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You’ve just started a new job, and it’s time to choose a new healthcare plan. Your employer is offering you several plans to choose from. Here are some things to consider when you are trying to choose the right healthcare plan when you are starting a new job.
Start by reviewing the features of each healthcare plan, and then base your decision on a side-by-side comparison of the features of each plan. Then choose the one that best fits your needs. Key factors to consider include deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, whether the plan includes a health savings account, your status as an employee, health insurance networks, your family status, and your age.
Deductibles and Out-of-Pocket Costs
A lot of words are thrown around when choosing and discussing healthcare plans, and it’s important to understand what they mean. A deductible is an amount defined by your insurance provider. It’s how much you pay for your healthcare services before your insurance provider steps in. If your deductible is $1,000, you’ll have to cover $1,000 of your medical expenses, and then you’ll most likely only pay a copay for those covered services and your insurance covers the rest.
Out-of-pocket costs include your deductible, and they also include the cost of all services that aren’t covered. It’s important to analyze the relationship between your new salary and the out-of-pocket costs you may have. Analyze what you’ll be able to afford if you have a medical emergency.
Health Savings Account
A Health Savings Account, or HSA, is a hybrid between a high-deductible health insurance and a tax-favored savings account. Benefits of an HSA include less expensive health insurance, tax-free withdrawals, and tax-deferred interest earnings. Plus, unused money in your HSA isn’t forfeited at the end of the year. It continues to grow! However, you may pay higher out-of-pocket costs at first.
Employees that are higher up on the “corporate chain” may be able to renegotiate presented healthcare plans. If you have a higher-paying or higher-status job, and you aren’t happy with your current options, try discussing other options with your company.
Health Insurance Networks
Some health insurance policies have networks and won’t cover services provided out-of-network. If you’ve got a preferred doctor or specialist you or your family sees, make sure they are in the network of the healthcare plan you’re thinking about. If not, you may want to either switch plans or find a new medical provider.
Family Status and Age
Your family status, and whether you are single, married, and/or a parent, all influence what healthcare plan you might choose. Your personal health also influences your choice. If you frequently visit the emergency room, are expecting or want to be expecting a child, or you have a planned surgery upcoming, you may want a plan that has higher premiums but better coverage. If you’re close to retirement age, you may want to look at insurance plans that benefit retirees.
While in quarantine, families are spending more time together, having meals around the dinner table, playing games, reading stories at bedtime. There is no longer the hustle and bustle of getting from one activity to the next. In some cases, parents are working from home and kids are involved in e-learning. It’s a way of life most of us have not experienced. Some may be enjoying this new, slower-paced life, while others are stressed out and struggling to cope with all the changes, including the fear of worrying about exposure to COVID-19. In the midst of everything, it is important to maintain not only physical and emotional health but also spiritual health. Now could be the time for your family to make a spiritual connection or reconnection to improve their overall health. Here are 4 more ways to improve your family’s spiritual health:
1. Pray Together
Saying a prayer of thanks at mealtime can be a good way to get your family comfortable with praying. If you have younger children, you may also say a bedtime prayer with them, after a story, when tucking them in at night. Older children can be encouraged to say a bedtime prayer on their own. You can suggest they pray for the safety and health of their friends and family, since they may have unspoken worries about them.
2. Watch an Online Service or Devotion
Many spiritual leaders and churches are offering online services and devotions as an alternative to in-person meetings to comply with at-home orders during the quarantine. Search for a service that meets the spiritual needs of your family and watch and discuss it together.
3. Listen to Spiritual or Inspirational Music
In addition to listening to secular music, hymns and other spiritual music can be uplifting and relaxing. There is an endless supply of children’s spiritual music, providing a positive message of love and peace and safety. To appeal to adolescents, teens, and even young adults, search for current radio stations playing spiritual music or introduce them to familiar hymns. Music “therapy” can be very beneficial to overall health.
4. Meditate Every Day
It’s wonderful having family togetherness, but everyone needs a little alone time once in a while. Meditation is a great way to decompress. Each person should have the opportunity and freedom to find a quiet place, with no interruptions or distractions, to find peace and tranquility, reflect on the day, and re-center themselves for better spiritual health.
