Health and wellness market research

Five health-boosting hacks for 2020 and beyond

We live in a super busy world. With work deadlines, never-ending to-do lists and overflowing laundry baskets to contend with, as well as making time to see your friends and attempting to schedule in enough time to visit the gym, it’s no wonder we all feel a bit, well, knackered. But if you notice you are tired in the morning despite a good night’s sleep or find yourself gulping back the coffee just to get through the day, it could be time to make some changes.

We get it – with so much to juggle, it can be difficult to put your health and wellbeing first. But if one of your 2020 resolutions was to start focusing more on self-care, read on to discover our five easy and sustainable ways to incorporate health and wellbeing into your everyday life – including taking part in health and wellness market research with us!

1. Make time to meditate
Meditation has an incredible number of benefits to your health. From lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety, and even helping you to sleep more soundly, meditation is an all-round wellbeing winner and one of our top health hacks. And best of all? It only takes 10 minutes per day! Try and get into the habit of meditating in the morning: research has found that a shocking 90% of people check their phones within the first hour of waking up – which not only harms your circadian rhythm by exposing your eyes and skin to artificial blue light instead of sunlight, but it also puts the brain into an immediate stressed state as you start scrolling through emails and mentally putting together to-do lists.

Instead, set aside 10 minutes at the beginning of the day to set your intentions for that day, practising gratitude and fueling your mind, body and soul. If you’re struggling to get started, there are plenty of meditation apps to help you switch off and tune in. We love the Calm app, with over 100 guided meditations designed to lower stress levels, reduce anxiety and improve your sleep as well as physical stretches and exercises to help you get rid of tension – which sounds like a pretty good way to start the day to us!

2. Be more social
Being more social is another proven way to make you feel happier. In fact, socialising has a number of benefits to your physical and mental health. For starters, did you know that those with more social support tend to live longer? Or that regularly socialising can lower your chances of dementia? And that social engagement is associated with a stronger immune system, too? Of course, there are plenty of mental health benefits linked to socialising as well, with interaction with others helping to reduce feelings of depression and boosting wellbeing.

The good news is there are a number of super fun ways to get out there and meet new people. Why not sign up to a dance class or join a book club so you can make new friends whilst doing something you love at the same time? Alternatively, another fab way to meet new people is to take part in market research. At Angelfish, we’re always working on fun health and wellness market research projects, often with big brands. It’s a great way to try something different, meet new people and get paid to have your say! Sound good? Simply sign up here to find out more!

3. Get outside
Did you know that spending time outdoors is directly associated with greater vitality? In fact, fresh air can do wonders for health and wellbeing – and can give you the energy you need to get through the day without the help of coffee! Most of us are guilty of not getting enough fresh air, which can have a really negative impact on our circadian rhythms, leading to brain damage, metabolism damage and sleep complications, to name but a few (eek!). We wake up before the sun, spend the day inside and are exposed to blue light from our screens all day before heading home to slob out in front of the TV.

But luckily, the solution is simple! Try and get outside three times a day during the morning, midday and within two hours of sunset. The light frequency from the sun at these times will activate the energy cells in your body, elevating your mood, boosting metabolism, decreasing the stress hormone cortisol and combating insomnia. It could be as easy as walking or cycling to work – see, we told you it was simple!

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4. Put down your phone and do something different
We are officially slaves to our smartphones. There are 3.5 billion smartphone owners in the world, with the average smartphone user touching their phone a whopping 2,617 times a day – it’s no wonder 60% of smartphone users admit to being addicted to their phones. But a digital detox – that’s a whole 24 hours with no phone, computer, internet, anything – is like a magical cure for an instantly happier and healthier life. From improving your posture to curing insomnia and making you more creative to boosting your self-esteem (let’s face it, there’s nothing like a bit of social media comparison to get you feeling down), stepping away from your phone is one of the best things you can do for your health and wellbeing.

Worried about what to do without your phone? Go for a bike ride, play some board games, have a picnic, visit a museum, bake a cake, do a cookery class, or finally get started on that book you’ve been meaning to read; there are so many fun things to do that don’t rely on a screen! And if you really fancy trying something different, how about taking part in market research? Paid market research studies with Angelfish are a great way to do something different, meet like-minded people and have fun whilst making a difference. Find out more here.

5. A healthy body = a healthy mind
This one is pretty obvious, but it’s so important it’s still worth a mention. Love it or loathe it, exercise is essential for boosting your mood and living a healthy, well-balanced life. If the thought of the treadmill fills you with dread, you’re not alone – but with so many options out there today, it’s about choosing the right type of exercise for you. From yoga to Zumba and pilates to pole fitness, there are a number of different ways to get moving and get those endorphins pumping.

What’s more, with apps such as FIIT, Freeletics and Daily Yoga, you no longer have to pay for expensive classes or pricey gym memberships and can instead fit exercise in around your life. If that all seems too much, simply try and increase your steps and take the stairs instead of the lift. It’s all about making small life changes that add up to make a big difference.

