Ways to Manage Stress

Posted by on Oct 13, 2021 in Access, Health and Wellness

Stress is a normal part of life—from rushing to arrive somewhere on time to more serious, potentially life-changing situations. The good news is our bodies are designed to handle the physical, emotional, and mental responses we have to most stressful events. In fact, some stress may even be useful to improve alertness, provide motivation, and add a burst of energy to optimize our performance, according to researchers at UC Berkeley. But if left unmanaged, constant stress can have negative effects on health and may lead to long-term issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression or anxiety.

It’s important to know these signs of stress:

  • Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, or frustration
  • Headaches and skin irritations
  • Upset stomach or reduced appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Problems concentrating
  • Increased substance use

If stress becomes overwhelming, consider making a few positive life changes to address and potentially remove stressors. First, determine why it’s important to make a change, such as improving mood, sleeping better, protecting your heart, or increasing general wellness.

Next, identify the causes of stress. For some, stress can be caused by uncertainty or lack of control in life, financial insecurity, difficulties in personal relationships, balancing career responsibilities with personal obligations, caring for others, or experiencing a major life disruption.

After understanding the causes of stress, set a few reasonable long-term and short-term goals for positive lifestyle adjustments. This might look like spending more time with loved ones, doing the activities that make you happy more often, getting more rest, eating a healthier diet, and exercising regularly. Start small by doing one new thing each day, like waking up 30 minutes earlier, walking for 15 minutes after lunch, or limiting screen time before bed.

To help manage daily stress in the moment, try these intentional techniques to avoid, re-set, and refresh:

Stop and Breathe: Deep breathing signals the body that it’s okay to relax muscle tension and slow the heart rate, which occurs during the body’s natural “fight or flight” reaction to stress. Moments of quiet mindfulness, like meditation, can also provide an intentional break and calm the mind.

Practice Gratitude: Acknowledging and being grateful for the goodness in life can help boost feelings of optimism, joy, and other positive emotions, inspiring a sense of contentment, happiness, and mental well-being.

Say no: Taking on too much can be a stressor. It’s okay to say “no” to commitments, projects, and stressful situations and to release expectations of perfection from yourself and others.

Digital detox: Limit screen time and consumption of news and social media. Take breaks from devices at meals, during outings with family and friends, and at least a half-hour before bedtime.

Reach Out for Help: While experiencing some stress in life is common, worrying or becoming overwhelmed every day should be discussed with a provider. Working with a behavioral health professional can help to gain control over anxiety and better manage stress.

Sutter Health Plus members may self-refer for an in-person or virtual visit with a participating behavioral health provider through U.S. Behavioral Health Services (USBHPC) by calling 855-202-0984 or visiting Sign in or browse as a guest with company access code “Sutter” to access a variety of stress management articles, videos, tools, and resources.

For 24/7 support, members have premium access to Sanvello—a top-rated app offering daily mood tracking, coping tools, guided journeys, and clinical techniques to help with symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression—at no cost through USBHPC. Learn more here and download the free Sanvello app from the App Store or Google Play.

Members also have access to a Health Coaching Program for stress management at no cost share. Participants work one-on-one with a trained personal health coach to uncover barriers to self-management, link behavior to personal values, and set goals to make healthier lifestyle choices. To learn more, call the coaching team at 866-961-8513 or visit

There is also a Health and Wellness site available through the Member Portal that provides stress management and health-related resources, a personal health assessment, action plan modules, a video library, a symptom checker, and more.

For detailed information about behavioral health benefits, members can review their Evidence of Coverage and Disclosure Form found on the Member Portal or call Member Services weekdays, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. at (855) 315-5800.

Sources include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Mental Health, and UC Berkeley News.

Managing Health—Anytime, Anywhere

Posted by on Sep 21, 2021 in Access, Digital Health, Health and Wellness

When life gets busy, it can be difficult to find time to manage health. Sutter Health Plus members have access to a variety of online tools and resources to help manage their wellness, care, and coverage from home or on-the-go when it’s convenient for their schedule, 24/7. From booking a same-day video visit with a Sutter provider and messaging a care team to renewing prescriptions and paying a medical bill, here are a few ways for members to save time and manage their heath—anytime, anywhere.

Read More

Protect Yourself and Others by Getting a Flu Shot

Posted by on Sep 16, 2021 in Access, Health and Wellness

In addition to remaining vigilant and following public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it’s important to protect yourself and those around you from Influenza (flu) and flu-related illness by getting the annual flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone six months of age and older get an annual flu vaccine. Sutter Health Plus covers preventive care services, such as the yearly flu vaccine, at no cost share when provided by a participating provider.

The flu vaccine may help prevent the flu or shorten its duration and prevent the spread of flu to those who are vulnerable. Pregnant women, young children, adults over 65, and people with certain health conditions are at greater risk for severe flu complications.

Flu season typically runs from October through March or April. Sutter experts recommend getting vaccinated between mid-September through October to help ensure the vaccine remains potent and has the best chance of protecting you through the duration of the flu season. It takes your body about two weeks after vaccination to build the antibodies that protect against the flu.

Three Ways to Get a Flu Shot*

  1. Schedule an appointment at a Sutter flu shot clinic through My Health Online or calling (844) 987-6115.
  2. Schedule an appointment at a Sutter Walk-In Care (available for members six months and older by appointment only).
  3. Visit a network pharmacy, such as Rite Aid, Walgreens, or CVS (call ahead to check availability).

Already Caught the Flu?
If you think you’ve caught the flu, contact your doctor for diagnosis and any needed treatment. If you need care quickly, consider same-day care at a Sutter Walk-In Care location or through a video visit.

The Flu and COVID-19 Vaccines
Even if you have received the COVID-19 vaccine, you still should consider getting a flu vaccine. The two viruses are different and require separate immunity-boosting vaccination—just as measles and chickenpox do.

We understand many people have questions about the availability of COVID-19 booster vaccines. While booster doses are not currently approved or recommended by the FDA for the general population, we anticipate approvals may occur soon and we will share more information at that time.

*Flu vaccines are not available at Sutter urgent care facilities.

Improving Mental Wellness with Sanvello

Posted by on Sep 7, 2021 in Access, Mental Health

In times of change—whether it’s relationships, personal obligations, work-related or otherwise—caring for mental wellness can be essential in how people process feelings of uncertainty, manage stress, and cope with life’s challenges. There are simple ways to make a positive impact on mental wellness, such as taking time each day for self-care, mindfulness, and gratitude.

Read More

One Member’s Journey with Tera—
Virtual-First Primary Care

Posted by on Aug 31, 2021 in Access, Digital Health, Network

Kathy is a Bay Area resident and program manager for Oakland Unified School District who is living with a chronic, long-term condition. Over the past year, she struggled to find engaged providers who offered care options that fit her needs, including the option of traveling less to access care.

Read More

An Update on COVID-19 Vaccinations

Posted by on Aug 24, 2021 in Access, COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a third COVID-19 vaccine dose for certain individuals with moderately to severely compromised immune systems who previously received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Studies indicate that this population may benefit from an additional dose to increase their immune system response and ensure adequate protection against COVID-19, including the highly infectious delta variant.

Read More