Category Archives for "Wellness Moment"

make the most of summer

3 Steps to Help You Make the Most of Summer’s End

Wellness Moment

3 Steps to Help you Make the Most of Summer's End

Summer can be great but this year we weren’t sure what to expect. For many, there’s ongoing stress and sadness from the last eighteen months. Even if you’re enjoying some of your usual activities, we can all agree that Summer 2021 is simply disappearing wa-aay too fast.  While self-care was essential when we entered a COVID world, this Summer as we emerge, it’s just as important. For the sake of your health, this Moment is to encourage you to make the most of Summer – especially this one as it winds down. There’s still time. Here are three thoughts to help.

1. Let Go of Expectations

It’s all too easy to base our priorities and our days on ‘shoulds’ and comparisons to the past and the people around us.  Although a return to so-called normal life appears to be happening, it’s not necessarily easy and looks different for each of us.  For some, connecting with loved ones as soon and as often as possible is our happy place. For others, it’s a hurdle to put ourselves out there. Lockdown may have offered a welcome retreat or shaken our confidence in ourselves or our safety. Worry about new rules and protocols can cause awkward interactions, even for social butterflies. Some relationships or activities may have changed and things just won’t be the same – for a while, maybe not ever again.  Maybe you’re not as keen as you thought you’d be about returning to pre-COVID commitments. Or maybe on the business front you’re holding yourself accountable to old goals and out-of-date plans.  

The point is it’s all OKAY.  The reality is post-pandemic life may look different than before. Let go of expectations about what you ‘should’ be doing and what summer ‘should’ have looked like. There’s still time to make this one fun and healthy. 

2. Turn Off Your Auto-Pilot

Whether you’re feeling hesitant about ramping back up or already feeling the pressure of pre-Covid level commitments, take a step back to consider what really matters to you. Surveys on COVID-related stress show one positive result of the difficult experience. Over 75% of people report greater appreciation for the value of our health, for friends and family, a greater sense of self-reliance, and most significantly a shift in priorities about what’s important. The lesson? Don’t automatically do, just because you’ve always done.   
 
Turn up your inner voice. Be mindful of what’s important to you now.  Ask yourself: are you actually keen to rejoin the team or class? Couldn’t possibly miss any get togethers?  Maybe you’d rather spend the time exploring something new.  Going after what you really want may mean stepping out of your comfort zone. Remember, holding on to what matters is not the same as staying stuck.  Summer is a great time to reflect and rethink before launching into Fall and Winter routines.   

3. Set a Date to Escape

Let’s not kid ourselves. Navigating the new normal, rethinking priorities, on top of meeting our regular work and life demands is not easy. Sometimes we can’t see how we’ll manage it all. What we do know is that hard work goes better when we take a break. Take a day off…a week if you can. We’re not necessarily talking luxury adventures or exotic destinations. We’re talking about time away from work, worry and routine to relax and restore. 
 
Forbes Magazine reports on the value of a vacation to boost physical and mental health.  Taking time off helps lower stress and anxiety, buffers against depression and restores resilience.  And for those of us who think we” "just can’t afford the time” a study by Boston Consulting Group found that professionals who took time off were much more productive after a holiday than before.  One of the ways to successfully navigate the stresses and strains of our daily lives and ‘get things done’ is to step away for a break.   Yet this year we’ve postponed trips, cancelled events or avoided making any plans at all. It’s not too late. 

So please, take a moment now to mark your calendar … out-of-office, offline, closed for the day or the week. Make a plan for your vacation - micro or major – a special weekend, hiking, a concert, a road-trip.  It’s the best way to savour the last days of Summer and best of all, set yourself up for good health in all seasons.   

