They say old habits die hard. But what habits are bad exactly, and why do we need to change them? Here are a few common bad habits that make your stress levels even higher.
Drinking Too Much Caffeine
Who doesn’t like a cup of coffee in the morning? While this may be okay, a second one for lunch and another during an afternoon meeting. But if you have another during dinner, it can be too much already. It’s not unknown that too much caffeine can make you feel anxious. This is because it causes your body to release cortisol, the hormone the body releases when stressed.
Of course, we get caffeine from coffee and other foods and beverages like chocolate and tea. Regulating your caffeine intake can improve your body condition because not only will it lessen your heart palpitations, but it will also help you get better sleep.
Having Too Much Booze
A bit of alcohol is perfectly fine now and then. It’s even healthy. But of course, when things get out of control, and you drink yourself to sleep every other night, only to wake up with a terrible headache, it’s time to change something.
The first attempt always comes from yourself: try distancing yourself from triggers. If you have friends who like drinking, inform them of your decision to drink less. Friends will respect your decision and even help you avoid it.
Skipping or Sneaking in More Meals
Here’s something many of us are likely to be guilty about: either eating more or eating less than required. Some people naturally gravitate towards food when stressed, while some completely lose their appetite in moments of duress.
Regardless of the situation, it’s important to remember to control yourself and do what is right, which is to eat accordingly. But things might be bigger than they initially seem. If you find yourself constantly eating at the littlest of stressors, perhaps it’s time to get treatments for binge eating disorder. Or, if you’re losing weight because of stress, consider going to a dietitian or a fitness instructor.
Putting Off Tasks
Sometimes, it’s okay to put off tasks till the last minute, but only if it’s of little consequence. Maybe you can put off washing two plates until after you’ve watched an episode of your favorite show, or perhaps wait till your laundry basket is full before throwing them in the washer.
But if you let all these tasks pile up, it can be quite overwhelming. You might end up avoiding overwhelming tasks altogether, further exacerbating your stress levels. Try to improve your task allocation and management skills by having a to-do list that you actually follow. It’s much easier to relax if you know you’ve been productive.
Having an Irregular Sleep Schedule
Sleep is one of the most important human activities; it’s what keeps us healthy, after all. However, finding yourself with bad sleeping patterns results will eventually result in poor sleep quality (if you haven’t felt it within the second day already). That would make it tougher to go about your day and make it just as hard to go back to sleep. It forces you to have another sleepless night and repeat the cycle.
Breaking this cycle is most definitely difficult, but you can improve it through small but sure changes. Start by waking up earlier, maybe 30 minutes to an hour earlier than you normally do. Go about your day as usual, and sleep a bit earlier. By slowly adjusting your body clock, you’re more likely to adjust to your new sleep schedule.
Staying on Social Media Too Much
We understand social media is fun and addictive. We see what our friends are up to, and there are many funny pictures and videos. It definitely has some advantages, and studies show that it can even bolster our relationships with others. But just like with many things, it should be done in moderation.
Too much social media or having social media habits may leave you with feelings of stress and loneliness. It can make you feel disconnected from the world around you, forcing you to become dependent and glued to your smartphone. Try limiting your social media usage to specific times of the day, or put yourself on a timer when using it.
Nobody is perfect, but there are aspects of our lives that we can work to improve on. Unlearning bad habits does not happen overnight, and being aware will not make them go away. It will take time and effort, but the results are worth it. At the end of the day, what you want is to live a healthy, peaceful lifestyle.