November 16, 2022

23 “Unhealthy” Habits that actually Keep us Sane.


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My Instagram search feed is jam-packed with wellness and beauty posts.

You could say it’s bordering on overkill.

But as I get older, taking care of myself and finding ways to live even a tiny bit healthier have become bigger priorities than they used to be.

And I appreciate that I can find new workout routines, easy recipe options, and helpful product recommendations while lounging horizontal, exercising nothing but my scrolling finger.

That said, I can’t help but notice that every account and influencer has a different opinion about what is considered “healthy.”

It can feel exhausting and confusing to hop from one post caption encouraging you to do this, eat that, try this to another caption that warns you explicitly to not do those exact same things. It makes you wonder if any of these practices are healthy to begin with (or if any of these people actually know what they’re talking about).

As I sat on my trusty couch earlier this week eating a chocolate donut and scrolling through Reels while one of my trashy reality shows played in the background, I started thinking about all the habits and practices that are considered “unhealthy” by the masses but that so many of us find genuinely beneficial.

So I opened the question up to our readers: “What’s a habit or practice that’s typically considered ‘unhealthy’ that you find helpful?”

There were the expected answers, like smoking weed, drinking wine, eating comfort food, and drinking 15 cups of coffee per day. (No judgment here…if it helps you and isn’t hurting anyone else, do your thing.) But as I read through the responses, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of these practices went beyond just the physical and dug deeper into what fuels our mental health.

Here are 23 habits that get a bad rap but ultimately keep us sane:

Doing one task at a time. People think multitasking is good but it’s not. ~ Neelam

Hypervigilance. Its the idea that “knowledge is power,” researching, understanding. Knowing the problem is 60 percent of dealing with it. Not knowing causes more problems, leads to obsessing. ~ Shelley

Hitting the snooze button. ~ Heather

Eating a whole wheel of brie cheese. ~ Ashley

Watching Hallmark. It is terrible and I love it. It is my Valium. ~ Lisa

Talking to myself. I mean, isn’t that what reparenting yourself is all about? ~ Tammy

I do all my best work in the later part of the day and evening. Night cleaning or projects. No matter how little sleep I’ve had, my best energy burst comes in the evening. Mornings I’m slow, reflective, and that’s when I like to read and relax. ~ Susannah

A little bit of retail therapy. ~ Megan

Hyperfocus: a mini obsession with a clear, obtainable objective in mind. ~ Donna

Isolation. ~ Crystal

I eat something “unhealthy” first thing in the morning before I even take my meds or eat breakfast so I can “ruin” my day and not obsess about eating perfectly. It’s bassackwards but it works for me. ~ Jenn

Browsing on my phone if I wake up with anxiety, particularly TikTok lives of ASMR help me loads. ~ Christine

Eating before bed helps me sleep better. ~ Megan

Feeling angry. It helped me get away from my abuser. ~ Oceana

Binge watching TV for a whole day or weekend, with snacks. ~ Tamera

Verbal fights. I think people ignore issues and then refuse to talk about them to keep the peace but it’s not peaceful, it’s inner torment and suffering to not express what’s bothering you. So it’s a necessary evil to an extent. It’s uncomfortable but I think it’s helpful. ~ Elizabeth

Skipping breakfast. My body does not like food before noon; it does best on one meal a day in the evening. ~ Jennifer

Listening to one’s own wisdom rather than the group of “experts” outside of you. ~ Hannah

Cussing. A lot. ~ Alan

Eating the whole container of raspberry sorbet. ~ Kathleen

Working from my bed. I’m sooo much more productive. ~ Ferryn

Oversharing. It helps keep me out of the habit of bottling things up and downward spiraling, however, it can make some people uncomfortable. ~ Alison

Burning bridges. Some bridges need to be burned in order to keep your sanity. ~ Deepali

What would you add to the list?

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