A study commissioned last year by the Mental Health Foundation found that 84 per cent of adults in the UK were so stressed that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.

The survey also noted that a third of people experienced suicidal feelings as a result of stress while half of those said they had self-harmed as a result of their stress.

Isabella Goldie, the Director of the Mental Health Foundation, in a statement said, “stress is one of the great public health challenges of our time, but it still isn’t being taken as seriously as physical health concerns.”

The Independent pointed out the top five causes of stress in the UK. Financial worries affected 30 per cent of respondents, while 28 per cent said the amount of pressure they put on themselves was a reason for their stress.

Not getting enough sleep was responsible for high levels of stress for 22 per cent of people, while 19 per cent of Britons also allocated the amount of work they have to get done each day and concerns about their health as major causes of stress.

This National Stress Awareness Day, the Truly Belong team helped me curate some tips to combat stress:

Go for a walk

London weather is not always welcoming to walks but if you find a space under a store ledge or invest in a sturdy umbrella, a walk can go a long way.  According to the Walking for Health, an organisation that promotes healthy lifestyles, walking improves self-perception and self-esteem, and reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue.

Talk about it

Not everything we do needs to be done alone. Talking to a friend or family can help voice your problem and maybe even garner advice on how to solve it.  “Feeling isolated or not having the opportunity to talk regularly to others can affect mental wellbeing,” writes Sharon James, a Senior Health & Wellbeing Physiologist in Nuffield Health.

Invest in a cry session

When humans cry in response to stress, their tears contain a number of stress hormones and other chemicals. Researchers believe that crying could reduce the levels of these chemicals in the body, which could, in turn, reduce stress.

Pets

Spending time with pets can help relieve anxiety and destress. This university in Canada uses therapy dogs to help students deal with stress.

ASMR Therapy

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), is a physical tingling sensation often triggered by audible stimulus and there are many YouTube videos for it. A 2018 study by the University of Sheffield explains that these videos tend to reduce the heart rate of listeners and increase levels of excitement and calmness and decrease the level of stress and sadness.

Create a to-do list that’s prioritized

For time management expert David Allen – whose book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity has made him a cult figure in the field – believes anyone with a full schedule and no structure will struggle to cope.

“You don’t actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it “done,” Allen writes in his book.

Zahra Khozema

Journalist at Truly Belong
Zahra is a Pakistani-Canadian journalist who’s currently living in the U.K. She has a BA in media production and a master's in journalism.

Zahra has written for platforms like CBC News, Brown Girl Magazine, Broadview Magazine, and Narcity Toronto. Her work often centres around topics related to social justice, culture, and travel. She enjoys fondling Spanish on Duolingo, practicing salsa moves in the shower, and talking to strangers on the subway.
Zahra Khozema