When we think of spring cleaning, we usually think of getting rid of tatty winter clothing and chipped dishes. But at Zeel, we like to think of spring as an opportunity to shed old habits that aren’t helping us and introduce new ones in their place.
Keep in mind that starting and keeping a new habit takes more patience than tossing expired canned goods. One well-known 2009 study found that creating a new habit takes the average person anywhere from 18 days to a whopping 254 days (66 days being about average).
But don’t be discouraged. You don’t need to commit 100% to your new habits – making even small, steady changes can add up. Before you know it, you’ll be flossing or rock climbing like a champ.
If you drink too much soda…
Apologies to the Diet Coke fans out there, but soda is not good for you. The full-calorie versions contain lots of high fructose corn syrup (one of the unhealthiest things you can put in your body, aside from things like cyanide and nail filings), the carbonation may weaken bones, and the diet versions are chock full of chemicals that might or might not cause cancer.
Consider drinking water
Water is the best alternative to soda. It’s a nutrient (after all, our bodies are two-thirds water). Water helps the body get rid of toxins, keeps your skin smooth, and boosts muscle performance.
If you’re not ready to switch straight from Pepsi to H2O, consider drinking seltzer or flavoring your water with lemon juice or a little coconut water. Some fruits, like watermelon, are also great sources of water.
If you stay up too late…
Insomnia is the bane of the modern age. You’re probably doing dozens of things that keep you up at night, from keeping your cell phone next to your bed, to eating and drinking right before bedtime, to using rock-hard pillows.
Go to bed much earlier
Productive types swear by the new 9 to 5 – going to bed at 9 pm and getting up by 5 am. Getting a good night’s sleep means a stronger immune system, less irritability, and enhanced productivity.
If 9 pm is a bridge too far, start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier than you normally do. Help yourself get to sleep by drinking soothing chamomile tea, taking a hot bath, or playing relaxing music.
If you’re a workaholic…
If you’re always “too busy” to do anything that’s not work-related, you’re doing yourself no favors. Working too many hours and ignoring self-care and time with friends and family can actually make you less productive over time. Plus, isolation from social networks is unhealthy too.
Take a vacation
Americans don’t take nearly enough time off. Schedule a vacation for yourself and take it. It might be tough not to check in at work on your cellphone, but do your best!
If the mere prospect of spending a full week out of touch with the office makes you nervous, start small by building time for yourself into your schedule. Spend at least one weekday evening with friends. Get a massage. (It’s easy to get into the massage habit with a massage membership like Zeel’s.) Take a class for enjoyment, not work.
Marcy is the SVP of People and Communications at Zeel. In addition to overseeing the humans of Zeel, Marcy has written about workplace topics for more than 20 years both at Zeel and as VP of Content for Vault.com, a career information web site and publisher.