If you're feeling less connected these days, you're not alone. Our EAP has your back with some tips on how you can better reconnect with others - and yourself.
Sometimes, a little help makes a big difference.
Whether it’s locating a peanut-free preschool, getting legal advice on a speeding ticket or managing workplace stress, our EAP will help you get the support you need to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Connect with EAP on the phone or through live chat today.
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If offered by your employer, our EAP is available to anyone in your household — at no cost to you — and it’s always confidential.
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Get referrals to dedicated, licensed counselors. Connect by phone, in virtual sessions or face-to-face for support on a range of topics, such as:
- Mental health
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The “I need to find a reliable company to fix my roof” program.
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Financial and Legal Assistance1
Whether you need budgeting strategies or will preparation, EAP can connect you with professional assistance for issues like:
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From changing job titles to changing career paths, connect with EAP for resources and referrals in areas including:
- Work-related stress
- Time management
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95% of participants
say our EAP has helped them better manage their stress.2
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EAP can help you reconnect with others — and yourself
Our emotional health is closely intertwined with the strength of our connections. So if you’re feeling out of sync with yourself, others or both, we’ve got some tips to help you get back on track.
- Move forward in “baby steps.” The pandemic heightened social anxiety for a lot of us. It may take a little time to shake off that hard-wired sense of anxiety. It’s natural to want to avoid anxiety-provoking situations, but doing so reinforces the sense of threat, and leaves you no way to change the script. To get past this cycle, we have to engage with those fears. Try small steps forward while adhering to public health guidelines. For example, if you’re nervous about being around others, start with meeting one person outdoors, then work up to larger indoor gatherings.
- Recognize that there may be some awkwardness. Personal and work interactions may feel different. Acknowledge this “elephant in the room.” Rather than just trying to “pick up where you left off,” take time to get up to speed on one another’s lives. Be willing to talk about what worries you and excites you.
- Talk about pandemic experiences. Telling our stories is a way to validate and recognize what we’ve gone through. It can help us see our strength and find commonalities with others. When you gather, take time to do an intentional “debrief” about this extraordinary experience.
- Schedule connections. Creating a structure can help you stay committed. Plan and schedule one or more activities that include some social interaction each week. Push yourself to honor the appointment, even if you don’t feel like it. The more meaningful and enjoyable the activity, the easier it will be to stick with it.
- Choose task-based activities. Focusing on a task rather than on the social interaction itself can help you side-step anxiety. You might join a committee at work or sign up for a regular volunteer gig. Bonds tend to form naturally when working towards a shared goal.
- Use technology well. Active use of social networks — such as keeping in touch or expanding connections — has been shown to decrease loneliness, while passive use — like browsing posts — can increase it. Instead of just “liking” a friend’s post, send a thoughtful message. Look for ways to enrich virtual interactions by making them as similar to face-to-face as possible, such as using video apps.
- Show your authentic self. We expend a lot of energy when we hide parts of ourselves or pretend to be something we’re not. To truly connect with someone, it’s vulnerability — a willingness to share the “real you” — that creates a deeper bond. Practice opening up in small ways and see what happens. It’s likely that the other person will reciprocate.
- Be the friend you want to find…or the spouse you seek…or the neighbor you need. You can increase the odds of making a meaningful connection by working to grow those qualities within yourself. Notice what others do that make you feel connected. Be intentional and be willing to make the first move.
- Find common ground. Having something in common “primes the pump.” A conversation that starts at the dog park, your place of worship or your child’s t-ball practice can often occur and grow more naturally. Meetup.com is an online site that can help connect people with common interests — from mothers to old car enthusiasts and everything in between.
- Look for natural openings and be ready to jump into them. An old friend comes to mind? Call them. You learn that a new coworker loves the same team as you do? Invite them to a game. You get into a conversation with the friend of a friend? Ask if they’d like to continue it over a cup of coffee.
- Savor those moments that give you joy. Make time to set aside your devices and try being more present in the here and now. And when something elicits feelings of hope, happiness or joy, pause and appreciate the experience. Engage all five senses — what do you see, hear, smell, taste or touch? These moments don’t always have to be grand. It could simply be the first taste of your favorite ice cream or receiving a smile from a friend.
- Find healthy emotional outlets. Bottling up feelings can make us feel tense and strained. Try to figure out what helps you release tension (running, journaling, kickboxing, poetry, talking) and turn to it when stress builds. Deep breathing, meditation and progressive relaxation techniques can also help you refocus on the tasks of the day. For more information on healthy ways to manage stress, visit Cigna.com/ManagingStress.
- Practice gratitude. Recognize what you have, who’s in your life and what you’re doing that’s positive. Start a gratitude journal. Write three things you’re grateful for at the end of each day. Be specific. Or try writing a letter of appreciation to someone special in your life.
- Get out in nature. The beauty of the world can help us feel connected to something bigger and more complex than ourselves. Take a walk, go to a local park or sit outside in the sunshine.
- Do things that you enjoy. What activity engages your mind and helps you overcome feelings of worry or loneliness? If time flies when you’re doing it, jackpot! Permit yourself to be distracted and absorbed by hobbies, projects, creative explorations or even just daydreams.
- Remind yourself of your strengths. Actively think about your positive attributes. Perhaps it’s your sense of humor, your kindness, or your persistence. Notice how these character strengths have helped you be resilient and weather tough times. Give yourself credit for all you’ve accomplished, big and small.
- Focus on healthy self-care. Navigating life’s challenges is easier when you’re feeling strong and energized. This means eating nutritious foods regularly throughout the day, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, getting restful sleep on a regular basis and avoiding unhealthy methods of coping like alcohol or drugs.
- Nurture yourself. Carve out some time to do something calming and relaxing. Maybe it’s a hot bath, reading a book or getting a massage. Commit to regularly indulging in these activities to help recharge your batteries.
- Try something new. Learning and experiencing new things can help stimulate your mind, body and soul. It can also lead to self-discovery and a greater sense of accomplishment. And if you find something that fulfills you, consider investing in your future happiness by setting small, manageable goals that make it a bigger part of your life.
- Be compassionate with yourself. Remember that you can’t “fix” every situation or have all the answers. Try treating yourself with the same comfort and kindness that you would show a loved one who’s facing challenges.
Even if your employer doesn't offer EAP, you can view our Health and Wellness resources for information on a range of topics. If you or someone you know needs assistance, the following resources are also available.
1 Legal consultations related to employment matters are not available under this program.
2 2021 Cigna Satisfaction Survey, Employee Assistance Program Evaluation, 2022. Results are gathered throughout the year on a staistically signifcant sample of national and regional clients who utilized EAP services within that year.
Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available if purchased by your employer. If you are not yet registered on myCigna.com and have EAP Only coverage, you will need to complete the initial registration using your Employer ID, which is included on program collateral. The Employer ID is also available by calling the designated employer EAP phone number.