As we look ahead to 2021 and do our best to put the year that was 2020 behind us, we wanted to focus on one of the key things we deal with every day – health.
Thousands of our clients and other New Zealanders have benefited from health insurance and the peace of mind that it brings them should something go wrong.
But health insurance is often the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. It’s a relief to know it’s there but we all hope we’ll never need to use it.
That’s why taking preventative measures to look after our health so that we’re less likely to have a health scare is so important.
We all know that there’s a few obvious things that we can do to help prevent health problems such as not smoking and keeping in a healthy weight range. But there are some things that could be affecting your health and you have no idea.
In today’s blog we look at five factors that could be affecting your health without you even realising it.
Being unhappy at work
An Ohio State University study discovered that people who were dissatisfied in their jobs were more likely to struggle with sleep, anxiety and even depression later in life. An Oxford University study found that people who are engaged and happy with their work take fewer sick days than people who are unhappy.
Being satisfied and engaged in your work is a key factor in your overall health and wellbeing.
We all know that drinking too much alcohol is not good for us and over time our liver can suffer. But there are some lesser-known issues with drinking too much alcohol that aren’t spoken about nearly as often.
Alcohol inhibits our REM sleep cycles meaning that while you may sleep all night long after drinking, you’re not getting enough of the sleep that really matters and you can wake feeling unrested and groggy.
Drinking alcohol causes mood shifts and blood sugar spikes which can have a significant impact on anxiety. As a result, panic attacks are more likely, particularly if you already have a mood disorder.
Along with a host of other problems, alcohol has also been proven to cause cancer.
The best way to ensure your drinking levels are safe is to follow official guidelines and keep your drinking to a minimum (LINK: https://www.alcohol.org.nz/help-advice/advice-on-alcohol/low-risk-alcohol-drinking-advice).
Skipping the sunblock
Regular use of a sunscreen with SPF15 or higher can reduce your risk of developing melanoma by an astonishing 50%. It’s no secret that in New Zealand we have particularly high levels of UV radiation which means melanoma, other skin cancers and even eye damage are all common among Kiwis.
Make sure you regularly head to the doctors for skin scans and mole maps. And remember, to slip, slop, slap and wrap!
Sitting down all day
Did you know that the average time a person spends sitting down is 12 hours a day? This unprecedented level of inactivity has even been given its own name ‘sitting disease’ and inactivity Is the 4th highest mortality risk factor globally.
But by simply alternating between sitting and standing at our desk every half an hour and slipping away from your desk for a walk a couple of times a day, you can effect huge changes on your overall health and wellbeing.
Standing instead of sitting supports bone health, enhances brain power, burns calories, reduces the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease along with a host of other benefits.
Many of us are used to restricting screen time for the younger members of our families. But how disciplined are we at doing it for ourselves? Too much screen time can result in mood disorders including anxiety and depression and, worryingly, two out of three of us are addicted to our phones.
Too much screen time also has physical impacts including poor posture, neck problems and vision problems. Blue light exposure is one of the most significant risk factors of macular degeneration which causes severe vision loss.
Ironically, there are plenty of apps out there that can help you reduce your screen time including apps that track your screen time, apps that remind you to put your phone down and even apps that offer incentives for reducing time spent on your phone.
So, once you’ve changed jobs to one you actually enjoy, switched to drinking just a couple of glasses of wine on the weekend, put on your sunblock, invested in a standing desk and left your phone in the other room, you’ll have significantly reduced your risk of early mortality and the likelihood of a health scare.
We challenge you to make just one of these changes a month for the next 5 months and see how you feel. And hey, your premiums might just go down as well!