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Finding a healthy balance while staying home
They say there are two kinds of people during this pandemic: those that focus on health and those that focus on indulging. But we think there’s definitely some grey area where you can be a little bit of both. After all, when life gives you overripe bananas, doesn’t it just make sense to make banana bread? YES, according to the 54% worldwide increase in online searches for banana bread.1 As we adapt to the constantly changing “new normal,” here are some ways to strike a healthy balance between depriving yourself and over-indulging.
5 ways to focus on health while staying at home:
1. Eat smartly
A good rule of thumb is, if you're hungry - eat. You don't want to ignore your body's hunger cues. But if you’re snacking all the time, it helps to get to the why. Are you actually hungry, or are you just bored? Did you have a fulfilling meal? During time at home, it’s as important as ever to make sure you’re eating nourishing meals with enough protein, veggies and starch.2
2. Get your z’s
Oh, glorious sleep. The thing we all want but can never get enough of. Besides being amazing, sleep has very practical benefits, both mental and physical. A rested brain helps you deal with the emotional, mental—and yes, even financial—stress of our current times, and a rested body helps strengthen your immune system.3
3. Make the most out of home workouts
Home workouts have come a long way since neon headbands and VHS tapes of step aerobics. If you can’t hit your local gym right now, there is a whole slew of fun ways to work out at home. Check out Instagram for free workouts ranging from Venus Williams’ 5-minute workouts to Barry’s Bootcamp 20-minute ones, or check out the full fitness routines being offered for free from a variety of services like ClassPass, Peloton, and more.4
4. Mental health is health too
Whether you're working from home or recently found yourself furloughed, it can be challenging. This is an especially important time to focus on self-care: eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, getting daily exercise, and the one thing we often forget - taking care of our mental and emotional health.5 You may find it helpful to download a meditation app. As a part of our HealthyMind benefit, we offer the popular Headspace® app to our John Hancock Vitality customers.
5. Get in touch with your emotions
For some reason, society often makes us feel bad for feeling bad. The thing is, these are stresstful times, and it's okay to feel anxious, angry, sad or all the above. There is no shame in feeling these emotions, and in fact, acknowledging these emotions are part of mental health. 6
Living so much of life in isolation can be trying. While it’s as important, as ever, than ever to take care of our health during this pandemic, it’s also a time where we need to indulge a little.
5 ideas on how to treat yourself:
1. See what all the bread hoopla is about
Feel like you’re the only one not posting about your sourdough starter? It's not just in your head. Find out why the number of people searching “bread” has hit an all-time high lately.7 Hint: have you smelled fresh-baked bread?
2. Permission to indulge
Take advantage of all this time at home to do something you really like to do. Watch really good TV or really, really bad TV, read young adult novels, do a 1,000-piece sloth-themed jigsaw puzzle. No judgment.
3. Make your own "takeout"
Man cannot survive on takeout alone. While takeout is convenient and easy, people who cook at home frequently tend to eat more healthy and consume fewer calories than those who don’t.8 Fortunately, you can recreate your favorites at home.
4. Feed your mind with a new hobby
Press flowers, start scrapbooking, learn to watercolor. What’s something you’ve always wanted to do? If you find yourself with more free time these days, a hobby has many benefits, including reducing stress and fostering social connections.9
5. It’s not lazy, it’s self-care
The stress and anxiety of a pandemic can put your nervous system into overdrive, making self-care more important than ever. A long bath, a massage, yoga, stretching or meditation are all ways to take care of your mental health.10
Whether you’re extra focused on fitness or pampering yourself these days, the key is finding a little bit of balance. Knowing these are unprecedented times, it’s okay to cut yourself some slack. As added incentive for taking good care of yourself, John Hancock’s Vitality program offers rewards and discounts for living a healthy life. Earn points for buying healthy food, getting enough sleep, or even completing a home workout.
Life insurance that rewards you for living a healthy life.