The stress of the quarantine and COVID-19 can take a toll on all members of the family, from infants and toddlers to teens and young adults. Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health are all important in coping with these stressors. For more information on healthy living visit Avidity Medical Design Academy or read more informative articles on our blog.
With all of the focus on washing your hands, sanitizing, social distancing, and the medical considerations that go along with safeguarding your medical health in the age of COVID-19, it is easy to forget about other areas of health, such as spiritual health.
As you quarantine for medical health reasons, you may find yourself dealing with frustration when trying to follow the guidelines for social distancing or for self-quarantining in your home. You might miss your friends and coworkers due to the quarantine, and being forced to stay home with family. You might even feel cramped, crowded and scared. You might worry about getting sick, and washing and sanitizing your hands enough during the day. During this time, while everyone is self-quarantining, it is important to remember that protecting yourself and your family goes beyond just hand washing. Protecting yourself during this COVID-19 pandemic is also about maintaining family spiritual health.
Let’s look at 5 ways that you can maintain your family’s spiritual health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Eat Together at the Table
Family connections often mean just existing beside each other instead of establishing quality time with each other. We sit under the same roof with very little contact and very little conversation with other family members, who may spend more time interacting on social media and less time interacting with other family members. The COVID-19 quarantine gives us an opportunity to change, and to grow into having meaningful family relationships. Eating at the dinner table means everyone sitting together and doing something we enjoy – eating. It also opens the door for stimulating conversation about what is (and was) going on in each others’ lives before the quarantine happened. Your family will become much closer when you have a family routine that everyone can do together.
2. Give Thanks
The dining room table is an excellent place to recognize the things that are still good in the world, and there’s plenty. When our days are spent listening to breaking news about the quarantine, and stepping on each other’s toes due to being quarantined in the house together, giving thanks for what is going well in your family’s life is a great way to stay positive during the quarantine.
3. Take Deep Breaths
Meditation is another great way to relieve stress. When you are anxious and stressed, take a few minutes and breathe deeply. Inhale slowly, then exhale slowly. Spend some time on self-reflection and self-appreciation. Take the time to live in the present by practicing some meditation exercises. Life will feel much more relaxed and your family’s spiritual health will benefit.
Play some board games with your family, like Monopoly, Twister, Chess, or Checkers. If you have children in the household, listen to some old music that your children may not know about, to stimulate laughs and good conversation about fun social events that happened before they were born or when they were little. Do things that make you and your family smile. The power of fun and recreation will reduce feelings of isolation during the quarantine, and improve your relationship with other members in your family.
5. Keep a Schedule
Lastly, maintain your schedule, eat right, and exercise. This is not the time to sit on the couch and eat or drink too much. Remain active by exercising at home. Encourage your family to keep living their life and appreciating their life. It will help you and your family remain mentally and spiritually healthy, centered, and connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Remember that maintaining your family’s health is important to help ease the pain and frustration of dealing with the pandemic. Remember that keeping your family strong when times are hard, does not happen by accident. It requires a conscious effort. These five tips are a good starting point, and they can transform this scary and negative time into a positive opportunity to make your family more close knit and unified for years to come.
Exercise is important at all stages of life, but it is especially important if you are a senior. Seniors need exercise to maintain muscle mass, strengthen aging bones, increase circulation for blood flow to both the heart and the brain, and to help maintain balance to prevent falls. You should try to exercise thirty minutes each day. Here are 10 easy exercises you can do if you are 65 or older:
1. Push the Wall.
Wall pushes strengthen your arms and chest. To do a wall push, stand about three feet away from the wall, place your hands flat on the wall, then lean in and push back from the wall. Complete this movement 10 times.
2. Stand on One Foot.
This exercise is often called “The stork” and is used to improve balance. Stand straight, and then lift one foot by bending the knee. Hold the position for 30 seconds, then switch feet. If you have trouble maintaining your balance, use a chair or the wall for support.
3. Do Dumbbell Curls.
Dumbbell curls will strengthen your biceps. Start with a light weight, such as 2 or 5 lbs., and then lift the weight toward your shoulder by bending your elbow. Repeat 10 times with each arm.
