woman who is stressed holding her head

Carve Out Time to Relax this National Stress Awareness Month

Few things in life are certain. Stress is one of those certainties, a detail you are reminded of each day as you manage responsibilities and face challenges. Chances are that you are keenly aware how important it is to hit the refresh button when it comes to your ability to face those matters. April is National Stress Awareness Month, the perfect time to use that button more liberally and to recognize how stress can impact your overall health.

It’s crucial to be able to recognize stress symptoms so you can manage it1. Stress is a natural reaction and is a way to protect yourself from danger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention2, it can prompt you to develop skills needed to manage potentially threatening situations. But it’s best to be aware of stress and find ways to manage it through self-care.

Some of the common effects of stress are1:

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability or anger
  • Sadness or depression
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Social withdrawal

It’s when our fight or flight response is left unchecked that it can contribute to a variety of health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes1.

Consider managing your stress by3:

  • Recognizing when you don’t have control and letting it go
  • Avoiding anxiety about situations you can’t change
  • Focusing your mind on something that makes you feel calm and in control
  • Developing a vision for healthy living, wellness, and personal growth
  • Setting realistic goals to help you realize your vision

Carving out even just a few moments each day to relax can help you manage your stress.

Here are a few ideas you want to explore1:

  • Engaging in regular physical activity
  • Partaking in relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, yoga, or getting a massage
  • Socializing with family and friends
  • Setting aside time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music

Let’s take a look at a few insurance benefits available to you with short-term medical and health benefit insurance coverage that may help you as you manage your stress:

Wellness care

When you begin thinking about improving your stress management techniques, you’re likely to also begin thinking about how to make healthier choices going forward. Short-term medical and health benefit insurance coverage are options that may be able to help you maintain access to quality healthcare all while including wellness care benefits. While they’re not intended to replace major medical insurance, they can be used to continue access to health benefits.

Preventive care 

Beyond learning more about healthier choices, you may also be interested in learning more about your general health as well as screenings and shots. If traditional insurance coverage is not an option, short-term medical and health benefit insurance coverage can include preventive benefits that give you access to quality physicians who can provide such care.

Routine doctor visits

Maintaining your general health is likely to become a priority as you become more aware of your stress and management exercises that work for you. With short-term medical coverage, you can take advantage of benefits that allow for access to physicians who can provide routine care and consultations. With health benefit insurance coverage, you can take advantage of cash benefits that subsidize the costs of such visits. Both types of coverage can provide access to a network of providers and facilities. It’s important to review any plans carefully to understand what is covered, if preexisting conditions are included or not, and what services will qualify for any cash benefits. While major medical insurance will provide access to routine care, you may find yourself in a situation where you cannot obtain coverage, and these plans may provide an alternative to help you stay on track with your wellness and health goals.

Note: It is important to keep in mind, that while short-term and health benefit insurance coverage do provide these benefits, neither one is intended to be a replacement nor an alternative to ACA or other major medical plans. These types of coverage do not provide the minimum essential health benefits that are required and will not help to avoid the fee for not carrying health insurance.

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1: “Healthy Lifestyle: Stress Management.” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987

2: “Coping With Stress.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/features/copingwithstress/index.html

3: “Take Time to Unwind.” Federal Occupational Health. https://foh.psc.gov/calendar/stress.html