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Life and Health Bulletin
Tips to Ease Seasonal Affective Disorder
Shorter days and colder weather can contribute to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It affects as many as one in five people and is triggered by disruptions to your circadian rhythm, which is your natural sleep and wake schedule, and your serotonin and melatonin levels, which regulate your sleep and mood. If you find yourself feeling less energetic, unable to focus, hungrier, and more down than usual during the winter, consider these tips to ease SAD.
Talk to your Doctor
SAD is a form of depression, so visit your doctor to get an official diagnosis. Your doctor can also prescribe medication and recommend stress management, behavioral therapy and other strategies that help you manage your SAD symptoms.
Maximize your Daylight Exposure
Add more daylight to your day when you spend as much time outdoors as possible, especially around noon when daylight peaks. Indoors, you can sit near a window as you work or relax. Also, open the blinds and curtains, trim the bushes and trees around your windows, and decorate with bright and light colors as you maximize your exposure to daylight.
Schedule Activities you Enjoy
Increase your happiness and motivation to stay active when you participate in activities you enjoy. Schedule coffee or exercise dates with friends, join a book club or volunteer with an organization that matters to you.
Exercise can alleviate SAD symptoms and help you avoid the weight gain that often accompanies SAD. Head outdoors to walk, ski or play, if possible, or work out indoors near a window.
Take all Recommended Medications
Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications, including antidepressants, can relieve your SAD symptoms. Always take the medications your doctor prescribes. Be sure to note any side effects or changes in your mood, too, because your doctor will use this information to ensure you’re on the right medication and dosage.
Boost Vitamin D
A vitamin D deficiency can contribute to SAD. Ask your doctor to confirm your vitamin D level, then take the recommended amount of this mood-boosting vitamin.
Consider Light Therapy
A light therapy box, battery-powered visor or dawn simulator mimic sunshine and ease SAD. Try using one of these light therapy devices to regulate your mood, energy and sleep patterns. Monitor your SAD Symptoms
Keep a journal as you monitor your SAD symptoms. Note any therapies or strategies that work to help you feel better and when your symptoms worsen. Use this information to implement the most beneficial therapies and strategies for you.
The winter doldrums you experience may actually be seasonal affective disorder. Ease SAD with these tips. For additional information about SAD or other forms of depression, talk to your healthcare provider or health insurance agent.
Scurich Insurance Services
The Basics of a Life Insurance Trust
Life insurance allows you to provide financially for your family after you die. It’s an important part of your estate plan, and you can maximize the death benefit and care for your family’s future when you set up a life insurance trust.
What is a Life Insurance Trust?
When you die, your beneficiary will receive the death benefit of your life insurance policy. While the benefit is not subject to income tax, your beneficiary will pay estate tax on that money if your estate value exceeds $5.49 million.
Establish a life insurance trust to protect your life insurance policy’s death benefit from estate taxes. This trust can save your beneficiaries thousands of dollars and gives them the maximum benefit of your life insurance policy.
What to Consider Before you Open a Life Insurance Trust
A life insurance trust is a wise investment, but consider several facts about this arrangement before you establish a trust.
Carefully choose the beneficiary.
You can change your life insurance policy beneficiary any time. However, the beneficiary of your life insurance trust cannot be changed, so choose your life insurance trust beneficiary carefully.
Purchase a new life insurance policy for the trust
If you transfer an existing life insurance policy to the trust and die within three years, that life insurance policy will be considered part of your estate and will be taxed as such. Avoid taxes when you purchase a new policy specifically for the life insurance trust.
Remember that the life insurance trust is irrevocable.
After you set up a life insurance trust, you cannot undo it. So if you become uninsurable, remember that you cannot retrieve the life insurance policy or make any changes to it.
You can't borrow from the policy.
You will probably purchase a whole or permanent life insurance policy for your trust since it remains in effect until your death. This type of life insurance policy accumulates cash value. You won’t be able to borrow from it, though, because it belongs to the trust and not to you personally. The cash value simply accrues for the trust beneficiary.
Find or hire a trustee.
You can’t serve as the trustee of your life insurance trust, so find or hire someone you trust to take on this responsibility. You may also hire the bank or trust company to handle this task. They usually charge a reduced fee because the trust requires no investment decisions and little effort.
Maximize your life insurance policy for your beneficiaries when you establish a life insurance trust. It ensures they receive 100 percent of the benefits and gives you peace of mind.
