The five wellbeing mistakes you don’t know you’re making

Want to nail healthy choices? Make sure you’re not falling into one of these five wellness traps.

1. Rushing through meals

Grabbing a bite to eat on the run might keep you going for a few hours but it might not be doing your body any favours in the long run. Eating too quickly contributes to bloating and acid reflux, and could also increase your risk of obesity. That’s because eating too fast overrides the mechanisms which tell the brain the body is full.

The takeaway: Eat slowly to consume fewer calories and feel fuller for longer, as well as support your digestion.

2. Sacrificing sleep for productivity

In a fast-paced world, many of us are so time-poor we’re sacrificing sleep for work (or Netflix). Not only does this rob us of the recommended seven to nine hours needed for optimum wellbeing, but doing stimulating tasks at night also hinders a healthy sleep cycle. In addition, using devices like smartphones, tablets or computers close to bedtime increases alertness so it’s difficult to drift off when you do finally hit the hay – and that leaves you feeling sleepy during the day.

The takeaway: Limit use of devices in the evening to less than 1.5 hours and prioritise a good night’s shuteye.

3. Endangering your health for vitamin D

Confused about how much time in the sun you need to produce vitamin D in your body without overdoing the UV exposure? You’re not alone. Research shows 15 per cent of Aussie adults have adjusted their sun protection practices in recent summers in an attempt to get more vitamin D, yet the majority of us aren’t actually deficient in vitamin D in the first place. The idea that prolonged sun exposure in warmer months will boost your vitamin D levels is a myth – most Aussies get enough vitamin D from doing day-to-day activities like walking a few minutes to the car or the shop.

The take-away: If you are outside for more than a few minutes when the UV level is above 3, you will need sun protection. To check UV levels, download the Sunsmart app.

4. Thinking meditation 'isn't for you'

If you’ve got a million things to get through today, the idea of sitting still and doing nothing for 10 minutes might seem ridiculous. But research shows meditation can actually help you focus better, making you more productive in your tasks afterwards. Another study shows it reduces fatigue, so setting aside time to meditate means you may actually be better able to tackle your to-do list.

The take-away: Even a few minutes of meditation a day is enough to yield benefits. You can start by simply sitting quietly with your eyes closed and focusing on your breath.

5. Avoiding weight training

Think weight training is for Hulk Hogan-sized men only? Think again. “Women fear they will bulk up by lifting weights,” says fitness expert Kristy Curtis. “For the record, women cannot get bulky lifting weights as we don’t have the testosterone levels in our bodies that men do.” Given the significant benefits of weight training, it’s worth making friends with dumbbells. “Weight training builds lean muscle tissue which gives us a 'toned' appearance and burns body fat even when we are sleeping,” Curtis says.

The takeaway: Integrating weight training into your fitness regimen is an effective way to help manage your weight and should form part of any exercise routine.

The five wellbeing mistakes you don’t know you’re making