The Pulse of SchoolCare, December 2022

Manage Last Minute Holiday Stress and Expectations With Support From Your Health Benefits

News-Main-Holiday-Stress-2022Published December 20, 2022

The holidays for many people are a joyful time filled with family, friends, gift-giving, and parties.

But amidst the fun and good cheer, heightened stress especially in the last month of the year can impact not only your mental health, but your physical health, too. Prolonged stress can lead to heightened cortisol levels, which can impact your sleep, lead to anxiety and depression, cause headaches and contribute to weight gain.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), this year 31% of adults surveyed for the December 2022 Healthy Minds Monthly Poll said they expected to feel more stress this holiday season than last. Their primary stressors included affording holiday gifts and meals and securing the gifts they were seeking.

In addition to financial concerns, people dealing with grief or loss, struggling with unrealistic expectations, or anticipating holiday gatherings where family dynamics can turn holiday cheer into holiday dread can also wreak havoc on our health. The APA offers seven ways to cope with holiday stress including practicing mindfulness and meditation, taking a break when you need to, making time for to get some fresh air and sunlight.

If you are feeling the last-minute pinch here are a few ways your SchoolCare health benefits can help:

  1. Log-in to your myCigna portal and connect with the Happify app which provides science-based activities and games that are designed to help you deal with stress and life’s challenges. Find Happify under the Coverage tab by clicking on Employee Assistance Program.
  2. Contact an EAP counselor for a free session dealing with managing stress, anxiety, or depression. SchoolCare participants and anyone living in their household can access three-free counseling sessions per issue, per year for support and referrals for additional help. Call 1-877-622-4327 (employer ID is SchoolCare).
  3. If you can make the time – these two Cigna EAP webinars can help frame your thoughts around the holidays.
  4. If you need extra support, your SchoolCare/Cigna benefits provide numerous options for therapeutic assistance. Online counseling is available when needed from the comfort of your home through MD Live, Talkspace and Ginger. Learn more about these services here.

You can also earn some post-holiday cash through your Good For You! Well-Being Program by self-reporting an EAP counseling session, a completed Happify track or watching an EAP webinar it in your myCigna portal under the Wellness menu. Click on the Mental Well-Being Support incentive for this quarter and certify the date you completed the activity.

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