Three days on nothing but liquid fruits, nuts and veggies can amp up the hazard of “hangry” to a whole new level. While being on a juice cleanse can also get us feeling euphoric, the phenomenon of detox moodiness is also very real. That can be problematic for our social lives, but friends forgive. A bigger concern is keeping our cool while detoxing at work.
Unless you’re that (seemingly) perfect green juice-guzzling colleague who hasn’t had coffee since, oh, 2003, chances are starting a detox or cleanse is going to affect your mood — and that mood is coming to the office with you. Whether you’re just giving up coffee or sugar for a few days, planning a Whole30 or deep diving into a week-long green juice cleanse, crashes are inevitable.
Still, it’s one thing to feel short-tempered around those who love you. It’s another thing entirely to throw a tantrum in a work meeting. The key is to curb those frustrated feelings long enough to get you home. Then you can kick and scream as much as you like.
Step 1: Plan Ahead for Headaches
While it’s tempting after a weekend full of salt-rimmed margaritas and Postmates Shake Shack deliveries to dive head first into a last-minute detox come Monday morning, don’t. The best way to help yourself and your colleagues is to plan your internal clean-up well in advance.
Beyond saving your body some of the stress from going straight from fried foods to turmeric shots, pre-planning your detox means you can plan your work obligations around your low points. We recommend planning your goals for the week before you hit a wall. Try using the rule of 3 to make sure you know exactly what you need to accomplish and won’t lose sight of those goals during foggier periods.
Also, consider how you expect your energy levels to change. You’ll probably feel alright on day one, then hit your low point around day three or four. Plan any big meetings earlier in the week if you can. Likewise, if you notice that you tend to do better in the morning right after your first meal (or juice), schedule phone calls or important creative discussions before lunch, rather than in the afternoon, when you know you’ll feel like hiding under your desk.
Step 2: Say Yes to Drugs
Kidding. But vitamins? Popping some B12 for an energy boost while adjusting your diet can be useful. And water. Drinking copious amounts of water will help balance things out (and push unwanted toxins out of your system faster). This is especially important if you’re quitting a three-cup-a-day coffee habit or your addiction to break-room donuts.
Step 3: Don’t Self-Sabotage with Sugar Highs
If you are planning a juice cleanse, remember to sip that juice slowly throughout the day and avoid the urge to guzzle. Prefer more green juices and go easy on the juices that are pure fruit. A great balance is a green blend that contains just a hint of fruit, including citrus.
Step 4: Give Fair Warning
You don’t need to broadcast to the entire team meeting that you’re on a quest to reset your system. But you can confide in the colleagues you work closest with that you might not be your peak self for a few days. Ask them to tell you if you seem unnecessarily grumpy. Make a commitment to yourself that you’ll hear them out. Much like any other time you’re feeling moody, the hardest part can be hearing feedback that it’s affecting others. But having someone call you on it will help you come back to earth. And don’t forget to take walks when those moments do come up. Everyone benefits from a walk in daylight, whether detoxing or not.
Step 5: Spare Everyone As Much As You Can
A lot of detoxes suggest you start on a Monday, which sounds pretty good when you’re choosing between going out to a swank dinner or eating kitchari for the next 12 meals. Still, if you start your detox on a Friday morning, you’ll sail through day one, then hit the rougher days at home when your moods aren’t affecting anyone. If you’re committing to a three-day cleanse, you’ll be done come Monday. If not, your moods should start to level out by the time you’re back in the office. It’s a win-win.
Survived the juice cleanse? Check out
Career Contessa’s 12-day work-life detox guide here.