The word “DETOX” written in vintage wooden letterpress type.

2017 wasn’t bad. It was actually a pretty good year, though it started rather rough. In February I learned I needed a pacemaker, and that mentally rocked me. But after I got my robot in April, most of my anxiety issues have disappeared.

In other words, the pacemaker is the best thing ever! I went from not being able to drive on the highway to driving all the way to Houston (four hours) without any problem at all. Hurray!

But I still had issues (tired all the time and hard to focus) and questions: why the heck did I even need a pacemaker? What had I done to my body to make it need a pacemaker?

So I started doing some research.

Detoxing my house: My mom mentioned Norwex to me, this company that makes products that clean with just water. I was skeptical. Then I did research. The secret is in the microfiber, which can pick up 99% of bacteria from surfaces. A lot of microfiber will do this, I think, but I love Norwex’s mission to improve the health of people and the environment, and their products are really awesome. So I signed up to be a consultant for the 35% discount. I definitely wanted to get the unneeded chemicals out of my house. But I kept doing research and playing with products and learning so much about everything that I, uh, kind of started doing the consultant thing for real. I don’t know where exactly I’ll go with it, but I feel so much better about my cleaning routine, about saving a buttload of money on makeup remover, paper towels, dryer sheets, detergent, etc. (over time (the body cloths are freaking awesome, though! Saving $67 a year by not buying makeup remover and face wash, and my face is as good or better than before)). Plus, Norwex is making it easy to do good things for the environment, something I’ve been wanting to help out more. Problem is I’m lazy, and unless something is easy (ie my city makes recycling simple), I won’t do it. So, yeah. I’ve drank the Kool-Aid on Norwex.

Detoxing my food: Food has so much crap in it these days! Do you know how hard it is to find food that doesn’t have added sugar? I figured that out in September, when I did my first Whole30. I still can’t quite believe I stuck to that way of eating for the entire month. I did it because of my sleepiness issues, and because I know I need to clean up my diet. Unfortunately, my sleepiness issues remain (pretty sure that has to do with my medications), but I felt better about myself while eating Whole30. And I didn’t get hungry or snack. And I lost 7 pounds that month. Oh, sure, I’ve definitely gained it all back, but one of my goals for 2018 is to eat 90% paleo. I learned a lot on the Whole30–rice makes me soooo hungry!–so I want to get in the habit of eating healthy and make it a lifestyle choice, not a diet (I think of the whole30 as a science experiment, not a diet anyway).

Detoxing my hair/makeup: Since I’d detoxed my cleaning routine and food and had learned a ton about potentially harmful chemicals in many areas of our lives, I set out to find some new hair and makeup products. For makeup, I went with Beauty Counter. I’d been wanting to find new makeup for a while. I’d been using Clinique since junior high, and that was, um, a long time ago. So I found a consultant and tried out some products that I really like! I don’t feel like it’s much more expensive than Clinique. Plus, it comes with a consultant who has a private Facebook group who gives me makeup tips and tricks (I’m such a makeup idiot that I NEED that! lol). For hair, I’ve gone with Monat. A friend is a consultant (maybe I should call 2017 the Year of Consultants), so I tried it out. It seems very, very expensive at first, but I’m on my first bottle of shampoo and conditioner, and it’s been well over two months. I think I have at least another month of product before I’ll need to reorder, so the price doesn’t seem that bad now. And, again, I feel so much better using healthier-for-me products.

Detoxing my mind: The pacemaker did a lot to help out my mental state. I’m also on some anti-depressants. I wasn’t really depressed a year and a half ago–my doctor diagnosed me with a case of the blahs–but I started the meds for my anxiety issues (resulting from the breaking-the-face incident in 2015). I’m not entirely happy about being on medicine. That kind of goes against my detox theme of the year, but I do have to say I’m generally happier than I was before, and I don’t get as angry/resentful as I used to when Spreadsheet Guy has to work late or people are smacking around me (I usually want to KILL people who smack!). Stuff like that. I still want to get off the medication, but my doc and I have changed it up so many times over the past year that I’m just going to stick with what works for a while.

But my main mind detoxing comes from something else, and has everything to do with my writing. In February, I took Becca Syme’s Write Better Faster class. It was PHENOMENAL! She has writers take personality assessments, and then she’s able to tell you the best way for you to focus on writing. One thing she mentioned for me is that I’m easily distracted (true). I need a stable environment (true. I can’t think with a messy house). And I need to write first thing in the morning.

That last part is so important! And it took me a while to really understand it. I’d tried to write first. Well, after waking up, making breakfast for the boys, taking them to school, then coming back home and trying to ignore the messy house, then sit down at my computer and open my document. Lets just say that really wasn’t working for me. It was depressing (despite the drugs, lol)! I’d started to question whether I really wanted to be a writer. Writers write, right? And I wasn’t writing.

It took about ten months for me to force myself to get out of bed an hour early every morning, to not let thoughts invade my head as I made coffee, and then to sit down with a notebook–NOT the computer–and write three pages by hand.

That is the trick, folks. I need to write by hand. I need to stay away from the computer. And I need to just get to three pages every morning, and I will have already had a better day than those days when I tried to write for 8 hours. Three handwritten pages is 800-1,000 words, and those words are EASY (as long as I have a scene to write).

I can’t begin to tell yall how helpful Becca’s class was. I kind of feel like she’s saved my writing life. It’s so neat how she can pinpoint my problems and best practices with my personality assessments. If you’re an author and struggling with writing, take her class. If you’re a reader and you love cozy mysteries and/or small town romances, go try out her books!

In addition to the drugs and Becca’s class, I’ve been reading a lot on mindset and habit and just how powerful the brain is. It’s fascinating stuff! And I feel like I can continue adjusting my attitude, work on positive thoughts, and make more mental progress in the future

(I’m a bit of a pessimist, so my brain definitely needs a detox).

I’m really happy with where things are here at the end of 2017. I feel like I can do the things I need/want to do in 2018. I hope you guys have had an awesome year and that you’re looking forward to 2018 too.

Do any of you have goals? Resolutions? Do you have a theme word for the year?