How To Manage & Reduce Stress In 2021 

Even though 2020 is over and most of us are pinning our hopes on at least part of 2021 being a marked improvement, the topic of stress is still never far away - certainly at this moment in time. While the UK’s Covid vaccine rollout will inevitably provide reassurance for many, the thought of returning to work and the associated risks remain a concern for Brits, a new study shows.

UK stress drivers revealed

A new study reveals the leading cause of stress among UK workers, with uncertainties about the future, personal finance worries and Covid-related news topping the list of reasons.

According to Cigna Europe's Covid-19 Global Impact Study, more than three-quarters (76%) of Brits are currently stressed and many are concerned about returning to work.

When it comes to stress triggers, more than half of those surveyed for the study said uncertainty about the future is the leading cause, followed by personal finance worries (32%) and the amount of Covid-related news/information on the media (32%).

Furthermore, Cigna’s study also showed that Brits have concerns about returning to work once pandemic rules are relaxed. Indeed, 40% said they are concerned about catching the virus during their daily commute, while 37% are worried about an outbreak occurring when mixing in the office again. Just over a third (36%) are worried about potential restrictions they will face in the work environment.

However, it should be noted that Cigna’s research was conducted prior to the ongoing UK Covid vaccination programme. Nevertheless, the research revealed that financial support from employers for Covid testing would be a key return-to-work incentive for many workers.

Speaking about the findings of the research, Arjan Toor, CEO of Cigna Europe, said: “It's evident from our research that people are weighed down by this stress, with anxiety around income and future prospects in our new world the leading causes.”

How to manage and reduce stress

So what can people do to combat stress? Well, according to the Mental Health Foundation, some simple and sustainable lifestyle changes can really make a difference.

The charity recommends:

  1. Eat healthily — Our diet impacts everything from risk of disease to mood. Choose foods that supply the right amount of brain nutrients and drink enough water daily.
  2. Be conscious about alcohol and cigarettes — Try to reduce the amount of alcohol you consume and cigarettes you smoke as both can lead to heightened tension in the medium- and long-term.
  3. Exercise regularlyNHS guidelines state that adults should do some type of physical activity every day and the more, the better.
  4. Take time out — Find time to relax and prioritise self-care.
  5. Be mindful — Try to practice mindfulness daily, even if it’s simple meditation at home.
  6. Get enough restful sleep — Aim for between 6 and 9 hours of good quality sleep every night.
  7. Don’t be too hard on yourself — Appreciate yourself every day and understand that bad days are a part of life. Don’t beat yourself up over them.

[Related reading: Private Healthcare: Essential Cover & Peace Of Mind]

Reach out

If you’re feeling stressed, the tips above may provide you with some much-needed relief. But if your stress stems from financial worries and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, reach out to us and see how the right protection could alleviate some of your concerns.