This Wellness Moment is from Health Plus Insurance. From our family to yours, take care.  If you’re a Health Plus plan member remember you have access to free professional Wellness Resources.  

pandemic wall

How to restore balance when you’ve hit the pandemic wall

How to Restore Balance When You've Hit the Pandemic Wall

While we’re all looking forward to a better summer, we’re not quite there. On the good days, we’re thinking about travel – some around the globe, some across town to see loved ones. On the bad, COVID fatigue and distress can make it hard to muster the energy for anything at all. Re-openings are no guarantee of instant relief and the ongoing stress and demands can stop us in our tracks. If you’ve hit a pandemic wall, whatever form that takes for you, here are a few ways to restore resilience. And as you move forward, these strategies will help keep you going. 

Don't Look Down

A lesson from aerialists: when you’re on a tightrope, look straight ahead, not down at the distance to solid ground. Unfortunately, when we’re anxious and exhausted, looking down is exactly what we tend to do. We catastrophize and imagine the terrible what-ifs. While worry in tough times is natural, psychologists point out there are two kinds. Constructive worry is when we’re faced with problems, risks and uncertainty but choose to focus on what we can do rather than what we can’t. Destructive worry is when we loop the unknown and worst-case scenario over and over in our heads and regard disaster as inevitable. Do your best to recognize the difference. Awareness will help you catch yourself before worry brings you down. 

Take one step forward

Tackling an entire problem or big project may not be possible, at least not right now. Taking one simple action in the direction of a larger goal can nudge us out of a hole. Psychologists confirm that the sense of accomplishment from a single small step leads toward a more optimistic outlook and provides motivation to do more. Think about your goals and wish list, then think of one thing you can do. Getting exercise and fresh air is one step that benefits emotional and physical health. Even a 10-minute walk or a short stretch break relieves stress and boosts energy and focus. If you haven’t already, book your vaccine. It’s a small step with a very big impact. 

Reach out

Just when we’ve needed our support systems most, this year has disrupted contact with the people, places and activities that nourish our well-being. Our connections are lifelines but despite good intentions and virtual options, some may have slipped as the pandemic continued. When we’re in a dark and discouraged mood, it’s tempting to retreat even more.

Now is the time to reach out to friends, family and colleagues. Reconnect with a community you’ve missed –a club, team, class or favourite coffee shop. Some people in our lives offer a strong shoulder and understanding ear when we need to talk. Others give us a lift with a laugh, a memory and escape from our cares. Both kinds of connections are good for our health.

Sometimes our personal circle is not enough. Sometimes we need the advice, support and coping tools a professional can provide. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re feeling overwhelmed. 

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

If you’re a Health Plus plan member, you have access to extensive free professional Wellness Resources including confidential individual and group counselling, and self-directed resources for stress management.

Despite hope on the horizon, the pandemic wall is real. The best way through is to do what we can and take care of our mental health. It’s essential to regain the ability to thrive.


This Wellness Moment is from Health Plus Insurance. While we offer information about healthy living, it is not meant to provide professional advice. If you feel you need medical advice, please consult a qualified health care professional. From our family to yours, take care. If you have a comment on these ideas or more to share, please send us a note. We’re always glad to hear from you info@healthplusinsurance.ca.

spring financial reset, réinitialisation printanière de vos finances

How a Spring Financial Refresh Can Boost Your Health

How a Spring Financial Refresh Can Boost Your Health 


Spring is typically a time for renewal. Birds chirping, flowers blooming. But this year with lockdowns and pandemic burnout, it can be hard to see the bright side. Financial uncertainty has taken a toll on Canadians, and not just our bank accounts. Studies link financial stress and anxiety to physical and mental health issues. That’s why a spring financial refresh is so important to wellnessA simple check-in on your financial habits will have a surprisingly positive impact on your overall wellbeing

Consider Your Savings

2020 forced many of us to reevaluate our savings and prioritize building (or replenishing) a healthy emergency fund. If you set savings goals for 2021 maybe it’s time to check in to see how you’re doing. Making savings or investments automatic is a great way to keep on track but it’s always useful to check in periodically to see how your savings goals fit your real-life budget.  

