As the new year fast approaches, you’re likely starting to think about “New Year resolutions” and what bad habits to consider giving up for 2018. This article offers some inspiration for five common habits that may seem somewhat trivial (e.g. eating too much sugar) but can have a substantial impact on our health.
We all know that in moderation, alcohol won’t do too much harm, however when alcohol becomes a habit, the cumulative effect does start to mount up in our bodies. Unfortunately, the more we drink, the more tolerant and resistant our bodies become to the effects of alcohol, meaning we feel the need to drink more to elicit the same state. The basic point with alcohol is to keep it in moderation, and drink to celebrate rather than commiserate.
Many people are addicted to sugar, perhaps it doesn’t quite have the stigma of smoking or drinking, but it can be just as damaging to our health. In simple terms, too much sugar can lead to diabetes and heart disease – this is a serious habit that can have a hugely detrimental impact on our lives, and in particular, the lives of our children. Whilst the refined sugar found in food such as candy and soda, is the worst culprit, in terms of putting people at risk of diabetes, there is tons of naturally occurring sugar (fructose) found in fruit. Just because it is naturally occuring, doesn’t mean it loses the health damaging property of being a sugar.
Most people are aware of the negative consequences associated with smoking, yet there are still millions of people that indulge in a cigarette as a habitual way to cope with stress. Whilst smoking, as a trend, is starting to die out, as more people turn to vape as a less damaging way to get their daily nicotine fix – the two are synonymous with poor health.
The importance of getting a good night’s sleep cannot be overstated, however, so many of us are in the habit of sidelining our sleep due to the busy lifestyles we lead. Most people need between six and nine hours sleep in order to allow your body to fully replenish and restore. If you’re always on the go, and never allowing yourself the chance to properly recover, this habit will be negatively affecting your health and productivity.
Whether it’s through drinking coffee, sugary soft drinks, energy drinks or even tea – in an ever increasingly busy lifestyle where we are always ‘on the go’ caffeine (or sugar) is the antidote most of us reach for to temporarily recharge our energy levels. The challenge with caffeine, however, is that your energy levels are subject to spikes and falls. Think of a rollercoaster, as you ingest caffeine, your body starts to “come up” and you have a sense of alertness, focus and energy – then, as the caffeine wears off, this feeling of energy plummets, and due to this dip in energy level, you feel the need to reach out for more caffeine in order to get back “up”. This is a continuous vicious cycle that often ends in adrenal fatigue. If you can start to kick this habit of caffeine dependency, and start to generate your energy from more sustainable sources (e.g. diet and exercise) you will live a much happier and more balanced life.
So, if you’re wanting to adopt a healthier lifestyle this New Year, consider drinking less, eating less sugar, quitting smoking, sleeping more, and ingesting less caffeine.