Improve mental, physical health by getting enough rest

Excerpted from an article in the MESSA DiscoverYou March/April 2020 newsletter

Do you get at least seven hours of sleep each night? If not, you should plan to hit the sheets earlier tonight.

Overworked or overstressed adults often tend to treat sleep as a luxury rather than a necessity. However, getting enough sleep is as critical to your overall well-being as eating and breathing. Research shows that robbing yourself of sleep can impact your ability to store memories and concentrate, as well as regulate your mood and appetite. It can lead to weight gain and a weakened immune system.

The problem is that too many people don’t get as much sleep as they should. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get at least seven hours of sleep every night. However, more than one-third of adults report they usually get less than that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Shorting yourself on sleep puts you at greater risk for developing chronic conditions, according to the CDC, including:MESSA logo RGB Blue no tag R 2

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney disease
  • Stroke

MESSA is offering full coverage — with no deductibles, co-pays or coinsurance — for medically necessary testing and treatment for COVID-19 for all MESSA members and their covered dependents.

MESSA will also cover fully all medical and mental health telehealth visits with in-network providers through May 31. There is no cost to members or their covered dependents. MESSA members have easy access to Online Visits, where you can visit a doctor or a therapist without leaving your home using a smartphone, tablet or computer. To get started with Online Visits, go to or download the Blue Cross Online Visits app.

Additionally, MESSA members have free access to NurseLine, which is staffed 24-hours a day by registered nurses. Call NurseLine at (800) 414-2014.

For more information on these services to MESSA members and their covered dependents, please visit

Excerpted from an article in the MESSA DiscoverYou newsletter

With precious few daylight hours available, and nothing but frigid temps and gray skies on the horizon, the winter blues can be hard to keep at bay.

If you’re feeling down, don’t be too quick to dismiss those feelings as simple moodiness. Seasonal Affective Disorder — also known as SAD — is a very real type of depression that many people experience during Michigan’s long winter months.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of SAD include:MESSA logo RGB Blue no tag R 2

  • Low energy
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Overeating
  • Craving for carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Social withdrawal

Fight back against SAD by taking care of yourself — both mind and body. The sooner you take action to combat SAD, the more quickly you’ll feel like your old self again. Here are a few simple things you can do:

Exercising releases endorphins — the chemicals in your brain that trigger positive feelings. Walking indoors or outdoors, riding a stationary bike or taking an exercise class can help improve your mood and boost your energy, while also helping to improve your overall health and fitness.

Excerpted from an article in the MESSA DiscoverYou November/December 2019 newsletter

The power of gratitude has been studied for years, focusing on subjects from across demographics and all walks of life. A large body of research shows that intentionally engaging in a practice of gratitude has benefits for both the mind and body.MESSA logo RGB Blue no tag R 2

The benefits for mental health can’t be denied, and have been quantified. According to researchers at Indiana University, the mental benefits of gratitude include:

  • Decreased feelings of depression and anxiety.
  • A better ability to cope with stress.
  • Increased feelings of confidence and self-worth.
  • Generally higher feelings of happiness.

What’s more, they also found that practicing gratitude may even rewire the brain to be more sensitive to experiencing gratitude. In short, it’s likely that gratitude breeds greater gratitude.

What some may find surprising is that there are physical benefits associated with having an attitude of gratitude.

By Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor

Affordable quality healthcare is what most people are searching for given the rising costs of health insurance. MAP members now have a full range of options to choose from through a new agreement between the Union and Michigan Education Special Services Association (MESSA).

Underwritten by Blue Cross Blue Shield and Delta Dental, MESSA was originally established as a non-profit health plan or VEBA by the Michigan Education Association (MEA) for its members in 1960. As a 501©(9) Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA), MESSA is a tax-exempt trust used to pay for members’ medical services and administering those benefits.MESSA logo RGB Blue no tag R 2

MESSA’s VEBA status already makes their costs lower than competitors to start with. Add to that the savings of not paying agent commissions and it’s easy to understand how MAP members and their Employers can save money on healthcare.

“We are an ally in Michigan for Union employees. We will try to be as competitive as possible,” said Heather Scott, MESSA Field Representative. “We want to give you an accurate rate for the best insurance at the best price.”