HEALTH +WELLNESS

WHAT’S YOUR VICE?

I wake up each day looking forward to my warm cup of coffee from my little red Keurig. It’s part of my morning routine. I take my coffee with a splash of almond milk and caramel creamer, but before I drink it I always close my eyes and inhale that warm, rich aroma. Ahhhhh! I look out the window to see if the sun is shining or if it’s a cloudy day. I listen to the birds sing. I savor those few seconds, then BAM! A child screams, a phone rings, or I hear a loud thud coming from the second floor where there’s a Fortnite battle in progress, never fails. My mind immediately snaps back to reality…back to quarantine, to working from home, to keeping the kids entertained, to negative news reports, to not browsing my favorite stores, to not traveling, to not really enjoying the summer, to the fear of my family getting sick, to the fear of where the world is headed. Heavy right? Very!

These are uncertain times that have many of us worried about our present circumstances as well as our future. These worries can cause us to feel hopeless or like me, extra anxious and cause us to rely on unhealthy habits for relief. Regardless, we must all strive to live a good happy life despite what’s going on around us. Some things are out of our control but we can control how we allow things to make us feel. Do your best to hang in there, be mindful of your habits, and stay motivated!

Hang In There

We all have fears and worries brought on by this new way of life. My message is simple, just hang in there. I’m certain there is something you lean on to get by, make it through the day, feel less or more of a feeling, help you out of bed, help you go to sleep, have something to look forward to, or help you through unbearable times. Times like…NOW!

That something could be a healthy coping mechanism like exercising or a hobby you enjoy. Unfortunately, we don’t always choose the best ways to cope which may include indulging in vices like drugs, alcohol, smoking, and unhealthy eating. It’s easy to slip into a dark hole of habits that aren’t necessarily good for us just to feel a little relief. I mean some people are truly struggling especially my friends who live alone. What exactly is a vice?

Immoral conduct, fault, shortcoming, a bad habit, defect

If your feel embarrassed about having vices, don’t. Even under normal life circumstances many us like to partake in activities that take the edge off. Maybe you enjoy drinking beer after work or smoking cigars. Personally I love a cold glass of sweet wine. But my real vice is sugar. Is there rehab for sugar addiction? Sign me up please! Seriously with many of us working from home it’s easy to overindulge in things that make us feel better.

Over the last few months I’ve had to call several companies to handle personal matters. I won’t name these well known businesses but I’ve spoken to at least 3 tipsy customer service agents during quarantine. These agents were from my bank, mortgage company, and insurance company. By the way it was very early in the day! Granted they were extra friendly and helpful but it was easy to tell they had a special boost that morning. I hope those calls aren’t picked for quality assurance or training purposes. 😆

Be Mindful

To be honest almost anything can be considered a vice as long as there are people who view the behavior as bad. For example, I enjoy sleeping in late which could be looked at as a shortcoming. Lots of people frown upon not waking up early because you appear to be lazy and unproductive. Trust I’m working on it and I believe there is room for improvement.

My beloved coffee could even be looked at as a vice. However, I’m more concerned with vices that can have a profound negative effect on someone’s life. Chain smoking, excessive drinking especially during work hours, or taking more medicine than prescribed by the doctor falls into that category.

You must be mindful of your daily activities and habits while spending more time at home. Not paying attention could cause you to spiral out of control jeopardizing your family, job, and overall health. I can do better myself especially with limiting comfort foods and increasing activity. I’m aware and making plans to choose healthier habits.

Stay Motivated

During these difficult times I understand how easy it can be to lean on unhealthy habits to feel better. This can stem from stress and even boredom. Yes, I have vices that temporarily help me relieve stress. I think we all do, some are healthy others not so much. Fortunately, there are several things we can do instead of overindulging in our sweet vices.

1. Develop a routine and stick to it! Having a routine can prevent you from turning to bad habits out of boredom and help you stay productive throughout the day. Plan out a morning routine, work day routine, and evening routine. Follow it everyday!

2. Don’t tempt yourself. Leave the wine and beer at the store until the weekend if you feel tempted to drink during the day. If you’re a smoker try to quit or take your smoke breaks at home the same way you would if you were at the office.

3. Stay active and present. Being occupied keeps your mind busy. Remember those routines in number 1? Also, be present and fully engaged in each task.

4. Talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Call a friend or family member. It can be a good distraction plus it feels good catching up with loved ones. The ones you actually like.

Final Thought

Hanging in there is easier said than done. Stress can weigh heavy on you and leave you feeling like there is no way out. However, you must fight the urge to overindulge in unhealthy coping mechanisms. Relief is only temporary. Do your best to find better ways to deal with negative feelings. Talking to a friend or family member and staying active are ways that can help.

Being mindful of your daily habits can help you keep yourself in check. Make plans to change any behaviors you feel could be holding you back from greatness. Most importantly stay motivated to continue doing better. Changing bad habits is hard and any small thing can push you off track. This is life, expect that to happen but get right back up and continue giving it your all!