I love to clean house. My internal house that is. Especially after a summer of less than fabulous self-care, there’s nothing better than a nice, deep, detox.

Let me rephrase: there’s nothing better than the END of a nice, deep, detox. The first part sucks, and yeah, detoxing hurts.

Headaches. Lightheadedness. Fatigue. Strange poops. Strange smells. Nausea. Hunger. I’ve felt them all, and if you’ve done a cleansing regime of any kind, you’ve probably felt them, too.

Today marks day 10 of a 12-day program I’m doing to recalibrate my system. I’m at that point where my body is purring in appreciation. But if you’d talked to me Saturday, well, that’s a whole different story. As I sweat and pooped out my summer sins, I begged my body forgiveness and its accumulated toxins speedy exit.

Here are my top six strategies for surviving a detoxification program.

1) Drink loads and loads of (filtered) water. When you think you can’t drink more, drink more. Now, don’t send yourself into hyponatremia (dangerously low levels of electrolytes due to excess body water), but do some serious rehydration. Most of us are walking around wildly dehydrated without even knowing it and when you’re cleansing, water has an important flushing role. Flush baby flush!

2) Sleep as much as possible. You’ve heard me say it before, but it’s worth repeating: your body only heals when you sleep. Detoxing is tiring on your body – it’s hard work to clean up! – and if you’re on a cleanse with limited food intake this is only more exaggerated. Take advantage of the built-in excuse for extra sleep. Plan for naps, don’t book morning appointments, head to bed an hour early. Your body will thank you.  To help you with this:

3) Plan nothing. Most detox programs have a curve to them. A gentle entry (hey, this isn’t so bad after all), a phase of deep detoxification (OMG when will this be over?), and then a gradual shift back to a new, better-feeling better-looking you (yehaw!). During that middle phase, clear your calendar. Trust me. This is when the uglies show up – the headaches, nausea, lightheadedness, interesting odors – and I promise you’ll prefer to be snoozing on the couch with a big vat of lemon water by your side than out and about wondering if you’ll find a toilet in time.

4) Remove temptation. Okay, so you’ve committed to two weeks where no sugar passes your lips. Then why are you tormenting yourself with leftover cheesecake in the fridge? Toss that stuff or find it another home. Removing temptation is one of the most important strategies for success and for your sanity. If it’s not staring you in the face, you’re much less likely to reach for it.

5) Keep moving. This might feel counter-intuitive, but even on a liquid fast movement is beneficial. A nice evening walk. A gentle, short run. A bike ride. Some restorative yoga. Take your pick, there are many options. But remember that one of your primary detoxification systems – your lymphatic system – requires your physical movement for its circulation. It doesn’t have the benefit of a heart to pump its fluids around. When you’re eliminating toxins, it’s all the more important to make sure that lymph is flowing nicely.

6) Get a buddy. Cleansing is much more fun if others are doing it with you. Who wants to go through a healing crisis alone? It’s much easier on the soul if you can compare notes and cheer someone else along. You keep each other accountable, and you have someone to share your victories and miseries along the way. If your buddy is your partner or roommate, all the better. Turn your abode into a sacred cleansing zone.

Got a detox coming up? Try these strategies to ease your way through it. Looking for a program that’s customized to your needs? Write me and let’s see what would make the most sense for you.

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