Four steps to build resilience in times of uncertainty
Regence's executive medical director, Dr. Jim Polo, shares expertise
It’s fair to say the year 2020 has been unusually fraught. A pandemic, social unrest, natural disasters, financial uncertainty and a contentious presidential election have all converged to create unprecedented stress—on individuals, organizations and communities. Many are in survival mode, taking each day as it comes. Fortunately, building resilience can help with managing stress and bouncing back.
“Mental resilience is about building the skills that allow you to handle stress, so you can adapt to the difficulties around you,” says Dr. Jim Polo, Regence’s Executive Medical Director. “Doing so will allow you to bounce back and enjoy life.”
How? Polo recommends four key steps:
#1 Take care of your body
Eat well, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. Taking these simple steps has been shown to improve immunity and bolster emotional health.
#2 Put down your phone, unless you’re going to call someone
While social media can keep us connected while we physically distance, spending too much time on social sites can end up making you feel worse. A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that every one-hour increase in time spent on social media or online news sources resulted in a modest increase in mental distress among U.S. adults ages 18 and older.
When we connect with others in person, says Polo, we have more meaningful conversations and worry less about how others perceive us. As we are still encouraged to physically distance, try calling a good friend or relative.
#3 Do things that bring you meaning—and it’s OK if they’re fun
For many, baking while in quarantine helped pass the time during the March lockdown. Others chose to improve their cycling or running speed. Some picked up new hobbies. No matter how you choose to spend your time, Polo recommends activities that have meaning for you. “You’re more likely to enjoy them and it allows you to challenge your own creativity.”
#4 Find ways to help others
Finally, Polo recommends doing something nice for someone else. “There’s nothing more meaningful than doing something for someone else without anything in it for you.”
Regularly check on your neighbors (especially elderly neighbors), give blood, or find ways to virtually volunteer in your community.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Even the strongest among us need help from time to time. If you are struggling, we can help.
Most Regence members have access to telehealth visits—from one-time check-ins to ongoing care – that can be accessed from the comfort of home via phone, video or chat.
Many Regence members also have no-cost access to myStrength, a behavioral health app that offers mental wellness resources, including tips for parenting during challenging times, and guidance to manage feelings of social isolation.
Or call us at the number on the back of your Regence card. A cohort of our Customer Service Professionals are trained in Mental Health First Aid to better address and respond to members’ behavioral health concerns.
Finally, it’s also important to maintain the best health possible as we continue to work through the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact your doctor about any tests, procedures or other care that may have been delayed earlier this year—plus protecting yourself and others includes getting your annual flu shot. This is one of the reasons Regence joined the campaign “Stop Medical Distancing”, encouraging people to continue taking care of their health care needs.
To find out what’s available through your health plan, sign in to your account on regence.com.