4. Lift Your Heels.
Heel lifts will stretch and strengthen your calves. From a sitting position, keep your toes on the floor and lift your heels. Repeat 20 times.
5. Sit…Then Stand.
The sit/stand exercise is great for balance, but it will also strengthen leg muscles and the buttocks. Start in a sitting position, then without using your hands, rise to a standing position. Hold for 5 seconds, sit, and repeat 10 times.
6. Do Toe Laps.
Toe taps will strengthen your lower legs and also increase blood flow. Sit with your feet on the floor, and then with your heels still on the floor, slowly lift your toes until you can feel a comfortable stretch in your leg muscles. Repeat 20 times.
7. Stretch Your Neck.
Stretching your neck will release tension in your neck and shoulder area and increase strength. Start by tipping your head forward until your chin touches your chest to stretch the back of your neck. Next, tip your head to each side, leading with the ear to the shoulder. Hold each stretch for 3 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
8. Lift Your Knees.
Knee lifts will strengthen your thighs. From a sitting position, raise your knee so that the back of your thigh is 2-3 inches off the chair. Hold it for 3-5 seconds, then place it back down. Repeat 10 times, then switch to the other leg.
9. Raises Your Arms.
Arm raises will stretch your arms, shoulders, and back. Place your arms at your sides from a sitting or standing position, then slowly bring them up, pausing for 3 seconds when they are extended out, then continue to lift them straight above your head, pausing for another 3 seconds when they are straight up. Slowly return them to your sides and repeat 10 times.
10. Squat at Your Chair.
Stand with your feet apart, in front of a chair. Raise your arms, then squat down slowly in front of your chair. As you slowly move down to your chair, slowly return to a standing position. Chair squats help strengthen your hamstring muscles, as well as other key muscle groups.
In addition to these easy exercises, you can take daily walks, swim laps at the pool, or participate in senior group exercise classes like yoga or low impact aerobics at a local gym. Staying active will lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia, stroke, and other debilitating diseases and improve your overall quality of life. For more information on other areas of healthcare, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog.
Sleeping is one of the most important things we do. Sleepiness decreases work and school productivity and can be dangerous when working with heavy machinery or while driving. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 35% of adults in the US average less than 7 hours of sleep per night, and almost 70% of high school students average less than 8 hours of sleep every night. This is concerning since poor sleep raises your chance of alcohol and tobacco usage, obesity, heart problems, respiratory issues such as asthma, depression, arthritis, diabetes, and even cancer. Clearly, sleep is important, but it’s also pretty easy to change your habits to get better sleep–here are 10 easy things you can do to help you sleep well every night.
Tip #1: Set a Strict Schedule.
If you’ve ever slept in all weekend and then struggled to get up on Monday morning, you know just how hard it is to fight your wake/sleep schedule, or circadian rhythm. Your body quickly gets used to a set schedule of waking and sleeping that is tied to your activity patterns and the transitions between day and night. One of the most important tips for helping you sleep well is to set a regular schedule so your body will know when you’ll be sleeping.
Tip #2: Create Your Own Personal Bedtime Routine.
One of the most crucial parts of your day is the last hour before you sleep. You should try to do the same things every evening, such as taking a warm shower, brushing your teeth, and getting into pajamas, which will cue your body that you’re about to go to sleep.
Tip #3: Turn off the TV, Phone or Computer.
As you get ready for bed, try to avoid spending time looking into lights like your TV, phone, or computer. Though it may be tempting to watch videos as you relax in bed, this kind of light keeps your brain alert, so opt for entertainment like podcasts or audio meditations that don’t require a lit screen.
Tip #4: Go Somewhere Else If You Can’t Sleep.
If you really can’t go to sleep just yet, or if you wake up during the night and can’t get back to sleep, go ahead and move to another room for work or entertainment. This will help remind your brain that bedrooms are for sleep, not for alert activities.
Tip #5: Make Your Bedroom as Dark as Possible.
At night in your bedroom, use blackout curtains and cover lights on electronics in the room to keep it as dark as possible for the best sleep. Conversely, during the daytime, stay in brightly lit rooms and get lots of sunlight to help align your circadian rhythm with the passage of time in nature.
