Along with your physical health, be sure to think about and care for your mental health. Managing stress can be a great first step. Everyday life can be stressful and you may be adding to that stress without realizing it, which over time, if unmanaged, can lead to physical and mental health disorders.
Do any of the following common sources of stress affect you? If so try these tips for helping reduce stress in your everyday life.
You think about all the negative things that can or have gone wrong. Pay attention to your thoughts to catch when they turn negative and try to think of the positives instead. If something is going wrong but there is nothing you can do about it, try to let it go. Keep your focus on what is within your control.
You take on too much and get overwhelmed. Look at your to-do list and start small; pick a few smaller items to get you started and be sure to give your self credit for all you accomplish. Larger projects can be broken into smaller tasks and be sure to give yourself breaks, even for just a few minutes. Asking for help and delegating tasks is a strength, not a weakness.
You are too busy or tired for physical activity. Physical activity can reduce stress. Try fitting a couple short 10-minute walks into your schedule, which may help clear your head. Find activities that you enjoy, schedule them for a specific time, and treat them as unbreakable appointments. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
You have trouble focusing on the present. Put down or limit your electronic devices, especially when you have the opportunity to join a conversation, enjoy a meal, or simply relax. Work on being mindful; notice and appreciate the little things. When you notice your mind wandering, try taking deep breaths and returning to the present moment.
You expect perfection. Remind yourself that real life has imperfections. Always striving to be perfect may foster unrealistic expectations of yourself and others. Treat your mistakes as learning opportunities and try to find humor in not-so-perfect situations.
It is important to view mental health on a scale and where you are on that scale may change during stressful times, or over the course of your life. Even if you do not feel your mental health is being affected, changes to your “normal” life, especially those experienced over the past year, can take a toll. Feeling blah, empty, or struggling to cope may be signs you are languishing, which is a risk factor for mental illness if not addressed. Refer to this article on Languishing and COVID to learn more and for tips on increasing your well-being.
Be sure to reach out for help if you notice symptoms of mental illness in yourself or someone you care about. Adults may show signs such as trouble concentrating, fatigue, avoiding people or activities you enjoy, sleep issues, drug or alcohol use, anger, or violence. Depending on their age, children and teens may show different symptoms than adults; refer to our Nurturing the Mental Health of Children, Teens, and Young Adults article for information and resources specific to these age groups. Treatment, such as medication and talk therapy, can help be helpful and a doctor or a mental health professional can recommend what may work best based on your specific needs. Early intervention may lead to better outcomes for those dealing with mental illness.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
The EAP offers free, confidential, 24/7 support for all employees and their household members. This benefit includes six in-person or virtual sessions with a counselor, per support need. You also receive unlimited phone consultations with EAP experts about family, financial and legal matters, along with a variety of online resources when you login to guidanceresources.com. If you have not yet set up your online account, see your Benefits Guide, contact the Benefits Team, or contact your manager for the Organization Web ID.
Try one of these EAP resources to start:
Employees participating in the United Healthcare medical insurance have a variety of mental health resources available through Optum, United Healthcare’s behavioral health partner, as part of their medical benefit. Visit cx.optum.com/mentalhealthmonth for more information, support resources, or to find a provider.
Employees participating in the BlueCross BlueShield medical insurance have a variety of mental health resources available through ShareCare, BlueCross BlueShield’s behavioral health partner, as part of their medical benefit. Visit mycare.sharecare.com for more information, support resources, or to find a provider.
Visit the Support Programs and Services page for programs and services to support you and your family.