Seemingly Harmless Habits That Make Your Day Way More Stressful

Stress has a way of creeping up on you and affecting your entire day. You could be stressed about one thing, and it somehow creates trouble in other areas of your life. Ever have an argument with your boss that causes you to come home cranky and snap at your partner? Consequently, the anxiety of your workday brings you stress in your personal relationships, too.

Here are five seemingly harmless habits that make your day way more stressful.

1. Eating an unbalanced diet

Man eating a burger

Eating a poor diet will eventually catch up to you and add stress to your life. | Kzenon/iStock/Getty Images Plus

When you have the option of choosing a bowl of salad or a tasty cheeseburger with a side of crispy French fries, it can be hard to resist the tastier option. We all eat a less-than-ideal diet from time to time. Sometimes, the day can get so busy that all you have time for is a bag of potato chips and a soda. It’s not the best option, but it tides you over until you can get home and eat a real meal. However, eating a poor diet will eventually catch up to you and add unneeded stress to your life.

Why it makes your day stressful

man in kitchen holding help sign

When you consistently don’t eat the right foods, you won’t feel your best. | iStock

What you eat (or don’t eat) can have a significant impact on your overall physical and mental health. It’s necessary to eat a diet that includes a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables, plenty of water, dairy, protein, and some fat. Once you clean up your diet and commit to eating food that is good for your mind and body, you’ll start to feel better. In fact, some foods can actually help lower your stress. Salmon, for example, is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce stress hormones and may even contribute to the prevention of heart disease and depression.  

2. Overthinking

sad woman in front of computer

Try not to get into the habit of ruminating. | iStock.com/anyaberkut

When something bad happens to you, do you spend most of the week thinking about it constantly? Do you go over what went wrong and focus on how you could have made things right? It’s not uncommon to think about a moment that didn’t go well. However, when you start to get in the habit of going over a certain event obsessively, this can start to impact you in a negative way.

Margarita Tartakovsky, an editor and contributor for Psych Central, said this act is called ruminating. 

Why it makes your day stressful

 woman sitting at cafe

Resist the urge to keep revisiting negative events. | iStock.com/m-imagephotography

Ruminating can wear you down. It’s mentally exhausting to keep replaying negative events. “Research has shown that rumination is associated with a variety of negative consequences, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, binge-drinking and binge-eating,” warned Tartakovsky.

There’s a difference between trying to problem-solve and punishing yourself for something you felt you didn’t handle well. Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and you’re no exception.

3. Being late

Businesswoman taking off shoes

Arriving late is a habit that can be hard to break. | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

Do you have difficulty getting places on time? You might think arriving a few minutes late is no big deal, but it can start to become a problem if it’s not addressed early. Arriving late is a habit that can be hard to break. Once you start getting to places after your appointed time, it becomes easy to continue on that path. If you’re starting to notice lateness is becoming a problem, it’s time to explore why you’re always tardy and look for ways to improve. It could be as simple as leaving a few minutes earlier, making a to-do list, or even adjusting all your clocks so they’re ahead of time.

Why it makes your day stressful

woman checking her watch on her wrist

Work on your problem with lateness before it ruins your relationships. | iStock.com/iprogressman

Lateness can affect the way people view you and can lead to strained relationships at work and even in your personal life. If you’re always arriving to work late or you’re usually late for outings with friends and family, the person waiting on the other end might start to think you don’t care very much.

Work on this problem now so you can save yourself a lot of heartache later on.

 4. Not taking breaks

Woman taking a break in a chair

It’s important to get up and take breaks so you can clear your mind. | Sam Edwards/OJO Images/Getty Images

You probably think staying at your desk all day is the best way to get your work done, but it can actually slow you down and cause you to make mistakes. Your co-workers might brag about marathon work sessions, but the quality of their work is likely not very good. It’s important to get up and take breaks so you can clear your mind. Lunch and coffee breaks should be a regular part of your work routine.

Why it makes your day stressful

Tired overworked freelancer working with a laptop

Sitting all day not only limits your creativity but also puts your health at risk. | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

Productivity dips when you don’t give yourself an adequate break. When you’re not productive, your work suffers. This will have a domino effect and eventually cause you to have trouble with the boss, and consequently a ton of work stress.

Sitting all day not only limits your creativity but also puts your health at risk. Health experts have found that sitting at your desk for long periods of time can lead to blood clots. And trying to successfully manage a career while you’re chronically ill can add additional layers of stress to your life.

5. Skimping on sleep

man in bed

It’s important to get enough sleep each day so your body can repair itself. | iStock.com

If you’re often falling asleep during the day, it’s time to improve your sleep hygiene. Life can be hectic, so you might stay up late to finish a project or get up early to get a head start. However, despite your best efforts, your actions may start to have a negative impact. It’s important to get enough sleep each day so your body can repair itself and recover from the wear-and-tear of daily life.

Why it makes your day stressful

Tired businesswoman

Skimping on sleep can cause you to have accidents, impair your judgment, and even gain weight. | iStock.com/Poike

Just like skipping breaks, sleep deprivation can affect your performance. It’s hard to be your best when you don’t feel rested. Skimping on sleep can cause you to have accidents, impair your judgment, and even gain weight, said the experts at WebMD. Sounds pretty stressful, doesn’t it?

Furthermore, not sleeping enough isn’t good for your health. Chronic sleep deprivation can result in lowered immunity, increased blood pressure, diabetes, and even heart problems. Make sure to get at least six to eight hours of sleep a night so you can be in top condition.

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