We know we should quit smoking and reduce our consumption of alcohol, sure. And yes, we need to increase our water intake and ensure we get enough good quality sleep. But what about those other things we do regularly, that we may not be as conscious of? Those actions we repeat every day, which may be having a detrimental effect on our health, without us knowing it? Here are four habits we’re guilty of, that are negatively (and perhaps surprisingly) impacting our wellbeing.
- Mindless scrolling
We get it, you’re stuck at home and bored – so what do you do? You pick up your phone and scroll endlessly, looking for something to distract or entertain you, or make you feel less alone. But the irony is that the over-consumption of social media can actually lead to acute feelings of isolation, affecting both our physical and mental health – and this has been proven by various studies*.
This should warn us off, but unfortunately social media is highly addictive. So, what can we do? You could remove social media apps from your phone, making it more of an effort to get out your laptop and check in. You can also use various blocking apps, which effectively lock you out of social media over specific times. Or you could try the good old-fashioned trick of putting your phone away in a drawer, and only checking it at certain times, instead of having it within easy reach, 24/7.
- Reliving stressful events
While it’s important not to bury trauma entirely, a 2017 study published in Behaviour Research and Therapy found that constant rehashing of stressful events, as opposed to figuring out solutions, can lead to depressive symptoms. If you find yourself going over the event/s constantly, it’s best to seek out therapy, and try to change your mindset to focusing on being present in the current moment, plus make positive plans for the future.
- Poor posture
We’re hunched over our phones on the couch. We’re slumped over our computers at our desks. We’re crouching at our steering wheels as we fight traffic. It’s no wonder that we’re doing such damage to our necks, spines and backs. If you want to avoid injuries (and constant visits to the physio and chiropractor), it’s important that you counteract all this unhealthy sitting with some good habits. Get up and stretch often, and try make time for yoga or Pilates at least once a week. Some medical aids like Fedhealth, even offer their members neck and back rehabilitation programmes, supported by scientific clinical studies, to avoid spinal surgery.
- Neglecting to rest
The effects of this pandemic may have meant you’ve spent more time at home this year, but how much of that time are you actually taking to rest? We don’t need to remind you that high stress can lead to insomnia, a weaker immune system and other serious health conditions. So what can you do about it? If you have a partner, schedule time in for resting – whether this means one of you does chores/watches the kids, while the other one carves out 20 minutes for a nap, a lie down or meditation. This may sound fluffy, unnecessary, and even a bit lazy, but the health benefits of giving your body and mind time to rest include renewed creativity and inspiration, weight loss and better problem solving. In our fast-paced world, we, just like our phones, also need to time to recharge.
Try and bust some of these surprising bad health habits this year and get one step further to better wellbeing and happiness overall.