It’s Stress Awareness Day on November 2, so what are the most stressful parts of your day, and how can you make things more manageable?
Here are some top expert tips:
7am- 8am - Choosing what to wear
How can something so small induce so much stress? Surely it’s just a case of going to the wardrobe and picking something out, but it’s never that simple.
Try: Putting your clothes out the night before, that way you save time and can be assured you will never end up at work with odd shoes!
8am – 8.30am - The school run
Getting the kids out the door is never an easy job, even for the most organised people. It’s important to try to stay calm and start your day off in the right way.
Try: Breaking the morning into small tasks with achievable time frames – by 8am the kids should be eating breakfast, by 8.25am they should start looking for their shoes.
This will help you plan your morning and keep the kids under control.
8.30am – 9am - The daily commute
One of the most common symptoms of a stressful commute is getting hot and clammy, and excessive sweating.
“It makes common sense that we sweat if we exercise or are experiencing a warm or humid environment like on the tube, it’s our body’s response to help regulate our temperature,” Dr Pixie McKenna, from Embarrassing Bodies, says.
Try: “Antiperspirants such as Perspirex are the most common solution for people who suffer from excessive sweating,” she says.
“Perspirex decreases the production of perspiration in the sweat glands by preventing sweat from reaching the surface of the skin through temporarily forming a plug in the sweat duct, offering 3-5 days of sweat and odour protection.”
9am - Getting to your desk and having a million emails
The constant trail of emails which seem to pile up as soon as you direct your focus to the job in hand can cause some real stress. It’s important not to let the numbers overwhelm you.
Try: If it isn’t important or doesn’t need a response then file it away, clearing your inbox and your mind, allowing you to focus on the emails that really matter.
3pm – 5pm - Meeting deadlines
The end of the day brings not only the excitement of going home and escaping the work, but also the anxiety of meeting deadlines.
Dr David Edwards, a practicing GP from Oxfordshire specialising in the symptoms of stress and exhaustion, says: “Coffee and other caffeine-packed drinks are often looked upon as essential ways of maintaining energy levels throughout the day, when there are far better ways to overcome exhaustion and boost your energy in the long-term.
“Inevitably, there are often moments when even the healthiest of people will need a quick boost of energy and there are many other alternatives to caffeine that can help. Try: “Rhodiola rosea is a natural alternative which can help with the temporary relief of symptoms associated with stress such as fatigue, exhaustion, and mild anxiety,” says Dr Edwards.
5pm - Leaving work on time
Getting out of the door can be harder than you expect, but don’t forget the importance of that work/life balance.
Try: Making a list before you leave the office of what is important for you to focus on the following day.
Writing it down will help you to feel in control of your list of tasks and not overwhelmed by the mass of emails and looming deadlines.
6pm – 8pm - Kid’s dinner/homework/bath/bed
Even if you manage to make it through dinner and homework without full-blown chaos, bedtime can often be a free-for-all.
Eating a healthy meal yourself is no longer a priority.
Try: “Avoid unhealthy habits which you may think are a short-term fix, such as eating sugary foods or high fat snacks, smoking or drinking alcohol; instead have a healthy meal,” says pharmacist, Deborah Evans.
8pm - 8.30pm - Housework
You come down from putting the kids to bed to the disaster zone that is the kitchen after dinner time.
Try: Putting on your favourite playlist. Unfortunately there’s not a great deal that can get you out of the housework, but you can at least make it a more enjoyable process.
10pm – 5am - Insomnia
You have finally had a few hours to yourself and it’s time to get into bed for some well-earned rest. But insomnia hits.
Try: “Get to bed early, talk to your friends and family if you’re feeling low and try relaxation techniques to stop your mind from whirring from the stress,” says Steve Riley, community pharmacist.