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Category Archives for "Wellness Moment"

CSGA health insurance social connection

The Importance of Social Connection

Wellness Moment

The Importance of Social Connection

Human beings are social creatures. We thrive on connections with others. Regular positive social interactions and strong social connections benefit us physically and emotionally and can actually lead to a longer life. But nurturing those connections is easier said than done, particularly with the prevalence of remote work and a full load of personal responsibilities. The cold, grey winter months make it even harder to get ourselves out of the house or out of routine. Here’s why it’s worth the effort.  


The Benefits of Social Connection

Multiple studies have shown that people with strong social bonds are healthier. The effects are significant and wide-ranging, from helping to maintain a healthy body mass index and decrease the effects of depression, to increasing cancer survival rates, not to mention the simple boost to overall mental health by spending time with people we enjoy. A strong social network can help you recover faster from illness or injury and better deal with stress. So, how do we nurture and strengthen these connections to lead a healthier life?

Nurturing Social Connection

THINK COMMUNITY

A hub of social connection, a healthy, safe, and resilient community offers support and inclusion to its members. Participating in a neighbourhood, school, church, hobby or interest group can help you feel connected to others. In turn, your involvement strengthens the community itself. Luckily, there are countless small ways to engage with or give back.

  • Take a class
  • Volunteer with a local organization
  • Participate in  a local park clean up or attend a community meeting
  • Get involved a your kids' school
  • Support a local restaurant or shop
  • Do a favour for a neighbour
BUILD HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

Meaningful and diverse connections with others are central to our emotional wellbeing. Our ties to friends, family, coworkers, and neighbours give us a sense of belonging, and these social networks can provide emotional and practical support and step in when we need help. Offering help to others boosts our health too. Strengthening relationships is an ongoing process but simple interactions can have a big impact.

  • Be polite and respectful in your interactions
  • Practice active listening
  • Play with your kids; set a date night with your partner
  • Call a family member or friend just to check-in
  • Have a game night or workout date with friends
  • Get coffee with a co-worker
  • Chat with a local business owner
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

Building healthy relationships starts with ourselves. The saying ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ is a great image to remind us to nurture our own wellness, especially if we’re taking care of others, or need help ourselves to muster the energy to be social. Self-care is crucial, whatever that may look like for you.

  • Set boundaries; ask for help; join a support group
  • Cook a nutritious meal; go for a walk; take regular breaks
  • Get organized in whatever way will help create space for your needs

Take a moment to check in on your wellbeing. The more connected we are with ourselves, the more we gain from and give to our connections with others. 


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


healthy workapce

5 Tips to Create a Healthy Workspace

5 Tips to Create a Healthy Workspace

We spend a huge part of our days  and lives working. It’s estimated that the average person will spend one third of their lives at work. That means creating a healthy work environment is essential for overall health, but it’s easy to get in a rut at work, sitting and staring at a screen all day. Here are some tips to be a little more intentional about your health, even while you’re working.

Take Screen Breaks

It’s not news that excessive screen time can be bad for our health, causing eye strain and impacting mental health. If you work in front of a screen all day, make sure to follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look away from your screen at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to give your eyes a break.

Stand Up

Sitting is linked to countless negative health effects, including back pain, weight gain, and a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease. But what can you do if your job involves sitting at a desk all day? Try a standing desk, a walking meeting, or make a point to get up and stretch throughout your workday.

Connect With Other People

It’s easy to get lost in the tedium of day-to-day tasks, especially if you work from home. Developing and nurturing a sense of community combats isolation and helps you feel supported. Try reaching out to a colleague to grab a coffee or check out an industry event.

Declutter Your Space

We all work differently, including when it comes to organization. And that’s okay. But bringing some order to your workspace can boost your productivity and mood. Try a 5-minute tidy to refresh your space.

Take a Break

Burnout is a very real problem for Canadian workers. One way to combat overload is simply by taking a break, whether that means a vacation, staycation, or just regular time to yourself scheduled in your day. Taking a break will positively impact both productivity and mental health.

Bonus Tip: Utilize the benefits that come with your insurance plan

Health Plus Priority and Optimum plans include Telus Health (formerly LifeWorks) Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Available to all plan members, no matter where you work, your EAP provides confidential online counselling, digital resources for mental and physical health, and much more.


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

self-care

How to Use Your Benefits for Self-Care

Health Plus Wellness Moment

How to Use Your Benefits for Self-Care

A lot goes into good health. Luckily, you probably practice self-care whether you realize it or not. If you're looking to ramp up your self-care routine, the benefits provided with your insurance plan can help. 

Mental Health

Paying attention to our mental and emotional wellbeing is crucial to self-care. Mental health impacts our physical and social wellbeing. Accessing professional counselling through LifeWorks Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a great step for staying healthy. LifeWorks is available to all Health Plus PRIORITY and OPTIMUM plan members, no matter where you work. You and your dependents can connect virtually with a trained counsellor who will assess your unique needs, and access a wide range of digital resources.

