Stress Awareness: Three Tips to Manage Stress
We all feel stress from time to time … at home, at work, in our everyday experiences. Stress can be short-lived or as a reaction to an external situation, such as missing your morning train, or stress can persist. Longer-term stress can negatively affect day-to-day functioning, increasing the risk for certain health problems, such as depression. How you react to your stress is important, especially those stressful situations that are unavoidable.
Recognizing April as Stress Awareness Month, here are three recommendations for managing stress.
- Relax and recharge. We know that sometimes we need to disconnect, even briefly. Some stress management tips include taking time to recharge, like taking a walk during working hours, exercising, engaging in a hobby, spending time with friends and family and meditation. Any of these activities can help you to focus on taking care of yourself and better handle life’s stressful situations. Also, keep in mind that many health insurance packages have a fitness benefit.
- Volunteer and get involved at work. Carving out some time and energy to help others has been shown to help people feel more connected and less socially isolated, as well as to improve physical health, including blood pressure. That’s one reason why in February 2017, Beacon launched Operation BEAM, whose goal is to engage Beacon employees in more behavioral health-related volunteer activities (e.g., national and local NAMI Walks) as well as in industries important to us, such as food pantries, the ASPCA, drop-in shelters, etc. On a local level, many Beacon engagement centers have created Employee Activity Committees (EACs). The NYC Engagement Center EAC, for example, meets twice monthly to coordinate activities for employees, such as potluck meals, trips to Madison Square Garden for sporting events and the holiday party. Recently, a six-week long yoga session has been taking place at 2 Penn Plaza after work to de-stress and come together. The EAC also organized a planting session; employees received a small pot in which to plant some seeds and nurture their growth. Finally, New York employees and family members have started to sign up to participate in the NYC NAMI Walk in May.
Beacon launched Operation BEAM, whose goal is to engage Beacon employees in more behavioral health-related volunteer activities (e.g., national and local NAMI Walks) as well as in industries important to us, such as food pantries, the ASPCA, drop-in shelters, etc.
3. Take care of your mental health. It‘s important to be aware of your own mental health as well as those around you, which is one reason why Beacon has embarked on a new initiative in New York state, Mental Health First Aid training. Also as part of our suicide prevention campaign, this training will help all of our New York employees to recognize and understand the signs and symptoms of an impending mental health crisis and to know what to do if someone is experiencing one. Additionally, Employee Assistance Programs are great resources, offering services ranging from counseling, financial consultation (legal and financial), and online and assisted searches for topics that include child and eldercare, adoption assistance, personal security and more.
Beacon Health Options is committed to the well-being of all its employees, and we encourage all organizations to promote employee health and wellness. Even though stress can’t be totally avoided, we can choose to respond to it differently. Doing so can help us achieve a more balanced life at work and home.