This past year has been difficult for everyone, so you are not alone if you feel stressed, anxious or scared. Here are some things you can do for your mental health.
Ask for help when you need it
Seeking help is a sign of strength, not a weakness. We all need a little help sometimes. Here are resources available to you as a Western Union employee to manage your mental health:
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available, at no cost to you, for confidential, professional counseling for you and your family members even if you are not enrolled in a Western Union medical plan. The EAP is available 24/7. To find contact information for your country visit the People Services portal.
- iPrevail through Cigna. If you are enrolled in a Cigna medical option, you can sign up for the iPrevail digital therapeutics platform to help you take control of the stresses of everyday life and challenges associated with life’s difficult transitions. Start by signing up for iPrevail on com. After completing a short quiz, you will be matched with a personalized support program.
- Medical plan benefits. If your anxiety or depression last more than a few weeks or you have persistent feelings of distress, you may want to talk with your health provider about therapy and/or medication. Western Union medical plans provide coverage for mental health and substance abuse issues.
Try the Headspace mental health app
Headspace offers effective meditation and mindfulness programs available to help you stay in the present moment, reduce stress, sleep better and improve your mental health. Western Union provides all employees with free access to Headspace. Visit the Headspace article on People Services to register.
Research shows that people who exercise regularly have better mental health and emotional wellbeing, and lower rates of mental illness. In fact, for mild depression, research suggests physical activity can be as effective as antidepressants or psychological treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy.
Here are some good reasons to break a sweat!
- Any exercise that increases your heart rate boosts the production of feel-good chemicals, including serotonin and dopamine.
- Exercise decreases muscle tension, which is a major contributor to anxiety.
- Regular exercise can help you sleep better–and good sleep helps you regulate your moods.
- Exercise can distract you from negative thoughts and provide opportunities to try new experiences.
Experts suggest 30 minutes of exercise, at least five days a week, can make a big difference. It can be one 30-minute session, or several shorter 10 – 15 minute sessions. The Headspace app offers short workouts to release stress and reframe anxiety. Visit the Headspace article on People Services to register.
Get a good night’s sleep
Getting a good night’s rest is another essential way to improve your mental health. When you sleep, your brain and body can refresh and recharge. This, in turn, helps you to be at your best during your waking hours.
Try these healthy habits to improve your quality of rest and mental health:
- Turn off electronic screens at least 60 minutes prior to sleeping.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine or heavy meals right before bedtime.
- Turn off lights before bed.
- Go to sleep and wake at regular, consistent times.
Headspace’s sleepcasts help you wind down to prepare your mind for sleep. Visit the Headspace article on People Services to register.
Want Better Health and Well-being? Practice Gratitude
Did you know that science shows that people who cultivate a habit of gratitude are happier, have increased mental strength, build a stronger immune system–and are more likely to be successful?
One effective way to incorporate this practice into your life is to start a gratitude journal. Each morning or evening, take five to ten minutes (or at least three times a week) to jot down at least three things you are grateful for that day.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
- What is something that made you smile today?
- What is a favorite memory of a loved one?
- List something silly your kids did today.
- Describe a family tradition that you are most grateful for.
- Look out the window, what’s something you’re grateful for outside?
- What is something you’re looking forward to.
There are no rules, so write whatever makes you happy. Enjoy and be well!