In The Independent’s March 28 issue, I detailed a list of ways I would detoxify my life, both mentally and physically, in aims to jump-start a better future ahead. Throughout the month of April, I spoke to someone I cared for on the phone on a daily basis, incorporated fictional reading into my routine, started practicing meditation, and gave up alcohol, in addition to other small notions.
The difference I noticed, between the end of March and today, is astonishing.
Today’s technological era removes personal communication from so much of what we do. By hearing the voice of someone with value in my life — listening to their stories rather than reading them — I went from a passive role in their lives to re-establishing an active connection. I built a bridge over what was otherwise an emotional gap. According to the American Psychological Association, “emotional health can lead to success in work, relationships . . . and attract others with their energy optimism.”
Reading on a semi-daily basis widened my vocabulary. As I read, I highlighted words I was unfamiliar with to look up their definitions. I found myself thinking sharper and suddenly using such words in my regular vernacular that I otherwise may not have known.
Meditating can be done anywhere at any time, and it’s certainly not just for yogis. I went to intro classes ranging from religious affiliations to scientific studies to better understand how to calm my mind, more-so my reactions, amid the daily stressors in my life. In a nutshell, I learned that all happiness comes from within. As this is an ongoing practice, the acknowledgement of seeking out what I didn’t know opened up my heart and mind to a healthier mental future ahead.
The biggest difference was giving up alcohol and actively seeking healthier foods to consume. In the time I stopped drinking, limited red meat intake to once a week and incorporated a cleaner way of eating, my body completely changed. In March, I awoke, naturally, at 9:30 AM. Today, my body is ready to go (after some coffee, of course) at 7 AM without an alarm. I used to suffer from insomnia most nights but now find myself sleeping a solid eight or so hours without disruption, making me an overall happier person. Appearance wise, my skin is clearer and all my workouts are providing faster results. It’s truly amazing.
I was in the San Francisco area during the concluding days of my detox, which I will still continue in moderation. To celebrate my personal accomplishments, I rented a bike from Blazing Saddles and challenged myself to a 20-mile ride over the Golden Gate Bridge, into the Marin Headlands, down to the Pacific Ocean and back. Up until that point, I had never biked so far or so steeply. One unexpected suntan later, I had successfully completed all of my goals with the biggest smile on my face.
Jump-starting a new lifestyle wasn’t easy. Overcoming daily struggles that were once my norm took self-discipline and constant reminding of the greater goal. But it was worth it, and it changed my life.