Physical Health 

When your physical health is suffering, it impacts all areas of your life. Sometimes taking care of ourselves can feel like a challenge. Simple proactive steps can make a difference.    

  • Visit a practitioner to help deal with a nagging injury before it becomes chronic
  • Schedule your regular dental cleaning to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.  
  • If you are struggling with medication, see if you are eligible for pharmacogenetic testing. Available to all Health Plus plan members, it tests your DNA drug compatibility.

Fitness

Physical activity helps manage stress, boost your mood and immune system, and reduce the risk of developing chronic illness. Increasing your level of activity can be as simple as going for a walk. Or try the LIFT online platform offered through LifeWorks. Complete an easy fitness evaluation then get access to a library of online workout videos targeted to your goals.

Financial 

Finances are a significant source of stress for many Canadians, especially in recent years. The simple decision to purchase health insurance is an act of self-care. It helps protect you from the often devastating financial impact of future health issues.

The Financial Wellbeing Toolkit available to Health Plus members in the LifeWorks portal provides excellent resources, whether you are currently struggling or just want to better prepare yourself for the future.

Knowledge

Learning more about how to improve physical, emotional, financial, and social wellbeing is an act of self-care. It doesn’t have to be a chore. Browse the Resources section of the LifeWorks portal for a topic of interest, whether that’s nutrition, leadership skills, coping with trauma, mindfulness, or balancing family and work life.

The ultimate reason for insurance is to protect yourself in case of serious illness or injury. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t be part of your self-care toolkit today. Learn more about Health Plus Wellness Benefits. Self-care is personal. Choose the resources that are best for you.

healthy fall

5 Ways to Be Proactive About Your Health This Fall

In September we usually hit the ground running, back to school, back to work, the lazy days of summer fading into the rear view. It's just as important during the busy Fall month to take care of our health. Here are some tips to help you get into a healthy routine now. 

1. Make a plan for your physical health

The World Health Organization's definition of health says that health is not merely the absence of disease but a state of physical, mental, and social wellbeing. A lot goes into maintaining your physical  wellbeing, from nutrition to avoiding smoking to building strength and minimizing the risk of injury. 

Rather than focus on everything at once, start simple. Take a few minutes to schedule overdue medical or dental appointments. Check in on how you're feeling and deal with any nagging issues before they become chronic. 

2. Access resources for your mental health

Just like physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing requires preventative care and professional guidance. Learning coping mechanisms for the inevitable stressors of everyday life and having a support system in place are important to allow you to enjoy life and face difficult experiences head on. 

Wellness Together Canada, available to all Canadians, offers free virtual resources to support our mental health. Your health insurance plan can also provide coverage for professional practitioners in psychology and social work should you need them. Health Plus PRIORITY and OPTIMUM plan members also have access to LifeWorks EFAP, including confidential counselling and free digital wellbeing tools. 

3. Take time for down time

With activities ramping up, make sure you aren't neglecting your down time. We all know getting enough sleep is important but there are other kinds of rest that contribute to our overall health. Physical, mental, sensory, emotional, creative, social, and spiritual rest are all important in helping you feel recharged. 

If you've ever struggled brainstorming a solution to a problem or had writers block and gone for a walk only to have it click, you know the benefits of creative rest. A digital detox can provide sensory rest, and focusing on positive and uplifting relationships while taking a break from draining ones can provide social rest. 

4. Make time for fitness

When life gets busy the gym can be an easy sacrifice to make. But staying active is also one of the best forms of self-care for your current and future self. Just 30 minutes of walking a day has shown to improve multiple areas of health. And as little as 30 to 60 minutes of strength training a week can reduce the risk of early mortality, in addition to other benefits such as joint health. 

Make a plan to fit activity into your schedule, whether it's a quick morning walk or run, a new post-work class to try, or hitting the gym when the kids have their activities. 

5. Set Small Goals 

Setting goals is helpful when trying to make new habits or break old ones. But, sometimes too large a goal with no roadmap can set us up for failure. Allow yourself to celebrate small achievements along the way. 

It's important to be mindful of how our busy lives impact our overall wellbeing, mental, physical, and social. Take advantage of the resources at your disposal and have a happy, healthy Fall.  


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

spend time outdoors social connection

Wellness Moment 5 Easy Tips to Spend More Time Outdoors

Health Plus Wellness Moment

Less Screen Time, More Green Time: 

5 Easy Tips to Spend More Time Outdoors

Most of us don't need reminding of the benefits and appeal of being outside on a gorgeous spring day. From childhood memories of playing outside to the latest research on forest bathing and ecotherapy, we know time spent in nature is good for mind and body. But, what many of us don't know is how we'll possibly find time in already packed days  to actually spend more time outdoors. Here are a few suggestions on how we can. 

