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clear drinking glass

The last two years, I’ve found a way to turn my focus inward to mark the transition of a new year. In 2022 I did a 5-day silent retreat at the end of December and in 2023 I did a 3-day water fast. Give me your suggestions in the comments for what I should consider for the next new year, or let me know how you reset each new year, month, solstice, full moon, or each day – however often you reset or check in with yourself.

WTF? What’s the Fast?
Scrolling through social media, an account I respect and follow mentioned their community 3-day water fast. Immediately curious, I googed the good and bad ways this could impact our bodies and minds, how to (would coffee or broth count?), possible dangers to keep an eye out for, and how to return to life afterwards. Since it allowed coffee and unsweetened ice tea (in moderation), I chose to start the next morning so I could finish by the time I returned to work. I committed to 1 day, aiming for 3, but would stop if I felt faint or my heartbeat felt off.

WTF? Why the Fast?
After a whirlwind year, I needed to recapture and reconnect with myself. I knew this past year would make me raw after facing my emotions, but wow, did I underestimate the range I would travel. Plus I got swept up in a strong wind of change air current that swept me up and pushed me forward. While the journey exhilarated me, it also tested me to my limits. I needed to retest the limits of my comfort levels, rattle my foundation, and strengthen my boundaries to remind me of (and protect) my core intentions. I already do intermittent fasting, but eliminating food of any kind for several days seemed the right amount of unpredictable for me to try it. Plus, the proposal that one could reset one’s body mentally and physically provided additional incentive. 

What’s the Plan?
Before starting any fast, talk to your doctor about how a fast might impact your health. I set my goal to drink around 14 cups of water per day so I did not get dehydrated. On most days of my life, I drink 3-5 cups of coffee/espresso, 2 cups of diet soda/iced tea and maybe 1 cup of water. This fast allowed me coffee and diet soda/unsweetened ice tea, so I limited each to 1 ½ cup and the remaining 11 cups all water (I knew what overhydration indicators to watch for). I added lemon or apple cider vinegar for flavor, health, and variety. I also made hot coffee because I know the routine of the warm drink comforts me in the morning.

woman doing yoga beside her dog

How’d it go?
Day 1:

Mentally: The journey felt long, especially since I started on the longest night New Year’s Eve. I already planned to stay in, get caught up on writing, and enjoy the silence of my empty home after a busy holiday break. I loved checking boxes on an index card celebrating “cups of water” consumed. I felt proud for completing the first day.
Wins:  I did not feel hungry because of drinking more fluids than usual and partially mind over matter – I meditated to redirect hunger pangs, and they pass quickly anyway.
Challenges: Social media almost wrecked me with the many food pages I follow. My child came home hungry but I redirected them to help themselves to the full fridge.

Day 2:
Mentally: I felt like my train of thought became less hyperactive. It felt deeper, solid – less spirling.
Wins: Drink prepping all drinks in the morning helped so I could carry at least one around with me at all times. Though I anticipated a dip in energy, my energy lasted almost all day. When it did dip, I listened to my body and chilled out with a video, then went to bed early. Slept later.
Challenges: I got bored with water and bought an unsweetened green tea (allowed).

Day 3:
Mentally: Felt happy that it marked the end, yet still felt the time remaining. It felt easier than I thought and still feels unbelievable to me that I finished. I woke up feeling and listening to myself and not the negative what ifs that follow me around. If necessary, I rewrote messages that popped into my head.
Wins: My skin looks better due to increased hydration (better than moisturizers achieve).
Challenges: I watched the clock a lot every day, but time passed fairly quickly since I stayed busy. Though my inner voice sounds louder from deeper within, many surface level thoughts felt flighty so I saved work on anything requiring calculations or brainstorming for after my fast. 

Overall, I loved the mental reset that occurred over the physical differences. It quickly reminded me who I am and have always been and proved to me my range of capability for taking on a challenge, making a plan, evaluating, adjusting, and seeing it through to completion. I feel less likely to give into wobbly thoughts.

I look forward to incorporating more time to pause and reset this year – step out of routines, or add them where necessary. Turn my attention inward more often and continue growing my silent meditation practice along with my guided meditations (there will be a whole post on that later). I love days where I remain silent all morning, or hide my devices for a chunk of time. I’ve always known I should turn inward more, but this fast showed me the difference very quickly and I actually believe it now.

What about you?

  • How was last year for you?
  • How is this new year, so far?
  • When is the last time you rested or paused?
  • When is the last time you checked in to really see how you’re feeling or what you need?
  • What is your favorite way to reset?
  • What should I try to mark the end of this year?

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