It’s Open Enrollment season and you’ve been preparing your department for weeks. You’ve studied the options, you’re prepared to answer questions, you’ve reviewed the instructions and procedures one last time. But, did you prepare your body for the stress? To make a success of this year’s Open Enrollment season, I have 8 stress-busters to help you and your team.
“Chronic stress can result in anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system,” reports the American Psychological Association (APA). Without a healthy plan to relieve stress, you run the risk of some serious health problems — and that can lead to mistakes, missed work, and additional workloads for everyone in your department.
So, here are 8 tips to keep Open Enrollment stress at bay:
1. Get enough sleep. WebMD reports that the average adult needs between 7.5 and 8 hours of sleep each night. Getting too little sleep can lead to poor work performance. Avoid skimping on this important part of your day.
2. Eat well. It is so easy to fall into the snack trap when you are time-crunched at work. But keep yourself from hitting the vending machine by planning healthy snacks for the week. Stock up on yogurt, fruits and nuts.
3. Exercise. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) suggests you aim for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. This is enough to reap the benefits of exercise. Can’t get out of the office to walk? Consider my Deskercise routine!
4. Stay calm in a crisis. By developing healthy responses to stressful situations, such as turning to exercise over alcohol, your coping skills increase. The APA suggests that you turn up your best behavior as soon as you feel the tension rise.
5. Say no. Know your limits. Open Enrollment is a stressful time of year, so this is not the time to take on additional responsibilities. Turn off your cell phone while you are eating dinner, avoid checking email when you are relaxing in the evening, and resist the temptation to look at your phone when you should be sleeping.
6. Relax. When the stress starts to creep into your day, take time to go somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and relax for five to ten minutes. Meditation and deep breathing can pull your body back to a better place. The ADAA suggests closing your eyes and picturing yourself in a peaceful place.
7. Turn to outside interests. Make time away from Open Enrollment. When you are away from work, remember the hobbies and interests that bring you enjoyment. Your favorite music or book can help to distract you from the demands of work.
8. Accept help. If someone offers to help lighten the load, consider taking them up on it. Additionally, you might want to ask for assistance from co-workers and other departments.
This is my cue to remind you that my team is available during Open Enrollment with an assortment of ways to help you and your team. We can stop by with ice cream as a quick pick-me-up for your staff, we can provide Lunch and Learn seminars for your employees (yes, that’s a free service with free lunch!), and we can set up a table (with giveaways) to provide your employees with information on our products and services. We are booking now, so I invite you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.