Who hasn’t heard of pop star sensation Ed Sheeran?! One of Ed’s newest singles “Bad Habits” is an absolute earworm. It got us to thinking that the song itself would be the perfect background music to help visualise some of our views in a TikTok video – all about the bad habits that we think are damaging your mental health (yes, we’re on TikTok now!)

Just in case you haven’t joined the rest of the millennials yet or for further context, here are the bad habits that you need to consider and overcome – with some tips to help. There could be some on this list that you might be doing every day; you may not even realise that they are taking a real toll and having a detrimental effect on your mental health – harbouring potential feelings of anxiety, low mood or depression.

  1. Lack of sleep

Whether it’s the early commute to work, cramming in an extra hour of study time for that next exam, or wanting to steal away as much time in the evening as possible to finish the next episode on the latest TV show that you’re hooked on – a lot of us have this bad habit of going to bed very late and getting up very early to accommodate our lives.

It’s super important to work on getting at least 7 hours of sleep a day, which will help combat feelings of grumpiness in the day and feel more like yourself. To gain energy on less sleep, we find that many of us will likely eat more, which will knock your self-esteem and confidence.

  • Don’t drink caffeinated drinks too late – it’s a stimulant
  • Don’t be on your phone, tablet, or blue screen too late – the blue light in our devices affects the hormone that make us sleepy
  • Don’t engage in stressful situations too late in the evening
  1. Not enough time for yourself

Despite all of us recently being in lockdown and enjoying our own company more, people still struggle to find time on their own, doing something that they enjoy themselves. Finding that “me-time” can help improve concentration in many other aspects of life and also increase creativity – effectively giving your brain a reboot.

  • Make time to get some daylight every day – particularly between the hours of 12pm and 2pm
  • Do something just for you, even if it’s only for just 15 minutes a day
  1. Keeping toxic people out of your life

We all need to consider the relationships we have, because if there are any toxic individuals in your life, they are bound to rub off on you. We can’t help but acquire the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of the people we spend the most time with. Consider the mobile phone test – is the caller’s name “a dragger”, making you sigh and feeling fearful to pick up the phone and speak to them?

  • Keep them at arm’s length *or further*
  1. Bottling things up

There is so much to be said about a problem shared and offloading a burden on the people you love and trust the most. We often fester worries and negative sentiment in our mind, and like a pressure cooker – the more things you put in there and the longer it’s in there, the pressure builds.

  • Speak out to feel better
  • Note things down on paper to give a feeling of relief
  1. Procrastination

Let’s be honest – we have all been guilty of this at some time in our lives! Ultimately the main reason why we should all avoid procrastinating is the effect it has on our mental health – it can potentially make us feel guilty, worthless, or useless. Moreover, the longer we leave what we have to do, the more overwhelmed we feel and the further we retreat into the background and isolate ourselves from our friends and the world.

  • Write just three tasks a day on a to-do list – and maybe two more that you hope to complete – however just aim for completion on only three tasks a day. Make sure you tick what you complete. It feels amazing!
  1. Too much time on social media

We all understand the importance of social media, especially in this day and age – in order to ensure we connect and keep in touch with long-lost friends and family. However, spending too much time on your socials can make you feel low and even inadequate, garnering feelings of loneliness.

  • Don’t check our social media accounts first thing in the morning when you wake up – allow time to engage in a few other things before you enter the virtual world
  • Be mindful and more selective of who you’re following – who you allow to be present in your thoughts and your world
  1. No exercise

We should all create the habit of movement. Exercise doesn’t have to be going to the gym or engaging in some relentless class – it can be anything you would like it to be, as long as you’re on your feet (or hands)! Feel-good hormones will surge, it’ll help you to sleep more – it’s also a brilliant distraction.

  • Find a bit of time to be active anywhere you can, even in the unlikeliest of places. Eva’s example – vacuuming around the house!

For a little more help and encouragement to make a few more positive changes to your life, listen to our podcast Making The Change.