Practice Mindful Spending

Finding a spend-save balance that’s right for you can be a challenge. Here’s where mindful spending comes in. Taking the time to consider your spending will lead to more meaningful purchases that align with your goals and values and lessen the guilt and stress that can accompany large or impulsive purchases. Beyond essential expenses, mindful spending also means spending within your means, supporting local business and donating to charity if that’s what matters to you. And as the pandemic stretches out farther than we ever imagined, as important as saving, taking care of ourselves is equally important. Mindful spending also includes making room in the budget to occasionally treat ourselves. 

Review Your Insurance

When was the last time you looked at your health, dental, life or disability coverage? Have recent life changes left you underinsured or uninsured? Checking insurance off your to-do list adds to your resilience. Good insurance you can depend on provides huge peace of mind, knowing you’re protected against the unexpected.   

Tackle Your Taxes

If you haven’t filed yet, the deadline is almost here. Make sure to claim your health insurance. And remember, if you earned less than $75 000 and received at least one COVID-19 benefit in 2020 the government is providing interest relief; you don’t have to pay interest on any amount owing until April 30, 2022. But do make sure you file on time because late filing fees still apply. 

Health Plus Financial Resources

If you’re a Health Plus plan member your Shepell Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) provides free financial resources. These include debt and estate planning support as well as confidential counselling. More resources are available from the Government of Canada. You’re not on your own if you are facing undue stress or anxiety surrounding your finances.  

Even if 2020 threw you way off course, financial planners stress that keeping our finances in order is a work-in-progress. It’s not about perfection. It’s about the peace of mind that comes with taking charge of challenges and taking the right steps, even the tiny ones.  While a financial refresh may not rank with a massage on your relax scale, you can rest assured it’s good for your overall wellbeing, especially this Spring.    

This  Financial Wellness Moment is from Health Plus Insurance.  From our family to yours, take care and stay safe.  A Health Plus advisor is always available for any questions about your insurance needs.  

Wellness Rituals Wellness Moment

5 Wellness Rituals for a Better Winter

5 Wellness Rituals for a Better Winter

Love or hate the season, this winter lockdowns and limitations on daily life are taking a toll.  Whether we're working too much or too little, almost everyone's work-life balance is off track.  Self-care is suffering, monotony can kill motivation and winter weather doesn't help.  Since it appears we won't be back to old health routines any time soon, we suggest it's time for some new ones.  Here are five wellness rituals to boost your energy and immune system. 

Think about your tech time 

While we hear lots about the benefits of digital detox, let's be realistic.  In the pandemic, technology is a lifeline. Thank goodness for binge TV, games, classes and connections, and like or loathe, Zoom meetings serve a purpose.  Devices 'on' every waking moment and mindless screen time do not. Instead of letting tech take over, take charge. Make it a habit to plan your use. 

Make appointments with yourself to step away from your screen.  Set times when you don't check email, social media or texts, especially at the start and end of your day.  Consciously plan your online time too.  Think ahead about what to watch – maybe a documentary instead of random stuff that pops up. Plan movie night and Facetime coffee dates. Sign up for a course.  Whatever you choose to do or not do, make sure your technology rituals serve you well. 

Disconnect to Reconnect

While managing tech use has benefits, a complete unplug has even more.  When you disconnect from your devices, you’re more in touch with yourself and what matters to you.  And just think of what you might do with the extra time and the perhaps forgotten pleasures of no-tech pursuits.  Page through a beautiful book or old album, or build something – a snowman, cocktail creation, or fix-it solution for home or office. Imagine the possibilities.  Studies show that people who unplug regularly enjoy better sleep, deeper personal connections and greater productivity back on the job. 

Look Forward 

While we can’t control vaccine rollout or the shape of the new normal ahead, we can take charge of our thoughts.  The pandemic has taught us what we value, what we miss, and what we don’t So make it a weekly ritual, daily if you can, to remind yourself of what you treasure and make tangible plans to make room for more of it in your life.  Some may be possible soonsome not for a year.  That’s not the point.  It’s having the vision that’s vital. Psychologists agree hope is key to health.  While memories of days past can bring joy and solace, it’s our dreams and plans for the future that keep us going.   

