Let’s Talk about Good Habits

Good habits lead to being happy, and healthy, and reaching your goals for life.  Everyone has habits, and please understand that I do too.  I have good habits, and bad habits, that I’m working on.  In working on myself and working with others, there seems to be a few basic habits to talk about.  I don’t want to get into focusing on habits that have two opposing camps, but I do want to talk about developing healthy habits that lead to a happy lifestyle.

Let’s talk first about sleep.   Getting a good night sleep is really important and can lead to many things, including doing well in school, getting a good job, and being happy with your life.  Not getting enough sleep can lead to a bad attitude, poor stress management,  health issues, and conflicts in relationships.  On the other hand, too much sleep can also lead down wrong path.  If you feel that you have been sleeping too much or not enough, or your family is concerned, see your doctor to rule out medical issues that may be related.  More sleep is recommended for kids and teens, but generally 8 hours of sleep for adults is usually what’s quoted.  Now I understand that some people don’t need that much, and others need more, but 8 hours as a general rule, and then listen to your body for the rest of the story.  If you wake up still tired, you are having trouble sleeping.

Now, let’s move on to the next thing, eating well.  I am the first to admit that I could eat better.  I love sweets, but I am also aware that I should not eat too many in a week.  I have times when I go hog wild!  And other times where I stay away, but trying to eat healthy every day is a goal.  Using portion control, understanding product labels, and knowing how to put foods together is an art.  I’m still working on the art, but there are a lot of people out there who are doing it better than I.  Eating three meals a day is important for me.  I shouldn’t snack as I do, but I always eat breakfast, lunch and dinner (with an eye on portions).  I try not to eat after about 6 at night, especially junk food, but I have to admit that I do on occasion.

Another good habit is exercise.  As a therapist, I sit all day.  If I didn’t try, I would take steps back and forth to the waiting room, and that would be it.  I have started to try to get outside, at least once a day, even if it is just to walk around the parking lot.  It helps clear my head and keeps me better on task.  I try to stretch more often in my office between patients, and when I get home I try to walk during the week.  My goal is 30 minutes, at least 4 times a week.  Living in Florida, I can walk year around, so that works for me.  When I lived up north, I went to the mall to walk.  I really liked that, and got to know some of the other mall walkers.  It was also a way to change my perspective (just getting out of the house), something that I really need now and then.

For me, these seem like the basic good habits that help me stay focused.  When my kids were younger, focusing on these three things was so much harder.  Now, we have rough nights now and then, especially is someone is sick, but nothing like before.  Recently, the sleeping thing went out the window when the aid conditioning broke, then with Hurricane Irma,  but I tried to get to bed early to try to catch up after those events, even a little.  I may not do all these things well, all the time, but I think about them and do the best I can.  What are your good habits?  Are they working for you?  Do they help you feel better?  If you need to work on good habits, take a walk, and see if you can change your perspective.  It will be worth the trip.