How to create a stress free home

  • 27th Apr 21
How to create a stress free home

It feels that modern day stress has hit an all-time high and it is easy to let it seep into every corner of our lives. Every April since 1992, Stress Awareness Month aims to highlight the causes and cures of stress with the hope that more people can pay attention to their mental health. We take a look at what you can do to make your home and work life as stress-free as possible.

How to recognise the signs of stress

Stress comes in different shapes and sizes and everyone’s experience of it is unique. You may not even realise that you are feeling stressed and will keep powering on, ultimately leading to a potential burn out. It’s important to stop and recognise any signs of stress which can include:

  • Feeling anxious.
  • Racing thoughts or not able to switch off.
  • Worried about your health.
  • Irritable or impatient.
  • Aggressive or short-tempered.
  • Unable to enjoy anything.

The stress may cause you to behave in ways that you have never previously. This can include:

  • Overeating or drinking.
  • Avoiding situations or people.
  • Biting your nails or picking at skin.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Making mistakes at work.
  • Crying or wanting to shut yourself away.

Physical impacts of stress

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. Once the stress hormones come in, these are the same ones that trigger your body’s fight or flight response leading to your heart racing, breathing speeding up and your muscles ready to go. In a real emergency, the body is preparing you to act quickly but if this is happening day in and day out, it can cause physical health challenges. Some of the ailments associated with stress include:

  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Heart attack
  • Fertility problems
  • Insomnia
  • Weakened immune system
  • High blood pressure
  • Stomach issues

Regain control

It probably comes as no surprise that research has uncovered that 65% of people in the UK have felt more stress since Covid restrictions began. The three key causes are feelings of disconnection, uncertainty and a loss of control. When the feelings of stress start to rear, the way to regain control of your feelings is to actively seek ways in which you can alleviate the worry. Everyone has their own coping mechanism but it could be through physical exercise, creative output or accomplishing small tasks.

Create a happier home

In the last 12 months, we’ve shared our homes 24/7 with children, pets, partners and house mates. The one thing most people agree on is that it has been a lot. As life slowly starts to open up, it will be easier to examine what things make you happy at home and what things you must change.

  • Realistic expectations – communicate your expectations to others in your house and then manage your expectations. If you live with others, there will be an element of mess from time to time but think about what is reasonable.
  • Set a loose schedule – you can alleviate certain stresses by being organised. Get your washing done in good time, pre-packing lunches and getting kids to sort their school bags every evening can stop the morning stress.
  • Choose your jobs – don’t leave everything to one person, even children can take some responsibility for the home they live in.
  • Use tech to manage finances – keep on top of your bills by using technology to stay one step ahead of your finances at home. The worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand as financial stress and mental health are closely linked.

How to build better habits at home

It can take 30 days to develop a new habit so if you want to be successful, use a tracker or planner to make sure you are sticking to a routine. By building good habits at home, it will make for an easier running and much more peaceful household.

  • Get up and make the bed.
  • Clean the dishes after eating.
  • Have an ongoing shopping list and add to it as soon as something runs out.
  • Lay your clothes out every evening.
  • Take vitamins or supplements at the same time each day.
  • Make time for some exercise or a walk.
  • Create a meal planner.
  • Have a smoothie or juice to get in your fruits and veggies.

How to be part of a wider community

Feeling lonely can have a negative impact on your wellbeing. Some research even suggests that it will have a risk of certain mental health problems including depression and increased stress. New housing in the Build to Rent sector is being created with thoughts not just on the architecture, but also on how the resident can feel like they belong to the wider community. Build to Rent developments acknowledge the importance of integrating into the community with a strong focus on how the development is built to connect each resident.  Social events on roof terraces,  co-working spaces, cinema rooms, gyms and swimming pools are great ways to feel like part of the community, which will offer higher levels of wellbeing and a reduction in stress. 

How to cope with stress at work

Any job can have stressful elements but it is important to not let the pressure consume you. Some of the reasons for stress can be excessive workloads, low salaries, conflicting demands, boredom and lack of support. Taking steps to manage your stress will give you better career prospects also.

  • Keep a journal – identify what work situations cause you most stress so you can be clear when talking to your boss.
  • Healthy responses – don’t fall into bad habits and de-stress with junk food or alcohol. Give yourself the best chance to deal with stress by getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising. You may be able to handle the stress better if you are feeling in a positive mindset.
  • Set boundaries – just because you can answer an email 24 hours a day, doesn’t mean you should. Establish some work-life boundaries with yourself and anyone you work with.
  • Rest and recharge – don’t run on empty. Take breaks and proper holidays to recharge your batteries. Ultimately you will work better if you’ve had some down time.
  • Talk to your boss – your office will be more productive with good employee health. Talk about an effective plan for managing your stress, rather than just a long list of complaints. There might also be wellness resources that you can tap into as well as support from other colleagues.

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