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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 December 9, 2019

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

          Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

          Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

          1. Get Rationally Optimistic

          Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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          This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

          In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

          The result: no more mental stress.

          2. Unplug

          Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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          How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

          It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

          Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

          3. Easy on the Caffeine

          Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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          Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

          4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

          That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

          How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

          • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
          • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
          • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

          While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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          5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

          This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

          The result: mental stress will be gone!

          So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

          More to Help You Feel Relaxed

          Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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