Tips to manage stress

48039961 - young stressed woman sitting in living room at homeMost of us know when our stress levels are rising. Maybe you can feel your body tense or your heart race. Maybe you experience stress only for a moment — or maybe for days and weeks. There are healthy ways to manage those stressful periods in life.

Check your attitude about the source of the stress. Sometimes you can control the situation. Sometimes you have to control your emotions and perception of the situation.

It is OK to step away from stressors when you can. That means you can walk away from events, people, or even situations where you know your stress will go out of control. Be willing to politely decline invitations.

While you may be inclined to stay away from everyone for extended periods of time, that isn’t healthy. Turn to your trusted friends, family, or professional resources at times like this. They can encourage and listen to you. Maintain a healthy diet, exercise and get enough sleep.

Last of all, come up with a mantra during stressful times. Most of us have heard of Dory and her “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming” from the “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory” movies. Your mantra can be serious or silly, but it is a great way to refocus during stressful times to be the healthiest you.

How to be your own health care advocate

12801292_SYour doctor isn’t the only one involved in keeping you healthy – you are too!  Let’s look at some ways you can proactively take charge and further advocate for your health care as you work with your doctor.

Do you know what doctors and procedures your insurance covers? This is important to know so you are aware of what to expect. You don’t want to go to a specialist or a lab appointment to find out they are out-of-network and you will be stuck with a bigger bill. Additionally, preventative procedures are typically covered at a higher level, so that should encourage you to stay on top of necessary tests!

Did you know you can ask for copies of your medical records? Your doctor’s office keeps your medical records on file, but it is also a good idea to maintain these records on your own! You never know when you want to review a record or send a copy to a specialist or another doctor. If you don’t want to keep piles of papers, ask your doctor or insurance plan about options for accessing your records electronically.

When you are at your doctor’s appointment, ask questions! Even better, prepare your questions before you go to the appointment, especially because time is usually limited and nerves may throw off what you want to remember. If you aren’t pleased with the responses, diagnosis or even just want your medical information reviewed by another doctor, it is okay to seek out a second opinion.

Being proactive in your health care doesn’t stop after those appointments. It also includes keeping an eye on your medical bills. When you get that bill, make sure it is accurate. If you notice something that doesn’t look right, call and ask the provider for an explanation. Additionally, make sure your bill and your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) match.