We’ve all seen the ads: things like “30-Day New Year Detox!” or “Start the year off right with a new year, new you Cleanse!”

It’s the time of year when this sort of stuff starts coming out of the woodwork, and at first glance, you might think that it makes sense. After all, many of us eat more than usual over the holidays, and there’s all the pressure around the new year to set different expectations for your life and “level up”.

While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to attach an intention to the new year per se, there’s a big problem with making that intention a cleanse. In fact, trying to do a cleanse around this time of year is one of the worst things you can do for your body.

Here’s the thing: your body moves in sync with the seasons, whether you realize it or not.

This means that right now, your body is deep into rest and digest mode. Think about it like a bear hibernating — the main thing your body wants to do right now is dial down the energy, go into restoration mode, and hold onto things.

Which is pretty much the opposite of a cleanse, right? A cleanse is actually a very active thing, even if you’re just fasting or drinking juices, it takes a lot of energy for your body to shift operations in that way. Cleanses are also, as the name suggests, about letting go of things and clearing out the body so new stuff can come in. Again, this is the exact opposite of what your body wants to do in winter.

Long story short — trying to do a cleanse right now is working against yourself.

It’s not going to be nearly as effective as if you did it during a more active “yang” season, like spring or summer, and it could actually deplete you so much that you aren’t able to be as healthy when it’s time to move into those seasons.

And let’s be honest: societal conditioning aside, it’s not like most people want to start drinking a lot of cold juices and moving around a lot this time of year. Your body tries its best to work with the seasons, not against them, and cold foods and active movement are much better suited for spring and summer.

So consider this your official invitation to rest. Spring’s coming, but it’s not here yet, so live into this very yin, restful period while you can.

PS – Finding it hard to stay in sync with the seasons? I can help with that. Find out how here.