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Ahead of International Stress Awareness Day on November 4, we’re sharing tips from Cigna’s behavioral health experts to help identify and reduce stress. This has been a stressful year for kids and adults alike, and with the 2020 Presidential Election approaching it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed – even more so this year as we’re all living through the global COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the Cigna Resilience Index found that 75% of adults feel stressed about COVID-19 and 65% about the November elections. The good news is that there are ways to combat stress this time of year.
"As the pandemic continues to impact both our personal lives and the way we work, it is important to understand how stress is affecting our health.” said Dr. Doug Nemecek, Chief Medical Officer for Behavioral Health at Cigna. “Everyone has stress, however, too much stress can cause harm to our health and relationships. There are simple things we can do – like taking a few minutes to yourself, calling a friend, or exercising – that can make a big difference for your emotional well-being.”
Chronic stress is one of the biggest contributors to life-threatening illnesses – such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. During these challenging and unpredictable times, take a moment to focus on your emotional health with these four tips:
- Identify stressors. Acknowledge feelings of stress. What is it that’s eating at you? Is it work, or money, a relationship, or something else? Once you know this, you can begin to deal with your stress in a healthy way. Learn more about our resources to See Stress Differently, with tools to visualize your stress and create a personalized plan to take care of your stress.
- Prioritize self-care. Double down on positive habits to keep stress and anxiety at bay. Focus on mindfulness or get active – even if it’s only for 5 minutes a day. Meditate, go for a walk or bike ride, try gardening, practice yoga – find what works for you to re-focus and reduce stress.
- Enjoy nature. As the days grow shorter and the weather grows colder, it’s tempting to stay inside. Research shows that being outdoors can help you de-stress. Take advantage of nice weather when possible – enjoy a hike or simply explore the environment around you -- and remember to practice safety and follow local COVID-19 public health guidance when doing so.
- Know when to ask for help. It’s important to recognize when you’re unable to cope with stress without help. Reach out to friends and family for support or reach out to a medical professional if you’re overwhelmed. Cigna offers many resources and tools, including a 24-hour toll-free help line (1-855-287-8400).
To learn more about behavioral health resources from Cigna, click here.