would suggest starting off with an hour and steadily working up to two or three; you could also pledge a week of “cyber celibacy.”
Why should you do it? I am not naïve enough to think foregoing all technological advancement for a long stretch of time is realistic, but disconnecting from your phone and tuning into your real life is essential.
A Netflix documentary exposed a startling correlation between depression and suicidal ideation with social media and our decrease in human-to-human communication. Yikes.
What are the benefits? For Lent, I accepted mission impossible. (Literally, though, I only lasted about 22 days.) I left my phone in my glove compartment and *gasp* started living my life.
First, it’s nearly impossible because sometimes people are having car trouble, and they will call you, and you will look like a dick. (Again, Ellen, I’m sorry. Hence, the “quiet hours” suggestion.)
But, in that time, I became more present with my surroundings. I went to a Bo Burnham comedy show, and because I wasn’t worried about getting the perfect shot or recording a performance of my favorite song, I have a perfect memory of the show in my mind.
I like that I don’t have to grab my iPhone to recall a memory. I’m embarrassed to admit that was not a sensation I could have had in 2014.
3. The “Turned Down For What” Cleanse
What it is: not treating alcohol as an aspirin or personality pick-me-up.
Why should you do it? Now, before you go calling me “straight-edge” or some other judgmental, four-letter word, allow me to stress this advice does not come from a place of moral high ground but a place of lying wasted on the actual ground.
Let’s face it: After consuming decades of television and real-life observation, we associate a “hard day” with an earned hard drink. An invitation to a party is basically a hall pass to be obscene, and the liquor store might as well double as the pharmacy for some of us.
This can only lead to a downward spiral. Treating alcohol as an aid is dangerous and, frankly, not cute after 22.
I still enjoy a drink and I still consider brunch “mimosas with some bread,” but I choose to see alcohol as an occasional indulgence, not a necessity.
What are the benefits? Again, I will start will the shallow benefit first: You lose weight! I lost eight pounds just by putting down the wine bottle and picking up a water bottle.
And, the internal benefits are just as great. When you don’t rely on alcohol to bring you out of your shell at a party or on a date, you’re forced to muster up the confidence you save for singing along to Beyoncé in the car with the windows down.
After time, that confidence begins to radiate throughout, and you become naturally more secure. And, when you’ve had a tough day, you go for a run or paint or seek out a friend, making you more resilient to the bullsh*t when it’s bound to pay you a visit.
This cleanse rewards you physically, mentally and emotionally. When life gives you lemons, you don’t always have to make a lemon drop.
4. The Closet Cleanse
What it is: literally cleaning out your closet. (I tried to reword this so I wouldn’t be quoting the Eminem song and subsequently getting it stuck in your head, my sincerest apologies.)
Remove the clothing you no longer fit into but are saving “just in case you get back to your high school weight.” Trash the memory box with old pictures and notes from your ex-love.
Get rid of anything that makes you say, “Oh! I totally forgot I had this,” or “So that’s where I put it!” Don’t keep something you haven’t missed or shouldn’t be missing.
Why should you do it? A physical cleanse has a profound effect on the brain. Choosing to let go of possessions gives you a sense of control and reinforces the very fact that you determine what and who you give your energy to.
The only thing that makes something real is how much life you give it.
Keeping clothes you can’t wear or tokens of affection from someone you can’t have is provoking the idea you have more faith in the past than the future, and are currently rejecting the present. Your space should be a clear reflection of where you are and will continue to be.
What are the benefits? Keeping old dresses from anniversary dinners and past lives was just a frequent reminder of what was and no longer is. This cleanse is refreshing, uplifting and allows more room for storage.
5. The Negativity Cleanse
What it is: Yes, it’s the obvious “don’t be negative” and “don’t say negative things,” but additionally, this requires finding at least one silver lining in any last thing that annoys you.
That includes even the everyday things like traffic, chatty coworkers or loud neighbors.
I came across this by listening to Esther Hicks. She explains that positivity and attraction comes from perception. The example she gives: If a neighbor is being loud due to having a party, do not constantly moan about how loud and disruptive he or she is.
Instead think, “Good for them. They are having a good time. This could even be an opportunity to go over and introduce myself.”
Of course, this is not saying you can never feel distaste toward something, but remember to find and proclaim something good in everything.
Why should you do it? Perhaps, it began with the introduction of trolling or self-deprecating humor, but we have been conditioned to puncture anything seemingly whole, fine or suitable with a snide remark, or “Yeah, but…”
“I love your hair.” “Yeah, but I asked for something else.”
“Susie got a promotion.” “That’s because she’s butt buddies with Jane in HR.”
“Our waiter is so slow.”
“Traffic is always a nightmare.”
“I can’t stand him.”
We always look at what we can pick apart. Whether it stems from social conditioning, insecurity or what have you, we need to work on decreasing our negative vibes.
What are the benefits? It humbles you completely.