Savour the Small Stuff

A good place to start is dinner at the table, not in front of the TV. Focus on the food, the flavoursthe space, the company, the conversation.  If you’re eating alone, enjoy memories of shared meals in past.  Harvard Health experts tell us this focused slowdown to decompress at day’s end aids digestion, nutrition and weight loss.

Make Rituals Regular

While every single healthy step counts, it’s repetition that builds resilience.  By definition, something we do regularly with intention, rituals signal our brains that we’re moving from one mode to another.  They help us step back from the fray or step out of a funk. Wellness rituals do wonders for work-life balance.  Make it a habit to assess and plan yours.  

This Wellness Moment is from Health Plus Insurance. From our family to yours, take care and stay safe. If you're a Health Plus plan member, remember you have access to free, professional Wellness Resources.


Wellness Moment Wellness Around the World

Wellness Around the World

Boosting your health through travel ... even when it's from your couch

Travel is wonderful in so many ways and a change of pace and place does us good. Sadly, at a time when we can't go much further than our own front doors, more than ever many of us desperately need a break and a boost to our physical and mental health. 

That got us thinking. When we travel, we learn, often from simply experiencing new cultures. So we wondered: what health practices and beliefs might we borrow from wellness around the world to help take care of ourselves and each other? Here are just a few. Some we can try without even leaving home and all, without leaving town. 

Stay Cozy

From Denmark, the concept of Hygge: creating a sense of comfort, togetherness and wellbeing. Think staying inside, cozy and warm, candlelight or morning  light, comfort food and conversation with people who make you smile. 

Get Outside

From Norway, the opposite of staying inside: Friluftsliv - the ancient Nordic philosophy that celebrates nature. No need for high end resorts or extreme sports. This is spending time outdoors in an uncomplicated way. Hiking, vigorous or meandering, sitting by the water in summer or snowshoeing in winter if that appeals, maybe birdwatching from your balcony if not. Urban, rural or wild, the point is to open your door, step outside, take a breath of fresh air, and simply enjoy nature. 

Be One with Nature

The concept of Shinrin-Yoku from Japanese culture also celebrates the power of nature to strengthen health. It translates to forest-bathing in English. Of course you don't actually take a bath in a park (there are laws about that). Forest bathing is a slow walk through the woods, being observant and still and listening to the voices of the forest as well as our own, which often can't be heard in the din of daily life. Research shows that time in nature reduces stress, elevates moods and boosts the immune system. 

Take a Power Nap

When the day is demanding, consider Inemuri also from Japan: the power nap. The nap doesn't involve actually going to sleep. It's closing your eyes for a few minutes of quiet, even in a public space. Take a moment, rest your eyes and mind, relax into a peaceful state. It's calming, restores focus and revives energy. 

Think of Others

The concept of Ubuntu from South Africa takes ideas about wellness to a whole new level. Ubuntu is the philosophy of consciously putting others ahead of ourselves, finding common ground instead of focusing on differences, offering mutual respect and compassion. It's a timeless concept backed by current research that confirms that when we step outside ourselves to do something for someone else, it's our health that benefits too. 

And when we return from this trip, there's a healthy idea to revisit here at home: Be Nice. Yes, nice. It might be a Canadian stereotype but nice is kind, nice is tolerant, generous, polite. Think of what more 'nice' on a regular basis can do for everyone's wellbeing. 

There are so many cultures to visit and so much to learn from wellness around the world. And no doubt you have memories or thoughts of your own to add to this list. Please take a moment to explore an idea or two. It will do your health a world of good. 

