Overspending your way into debt
Money worries can have serious health consequences. In a Rutgers University telephone survey, responders said financial stress contributed to high blood pressure, depression, insomnia, headaches, digestion troubles, aches and pains, ulcers, excessive eating and drinking, and gaining or losing weight. Regaining a hold on your finances takes time, can be hard on your ego and your lifestyle, you have to be constantly vigilant, and it’s easy to revert back to old habits. But for those who succeed, and many people do, the results are stunning. You’ll feel more in control of your life with less stress and fewer worries. Try some of the money-saving habits, too.
How to fix it: There are many different things you can do to gain control over your finances. Educate yourself on the basic rules and methods of personal finance—for credit cards, mortgages, budgeting, and investing. Create and keep a budget, keeping careful track of how much money is coming in every month and how much you’re spending on essentials. Pay at least the monthly minimum on your bills to stay ahead of your expenses, prioritizing paying more on the highest-interest credit card. You can also set up automatic bill pay, as well as automatic transfers to a savings account, by using online banking. Try some of these simple habits of good money-savers, too.
Eating too much fast food
A steady diet of double cheeseburgers and fries washed down with an oversize soda or milkshake often leads to a bigger waistline and other related health problems, like heart disease and diabetes. Trans fat, often found in fast food, raises “bad” cholesterol and blood fats that contribute to hardening of the arteries, as well as firing up inflammation, which contributes to the build-up of fatty plaque in artery walls. The health benefits of making the switch to healthy food will be immediate and substantial.
How to fix it: Making a permanent lifestyle change won’t be easy at first. Fast food is super-convenient, surprisingly inexpensive, and, thanks to all its fat, salt, and sugar, undeniably tasty. Start by cutting back a little per week, and buying a little less each time you go; for instance, replace your soda with a water or your fries with a salad. Avoid popping into a fast food joint just because you walked or drove by one, especially if you aren’t hungry or it isn’t meal time. Preparing your own healthy meals at home will save you money, and don’t forget that you can still get prepared meals, healthier ones, at a grocery store or sandwich shop. Check out the best healthy-eating tips that nutritionists use.
Getting sunburned a few times every summer
If you love sunbathing or make an effort to maintain a golden-bronze tan, you’ve unwittingly contributed to the aging of your skin. Sunbathing destroys the elastic fibers that keep skin looking firm and smooth, leading to earlier wrinkles, blotches, freckles, and discolorations. More importantly, sunburns contribute significantly to cancers of the skin. If you’ve added trips to the tanning salon, it’s even worse. Despite what ads suggest, using tanning beds doesn’t build up a “safe” base tan. It actually raises your risk for skin cancer and wrinkles.
How to fix it: First of all, always wear high SPF sunscreen if you’re going to be outside in the sun. Sticking to the shade, and wearing a hat, sunglasses, long sleeves, and pants during peak sunburn hours, can also help keep your skin safe. Schedule an annual skin check by a dermatologist. Your doctor will inspect your skin for any unusual changes. Keep your eyes on your skin yourself, as well. Anything new that doesn’t look right to you on your skin should be checked by a doctor. You can also get the bronzed look without the cancer risk by using a self-tanner instead of the sun, or worse, a tanning bed.