A lot of us like the challenge, the prospect of earning the unattainable, but introduce the word ‘abstinence’ and it’s enough to send a couple of people running for the hills. When it comes to the act of abstaining from typical gratification, it doesn’t seem appealing because it strikes the images of unnecessary endurance and of miserable deprivation.
Saying no to the usual pleasures won’t seem like such a burden if our focus were switched to its benefits; saying no to excesses won’t seem like we’re losing opportunities for pleasure if we see the advantages of abstinence as a gain in itself. Abstinence doesn’t demand a special set of superpowers or incredible endurance before you can apply it into practice, but only willing commitment.
If you’ve ever considered ditching a couple of habits, here are a few things to consider before jumping into the lifestyle.
All-nighters and late-night partying
‘Fun’ and buzzkill are at a tug of war, a push-and-pull that leaves you torn between two choices: stay or go home, or stay awake or sleep. The party beckons but the quiet comfort of home is just as appealing. Social butterflies have got the late-night rendezvous down pat but what seems like innocent fun can subtly take a toll on your body. There are tons of ways to enjoy the company of friends without leaving a dent on your health and it could be totally separate from staying up too late. Even for reasons other than partying, late night snooze robs your body of its well-deserved rest.
Despite most media depicting sleeping early as a mark of an ‘uncool, unhip millennial who doesn’t know how to have fun’, late night parties and extension of work could be solved by better time management during the A.M. and planning activities over the weekend that won’t fatigue you until the wee hours of the day.
Break the alarm-snooze-repeat cycle by getting enough hours of sleep and allow yourself the head start into the morning without tired eyes and drained energy.
The icons have made it look so chic, almost a fashion statement even. Calling it quits is no easy feat and there are reasons for its appeal. So symbolic of luxury and ease, so glamorous it makes you forget that it’s also dangerous. Causing serious cardiovascular and respiratory complications, although the risks associated with cigarette smoking are well-known, quitting may be especially more difficult for those who have picked up on the habit much earlier on.
It may mean having to find alternative outlets to relieve stress or different means to satisfy cravings—although withdrawals are likely to be part of the process, the first step begins in acknowledging the risks of continuing. Chainsmokers need not go cold turkey, as gradual detachment from the nicotine fix—through nicotine fading, proper timing, support, and stop-smoking medications—lowers the level of difficulty in removing cigarette smoking from the daily lifestyle.
It’s a hazy line a lot of us enjoy crossing deep into an evening with friends. The freedom of choice, the surprise of a new flavor, the potent punch from a single sip—only a few reasons that make alcohol one of the things we’d rather not quit. And in its defense, alcohol in itself is not inherently negative, only its misuse. There are interesting stories about one’s first drink and there’s usually more to it than just a glass of alcohol on a Friday night.
Whatever the reasons for drinking, although there are several and some of them are valid, it’s highly likely that none of them includes getting sick. Everyone has a different reason for being compelled to drink and that alone doesn’t usually cause trouble. But factor in exceeding limits, factor in stepping beyond the regular frequency, and it could easily become a coping mechanism or a habit. Others would recommend drinking for the flavor and not for the buzz, but if you’re considering teetotaling altogether (however intimidating that sounds both on paper and application), the rewards outweigh the cons of the cut back. Lowering your risk for bone diseases, various cancers, and eliminating the necessity for a battery of health screenings, it’s a health investment that pays dividends.
Who didn’t want to look like that person at the magazine cover? Switch the television on and you’re greeted by people blessed both with good looks and talent, scroll down your newsfeed and you see people flaunting their best angles—the compulsion to be perfect is strong. Fitness goals and workout selfies are largely becoming part of the digital vernacular and it encourages (at times even pressures) a lot of us to present our polished selves. Skipping meals, either because of rush or for achieving a body weight goal is never healthy and is not an excuse to deprive your body of its needs. Eating to the point of glutinous excess is frowned upon, but so is withholding your perfectly normal urge to consume food. If you’re running late, grab a fruit and healthy juice on the go; if you’re fixed on landing a target number on the scale, consult with a dietitian first, but do not miss out on the things you would’ve loved to eat just because the fashion magazines suggest so.