Health Break: 3 tips for managing stress in any situation
A podcast for UPMC Health Plan members, Health Break is your quick guide to caring for your mental and physical health, prioritizing wellness, and making the most of your health insurance plan.
Episode 28: Take a Health Break with Alicia Fairman
Alicia Fairman, program manager at LifeSolutions, takes a Health Break to walk us through three tips for how to find comfort and access support in any moment of stress.
Camille: Welcome to Health Break by UPMC Health Plan, your quick guide to health, wellness, and how to make the most of your health insurance plan. I’m your host, Dr. Camille Clarke-Smith. I help to oversee the quality of the plans and programs we offer at UPMC Health Plan.
Angelo: And I’m your co-host, Angelo Bartic. I’m a health coach on our Prescription for Wellness team who works with our members on making healthy lifestyle habits and setting goals. This is your…Health Break.
Hey, it’s Angelo Bartic, and today we’re talking stress management with Alicia Fairman, program manager at LifeSolutions. She’ll walk us through three tips for finding comfort and accessing support in any moment of stress. Alicia, thank you so much for being with us today.
Alicia: Hi, Angelo. It’s my pleasure.
Angelo: So to start off, what are your top three tips for managing stress?
Alicia: Today I want to talk about being proactive, being mindful, and being empowered. So when we’re proactive, we do things on a regular basis that help prepare us for those challenging moments. So being proactive to help us manage stress means that we’re getting enough sleep, we’re eating nutrient dense foods, we’re trying to stay as active as we can, and we’re hydrating well. When we do these things, our body is full of energy and it’s recharged. And as we experience something challenging, we’re better resourced to manage it.
Tip number two, I like to encourage people to be mindful. Being mindful means that we stay in the present moment. So often we don’t notice what’s happening in the present because we’re so focused on the future. We just push through to the next task and then we push through to the next task after that. When we’re mindful, we notice what’s happening in the current moment. We might notice red flags that we’re stressed. We might notice tension in our jaw, tension in our neck, and then we can respond to it with what I call “compaction.” Compaction is compassionate action. So the compassion part is noticing that something feels off. And the action part is, what are we going to do about it? It might be a quick walk to release some stress, or it might be eating a healthy lunch instead of a bag of chips.
Tip number three, be empowered. It’s really important to know that you can only control your own thoughts, your own actions. So keep your focus on yourself. We spend so much time worrying about the thoughts and actions of other people, and we don’t have any control over what other people do. But when we focus on our words, our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions, we are making ourselves the best person we can be in each moment.
Angelo: Thank you so much for that great advice. And what I really appreciate is it’s so easy to remember, be proactive, be mindful, be empowered. What resources for stress management do UPMC Health Plan members have access to?
Alicia: I can talk about RxWell—this is one of my favorite resources. RxWell is a wellness app that you can download through the Apple App Store or Google Play. And my favorite part about RxWell is they offer in the moment relief for strong emotions or strong frustration. So there’s a part of the app that you can click when you’re feeling something uncomfortable and it’s bothering your day or interfering with your ability to do what you want to do, and it walks you through a one or two minute breathing exercise that’s designed to calm and soothe. But that’s not the only thing the app offers. There are modules that can help you with anxiety, depression, stress management, weight management, and they can even actually connect you with a health coach like Angelo.
Angelo: Thanks for the shout out. Personally, one of the great things about our health coaching services are that we have the opportunity to work with our members on various lifestyle topics, stress management being one of them, and really helping our members realize a higher sense of health and well-being. So I’ve talked a little bit about health coaching. Alicia, can you tell me a little more about LifeSolutions?
Alicia: At LifeSolutions, our goal is to provide services that help you to manage your personal life and your work life and have a better balance all around. So we offer things like counseling, legal consultation, financial consultation, things that can help you to manage your stress, to accomplish things in your day, to be healthy and productive.
Angelo: Thank you again, Alicia, for taking some time with us and taking a Health Break, and giving us some really great tips on managing stress.
Alicia: My pleasure.
Angelo: Remember these tips and get connected to the programs and services available to you. That way, you can access support whenever stress comes up in your life.
Find show notes and more information at upmchealthplan.com/podcast. Join us as we continue exploring health, wellness, and how to make the most of your health insurance plan in the next episode of Health Break.
This podcast is for informational and educational purposes. It is not medical care or advice. Individuals in need of medical care should consult their personal care provider. Views and opinions expressed by the hosts and guests are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of UPMC Health Plan and its employees.
Related to this episode:
About Alicia Fairman:
Alicia is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, A Certified Mental Health First Aid instructor, and has been a professional in the behavioral health field since 1994. Currently, Alicia is a Program Manager with LifeSolutions Employee Assistance Program, a division of Workpartners. Alicia joined the LifeSolutions team in June of 2017. Alicia facilitates trainings, provides leadership consultation, and assists in disruptive event management. Alicia is also the substance use disorder specialist for the EAP. Prior to working with LifeSolutions EAP, Alicia served as a leader in the field of substance use disorder treatment and rehabilitation. Her passion in life and work centers around helping people to become the best version of themselves possible. Alicia expands her ability to support others through a small private practice. Alicia earned her bachelor’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her master’s degree in Counselor Education at the Pennsylvania State University. Alicia also earned her School Counselor Certification from Chatham University.
About Dr. Camille Clarke-Smith:
Camille Clarke-Smith, EdD, is a program director in the Quality Improvement, Medicare Stars Department at UPMC Health Plan, where she leads the Medicare Faith and Wellness Program, a 3- to 12-week health and wellness challenge. She is also the founder of the nonprofit Transforming the Health of African American Women (THAW) Inc. She earned a doctorate in health and physical activity education from the University of Pittsburgh in addition to a master’s in exercise science and a bachelor’s in psychology and sociology. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in social work at Carlow University.
About Angelo Bartic:
Angelo Bartic is a health coach at UPMC Health Plan, working with members on creating sustainable lifestyle changes in weight management, nutrition, physical activity, tobacco cessation, and stress management. Beginning as a personal trainer, he quickly connected with his passion for helping others lead healthier lives. He earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and is currently pursuing his master’s in public health. Maintaining his personal training certification, Angelo recently became a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. He enjoys time with his husband and friends participating in recreational sports (kickball and dodgeball) through an LGBTQIA+ sports organization called Stonewall Sports.
**RxWell is available to UPMC Health Plan members who are 16 years of age or older