There have been a number of changes in the way we live our lives in the past year. While the circumstances behind those changes have not been what we originally planned or envisioned, there are a number of reasons to be positive. To start the new year off right, here are some silver linings to help you stay optimistic.
COVID-19 has created a fundamental shift in the way we work, with more than half of U.S. employees working from home. Many have enjoyed the increased comfort and flexibility that comes with working from home. And skipping the commute has helped people save both time and transportation costs.
If you find yourself spending more time with your young ones, cherish these moments. Children grow up fast! Of course with altered daycare operations and school-aged children learning virtually, hybrid or in altered schedules, working parents have had to face childcare issues.
To deal with changing needs, many companies have increased flexibility of hours or have subsidized childcare costs. If you have a need, or your need has changed, speak with your employer about ways in which they might be flexible to help you best serve your family. Be sure to inquire about childcare benefits. Your employer may have benefit offerings you may be unaware of.
By analyzing park visitations, fishing license sales, campground attendance and other records, it seems the trend has been that humanity’s interest in outdoor recreation had a peak in the early 1990s and has been on a decline since.1
But that all changed when COVID cabin fever set in. Data suggests people are spending about an hour longer outside each day than they were at the beginning of the pandemic.
Taking part in more outdoor activities has many benefits. Being outside can ease some symptoms of depression, enhance memory and cognitive function, reduce stress and improve creative thinking and problem-solving.2
Quarantined Americans had energy to burn, spiking sales and sellouts of bicycles, dumbbells and $2,000 stationary bikes, according to a May 2020 article in the New York Times.3 Daily neighborhood walks have quickly become America’s new pastime, along with virtual home workouts.
People aren’t going to the gym as much, but just about any regular physical activity, regardless of duration or intensity, lowers the risk of chronic disease. If people begin to think of physical activity for what it is — anything that gets your body moving — millions may reconsider their aversion to exercise and reap the benefits. But as always, you should consult your physician before starting any new exercise activity.
Healthier Living with Home Cooking
For many, COVID has highlighted the seriousness of improving modifiable risk factors.
Beyond increases in daily physical activity, many people began to skip salt-laden restaurant meals and cook inherently healthier meals at home. In fact, sales of slow cooker liners, instant pots, and cast-iron skillets spiked online as people cooked their own meals.3
According to heart.org, healthy modifications like cooking at home may reduce the risk of immunity killers like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and more.3
While there are reasons to be optimistic, life changes have hit people in widely diverging (and unexpected) ways. Some are struggling, and some are thriving. Whatever your situation, BancorpSouth is here to help you. Speak with one of our financial experts today to find out what solutions can best fit your life.
1Scientific American.” More time out in nature is an unexpected benefit of the COVID-19 sheltering rules.”
2Washington Post. “Could we come out of the coronavirus crisis with new, more healthful habits?”
3The New York Times. “People are panic-buying meat, toilet paper … and Pelotons?”
5Heart.org..”Lifestyle changes for heart attack prevention.”