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WELLNESS

Everyday Habits that are Secretly Harming Your Health

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● Revenge bedtime procrastination, doomscrolling and toxic positivity – these habits are more harmful to your wellbeing than you think.
● Find out what they are and how to fix them so you can live happier and healthier.

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Your daily routines may be more harmful to your health and mental wellbeing than you realise, and what you think you’re doing to get more out of the day might be harming you instead. It’s never too late to fix these bad habits, though – and you’ll find yourself with more time to sleep, a better mood and a sharper mind.

Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

What is it? The hours you spend staying up late even when you know you should be sleeping, “just because”. It isn’t because you have something important to do – you just don’t want to end the day.

Why do we do it? We try to compensate mentally for time lost to daytime duties. Due to distractions, busy schedules, or a lack of discipline, we often fail to make time for the things we enjoy, resulting in a fear of not maximising our day as bedtime approaches.

How to fix it: It comes down to prioritising me-time and practising good sleep hygiene:
• Schedule time for hobbies and social media early in the evening – add a calendar reminder if that helps.
• Stick to a regular bedtime routine even on weekends.
• At bedtime, wind down with softer lighting to help your body produce melatonin (the sleep hormone).
• Keep your phone away from the bed. Instead, read a book to tire your eyes and mind.

Doomscrolling

What is it? When you find yourself scrolling endlessly online – and mindlessly reading bad news.

Why do we do it? When it comes to consuming information, we are more likely to fixate on bad news. It’s why we react more strongly to criticism than praise, and this comes down to our instinct to scan for danger. During difficult times, knowledge is comforting, and so we doomscroll, searching for answers to our worries.

How to fix it: Try limiting your screen time intentionally and replace this habit with something that makes you feel good:
• Set a specific time to check the news and social media – and stick to it! Instagram has a handy feature that will alert you when you’ve been scrolling for a certain period.
• Apps like Cleverest also help reduce screen time by monitoring your usage.
• Divert your attention to a new hobby, being active or catching up with others.

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Care about your wellbeing?
Read The Mag’s WELLNESS stories for more tips.
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Toxic Positivity

What is it? In short, it’s pretending everything’s OK when it isn’t. You’re forcing yourself or someone else to stay positive no matter what, which can be harmful as it rejects negative, yet very real emotions.

Why do we do it? At best, it’s the dark side of the “good vibes only” mindset. At worst, it causes you to feel guilty about negative emotions and prevents you from seeking support. It may come from a place of good intentions; denying our true feelings; or simply not knowing what to say to someone who is suffering.

How to fix it: The key is to validate negative feelings rather than marginalising them:
• Start by changing your language: instead of saying “just look on the bright side” or “others have it worse than you/me”, say “that’s terrible, but I’m here for you” or “it’s okay to feel bad sometimes”.
• Limit time on social media to avoid false positivity and focus instead on working on yourself.
• If you’re really struggling, consider speaking to a counsellor for support.
Need more ideas on how to boost your mental health? Try these expert tips for calming anxiety, tailored to different personality types.
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