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Category Archives for "Wellness Moment"

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

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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

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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