Health often seems like an alien concept, intended for people with too much time on their hands. Practice yoga, exercise hard, eat green, be lean, and so on. The advice is never-ending. It's more than a little difficult to follow, thanks to us leading lives with barely a second to think.
However, taking care of your health needn't be a gargantuan undertaking. Monitoring the little things we do almost automatically throughout the day can lead to big changes. So, being your friendly neighbourhood services app, we compiled a list of 6 bad habits that you can easily work on to lead a better life.
1) LIVING IN THE FAST FOOD LANE
Is your diet largely composed of junk food? If yes, it might be time to give up the goods. We know it's easy to get caught up in the fun of ordering in at work like almost everyone else, or to chase the memory of the taste of a dish. While you might save time and energy on cooking something yourself, you can end up feeling lazy and tired after.
What you can do: We've got some good news for you -- taste does not come at the price of health. Craving a tub full of salty fries with ketchup and iced Coke? Try carrot fries instead. Coat carrot sticks with olive oil, salt and pepper; bake them in a super-hot oven until they are nice and crispy. Delicious! Must have potatoes? Give a try to sliced potatoes grilled in olive oil, with salt and pepper. You can check out Jamie Oliver's recipes for roasted potatoes here. Definitely not as greasy as French fries and just as delicious. Team these with lemonade or a glass of chilled lemon tea.
Fancy a dessert? Slice some watermelon, add salt, pepper and honey and top it off with a smidgeon of ice-cream.
2) STAYING GLUED TO YOUR LAPTOP OR SMARTPHONE
We know it's easy to get lost in the wonderful world of your laptop or smartphone, whether it's to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones (in which case, we completely understand) or work on an Excel sheet of the latest numbers (we feel you). But staying glued to a screen for hours and hours can be bad for you in the long term.
What you can do: Take tiny breaks from your device. Get a glass of water, walk up to a co-worker, discuss a project in person and give your eyes some much-needed respite. Look up from your laptop occasionally and perform simple eye exercises. Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing your eyes as if falling asleep (very slowly). Or look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds. Both these exercises can help you reduce the strain on your eyes considerably.
The evils of working too long on your laptop do not end here. Sitting at the same place while working on your laptop can also affect your posture adversely (we've all paid the price for enjoying those marathon sessions of Friends). An hour of yoga in the day can help you correct this
3) SAYING 'YES' TO EVERYTHING
Saying yes to everything under the Sun may sound like the right thing to do, but it's not. It can be tempting to fall into the trap and we've been there. You'll end up doing everything and yet feel like you've not done anything at all. The worst part? You'll spend your day embroiled in a thousand things and will not find time for your own job.
What you can do: Say no sometimes. Your health is your priority and second to none. Does saying yes to many mundane tasks mean that you'll have to take work home? Simply say no. If you're a polite person whose soul cringes at the very thought of bluntly saying no to people, ask them to come back at a relatively less busy time. Be a little selfish and value your own time because no one else will until you do.
4) USING COFFEE AS A CURE-ALL
Yes, coffee might seem like the cure for all maladies, no matter how simple or severe their nature. From hangovers to headaches, late nights to long days -- it seems coffee is to your life what 42 is to the universe. You're wrong. Coffee, like all things in life, is good in reasonable proportions. Consuming more than four cups of coffee a day can cause multiple adverse effects. Think insomnia, nervousness, irritability, upset stomach and muscle tremors.
What you can do: Did you know coffee's flavour is mostly due to the aroma generated when you roast coffee beans? Keep a jar of coffee beans around and take a whiff every now and then. You avoid the side-effects of coffee while enjoying its flavour, and what more do we need? As an alternative, you should drink lots of water -- need we mention the many benefits of drinking water? If yes, read on!
5) SIPPING EVERYTHING BUT WATER
It's easy to forget to drink water throughout the day, whether you're at home or at work. It might seem a trivial mistake to make, but unfortunately, it's not, especially in the rising heat. Not drinking enough water can cause dehydration, dizziness, nausea, constipation and chemical imbalance in your body.
What you can do: Consume foods which have a lot of fluids in them. Eat juicy fruits such as watermelons, muskmelons, cucumbers and drink lots and lots of water! It refreshes you to the extent of improving your mood (even mild dehydration can make you grumpy), prevents headaches, and keeps you focused. Most importantly, drinking a chilled glass of water is manna from heaven when the sweltering heat is on!
6. YOU SLEEP ONLY FOR A FEW HOURS
While this might seem like a good idea in your quest for success, staying up late and waking up early can have adverse effects on your health in the long term. Think burnout, migraines, perpetual exhaustion and insomnia -- none of which are particularly enjoyable. A lack of sleep can also lower your immunity significantly, leaving you without protection from a million and one diseases.
What you can do: Take out a couple of hours and sketch out a rough plan for the week for yourself. This will help you manage your time better so that you can finish work in the time that you are in the office. Later, when you reach home, you can get a sufficient amount of sleep. Getting at least six hours of sleep is conducive to improved thought processes, creative ideas and enhanced productivity!
Overall, it might seem that having a high-power career oriented job comes at a price. We're here to tell you it's not true. You can lead the life you wish to, no matter what your profession or how busy your schedule. Go for a jog or run a marathon. Practice yoga daily. A simple hour-long yoga session in the morning can be enough to help you stay clearheaded the entire day and make you happy. A big breakfast, followed by consecutively smaller meals in the day can help you stay focused and put in your best efforts during the day.
Ultimately, it's all about how we do things that decides the quality of our lives. Our suggestion? Give this lifestyle a try. Thousands of people are doing it every day so it can't be all that hard.