Bad Health Habits & How to Break Them​

Posted By on April 1, 2022

Maintaining good health habits is essential to our physical and mental well-being. But, unfortunately, it can be easy to fall into bad health habits – and they can become more challenging to break the longer we stick to them.

At HarborChase Senior Living, we believe that living your best years begins with good health, and we carefully plan our communities and activities to help residents enjoy happy, healthy lives. Today, we examine some of the more common bad health habits and share advice on how to break bad habits after they develop.

These habits tend to fall into four broad categories:

  • The way we eat
  • The way we drink
  • The way we move
  • The way we sleep

By becoming mindful of these four categories and following simple steps for improvement, you can enjoy a healthier lifestyle – which will positively impact your physical and mental health.

How to Break Bad Eating Habits

What we consume each day can have a profound effect on our physical well-being. However, many older adults do not consider the role that healthy, nutrient-rich foods can play. That is why one of the most important ways you can break bad eating habits is to become more mindful each time you eat.

  • Avoid casual snacking: Snacking is a part of everyday life for many people. Whether you graze on food throughout the day, enjoy popcorn or chips while watching television, or snack between meals, the extra calories can have a negative impact on your diet, weight, and overall health.

You can avoid overconsumption by planning smaller snack portions before sitting down to watch a movie. And you can break bad food choice habits simply by not stocking your cupboards with unhealthy options. That way, even if you continue to snack during the day, you will be selecting fresh, healthy food.

  • Limit sugar: This is a habit that can have a major health impact with only a few minor changes. The average American consumes well beyond the daily recommended amount, whether they are aware of it or not.

For example, instead of buying pre-sweetened food items, add your own sweetener as needed. Rather than using white sugar, switch to honey, stevia, or monk fruit. And when you really need something sweet and want to eat a cookie or cake, reach for a piece of fresh fruit instead.

Every piece of food that we consume interacts with our bodies – either giving us energy and making us feel better or making us feel more lethargic, tired, and unwell. By becoming intentional about the food we use to fuel our bodies, we can keep them performing at high levels as we grow older.

At HarborChase, we believe healthy and delicious food go hand in hand, which is why we offer several delightful dining options for residents and guests. From nutrient-rich and always fresh snacks at The Counter Offer Bistro to upscale dining at The Grill Room, we make each dining experience one to savor and remember.

How to Break Bad Drinking Habits

Just as our foods play a major role in our overall health, our drinking habits are equally important. From remembering to drink more water to limiting the consumption of sugary and alcoholic drinks, there are several ways you can make drinking a healthier part of your routine.

  • Limit alcohol: Although a glass of wine each day has been shown to have some positive effects on the body, you should avoid overconsumption. Fortunately, the key to consuming less is – once again – becoming more mindful about your drinking habits.

Reflect on not only what you are drinking but when and why. For example, many people drink more when they are feeling stressed or anxious. Rather than turn to alcohol, people can find more suitable outlets – for example, taking a walk, engaging with friends, or pursuing a stress-relieving hobby.

  • Increase water: If there is one thing that you should always try to get more of, it’s water. Despite its many health benefits, water is often overlooked as a vital component of healthy living. You can increase your water consumption by setting a timer in your home or on your smartphone. Every hour, drink eight ounces of water. By doing so, you will ensure that you drink the daily required amount each day.

At HarborChase, we believe that good health should be cause for celebration. Our Fusion Lounge, located within many of our senior living communities, provides the opportunity for residents to enjoy a drink with friends and family in a safe, festive, and welcoming environment.

How to Break Bad Exercise Habits

As humans, we are made to move. However, modern conveniences make it easier than ever to complete tasks from the comfort of a sofa. For your physical and mental well-being, plan to get up and move for at least 30 minutes each day.

  • Limit screen time: Whether you are working on a computer, watching television, or scrolling updates on your phone, too much screen time can be damaging to your health. To break this habit, use a timer to schedule breaks throughout the day. During those breaks, be sure to shut down all screens. Go outside if the weather allows for it. Give your body, and your mind, a chance to rest and reflect. You will be happier and healthier for it.
  • Move more: Studies show that moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes each day can have immense positive effects on your physical and mental health. Schedule time for yourself each day to take a walk along a favorite path or trail; doing this will not only help you maintain strong muscle and cardiovascular health, but it allows you to relax and think freely, which can greatly improve your mental health and mood.

If walking or exercising for 30 minutes seems too daunting, aim for 10 minutes of exercise each day. Or plan to spend at least 10 minutes outside. Even small changes can have big impacts, and by choosing a routine that you can stick to, you will be more likely to continue and improve over time.

How to Break Bad Sleep Habits

Sleep is perhaps the most overlooked component of good health. Yet, the consequences of poor sleep quality can be far-reaching. A lack of sleep has been linked to heart disease, illness, increased stress and anxiety, and memory issues.

You can give yourself the gift of sleep by changing a few routines in your day. First, you should schedule your sleep like you would any other activity. Then, each night, do the same “wind-down” activities that prepare your body for sleep. Shut down any screens at least an hour before bed and, whenever possible, turn down the lights as well.

Do not exercise right before bed, and do not consume food, alcohol, or any sugary or caffeinated products. If you are required to take medication before bed, check with your doctor to ensure the medication does not cause sleeplessness.

Make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep. Remove all distractions – especially screens like laptops and phones. Adjust the temperature of the room to a level that is comfortable without being overly warm (which can cause you to wake in the middle of the night).

Most of all, treat sleep as a vital piece of the health puzzle. It is not a luxury to be enjoyed whenever you have time. It is a necessity, and committing to a good sleep schedule will positively impact every other area of your health.

At HarborChase, we value the residents who call our communities home and want to ensure they live their best years while they are here. For us, great living begins with great health, and by following these easy steps, you can break bad habits and start living your best years today.


To learn more about HarborChase Senior Living and our commitment to health and wellness, we invite you to visit our website.