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When it comes to bad habits, we all know the common ones like smoking and eating junk food are detrimental to our health. However, there are other, more subtle bad habits lurking in our daily lifestyles. Use this guide to break habits that are keeping you from living your best life.
Be a better sleeper
Do you hit the hay early and snooze like a baby? Probably not. Although we each have different sleep requirements, most of us get less of it than we should. An average adult needs between one to two hours of restorative deep sleep every night, which is facilitated by about eight hours of solid slumber. Even sleeping for six hours could lead to sleep debt over time, affecting brain function, muscle recovery, immunity and weight management, among other factors. To improve the quality of a good night’s rest, follow relaxing nightly routines, keep the room cool and dark, invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows and go to bed at the same time daily.
Say no to midnight feasts
From late-night bowls of cereal to delivery cravings, we can easily find ourselves cramming in calories before bed. As harmless as that may seem, a frequent indulgence of this variety comes with baggage. Given that we are naturally accustomed to activity during the day, regular night-time eating disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycles. This affects hormone and blood sugar functions, increases inflammation and promotes weight gain. How can you fix it? Eat dinner as early in the evenings as possible. If you find yourself hungry later, munch on nutritious, high-protein snacks like nuts or fruits such as kiwis and bananas.
Drink fewer calories
Fizzy drinks are a no-no, but juice, chai and frappes are wholesome, right? Sure, they can supplement your day with a fruity burst or dose of caffeine – along with a heady mix of sugar and other detriments. Although occasional indulgences are welcome, sweet and creamy beverages shouldn’t belong in your daily diet if you want to enrich your overall health. Instead, opt for freshly-squeezed juice or smoothies and cut the juice packs from your grocery list. Skip (or be frugal with) decadent additions to your tea or coffee. If you avoid dessert but heap in the sugar and lather on the whipped cream to your daily cuppa, it still counts as a sweet treat!
Feed less on social media
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat – we can’t get enough of social media and all its one-click access to fun. As remarkable as today’s internet culture maybe, too much social media use can have adverse effects on our mental wellbeing. It can compromise self-esteem, aggravate self-comparison and is correlated with higher levels of anxiety and loneliness. How can you keep enjoying these platforms without succumbing to their ill effects? Put a constraint on the time spent online daily, disconnect a few hours before bedtime and keep your phone out of arm’s reach. If you’re addicted to social media, ask yourself why and find ways to tackle the root cause of the problem.
Don’t waste your free time
Yes, you’re busy. However, if you think about it, you probably fill up your spare time with plenty of unproductive activities. While daily relaxation is important, you can avoid certain habits and replace them with things to do that holistically add to your life. Be conscious of mindlessly surfing online. Curb the tendency to binge streaming shows or video games and escape the mundane with a book. Don’t hit snooze – wake up and just get out of bed. Lounge on the couch a little less – choose to meditate, stretch or take a walk. Motivate yourself to finally getting around to that new hobby you’ve been wanting to take up.
Rework your self-care routine
There are several seemingly non-consequential habits that can hinder all the effort and money we put into looking and feeling good. Review your self-care practices and cut out anything that’s negatively impacting your health and lifestyle progress. Here are a few examples to consider. Do you: skip breakfast because you’re too rushed to have food in the morning? Stock up the refrigerator with veggies regularly but never get around to making that salad? Look forward to outdoor fun but don’t bother to use sunscreen? Enjoy manicures but keep biting your nails? Confront your habits, work hard to break them and reap the rewards.
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