You probably feel like your daily routines are just fine, so it might surprise you to find out how much you’re actually doing wrong.
Just because we’ve been doing something one way for as long as we can remember doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best way. For just about every run-of-the-mill activity we do, there’s a life-hack out there proclaiming you can somehow do it better. And if you had the chance to be the best of your friends at breathing or even sitting, why not at least give it a try? Go for the gold in washing your hands or taking out the garbage and you’ll be well on your way to a better you.
Know these 15 things you’re doing wrong and then maybe you can finally start doing things RIGHT.
You breathe about 17,000 times a day, but your technique might be flawed. Slower, deeper breathing that comes from the lower diaphragm (or even better the surrounding area of the diaphragm) can help you relieve stress, lower your blood pressure and improve athletic performance by increasing stamina and reducing fatigue. Most of us are chest breathers, but developing a more focused approach can help you feel better day to day, especially if you’re also exercising.
If you’re shampooing more than a few times a week, you may be stripping away important oils in your hair — called sebum — and actually making your hair greasier: As sebum is stripped away, it causes oil glands on your scalp to compensate by overproducing more sebum, reported NPR, giving your hair an oily consistency. You also may be taking way too long in the shower. Long hot showers dry out your skin, use quite a bit of water (around 17 gallons each time), and can remove too much “good bacteria.”
3. Working Out
Stretching before exercising can actually be counterintuitive as it temporarily weakens muscles and might not even reduce soreness in the days following exercise.
As for your actual workouts, spending time lifting lighter weights with more repetitions actually doesn’t have greater slimming benefits than lifting heavier weights, and a lot of exercise doesn’t have any slimming benefits at all. You also might want to rethink scheduling workouts every day.
You’re probably mispronouncing a ton of words, and with the immense popularity of “pronunciation” posts (see here, here, here and here) you might feel a little bit insecure about it. The “correct” pronunciation of some words might be eternally debatable, like “gif” (the White House says it’s a hard “g,” while their creator and “Jeopardy!” say soft, like “jif”). There are also words like “sherbet,” which really doesn’t have that phantom second “r,” or “broo-skett-uh” (bruschetta). We all need to get on the same page with those.
Making sure to eat breakfast probably doesn’t help you lose weight. You also might be eating too much meat (especially if it’s red), and you probably don’t need to be told this, but fast food is bad for you.
Also, no matter what you eat, eating it too fast may disrupt your body’s natural chemical signals, causing you to consume more than you should, which could lead to a greater risk of obesity.
6. The Opposite of Eating
You should really be squatting instead of sitting. If the idea of simply hovering doesn’t sound all too appealing, there are quite a few different ways to help you get in that squat position. Just make sure you’re not straining.
Oh, and you’ve also probably been placing toilet seat covers on backwards. On top of all this, after you’re done, you really need to be closing that lid, as molecules from whatever is in the bowl will fly into the air, making your toothbrush disgusting.
7. Washing Your Hands
Only 5 percent of Americans wash their hands correctly, so there’s a very good chance you’re doing this one wrong. Although the base definition of washing the right way means “rubbing vigorously with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,” there are even more things you’re probably doing wrong. Antibacterial soaps have been criticized over their use of the chemical “triclosan,” which may cause antibiotic resistance and potentially even hormone alteration. On top of this, there may actually be no advantage to using antibacterial soaps when it comes to reducing your chances of getting sick.
Finally, you might be drying your hands wrong, as paper towels require a whole 15 seconds of use while hand dryers require 45 seconds. Paper towels have been found to be more effective in general.
Your washing machine could be filled with E. coli and fecal matter, due to the residue your undergarments shed when rinsed (unless you go to Yale, where the poop particles could just be from students who have used the machines as toilets). You also may be failing to separate your clothes in enough categories or making the mistake of under/over filling the machine. And you’re doing things especially wrong if you’ve moved out of the house, but still make your mom do your laundry.
9. Taking Out the Garbage
We have a huge “recycling bias,” which makes us far less likely to recycle dented cans or ripped paper just because it isn’t in pristine condition. Obviously, much of these items could still be recycled, as about 50 percent of our garbage is made up of recyclable materials.
When it comes to taking out actual trash, you could also be using kitty litter to destroy your trash can’s street odor, or drilling small holes in the side of your garbage can to make large trashbag removal easier. And if you don’t live on the ground floor, maybe you should consider investing in a fishing line.
About 70 million Americans aren’t sleeping correctly and are at risk of significantly altering their “memory, learning, creativity, productivity and emotional stability.” On top of this, there really is a sweet spot for how much sleep you should get. Anything outside of these regular sleep hours could have long-term health risks that have been associated with shortened lifespans. But it isn’t just sleep behavior that can help you get this right. Tips for improving your sleep include exercising, turning off your phone, or simply tricking your brain into thinking you’re dead tired.
11. Being Productive
It’s actually impossible to multitask and those who come close are simply switching between tasks very quickly, which usually decreases focus. If you’re someone who likes to power through tasks, you should know that your willpower is actually a finite resource and that taking breaks could significantly boost your mental capacities to do work. Here’s another reminder to make sure you’re making time for sleep, because on top of helping ideas solidify in your head, it can also — surprise — make you more productive.
First off, shaving doesn’t cause hair to come back thicker — that is a myth. On a shave-to-shave basis, you should really be making sure to prepare your skin with the right creams and heating techniques to make sure you aren’t totally wrecking your face, legs, armpits, etc. Also make sure to shave at night if you can, as the process leaves your skin ultra sensitive.
13. Recovering from a Hangover
Although recent studies have shown that Sprite might be the best hangover cure and Pedialyte has seen a recent rise in popularity, most doctors still agree that except for intense hangovers, which require more serious rehydration, waiting may be the only true cure, as the alcohol ultimately needs to be processed in your system regardless.
14. Brushing Your Teeth
First off, you should never brush your teeth directly after having an acidic meal or drink, because that can push the acid deeper into your enamel. Instead, wait 30 minutes or simply rinse your mouth with water. Some basic tips: Brush for two minutes each time, using a soft brush and not rubbing your teeth and gums too hard.
Sitting for more than just a few hours a day can shorten your life expectancy and lead to a much higher risk of contracting diseases like diabetes or cardiovascular problems. Even if you work out regularly, just sitting around at the office all day can constitute a sedentary enough of a lifestyle to invite health risks. Although stand-up desks might be a good way to go, if you want to sit better there are simple posture and ergonomic tricks. You could make sure to fidget around (ideally not in a totally weird way). Or, if you have $1,000 lying around, you could buy a super high-tech chair.
You were wondering how much you’ve been doing wrong.
And apparently it’s just about everything.