This Wellness Moment is from Health Plus Insurance. From our family to yours, take care and stay safe. If you're a Health Plus plan member, remember you have access to free, professional Wellness Resources.

summertime wellness walking

Your Summertime Wellness Tonic

Health Plus Wellness Moment

Summertime Tonic ... especially in 2020

"Summertime ... and the livin' is easy" or so the classic tune tells us. But 2020 has certainly not been easy so far and summer for most of us has turned out much differently than planned. While the summer months are often a healthy time, for many people this year has been challenge.

In summers past, healthy living happened naturally … team sports, adventure travel, outdoor exercisesightseeing walks, concerts in the park, and the simple boost to well-being from the pleasure of special events and traditions with family and friends. Whatever your version of an active summer, this year it’s likely been compromised in some way, if not cancelled altogether.

While most people are doing their best to “pivot” as the COVID-coping buzzword suggests, we’re certainly missing these activities in our lives. It can be challenging to find a new exercise or relaxation routine, let alone make it a habit in the new normal, and physical and mental well-being can suffer as a result. Here’s a boost to your health we recommend. It’s a surprisingly simple activity, even under COVID constraints. There’s no cost, no equipment or lessons needed and distancing is possible.

Take a walk. According to Dr. Mike Evans of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto along with many other experts, walking is one of the best forms of exercise to increase fitness, build both physical and emotional resilience and ward off ill healthIf you need convincing, take a look at this 5-minute clip from Dr. Mike about the benefits of a half hour walk.

A good walk anywhere is great exercise. A good walk in nature is even better. If you have access to country air, a beach or provincial parkyou’re lucky. But research shows greenspace is what matters. Urban parks and quiet, tree-lined streets also provide that touch of nature that helps lower stress and improve focus and concentration while your body benefits from the exercise. There’s a growing amount of research on the benefit of “Park Prescriptions. 
 
In this pandemic summer, and even into Fall, when the livin may not be so easy, a walk is the perfect tonic. 

This Wellness Moment is from Health Plus Insurance. From our family to yours, take care and stay safe. If you have a comment on these ideas or more to suggest, send us a note. Always glad to hear from you.  info@healthplusinsurance.ca 

If you're a Health Plus plan member, remember you have access to free, professional Wellness Resources

Self-compassion Wellness Moment

The Surprising Benefits of Self-Compassion

Continuing the conversation on self-care ...

The Surprising Benefits of Self-Compassion

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going." It's what we often tell ourselves to rally strength in a crisis. Your version of "tough" may look different than mine. Long days of business and family demands, the financial fallout of a downturn, coping with isolation and loss, the energy it takes to be there for others, the hard work of social change, or the effort just to stay calm and positive ... in whatever form, this year most of us are carrying  a lot. The ability to be tough is good. And necessary. 

But non-stop tough is not healthy.  We need self-compassion too. When we expect too much of ourselves, insist we can somehow do it all, not for a sprint but indefinitely for as long as it takes, and continually put our own needs last, we put our well-being at risk. We know what we're supposed to do - exercise often, eat healthy, sleep lots, spend quality times with loved ones, and as if that's not enough, devote time to a cause we believe in and actively engage in building a better world. Sound advice. But sadly, in unusual times, self-care goals can turn into yet another set of 'shoulds' and high standards we can't possibly meet with all else going on. Some of us keep going in overdrive on all fronts while some of us give up completely and berate ourselves for what we didn't do well enough or do at all. There is a better way. 

This Wellness Moment is about Compassion, a self-care essential.  Simple when we think of compassion toward others. It's kindness, understanding, not judging harshly and gentle support through a challenging time. Not so simple when it comes to treating ourselves with the same care. Maybe it's time we do. A growing amount of research shows self-compassion benefits overall mental health and well-being. It results in less anxiety and reactive anger and most significantly, boosts emotional resilience. When we treat ourselves with gentle compassion, we're better able to handle stress and responsibilities. 