Take your 'office' outside

Working at home or corporate HQ, think about what you could do outdoors instead of at your desk. Take your laptop to your balcony or backyard or the company's outdoor space, even if it's just to check email. Make a meeting a walk. Have breaks or lunch outside. Even a quick coffee run gives you a few precious minutes of fresh air. Brainstorm on a bench - on your own or with a colleague. You may be surprised by how a new venue can spark new ideas. 

Change up plans with family and friends

For quick catch-ups, regular gatherings or taking care of loved ones, suggest a change from the norm. Schedule a walk instead of a phone call, meet the group at an outdoor café, or maybe just sit in the park or on the porch instead of in the living room for a change. It will do everyone good, especially the people in our lives who due to health, work or other demands, might not otherwise get themselves outside. 

Run errands locally

Instead of your usual trip to the big box stores or the mall, walk (or run) to shops in your neighbourhood or near the office. While you're getting outdoor time and your chores done, you're also doing good for the environment and the small businesses you support. It's a healthy habit for all concerned. 

Take care of your kids (or your own inner child) with more time outside

Do homework or storytime outside. Make dinner a picnic, even on weeknights. Help everyone decompress before with quiet time outdoors. Teens are spending up to 7 hours a day on screens, which has been linked to a higher likelihood of depression and anxiety. Trade screen time for green time. Leave devices behind; watch the birds, the breeze in the trees and the sunset instead. 

Make outside time routine

Schedule standing commitments with yourself and others. It's all too easy to reach the end of the day before the end of the to-do list and promise ourselves, yet again, that we'll do it 'tomorrow'. You don't have to take the whole day off for an epic hike. Research shows stress-hormone levels drop significantly after just 15 minutes sitting outdoors. That's why a park prescription is one worth  filling. 

Thinking of others ...  How fortunate are we to live in beautiful Canada where time outdoors is possible and safe. Our thoughts are with all people in the areas of the world where that's not the case. 


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

winter wellness benefit of books

Winter Wellness The Surprising Benefits of Books

The Surprising Benefits of Books in Your Winter Wellness Plan   

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or cocoon-inclined, we’ve noticed that winter wellness plans often include time for a good read in a cozy spot.  That, as it turns out has way more health benefits than you might think.  Even if picking up the latest best-seller is not top of your relax list, you can benefit from books. Read on to see what we mean.   

First the Research 

Studies show reading boosts mental and physical health. By helping us escape from everyday concerns, books help reduce stress and the associated health risks. Apparently as little as 6 minutes a day or 30 minutes a week spent reading a book, newspaper or magazine slows heart rate and reduces muscle tensions. Research has also determined that reading improves memory, boosts creativity, aids sleep, helps ward off depression and dementia and significantly, it has been shown that people who read regularly live longer.   
 
Bookworms already know a good read does wonders for mindset and mood. Who knew it does so much more! And even if you’re not typically a reader, you can benefit just by hearing the ideas that emerge from books and become a topic of good conversation or often referred-to source of advice.  Here’s one example that recently caught our attention. It makes a thought-provoking and practical contribution to winter wellness, whether you actually read this book, or just consider an idea or two.    

4000 Weeks

This is the time on planet earth in an 80-year lifespan. Subtitled Time Management for Mortalsthe book is not about the usual productivity hacks. Quite the opposite. First, the author says we can’t ‘manage’ time. It marches relentlessly on, no matter what, so we should give up trying. Frantically working to ‘get more done’ is a mistake because much of the time all those checklists and efficiency fixes simply help us cram more of the unimportant into our lives, while we postpone what’s really worth our time - in business and personally.     

4000 Weeks is about doing things differently. Here’s just one suggestion: Replace FOMO with JOMO. Instead of making choices based on fear of missing out, savour the JOY of missing out that comes with choosing what is really worth your time.  Say no to as much lower-ranking ‘stuff’ as possible (even though admittedly some of it might be pleasant) so you can focus time and energy on your top priorities and what you truly value. In this season of reflecting on 2021 and planning for the new year, it’s the perfect time for these words of wisdom.   

4000 Books & Counting

While of course most of us love a good story, there are health benefits from all kinds of reading.  Follow your bliss.  Books about hobbies and interests from art to gaming to zen gardens. Sports: tips for the amateur and stories of success. Think food: kitchen star, bar chef or really good at making reservations, the pictures alone often inspire healthy eating or remind us of happy times around the table. Think travel: reminiscing, planning future adventures or just an armchair trip, travel books help us “escape” for a time. War and Peace. Just kidding. Not that the classics aren’t worthwhile.  
 
The point is ... pick any topic you’ll enjoy. It’s the time spent in the escape, the delicious downtime of being fully absorbed in a story, a subject or the visuals, then enjoying the after-effect of the renewed energy to tackle your responsibilities and goals. A good read is good for your health!   


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.  

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.