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Gettyimages.com/Shot of a young woman brushing her teeth in her bathroom

I know that when life gets too routine, I can get a little bit depressed. And having to set calendar reminders, put up post-it notes, and activate alarms several times a day so that I remember to do a hundred little tasks definitely has a way of making life feel too routine. So, sometimes, I slack off on those little reminders but when I do, I also slack off on some very important habits. There are a lot of things that, yes, are a pain, a nuisance, exhausting, annoying, and unpleasant, but are also things that, if we let them slide to the wayside, will cause us major headaches in the future. Literal and figurative ones. So while some of these tasks might bother me now, they’re nothing compared to what I’ll face if I skip them. Between our minds, bodies, and social lives, we have a lot to keep up with. There’s no escaping it. Here are the important health and hygiene habits you probably skimp on.

Gettyimages.com/Creating the perfect smile

Floss

You can either floss every day, or pay a few grand every few years because your plaque buildup is so bad that a regular dental cleaning won’t help. That’s when your dentist brings in the deep cleaning and laser appliances, and you waste your vacation budget on something preventable.

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Time your brushing

Be aware of how long you brush, or else you could be doing it for nothing. You should brush twice a day, two minutes each time, for a total of four minutes a day. Even cutting that by a minute a day will lead to much worse plaque buildup and a pricier dentist visit next time.

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Know your health insurance benefits

Know what’s included in your plan, and make use of all of the benefits—some may surprise you. You could have, for example, therapy, or some holistic treatments covered, that could make a world of a difference in your life. Just study up on it.

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Track your exercise

Have some awareness of how much you exercise. You may think you exercise for thirty minutes, five times a week, but in reality, it may only be like 15 minutes, three times a week. And that’s a huge difference that will affect your health.

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Track your drinking

Do you really know how much alcohol you drink every week? Or do you just fancy yourself someone who is in the three to five drink range, so that’s what you tell your doctor? Start tallying up those cocktails. You may surprise yourself and see you’re beyond the healthy range.

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Dust

Between bleaching bathtubs, cleaning toilet bowls, and vacuuming carpets, it’s easy to let dust stay right where it is. You’re exhausted. But dust carries bacteria and can harm your health, so you’re better off dusting than cleaning your windows—if you have to choose.

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Watch or read something enriching

Pay attention to how much time you spend on Facebook, reading celebrity gossip articles, and watching reality TV shows versus how much time you spend watching the news or reading something educational and enriching. The ratio might be alarming.

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Keep a regular sleep schedule

It’s too easy to let this social invitation or that favor that a friend asks of you to send your sleep schedule all over the place. But having a regular sleep schedule is important to sleeping well. So treat your sleep as a standing appointment—like a doctor’s appointment.

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Buy moisturizer or makeup with SPF

If you can’t remember to apply sunscreen every day then just switch to buying a moisturizer or makeup that has SPF. Since you can probably rely on yourself to keep up with that beauty part of your regiment, then you’ll at least get some sunscreen with it.

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Respect your body

Check in with your body before going out for a late night, drinking alcohol, exercising, skipping exercise, taking on another task or project—ask yourself if your body needs rest, or a break from alcohol, or some reprieve from mental work. You don’t want to head for burnout because that’s hard to come back from.

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Wash your hands

For goodness sake, wash your hands more. Wash them before and after using your laptop. Wash them when you get home, because you’ve been touching door handles, subway rails, money, pens and more all day.

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Manage stress

Don’t just put it off for some vacation that’s three months away. Discover methods to relieve stress as it comes up, because that nasty stuff will multiply and increase tenfold if you ignore it.

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Don’t answer right away

Get in the habit of waiting and thinking before agreeing to take on a task. Ask yourself what your schedule and energy level will look like. Also, get in the habit of waiting to respond to someone when you’re upset.

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Clean your pillowcase weekly

You get your shampoo, conditioner, hair products, makeup, moisturizer, sweat, and saliva on that thing. So clean it regularly. Even if you can’t get to your sheets once a week, get to your pillowcase.

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Meditate

Even just meditating ten minutes a day can make a world of a difference in the stability of your moods, how you mediate your reactions, how you respond to negative self-talk, and more.

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