We know that there are lots of people who would like to leave 2020 behind them as the New Year starts. Many of us may also be looking forward to adding new healthy habits to our routines in 2021. But, if adding more responsibility to your plate seems overwhelming, there may be another way to approach your New Year’s resolutions. You can leave unhealthy habits behind you! Here are some suggestions for unhealthy habits to leave in 2020 so you can enjoy the coming year to the fullest.
Many New Year’s resolutions focus on diet,because of the unhealthy habits we form around food that affect our overall health. Here’s one habit that you can ditch to make a big impact on your wellness in the coming year: eating mindlessly. This could mean something different depending on the person. Eating mindlessly could be snacking around the clock, or not considering the health value of your daily meals. Evaluate your eating habits to see if there are any times you eat without putting much thought into what you’re consuming. Then, put some structure around that habit. For example, if you snack on chips and accidentally eat the entire bag in one sitting, try putting some chips in a bowl, then putting the bag away. That way, you’ve portioned out a reasonable amount and given some thought to the healthy habits you are working towards.
Scrolling Social Media
People in older generations might critique “kids these days,” for always being on their phones, but it’s likely they have a social media habit, too! Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and many more social media apps are designed to beg for our attention, and they often get it. The constant stream of information acts like a slow-drip of dopamine, giving our brain a shot of “feel-good” chemicals any time we see a funny video or get a comment on a photo. This leads to feeling reliant on our smartphones to be happy, and can contribute to depression about the world beyond the screen. Practice putting your phone down more often this year, or uninstall apps that occupy your time in an unhealthy way. You’ll get so much more time to accomplish all the things you’re watching others do on your feed!
Working Through Lunch
For anyone who has worked at home during the pandemic, this bad habit might be extra hard to break. With the boundaries of work and home flipped on their heads, it could be difficult to set boundaries around taking breaks. But even in a more traditional work environment, working through times that are supposed to be restful deprives your mind from important pauses that you need in order to focus. If you worry that you’re not being productive when you step outside for a 5-minute walk, or when you enjoy lunch away from your desk, let those fears go this year. Productivity studies have shown that short breaks throughout the day actually contribute to people’s work experience, keeping them alert and less distractible when they are focusing on their tasks at hand.
A major source of stress in most families is financial worries. This year, take a break from endless credit card debt and limit your spending to help your mental health. Just like one suggestion we gave was to stop mindlessly eating, you can also work on ending a mindless shopping habit. If you use shopping as a way to stay occupied, think about what you might want to do with your time, instead. You could take an online course to learn something new for work, dive into your current hobbies, or spend quality time with your family. Sometimes we overspend when trying to stay ahead of current trends, as well. If having the latest gadgets or fashion is important to you, make a list of purchases that are a priority for you this year, such as upgrading your phone or buying a new coat. Stick to that list for the year, until it’s time to make a new one. That way you’ll still enjoy new items, but impulse purchases won’t drain your bank account.
We live in stressful times, there’s no way to deny it. But just because a situation is stressful doesn’t mean we can’t try to relax. When life doesn’t want to give you a chance to slow down, sometimes you have to purposefully set aside some time for yourself. This year, make it a resolution to schedule regular times to relax, decompress, and get away from your obligations for a few hours. It might seem ironic to schedule time to relax, but if you don’t plan for some downtime, our calendars can fill up before we know it! Giving yourself some “me” time will make you a better family member, friend, and employee because you’ll be rested and recharged for another day!