There’s no escaping it: humans are social creatures. Even the rather extreme introverts like me (and possibly, you too!) We need to be heard. To feel valued. But is it always wise to simply “go with the crowd” when it comes to your lifestyle choices?

I rally against this idea. Life is too nuanced for society-wide prescriptions. After all, your personal circumstances are different from mine. And both of our circumstances are different from John or Jane down the street.

So, with this in mind, what are five norms that we might be better off steering clear of?

Hustling for a Job Promotion

Okay, hear me out. Yes, getting a raise is great and all. Who wouldn’t want more cash in their bank account each month?

The issue is, career progression can turn into a bit of a “rat race.” In fact, a lot of a rat race! Sure, money is important, but it isn’t the only thing to consider. Promotions usually involve a growing list of responsibilities and demands to take care of.

And what usually comes with more demands?

More stress. Sometimes, it can be better to pause and weigh up both the pros and cons before pushing your way up the ladder.

Using Social Media Every Day

Daily social media use has edged higher and higher over the past ten years. 145 minutes per day (almost 2.5 hours) is now the norm.

Presuming someone is awake for 16 out of the 24 hours available each day, that’s more than 15% of our waking time spent on social media.

Don’t get me wrong, social media is an amazing tool. Used sensibly, it provides opportunities for education and helpful content.

A minority of the population avoids the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube altogether. Not me. I like to dip in and out, and only use one or two platforms. If I go overboard with these platforms, I find that not only do they steal my productivity but they can have a negative effect on my mental health, too.

Having a “Lie-in” on Weekends

It’s Friday afternoon. You’re excited for the weekend, understandably. But how many times have you heard your colleagues or friends say, “ah, I can’t wait to have a lie-in.”

If it’s been a busy week with a few late nights, it might feel like you’re running on empty. The desire to catch up on sleep makes total sense. However, yo-yo-ing between 5 hours a night during the week and 9 hours a night on weekends probably isn’t going to do you any good. Reason being?

Your circadian rhythm, which is in charge of your body clock, crave consistency. Exposure to artificial light from computers or smartphones during the nighttime hours can stop us from sleeping well.

I can fall into the trap of thinking sleep is “boring” and stay up watching Netflix shows or working on a project. I always, always pay for it the next day. It’s just. not. worth. it.

The weekend lie-in culture may be the norm in modern society, but at what cost?

Getting a Big Mortgage Loan

Do we have a blind spot when it comes to mortgages?

The word “debt” conjures up negative associations. Yet, somehow, mortgages aren’t always thought of as debt. Case in point?

U.S. mortgage lenders are thought to have provided $2.66 trillion in home loans in the year 2019. And the average new home sale is now up to over $400,000.

Yes, homes do tend to go up in value rather than down over time (though it’s no guarantee). But being tied to a 20 or 30-year mortgage, with large monthly repayments?

It’s not most people’s idea of low-stress living. One job loss, medical issue, or family crisis can lead to financial trouble. And when you’ve got a big mortgage to pay off, it’s only going to make such setbacks even more challenging.

Perhaps this is contrarian. I know many will disagree. But when it comes to buying a home, being happy with less (or renting until it becomes affordable) can be the best approach.

Staying Busy All of the Time

“Hey, how are you?”

“Oh, you know… busy!”

We’ve all been there. Keeping busy seems to have become a badge of pride in mainstream culture. That unless we’re always working, always doing, we’re not a valuable member of society. It’s hard to break free of this way of thinking.

I’ve found myself feeling that I should stuff my evenings and weekends full of activities. If I don’t, maybe I’ll be seen as being weird, or a recluse? I’ve had to make a real commitment to allow myself to rest. To allow my body and soul to catch up with themselves.

If there are any windows of opportunity in your weekend for self-care time, don’t hesitate to get out of working/doing mode for a while. Sunday has become my “say no” day. What might yours be?

By Declan Davey, #1 Health Copywriter on Google