Whitney Stuart MCN, RDN, is a board-certified dietitian-nutritionist, diabetic educator and award-winning Whole30 Certified Coach. She holds a “real food first” approach through her holistic practice, Whitness Nutrition, which offers full spectrum nutritional assessment, corporate wellness challenges and seminars. Here, she gets real about the self-care habits you should ditch.
It’s the first month of the new year and you’re feeling absolutely jazzed about new intentions. But before you get in too deep and start filling your planner with all sorts of personal goals, consider setting time aside for self-care. The only problem? Some trendy self-care routines may actually be detrimental to your health. Yep, you read that right. Find out which habits you should nix in favor of their beneficial counterparts.
5 Self-Care Habits You Should Ditch
A Weekly Girls’ Night Out
If your main 2019 resolution is to improve your health, the weekly ladies’ wine night will stop all progress in its tracks. Liquid calories, especially those in the form of excess alcohol, slow fat loss and muscle growth. Transition those Friday night giggle fits into a non-food/drink-related get-together. Can you meet for a Saturday A.M. walk instead? Or perhaps a monogramming class? Research shows you are likely to be as healthy as those you surround yourself with. If you’re struggling to improve your health, take a hard look at those weekly meet-ups. And ask yourself: Are they drowning in martinis? Margaritas? Skip the glass and hit the dance floor. Salsa lessons have become our monthly favorite. Talk about a great way to bond!
Your Weekly Manicure
Polished nails are a game-changer and can provide you with instant confidence. But if treating yourself to a fresh manicure requires you to drop $50 every week, it may be time to switch up your routine. Is your 2019 intention to pay off that growing student debt? Consider a more economical long-term self-care move. Pick up rose cuticle oil, a fast-drying clear coat, and a nail file from your local pharmacy for a DIY session. Put part of the money you save toward your #1 financial goal and the rest toward a monthly deep-tissue massage. It’s a win-win to your wallet and your muscles.
Your Two-a-Day Workouts
It’s 8 A.M. and you’ve already gone to boot camp class, taken a shower, and made breakfast before hitting the daily office grind. After work, you hit another class that your ripped co-worker can’t stop raving about. By the time you’ve showered (again), grabbed dinner, and finished up late-night emails, it’s 11 P.M. and you’re ready to start over.
Hold up. Sleeping for six hours after heavy exercise isn’t enough time for your body to fully rest, rejuvenate and repair itself. Chronically, this routine will actually increase your cortisol levels, likely prohibiting you from seeing those physical changes you desire. When your body feels physically stressed, it’s unwilling to give up its fat storage until it finds a more comfortable state. Looking to increase your exercise? Sounds great! Just aim for 7-8 hours of restful sleep first. Throw in some adequate hydration and balanced meals and you’ll see the results you’ve always wanted with just one workout a day. Bonus: less may actually be more, as new exercise guidelines show that 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week meets JAMA guidelines for a healthy heart and body.
An Absolutely Sedentary Rest Day
You burned the candle at both ends all week with two-a-day workouts and long hours at the office. To reward yourself, you’ve put a big red X on Saturday and plan to do nothing but Netflix and chill. Rest is essential and required but staying put on the couch for 12+ hours won’t cut it. Too much sitting can actually cause your muscles to tighten and cramp up, making Monday’s workout even harder. Whoa, that’s not the plan! Try this instead: Watch a few shows then get up and stretch. Take a walk around the neighborhood for some Vitamin D, fresh air, and endorphins, and then make yourself some breakfast. Repeat the light walk and stretch a few times during the day and you’ll find that the next day’s movement will actually be easier from the light exercise.
Ready to share your thoughts through a creative outlet? Consider a journal instead! Recent studies show that time on social media and the use of screen time continues to rise in conjunction with rates of depression. We need to unplug! A paperback journal away from a screen without the potential commentary of others will provide the peace and downtime you may need. Invest in a lovely journal, keep your thoughts on actual paper, and benefit from the quiet time.