Scurich Insurance Services
Can You Get Life Insurance If You're Disabled
The Americans with Disabilities Act ensures disabled Americans can access insurance, including life insurance. L
ife insurance is important because it allows you to provide financially for your survivors after your death.
You may wonder, though, if you qualify since you have a disability. Understand your rights and how life insurance works as you get the coverage you need even if you’re disabled.
How are Life Insurance Applications Evaluated?
After you apply for life insurance, the application undergoes an underwriting process. It determines if you’re a good risk for the company.
To determine your risk, the underwriter evaluates details of your health, including your background, medications and family health history. Insurers can also review your medical records and require a medical exam. They may not require you to undergo more medical testing than normal simply because you’re disabled.
The insurance company will use all of this information to approve or deny your application.
How much will you Pay?
Insurance companies assign a rate class to each approved life insurance applicant. Applicants who are in excellent health pay a lower premium. Applicants with health concerns or a disability can typically expect to pay higher premiums. However, if your disability isn’t a severe physical or cognitive impairment, you may qualify for a lower premium rate.
Check Alternative Sources
Your private life insurance policy may be denied based on your disability. Fortunately, you could be eligible for several alternative options.
Group coverage through your employer requires no medical questions or medical exam. Your coverage will end when you leave the job, though.
Guaranteed issue plans feature no underwriting process, medical questions or medical exam. This life insurance option may have a waiting period for claims and high premiums.
A pre-existing conditions clause in your standard life insurance policy ensures your survivors receive the death benefit as long as you do not pass away from your disability.
How to Lower your Rates
Instead of allowing high premiums to keep you from purchasing life insurance, review the steps you can take to lower your rates.
Request your medical records and review them. You can then explain any notes from your physician rather than allow the underwriter to make assumptions.
Manage your diagnosis. Show underwriters that you are following through with medical treatment.
Eat a balanced diet. Improve your health and reduce your potential health complications like high blood pressure or obesity.
Stop using tobacco products. Earn a lower rate when you’re tobacco-free for at least 12 months.
You can qualify for life insurance even if you have a disability. Contact a life insurance agent for assistance comparing rates and finding the right policy for your needs.
Scurich Insurance Services
New Year's Resolutions That Help You Live Longer
One in five people resolve to lose weight or get healthier every January. If you choose to adopt this resolution in 2018, you could live longer.
Several additional New Year’s resolutions can also prolong your life, so consider adding them to your resolution list this year.
Eat Fewer Calories
Food fuels your body, but when you eat fewer calories, you lose weight and reduce your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Choose a smaller plate, chew each bite carefully and stop eating when you start to feel full to eat fewer calories and prolong your life.
Add Brain Foods to Your Diet
Certain foods help your brain and body function properly. Plan to add these brain foods to your diet as you live a healthier lifestyle this year.
Nuts and seeds
Meditation reduces stress and anxiety, improves your mood and boosts your brain’s grey matter, which helps to regulate your sensory perception, muscle control, decision making and self-control. Listen to a meditative CD or simply sit still and relax as you add this practice to your daily routine and gain its benefits.
Learn Something New
When you learn a new skill, you stretch your brain and improve your memory. Resolve to take a college class, learn to edit photos or watch TED talks that enrich your life and your brain with new thoughts, ideas and lessons.
Move Every Da
Regular movement helps you stay fit, improves your overall body function and reduces stress and depression. As a bonus, moving outdoors in nature could lower your blood pressure and boost your immunity. Whether you take a walk, sign up for a dance class or join a sports team, aim to move at least 10,000 steps per day and live longer.
Start a New Hobby
Hobbies like gardening, cooking and reading improve your quality of life. Many hobbies also reduce your stress levels, improve your focus and boost your brainpower. Start a hobby or two, and you increase your enjoyment of life and life expectancy this year.
Play helps kids develop properly and learn essential skills, and play gives adults important benefits, too. Relax your body and stimulate your mind when you put together up a jigsaw puzzle, join a bowling league, shoot hoops during work breaks and play more in 2018.
Get a Physical
During your annual physical, you and your doctor review your current health and address any ongoing health issues. Prioritize this visit to stay healthy now and into the future.
Resolve in 2018 to live longer thanks to these resolutions. They improve your life and your health.
Scurich Insurance Services
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