Tip #6: Watch What You Eat.
Eating large meals, drinking alcohol or caffeine, and smoking cigarettes hurts your sleep quality. Whether you’re awake with jitters or indigestion, you won’t sleep as well as you would if you just drank water and ate a small snack in the evening.
Tip #7: Exercise Regularly.
By regularly exercising, you burn off excess energy and keep your mind and body active without the use of stimulants.
Tip #8: Adjust Your Thermostat (Or Set a Thermostat Schedule).
Most people sleep well when the temperature of the room is in the mid 60s. Who hasn’t woken up in the middle of the night too hot or too cold? If you have a thermostat with a scheduling device built in, set the schedule to lower or raise the temperature at different time intervals during the night while you are sleeping.
Tip #9: Block Out All Noise or Use White Noise.
Whether it’s a dog barking or a partner snoring, noises tend to distract from a good night’s sleep. Use white noise from an app or fan to dull exterior noise, and wear earplugs if necessary. Also, if you have your phone at your bedside, make sure to silence it so you aren’t up all night with Twitter notifications.
Tip #10: Make Your Mattress and Pillow Comfortable.
Try to change your mattress out at least once every 10 years, and if you can’t afford a new one, you can make a firm mattress softer with a pillow-top insert or soft mattress firmer with boards under the bed. Find a comfortable pillow that fits your size, and spend a little extra on soft and breathable sheets and blankets.
Working at your desk all day can put extra stress on your body. Because of this, it’s important to stay fit while you’re working at your desk all day. There are plenty of easy, beneficial exercises that you can do while you’re sitting at your desk, or working in the office. Here are 10 easy exercises you could do when you are at work.
1. Do Some Head Lollers
When you’re working behind a computer all day, your head and neck could become stiff. Loosen them by letting your head loll over so that the left ear nearly touches your shoulder. Use your hand to press your head a little lower for 10 seconds. Repeat the same exercise using your right ear.
2. Try Some Victory Stretches
This easy exercise is great for relieving stress and keeping your muscles from clenching up. You could stay seated or stand up for this exercise. Raise your hands up overhead in a V-shape and stretch high up. Hold for 10 seconds.
3. Do Wall Sits
This exercise is great for building strength and endurance while taking a phone call. It’s also great for your back. You will stand with your back against the wall, bend your knees and slide your back down the wall until thighs are parallel to the floor. Sit and hold this position for 15 seconds.
4. Clench Your Muscles
A muscle strengthening exercise that you can do while sitting or standing. All you have to do is tighten your buttocks for five seconds, relax and repeat 15 times. If you do this exercise regularly, it could help tone your muscles.
5. Squat at Your Printer or Your Fax Machine
Try doing this exercise when you are standing at your printer and waiting for something to print, or standing at your fax machine and sending a fax or receiving a fax. Squatting is great for strengthening the thighs and buttocks. Stand with your feet together, bending the knees slightly until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold this position for five seconds and then release it. Repeat this exercise. Do 4-6 repetitions.
6. Raise Your Legs While Sitting
This exercise is great for adding strength to your legs and abdomen. Try doing this while sitting down on a conference call and nobody’s watching. Straighten your leg while sitting upright in your seat. Hold it in place for 10 seconds. Repeat with the other leg and then do this 15 times for each leg.
7. Do Some Chair Dips
These are easy exercises you can do to strengthen your core and arms. Be sure you’re using a chair that doesn’t roll away. Scoot up to the front edge of the chair, extend your legs out in front of you and place your hands on the edges of the chair behind you. Use your core and arms to raise your body up and down. Repeat this exercise 15 times.
8. Raise Your Leg While Hovering
Similar to raising your legs while sitting, raising your legs while hovering helps strengthen your abdomen. The only difference is that you will be raising both of your legs at the same time, instead of raising each leg one at a time. Hold this position as long as you can and then release it.
9. Do the “Leaning Plank Exercise”
This is another one of our favorite easy exercises you could do in the break room. Just lean against a wall using your forearms for support. Hold for as long as you can.
10. Hug Your Knees
Lift your leg up with a bent knee and grab it with your arms. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat on the other leg. This exercise is great for strengthening your knees.