The good news? Self-Compassion is about what to stop doing instead of yet another chore to start.  Push pause on perfection and pressures, for a day or a whole weekend if you can. Even an hour will do you good. Set aside demands you put on yourself (and inevitably on those around you). Silence your inner critic and taskmaster. So what if there's too much screen time, Oreos instead of organics, stuff piling up, projects neglected or whatever your personal picture of unacceptable might be. Just to be clear, this is not slacking off. It's cutting yourself some slack when the going gets tough - the opposite of what we might be inclined to do, but sometimes all we can do, and that's okay. Actually, it's often the best way to sustain energy and focus for the long haul. Turns out it's good for business too. 

So please, take a moment to take it easy.  Be mindful of the the pressure you're under and what you need.  It's not selfish. in fact, the research also shows that when we're compassionate with ourselves, we're more compassionate toward others. We judge less, understand others more and our capacity for kindness and tolerance grows. Doesn't that sound like something the world needs now?

If you'd like to know more about Self-Compassion:

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/podcasts/item/kristin_neff_on_the_power_of_self_compassion
https://hbr.org/2018/09/give-yourself-a-break-the-power-of-self-compassion
https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/nurturing-self-compassion/201703/how-cultivate-more-self-compassion

This Wellness Moment is from Health Plus Insurance.  From our family to yours, take care and stay safe. If you have a comment or a suggestion for a Moment, please send us a note. Always glad to hear from you. info@healthplusinsurance.ca

If you're a Health Plus Plan member, remember you have access to free, professional Wellness Resources

wellness moment self-care

A Serious Conversation About Self-Care

Health Plus Wellness Moment

A Serious Conversation About Self-Care

While we often take a light-hearted approach in these Wellness Moments, the ongoing stress of the pandemic calls for a more serious conversation. 

During COVID-19, even those of us who take pride in our ability to 'keep calm and carry on' have had our resilience tested. In differing degrees, most people have experienced sadness, depression, anxiety, possibly anger at the stress and disruption, and many are dealing with serious loss and chaos. Angus Reid Institute recently reported that nearly half of Canadians said their mental health is suffering and worsened during COVID-19, more than 1-in-10 say 'worsened a lot'. 

Mental health IS health. Along with the physical risks of the pandemic, taking care of our mental and emotional well-being is our number one job. That means doing what we need to do for ourselves to manage stress. Every one of us. Now. Clearly more difficult when you're taking care of others too, but putting on 'your own oxygen mask first' is not selfish. It is Self Care. Essential for you and those who depend on you in your household, neighbourhood, or business.

While attitude and gratitude, exercise and extra sleep can all help, sometimes we need more. There's strength, not shame in looking beyond the usual coping tactics when necessary. If this is a time when you could use support, we recommend a few excellent resources available to all.  

Visit the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and find your local or provincial branch to learn what resources and support programs are available in your region, including crisis and peer support helplines and referral services. 

One such program is BounceBack, a free program from CMHA for ages 15+, offering online tools and coaching to build skills to manage mood, mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stress or worry. 

In addition to its regular programs, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has developed a resource site specifically to provide information, stress relief and coping tools during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Your local pharmacist is always a good source for health knowledge. In addition, Shoppers Drug Mart is currently providing online resources on meditation, healthy eating and stress relief. 

We encourage you to take a moment to check in with yourself to assess how you're coping and what you need for your health (not what you think you 'should' be able to handle). Stick to the habits you know work for you, use tools you'll find online and please, don't hesitate to call someone if that's what you need. 

When health is at risk it's frightening and sad, certainly no laughing matter, and it's okay to cry. But as we work to regain equilibrium, there is a place for laughter. In fact, experts say it helps heal and protect us. We hope you find something in your day to make you smile, chuckle, or laugh right out loud, even better if you can share the moment with someone who needs the lift too. 

