Small, regular habits are often the things that have the most impact on our health. Whether it’s positive or negative, these little habits over time are what will add up and impact how you feel. Here are some potential bad health habits and why it’s important to change them.
Screen Time and Sleep
So many of us are guilty of excessive screen time, it can be hard to balance when so much of what we do is now on screens. From work to play, calendars and organisation, alarm clock, calculators, shopping lists and everything else are all on your phone so it can be difficult to ever actually step away from it. On top of this, we have social media which has been designed to keep us hooked and overall we do tend to be slaves to our devices. Too much screen time, especially before bedtime can disrupt our circadian rhythm, making it challenging to fall asleep. Consistent sleep disturbances can lead to a host of health issues, including increased stress levels and impaired cognitive function. In fact, poor sleep over time is one of the biggest health risks to human beings due to the other conditions it can lead to. Put boundaries in place with your screens to try and minimise this risk, keeping off your phone as much as you can in the evening hours.
Our modern lifestyles often involve prolonged periods of sitting, we tend to work desk based jobs and then go home and sit in front of the TV. Even during lengthy commutes to work we’re sitting. Even if you still have regular exercise, these extended periods of sitting have been linked to various health problems, such as obesity, cardiovascular issues, and even mental health concerns. Incorporating short breaks for movement throughout the day can make a substantial difference in overall health, you don’t need to feel the burn or break a sweat, just get up off your feet. Standing desks, regular breaks and aiming to keep as active as you can during your non working hours especially is important.
Snacking can become a mindless habit, especially when done in front of a screen or when you’re multitasking. Consuming snacks absentmindedly can lead to overeating and poor nutritional choices, it can add lots of excess empty calories that lead to weight gain and digestive problems. By taking a moment to be mindful of what and when you eat, you can foster healthier eating habits, contributing to improved digestion and weight management. Snacking can be part of a healthy routine, but aim to plan out your snacks and keep them balanced. For example, instead of grabbing a chocolate bar, have half the amount instead along with some chopped fruit and a little peanut butter for protein. That way you get something balance with nutrition and will satisfy you for longer meaning you’ll be less inclined to reach for that second snack an hour later.
While it might seem like a trivial thing, not drinking enough water can have a cascading effect on your health. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches and impaired cognitive function. Making a habit of regular hydration will support all of your various bodily functions, from digestion to skin health and so much more. Buy yourself a nice water bottle that you enjoy using and aim to refill it a certain number of times throughout the day. Cutting out fizzy drinks and instead going with water where possible will all help.
Neglecting Health Appointments
Neglecting regular checkups with your doctors, optician and dentist might seem like minor things, but it can have huge consequences on your health. Opticians can catch vision issues early, preventing potential complications. They’re not even always eye related, they can spot things like diabetes and more just by checking your eyes. Dentists help prevent oral problems from escalating, as well as gum disease and cavities, taking good care of your teeth can protect you against heart issues! Pericarditis is a heart problem linked with poor oral health so regular checkups will make sure this never becomes a problem. If you’ve not visited the dentist in a while or need to find another dentist because you’ve moved house or werent happy with previous service you’ve received, put it on your to do list to get sorted. These routine appointments are more than just a formality, they’re proactive steps to ensure you stay healthy.
Unrecognised Mental Strain
Chronic stress often creeps into our lives unnoticed. Things like work, family and other responsibilities can lead to prolonged periods of stress that impact both your mental and physical health. Taking time for relaxation, mindfulness practices and hobbies can act as a buffer against stress which is really important. This promotes emotional resilience and overall wellbeing too.