Learn how to manage stress and life changes

A grandfather passes a basketball to his grandson.

Work, relationships, finances and changes in your life can trigger stress. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), some stress can be beneficial, boosting your energy to complete a task or even to save your life as you flee danger. Other times, too much stress can result in serious health conditions.1

The NIMH says high levels of stress can contribute to the development of major illnesses, such as depression, obesity and heart disease—and can even lower your resistance to diseases ranging from the common cold to diabetes.2

Here are some warning signs of stress, according to The American Institute of Stress:3

  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability, anger, wild mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in appetite

Don’t wait for your body to exhibit warning signs to talk with your doctor about how your stress is affecting you. A licensed counselor or other health professional can help you find ways to reduce stress in your life.

Medicare covers some mental health services and your Humana plan may cover additional services. Check your plan benefits for what’s available to you.

Once you find a professional resource you feel comfortable working with, make treatment a priority.

When receiving counseling, it is important to check in regularly and track your progress. Follow these guidelines:

  • Stay in contact with your support person or counselor.
  • Keep scheduled appointments.
  • Take medication as prescribed and notify your doctor if you experience any side effects.
  • Follow prescribed alternative treatment recommendations, such as yoga or a new diet.
  • Be patient as your treatment plan is developed.
  • Remember to eat a healthy diet, exercise and try to find time to relax.4


  1. “5 Things You Should Know about Stress,” National Institute of Mental Health, last accessed September 4, 2019, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml, opens new window.
  2. “5 Things You Should Know about Stress.”
  3. “50 Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress,” The American Institute of Stress, last accessed September 4, 2019, https://www.stress.org/stress-effects, opens new window.
  4. “Stress Management,” WebMD, last accessed September 4, 2019, https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-management, opens new window.