How to manage stress, anxiety and depression

How to manage stress, anxiety and depression

Conquer holiday stress with these helpful coping strategies. 

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For many, stress, anxiety and depression go hand in hand. If you find yourself experiencing one of them, chances are you’re experiencing the others — especially during the busy holiday season. Although these feelings can leave you feeling drained, overwhelmed and out of options, there are a few simple ways to relieve your symptoms: 

Get moving: Exercise acts as a natural stress reliever. In fact, regular exercise can profoundly decrease levels of stress as well as mild to moderate anxiety and depression. Make it a habit to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week for the most benefits.

Eat more protein: Many of us find comfort in eating processed, high-fat foods like fast food. However, studies show that nutrient-rich foods may be a better bet when it comes to coping with negative feelings. High-protein foods like turkey, beef and Greek yogurt contain tryptophan, the amino acid that helps produce serotonin, the natural “feel-good” chemical that regulates mood. Try including at least 4 ounces of protein per meal.

Brighten your day (literally): As little as five to 15 minutes of sunshine a few times a week can do wonders for your mental well-being. When you expose your skin to direct sunlight, your body produces vitamin D, which helps regulate mood and depression. If you live in an area with little sunlight, consider investing in a light-therapy box, a device that mimics natural sunlight.

While these tips may help improve mild to moderate stress, anxiety and depression, consider seeking professional help if your symptoms become severe, or even if you just need some extra support. If you have a Cigna health plan, easily connect virtually with licensed therapists or psychiatrists at