This may sound like a lot of changes, but…

By incorporating these into your routine step by step, you’ll be well on your way to a healthy lifestyle in no time. In fact, studies suggest that it takes approximately 66 days on average before a new habit becomes second nature – so set a date in your calendar for 66 days time, and see how far you’ve come when you reach it!

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The Oscars 2020 – your definitive round-up

Can you believe that the awards season is over already? Yep, the most dazzling night of the year took place on Sunday night as Hollywood’s finest headed to the Dolby Theatre in LA ready for the 92nd Academy Awards to find out who was to be honoured with the industry’s most prestigious awards. Couldn’t face the prospect of pulling an all-nighter to watch the Awards live? No problem: from shock winners and surprise snubs to super-glam presenters and why the Academy has been getting some bad press again this year, read on for our definitive Oscars round-up…

The nominees

Todd Phillips’ creepy psychological thriller Joker led the pack this year with a whopping 11 nominations including Best Actor, Best Picture and Best Director, whilst Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, The Irishman and 1917 all followed with 10 nominations each. Renee Zellweger was predicted to win Best Actress for her portrayal of Judy Garland in Judy, whereas Jennifer Lopez was controversially snubbed for her role in Hustlers (more on that below…). Interestingly, streaming platform Netflix had over 20 nods this year, including Best Picture for Martin Scorcese’s The Irishman featuring acting powerhouses Robert De Niro and Al Pacino and drama film Marriage Story starring Scarlett Johansson, showing Hollywood’s resistance to streaming was short-lived as audiences continue to choose mediums such as Netflix and Amazon Prime to view films and TV programmes.

The hosts

Last year, the Oscars famously went without a host for the first time in 30 years after Kevin Hart pulled out following public backlash over homophobic tweets. Instead, the show focused on its presenters, such as Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler, as well as actors Helen Mirren, Samuel L. Jackson and Constance Wu. The new format went down pretty well – and as a result, the Academy decided to make do without a host this year too. Previous hosts Steve Martin and Chris Rock were the first up to present an award, joking about their demotion from hosting – but this year, the lack of hosts really made it seem like no one was in charge. Presenters showed up in strange places around the theatre, some performers weren’t even introduced and winners were allowed to ramble on for minutes. However, the absolute chaotic highlight had to be Rebel Wilson and James Corden presenting in full Cats costume and makeup, poking fun at the box office flop of 2019. 

The winners

As was largely expected, Brad Pitt scooped up the award for Best Supporting Actor in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Joaquin Phoenix completed his awards season run by taking home the Best Actor gong for Joker, Renee Zellweger won Best Actress for her role in Judy and Laura Dern won Best Supporting Actress for Netflix’s A Marriage Story. The shock of the night, however, had to go to the Best Picture award, which was won by Parasite, a social satire about two families in Seoul that managed to do what no other subtitled film has done before by winning the coveted Best Picture award. 

The controversy

The Oscars famously came under fire for its lack of diversity in nominations back in 2016 when the infamous hashtag #OscarsSoWhite started trending worldwide – and this year, despite Hollywood being more diverse than ever, the nominations were criticised yet again for their lack of diversity. 31 of the 100 top-grossing films from 2019 cast a non-white person in a starring or co-starring role – that’s a 14% increase from 2018 and a 138% increase from 2007, whilst women and girls starred or co-starred in 3 of the top 100 films in 2019, a 13-year high. However, whilst it’s clear that Hollywood is taking steps to be more inclusive, and despite diverse stars and directors receiving Oscars buzz, this year’s nominees remained as non-diverse as ever. Women were once again completely shut out of the Best Director category (with Natalie Portman’s stunning Dior cape embroidered with the names of all the female directors who weren’t nominated making a powerful statement) whilst the writing categories were male-dominated too – and shockingly, Cynthia Erivo was the only non-white actor to be nominated at the 92nd Awards for her role in Harriet

A global focus

However, despite the lack of diversity in nominations, the Academy certainly tried to rectify things on the night itself. For starters, Parasite’s Best Picture shock win showed that the Oscars might finally be opening up to the world and joining the 21st century, and there was also a strong emphasis on internationalism throughout the night. There was a speech championing foreign films by Penelope Cruz, a segment about documentary films which included Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg, and when Idina Menzel performed her nominated song from Frozen 2, she was joined by the other Elsas who had sung the song from the film’s non-English versions around the world. 

The importance of diversity

Whilst lack of representation is still a major problem in the industry, diversity has never been more important. Diversity in Hollywood is no longer just about morals and ethics – if studios today want to create successful films, those films need to be diverse. People want to see themselves on screen – so it makes sense that films need to be inclusive. The proof is in the pudding, with a 2018 Hollywood Diversity study showing audiences prefer diverse films, with minority casts enjoying bigger box office success. As audiences become more diverse and equality becomes more important in society, it makes sense that Hollywood is responding to demand – and by its global focus on the night, it looks like the Oscars are finally getting the message. too. Let’s just hope it is reflected in the nominations next year as well!

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