How do you define wellness? Is it physical fitness, mental fortitude, emotional awareness, or a strong social life? Is it a combination of all four of these aspects? There are plenty of ways to define a state of health, and it can vary based on who it pertains to.
One thing that everyone can agree on is that health does not happen by accident. You cannot make zero effort and expect to experience wellness in any of those categories, let alone all of them. You can’t achieve physical fitness without exercise and a good diet. Similarly, mental and emotional health is nigh impossible if you invest nothing in ways to promote them. Without making plans, you cannot have strong social engagement with others.
The bottom line is that achieving and maintaining health requires behavior changes of some kind. The first thing that you might think about is what habits need to be added to your routine to reach your goals. But just as important is what you decide to reduce or cut out of your life. Here are five habits that could be damaging your health and hampering your efforts to attain wellness.
1. Social Media Use
Social media platforms have infiltrated much of everyday life. Personal connections, social calendars, child-rearing, and even work functions are now heavily integrated with the use of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and others. Research has found that there is a strong connection between social media use and health issues that are both mental and physical.
It creates a massive need for approval and comparison, leading to many feeling depressed after spending long hours engaged on these platforms. Plus, it can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle. To protect both your physical and mental health now and in the future, consider reducing time spent on social media.
2. Irregular Sleep Patterns
Sleep is a crucial aspect of every part of your health. When you are not getting an adequate amount, or it is happening irregularly, your physical and mental health can suffer. But it can also affect your work life and social health, making you less alert and more irritable. Using screens late at night when you need to get up early is a very unhealthy pattern. If you can establish a consistent rhythm of bedtime and when to wake up, your body will respond positively.
3. Using Supplements for Major Nutritional Needs
It is not uncommon for people to assume that supplements that provide certain vitamins and minerals can act as a replacement for skipping certain food groups. This could not be further from the truth. They are called “supplements” for a reason, as in they should only be supplemental to a balanced diet. If you rely on these products to make up for gaps in your diet, then your cells will not be receiving the supply of nutrients that they need to function well.
As a result, your health could be suffering. Instead, focus on building a diet routine that includes all of the major food groups and reduces the number of sugars and unhealthy fats. Then, you can take a vitamin or mineral supplement to further promote cellular health on top of what real foods can do.
4. Taking Hot Showers
Hot showers may be relaxing, especially during the cold months, but they are not great for your skin. When you spend a long time exposed to these higher temperatures, the natural oils in your skin get stripped away. This makes moisture retention much more difficult, resulting in dry skin patches. Even though a hot shower can feel amazing and relax your mood, the skin damage may not be worth it. Instead, adjust the temperature down to a lukewarm setting which can still be relaxing without hurting your skin health.
5. Spending Too Much Time Alone
The last several years have seen an uptick in mental health concerns, and much of the reason is due to social isolation. To thrive, most people need to experience consistent and genuine connections with other humans. Even though it can add to an already busy schedule, or maybe you have concerns about catching a sickness, planning social engagements with others could be critical to your long-term social, emotional, and mental health, which in turn will affect your physical well-being too.
What Else Could be Hurting Your Well-Being?
These five concerns are not the only factors that could be damaging your health. There are endless other habits that may act as a setback on your journey toward wellness. When you think about the activities and behaviors that you engage in consistently, perhaps it is time to consider how they are affecting you. While some may have a positive effect on your health, others could be doing serious damage to your physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being.
Take some time to reflect on your daily routines and do the necessary research to find out how you can best support your health goals by reducing certain practices or cutting them out completely.