This Wellness Moment is from Health Plus Insurance. From our family to yours, take care and stay safe. If you have a comment on these ideas or more to suggest, send us a note. Always glad to hear from you.  info@healthplusinsurance.ca 

If you're a Health Plus plan member, remember you have access to free, professional Wellness Resources

winter wellness - healthy holiday

Prescription for a Healthy Holiday Season

Prescription for a Healthy Holiday Season ... expect side effects

Favourite time of year? Or just want the fuss to finish? No matter how you experience the holidays, there’s extra wear and tear on body and soul. For some, it’s an overload of social commitments and non-stop to-do’s while others feel more alone, anxious or sad. Every one of us could use a boost to our health. Fortunately, there are remedies for seasonal stress…no pharmacy required. Here’s the prescription for a healthy holiday season. Best taken daily.

Say No.

Take yourself off autopilot that leads to overwhelm. Send regrets for occasions that don’t appeal and let go of tasks that involve more stress than joy. Set boundaries. That may mean a change in traditions or routines that no longer work, or a commitment to yourself to avoid issues, arguments or drama that can ruin your mood if you let it. Say no to overspending. The ‘perfect’ gift is rarely the overpriced splurge. In fact, let go of ‘perfect’ anything. Simple is almost always much more fun.

Say Yes.

Speaking of fun, make time for more of it. Make a date with people you love, or with yourself for a good book or hobby you enjoy. Sing your heart out, carols or classics. Say yes to work….yes really! Sometimes. A sense of accomplishment is healthy and it can feel great to focus and get a project off your mind.  Just be sure work doesn’t keep you from saying yes to the essence of what matters … the people you care for who count on you. Oh, and make time for the mistletoe. 

Give. 

You don’t have to give like Gates or channel Mother Teresa. Small acts of kindness for a neighbour, supporting the food drive or donating whatever your budget allows to a cause you believe in all contribute to your own good health. Studies from Harvard to happiness professionals confirm ‘giving’ activates regions in the brain associated with pleasure, social connection and trust. Scientists have actually labelled the related release of endorphins. It’s called the “helpers high”. Get your dose.

Laugh. 

It will give you a serious lift. Reminisce about hilarious moments with friends, enjoy a favourite movie or stand-up act, or simply listen and treasure the cute comments from a child in your life. Studies abound on how laughter heals. It nourishes you by helping to relieve stress and elevate immune response. 

Repeat. 

Take these remedies as often as you can. Expect immediate relief and lasting benefits.

The Health Plus team wishes you and your family a happy, healthy holiday season. If you're looking for more support this holiday season make sure to check out our Wellness Resources

wellness moment comfort food guide

Wellness Moment: Comfort Food

The food group that Health Canada forgot ...

Kudos to Health Canada for our new Food Guide for what to eat, what to avoid and the reminder it's not only what we eat, but how that matters. Food fosters connection with friends and family and between cultures and generations. And we know connections help keep us healthy. It's very sound advice. But with all due respect to the professionals, we think there's a food group missing: Comfort Food. 

Now before you automatically think calories, cholesterol and guilt, let's take a closer look. Webster's defines comfort food as "food prepared in a traditional way ... with nostalgic or sentimental appeal". Psychologists tell us it can be any food we associate with happy occasions, fond memories, and feeling cared for and connected. And those positive feelings cheer us up and ward off stress. 

So here’s a recipe for winter wellness. Take a moment to let your mind wander. What’s your favourite comfort food, meal or memory? Fresh peaches that remind you of summer holidays, your mom’s roast chicken, or the cookies you bake with your kids. Maybe it’s not home-cooking. It could be tapas in a café with friends or take-out that lets you trade kitchen time for downtime. It’s the food with a positive association, from last weekend or long ago, a celebration or a simple tradition. And if your food of choice conflicts with your regular eating goals, not a problem. The magic is that you don’t have to actually eat comfort food (although why not?). You can enjoy the memories without taking a bite. 

If this Moment leads you to host a spontaneous pot-luck, make soup or make reservations, that’s great. If not, that’s fine too. You’ll have taken a healthy step just by savouring positive thoughts.