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4 Bad Habits That Are Probably Making You Sick

4 Bad Habits That Are Probably Making You Sick

The winter months are fast approaching and, though we cheer at the oncoming holiday festivities, with winter comes the added woe of “cold and flu season” to contend with. So what do you do if you want to avoid sicknesses that often plague the colder times of the year?

Well, as much as being proactive and wrapping up helps to keep you healthy, there are also bad habits making you sick that are best avoided if you want to stay healthy over the winter months.

1. Getting Less Than 6 Hours Of Sleep

Several studies have linked sleep deprivation to obesity [1] and depression, as well as to suppression of the immune system [2], which is one of the main reasons not getting enough shut eye can lead us to get sick so often!

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    What can we do though? Well, many popular apps are now dedicated to improving users’ sleeping patterns. One app, in particular, called Sleep Genius even bases part of its method on the findings of NASA research aimed at getting optimal sleep cycles for astronauts. Others are dedicated solely to filtering out those blue light rays from our screens that are so disastrous to our sleep cycles. We don’t suggest a complete blackout, but simply reading a good book before bed instead of using a screen device can go a long way to getting you a much better night’s sleep.

    2. Being Inactive

    Getting a good amount of sleep is an important factor in healthy living that is often taken for granted, as is simply keeping active in our day-to-day lives. Amongst the ill effects on our health of having an inactive lifestyle are the added risk of heart disease, adult onset diabetes, and a doubled risk of obesity.[3] Hit the gym or exercise regularly, on the other hand, and you’ll be enhancing your immune system as you relieve stress.[4]

    The best way to deal with this problem is to set up an effective routine. Research points to both morning and evenings as being the best time for a workout. That being said, perhaps what best fits into your daily routine is the most likely to keep you motivated to keep going consistently. For those of you who like to do a morning routine though, there’s the benefit of not having to worry for the rest of the day once the morning sweat session is out of the way. An added bonus is the release of endorphins you feel post-workout which are a great way to kick off the day in a positive frame of mind.

    3. Touching Your Face Often

    Stop touching yourself! Research suggests that human beings touch themselves in a way that’s detrimental to their health 2,000 to 3,000 times a day. Dr. Wladimir Alonso and his team at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, however, carried out an illuminating study on human behaviour showing that we should be shifting our focus during flu season.[5] Illnesses are most commonly transmitted by touching a contaminated surface and then our face, allowing the virus to enter through our respiratory system. Alonso’s research though, showed that we touch our faces at a higher rate than we touch potentially contaminated surfaces.

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    Many medical initiatives strongly recommend washing your hands frequently to avoid transmitting diseases. Whilst this is undoubtedly sound advice, the study shows us that this may not be enough; we should also do our best to keep those fidgety hands away from our face.

    4. Not Eating Enough Vegetables

    A surefire way to put yourself at risk of getting sick during the winter months is by not ingesting enough of the essential nutrients necessary for keeping your immune system healthy. Vegetables are a must.[6] There’s another added incentive to getting your daily dose of vegetables as well. Recent research has shown that, aside from being an essential cornerstone of a healthy diet, vegetables also give us a psychological boost! Professor Andrew Oswald has spoken of this immediate added benefit of eating vegetables and fruit by saying, “it boosts our happiness far more quickly than it improves human health.”[7]

    If you are a veggie fan, there are huge amounts of creative ways out there to treat yourself to a variety of vegetarian dishes that will have you satisfied for months. However, with research suggesting that a majority of people don’t eat the recommended daily intake of 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables, another great way to reach the recommended amount is to incorporate more vegetables creatively, rather than relying simply on a side serving with each main meal.[8] Add some tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach to your morning omelettes or chopped basil to your bagel spread, for example. Adding small amounts throughout the day can go a long way!

    It’s never too late to adapt your diet to help you have a healthier veggie-filled lifestyle! Here are a few recipes to help you get started:

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    Easy and Healthy Lentil Soup

      via My Mommy Style

      Balsamic Soy Roasted Garlic Mushrooms

        via Closet Cooking

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        Vegetable Udon Stir Fry

          via Cilantro and Cintronella

          So, get a good night’s sleep, eat plenty of veggies, calm those fidgety hands, but also make sure to get your sweat on. You’re much more likely to have a comfortable winter, focusing on the important things in life rather than reaching for your handkerchief!

          Featured photo credit: Style404.com via style404.com

          Reference

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          Christopher Young

          Freelance Blogger, Writer and Journalist

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          Last Updated on July 10, 2020

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

          We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

          So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

          Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

          What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

          Boundaries are limits

          —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

          Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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          Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

          Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

          Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

          How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

          Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

          1. Self-Awareness Comes First

          Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

          You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

          To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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          You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

          • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
          • When do you feel disrespected?
          • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
          • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
          • When do you want to be alone?
          • How much space do you need?

          You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

          2. Clear Communication Is Essential

          Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

          Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

          3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

          Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

          That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

          Sample language:

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          • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
          • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
          • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
          • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
          • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
          • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
          • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

          Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

          4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

          Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

          Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

          Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

          We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

          It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

          It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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          Final Thoughts

          Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

          Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

          Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

          The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

          Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

          Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

          They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

          Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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