There are so many ways to go wrong when it comes to your health. It is also so easy to believe misinformation propagated by magazines, commercials, or the people you know. We are all guilty of doing this in one way or another. Here are some of the many things you could be doing every day to sabotage your health- each with simple fixes. After all, nothing is more important than taking care of yourself.
1) Not Getting Enough Sleep.
Sacrificing zzz’s for a few extra minutes in the gym or on the phone is more harmful than you might think. We talked previously about sleep’s crucial role in keeping us healthy, but you really need to add more sleep and see the difference for yourself.
2) Getting Dehydrated Without Knowing It.
If you’re tired or have a headache, you might actually be dehydrated. You could be reaching for snacks because your body is craving the water contained in those foods, and you mistake the sensation for hunger. Drinking more water will boost your metabolism and keep your performing at your peak. Your skin will also thank you for it, as water gives a more youthful appearance.
3) Skipping Breakfast.
It is true what they say… “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Even if you’re not a morning person, it’s extremely important to get some good protein and carbs in the morning. When you wake up, your stomach is like an empty furnace, waiting for fuel. If you don’t eat anything, you will burn your reserves and lag through your day. Your brain will also feel fuzzy and unfocused. So whether it is a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana, a smoothie, or some overnight oats, make your breakfast count.
4) Infrequent Handwashing.
It pays to be a germaphobe, especially during the winter months. While new studies are questioning the effectiveness of antibacterial soap, frequent hand washing and cleaning surfaces (especially shared work items0 with Chlorox wipes remain the best ways to prevent the spread of illness-causing bacteria. You should scrub hands for at least 20 seconds.
5) Forgetting Sunscreen.
Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, even during winter, is a big way to protect your health. The fairer your skin is, the more susceptible you are to UV damage and cancer, so at least use sunscreen on your face daily. You can also use makeup that contains SPF, though it is likely to be a low amount. If you will be sweating or in the sun for a long time, try to use waterproof sunscreen of a higher SPF.
6) Holding Emotions In.
Bottling up your emotions and frustrations isn’t good for you- period. Remember the old saying, “no man is an island”? It’s completely true. Humans are social creatures who need the support and understanding of others to truly thrive. If something is really bothering you, take a moment to get it down on paper or talk to someone about it, before it starts to affect you negatively. Stress is one of the biggest threats to health, and there is no shame in needing to vent now and then.
7) Crash Dieting.
This topic comes up a lot because it is that common. Going to extremes and swearing off food items (carbs, gluten, sugar, etc.) can often do more harm than good. Unless you have a health condition which requires you to make big cuts, you should not be scared to eat a piece of bread/fruit/dark chocolate/whatever. That is not to say you can’t pick a healthy lifestyle such as vegan, low-carb, what have you, but keep a balance. The more you deprive yourself of what you love, the harder you will crash and backslide when you give into your cravings. Moderation is key.
8) Neglecting Your Teeth/Gums.
Many health problems originate in the mouth. Not brushing/flossing well enough or skipping dentist visits can actually impact your long-term health. If you go a long time without keeping a great mouth care routine, do not be surprised when a bad infection or gum issue pops up. You will be hit with a big bill and headache that could have been easily avoided with preventative maintenance.
9) Not Moving Enough.
If you have a desk job or spend a lot of time behind the wheel for work, you’ll need to make sure you stretch and exercise regularly to keep the blood flowing and prevent neck/back issues. Poor posture is a common side effect of jobs that require a lot of sitting, but it can be mitigated with a simple stretches and movements. What you eat at work also matters, so make sure to pack or purchase food that is healthy and will keep you powered up, rather than in a post-lunch food coma (which will later make you reach for a sugary, caffeinated jolt).
10) Drinking Away Your Problems.
Happy hour is a great trap for stressed out office workers and others. Because it’s considered normal camaraderie to gather at the local watering hole and throw back a few, many don’t question what toll this might be taking on the inside. Alcohol dehydrates you and causes poor quality of sleep. It also encourages you to indulge in unhealthy food choices high in fat and sodium. If you’re going to drink after work, stick with one glass of heart healthy red wine, and save the beer and sugary cocktails for “special” occasions only.
What health mistakes do you think you make every day? Do you do any of these things? What would you add to this list? Feel free to share your thoughts and insights. Namaste.