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Stress Awareness Month – Controlling Stress at Home

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Unfortunately work-related stress doesn’t just stop when you turn off your computer and head home for the day. In fact in this modern smart phone world, for many, the work day never really ends at all. When persistent stress continues, it can take a toll on your health, well-being, relationships and family life. 

A stressful work environment can contribute to mild problems such as headaches, stomachaches, sleep disturbances, short temper and difficulty concentrating. Chronic untreated stress can result in serious conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. Plus, if left for a long time, then it can also play apart in health conditions such as depression, obesity and heart disease. This is why it is such an important topic. 

One of the main issues is that when we are stressed at work and then also in everyday life, many people turn to bad habits such as unhealthy food, never going out, smoking or drinking alcohol to deal with the issue. Whilst this may give you initial comfort and numb the stress initially, these “solutions” will only make you spiral further into poor health and bad decisions. 

There are many ways that combat stress in your everyday life. Here are a few tips to help dilute the daily stresses of life.

Surround yourself with positive people and those you love. Social support from friends and family can really help you get through stressful and difficult times. It gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, and often can put what you are feeling into perspective. If you find yourself on your lunch break just moaning with a colleague, it’s time to change things around and find a more positive use of your time. Make time to do the things you enjoy, with people that make you happy.

Exercise, nature, mediation, yoga, breathing exercises are really good for relieving stress, and yes we are aware that boozing and binge watching tv sounds much better.  However, it is scientifically proven that moving more, getting outdoors or taking short bursts of time to really switch off and connect with right now, are the positive solutions you need to counteract stress. Schedule them in your day, be strong, be consistent, and soon it will just be who you are. 

Laughing really is the best medicine. When was the last time you REALLY laughed out loud, and with gusto? The world is pretty chaotic right now, so laughing is a must in our everyday life. Laughing brings so much joy. So, book to see a stand up show, watch your favourite comedy on tv, download a funny audiobook or catch up with that one friend that always makes you laugh no matter what.  I feel that, similar to you are what you eat, you also, are what you see – too much drama, angst, stress and chaos is what you become, so consume a good dose of funny each day. 

Nutrition is key to a healthy mind and body. We have said this before and yes it is common knowledge, but is it really common practice. Again the quick fixes, give us initial comfort, however long term they simply make things much worse. I would never say cut anything out of your diet, especially the things that bring you joy, however its about moderation. Cutting down on processed foods, food and drink high in sugar and alcohol and eating a fresh and balanced diet, will make you feel much better about yourself, and you will see results quicker than you think. Again, practice makes perfect, and soon it will just be who you are.   

Face the stress head on. If something is causing you stress in your everyday life, such as starting a project, doing an assignment, doing a presentation, job interview, having a difficult conversation, moving home, whatever it may be you can reduce how your feel about it by breaking it down into easier to manage chunks. It could be as simple as writing a list, drafting the first sentence or paragraph, making one call or sending an email, or booking an appointment. Having just the smallest element of momentum will propel you forward, and make it seem less scary or overwhelming. Schedule time – even just 20 minutes – at the beginning of the day to tackle something you don’t want to do, add it to your calendar, spend that time and achieve just one small thing, just one. That small thing will feel like a huge accomplishment, and give you the confidence to make another small step the following day.   

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