Tune in to Your Body
How often have you heard (or thought to yourself), “I’m stressed out!” It’s a common phrase, used to express frustration and the feeling of being overwhelmed—yet it’s important to remember that stress is a normal biological reaction to anything that requires your attention or action. Positive stress can drive you to achieve and do your best work, but when it tips into persistent feelings of apprehension, negative thought-patterns, or interferes with everyday life, it can harm your physical and mental health and well-being.
As the end of the school year approaches, many education workers may feel physically run down or emotionally drained of their energy and motivation. If you are struggling to cope or feel like you can’t shake the physical symptoms of the stress you’re carrying with you, it’s important to talk with someone you trust such as a friend, co-worker, or family doctor.
Check your ASEBP benefit coverage (EN | FR) for supports such as massage therapy, physiotherapy, or to speak with a registered psychologist to help you take care of your body and mind. If you have a Wellness Spending Account (WSA), you can use it to cover the cost of a sleep or meditation app, sports activities (e.g., golf, yoga), or equipment such as running shoes, to help lower your overall stress by engaging in healthy activities that you enjoy.
If you’re not sure where to start, try reaching out to your Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), to inquire about short-term counselling or to get help with accessing the most appropriate services for your situation. Check out our poster (EN | FR) on the different counselling supports available to you, including tapping into your ASEBP psychology benefit—which increased in January 2022 to $180 for the first hour and $90 for each additional half hour.
Outside of your benefit coverage, you might consider adopting some simple calming or self-care coping strategies. What is important is that you identify strategies that work for you, as well as how and who will support you in sticking with them. Some ideas to consider:
- Focus on short bursts of high-quality personal time to re-charge and build resilience. For you, this might mean getting some fresh air on your lunch break or scheduling five minutes of alone-time to practice deep breathing.
- Set healthy boundaries for yourself, ask for help if you need it, and do not feel bad for saying no.
- Keep a one-hour ‘wind down’ period before you go to sleep. Having a regular evening routine, where you do something relaxing or enjoyable, helps your body (and mind) get ready for sleep.
- Stay connected with trusted friends, family members, and mentors. Talking to someone about what you are going through can help you feel more grounded and part of a greater purpose.
- There’s power in anticipating or looking forward to exciting or positive experiences, such as a family get-together, weekend getaway, or even as simple as drinking your favourite warm beverage in the morning. Having something positive to look forward to shifts your focus forward, giving you hope for a future that looks and feels different than what you feel today.
- Do not neglect your health—make sure you are nourishing your body with healthy eating habits, regular physical activity, and at least seven-to-nine hours of sleep per night. If you are not feeling like yourself, or have not for some time, make an appointment to speak with your family doctor.
If you’re unsure of what your benefit plan offers, contact a benefit specialist at 1-877-431-4786 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You’re also invited to join ASEBP’s lead pharmacist, Ollie Semonis, as he goes live on Facebook on June 2, 2022, to discuss how small lifestyle changes can improve overall well-being. Or check out a wealth of other wellness resources on the It Takes a Village hub.