Zen: Our guide for a weekend mindfulness detox

In the hustle and bustle of a modern-day lifestyle, it is easy to forget that the most important relationship we have is with ourselves. Connecting to our own bodies and exploring our spiritually helps us to access a state of mindfulness – a consciousness that can help us to be more at-one with everything.

After a long, hard working week the first step in a weekend detox is to disregard the digital world which consumes most of our time. Switch the phone off, forget about the laptop and ignore the television – tell yourself that this weekend is for you. You will be astonished to find that you are far more reliant on digital outlets than you might think. Taking the time to be ‘non-digital’, removes distractions and brings you closer to your thoughts.

Only once you have made this commitment will you realise how much time there is in the evening. To make the most of it, make yourself a healthy, restorative dinner. The important thing with this is to avoid fried food, or anything overly fatty, like cheese – the idea is to flush your body of the toxins you may have fed it during the week.

After your healthy dinner, you will most likely find yourself instinctively wanting to turn on the television, laptop or phone – resist. Try reading a book instead, or if you’re not fond of reading, try writing. It is of no importance how eloquent you are as a writer, or in fact what you write down, what is important is to allow yourself to be open. Simply:

Take a moment of quiet with the pen and paper in front of you and breathe deeply. When a thought, image, or phrase first crosses your mind – begin. Allow your hand and mind to freely write down whatever words and images it can conjure, until you reach a natural pause. Then, once again, take a moment of quiet and repeat the process.

We repress a lot of thoughts during the week that your mind processes sub-consciously, letting yourself to ‘free-write’ like this, will allow you to access these thoughts. It is best not to read your words immediately afterwards as you they will be too fresh to process.

Take the rest of the evening to have a shower and prepare yourself for bed. This routine should try to involve the full-skin routine that perhaps you don’t have time for during the week – exfoliate your whole body, condition your hair, apply moisturising lotion, etc. You should feel entirely relaxed by the end of this and ready to sleep.

It is not important what time you wake the following day, so there is no need to set an alarm. Simply allow your body to tell you when it’s time to get up and follow its lead. Once you are out of bed, stretching outside will help to encourage blood flow and release natural endorphins to give you an invigorated attitude towards the day. It is important to resist the temptation to make a tea or coffee – caffeine is one of the big causes for delayed tiredness during the week. A water with a squeeze of lemon juice will help to stimulate your bowels and detox your liver. Additionally, a fruit-filled breakfast with seeded wholemeal/rye toast is filling and contains lots of minerals and vitamins, to give you an energy boost.

During the day, it’s time to undertake positive activity. This can be anything you wish, but here’s a few suggestions: Take a trip to an arts museum, take a long hike, enjoy a private outdoor yoga session, go for a natural swim in a river or lake, or read in the park. Whatever activity you choose, we believe that being outside and being aware of the environment around you are crucial to having a nourishing experience. Take the time to appreciate the things and moments around you. This is not meant to distract you from the activity itself but to heighten the senses which we often neglect during a busy working-week.

Following a day of being aware, your sense will be in the prime condition to undertake some meditation. The way you meditate is unprescribed, but the essential elements are to be still and allow your mind to wander. Much like the exercise with ‘free-writing’, allowing your mind to go where it may, is important to preventing repression – allowing yourself to accept them and be more relaxed with yourself.

After meditating is a good time to re-read your notes from the previous evening. You can approach this simply as a reading and observing exercise, or you can try to ‘de-code’ your words and identify things that you wish to work on. The de-coding element is entirely unique to you and there is no prescription as to how you act on what you find, just do what you believe is right and take it a step at a time.

By the next day, we hope that you’ll begin to feel the effects of your detox weekend, which is why we invite you to repeat a similar routine. Repetition is vital to meditative practices across the world and can be helpful for achieving a state of mindfulness. We recommend following the same morning routine, but the activity can differ completely. It’s the fact that you are taking the time to dedicate to a committed activity that’s important.

Some last tips…

  • To avoid the temptation to use your phone, give your close family and friends a password to text you if there is an emergency.
  • Once you have undertaken the weekend guide, try undertaking one or two of the activities each week.
  • If you are struggling with an entire weekend of mindfulness detox, attempt one thing and build up from there – concentrate on the Friday evening routine or try to nail one of Saturday or Sunday.
  • Collecting ingredients and recipes during the week, will avoid you having to look at your phone or disrupt your weekend detox.

Taking a detox weekend is all about dedicating time to yourself and allowing for fewer distractions. Modern day life is burdened with responsibilities and activities which steer us away from giving ourselves the space to nourish our mind, body, soul. Follow our weekend mindfulness detox guide, and hopefully this space will be returned to you.