Learn how to manage stress and life changes

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Work, relationships and any changes in life can trigger stress. Some stress can be beneficial, boosting your energy to complete a task. Other times, too much stress can result in serious health conditions.

The American Psychological Association shows high levels of stress can contribute to the development of major illnesses, such as depression, obesity and heart disease.1

That’s why it’s important to recognize when you may need help managing stress, and know where help is available.

Be proactive about getting help

While it may be instinctive to cope with stress alone, it is beneficial to seek help when you need it.

Financial issues and relationship difficulties are common stressors. But even positive changes in your life, such as the arrival of a new baby or a job promotion, can cause stress.

If you’re feeling stress for too long, whether for several hours, days or months, your body may set off physical and emotional signals.2

Some warning signs of stress may include:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

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.

Make counseling work for you

While friends and family members are often your nearest resource, professional help may also be available to help you deal with stress.3 Professional resources include:

  • Employee assistance programs (EAPs), which may be provided through your workplace
  • Counseling or psychotherapy
  • Social workers, psychologists, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists
  • 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 regularly check in 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

Sources

  1. “Five tips to help manage stress,” American Psychological Association, last accessed January 2, 2019, https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/manage-stress.aspx , opens new window.
  2. “Listening to the warning signs of stress,” American Psychological Association, last accessed January 2, 2019, https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-signs.aspx , opens new window.
  3. “Coping with stress at work,” American Psychological Association, last accessed January 2, 2019, https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/work-stress.aspx , opens new window.