Wellbeing and mental health

Detox time!

Surely January is THE detox month?  Uh-uh.  You ready for a little history lesson?  February is derived from the Latin februum, and was concerned with ritual purification.  As the last month of the old pre-Julian calendar, February was concerned with closure and cleansing.  So, back in the day, people would have been busy dealing with ‘stuff’ and preparing themselves for the new year…and then having a feast to celebrate!

You might be on a detox roll if you have already given up alcohol for January or been tempted by Veganuary.  Or you might be committed to the British Heart Foundation’s DeChox and going without chocolate.  (Now that’s dedication!)

Whether you are dieting to lose a few pounds, or simply reviewing your eating and/or drinking habits watch out for a difficult phase – the emotional crisis.  As you slim down, tone up or detox, you can encounter an episode around 3-7 days in where you feel very emotional.  You might feel weepy, irritable, unsettled, anxious, or angry.  Or you may feel headachy, cold and tired and find yourself withdrawing from others.  Some people even experience flashbacks, nightmares or panic attacks.

Food and drink, as well as sustaining us, also have many associations.  How often have you said, “I need a drink!” after a stressful day, or “I deserve a cake” to celebrate an event or achievement?  Perhaps you have a morning ritual of a cup of tea or coffee before your day gets going.  Suddenly restricting these things from your diet may unsettle you emotionally so it can be helpful to reflect on why you ‘need’ them.  Counselling can help support you through a weight loss programme and help you understand what food and drink mean to you.