According to a recent ONS survey 39% of married couples and civil partners reported the highest levels of stress and anxiety compared with single or divorced adults since lockdown began, and almost 3 in 4 adults are home schooling alongside juggling other commitments such as working from home.
Neuropsychiatrist Dr Irshaad Ebrahim explains what happens to our body when we’re stressed;
“When our internal neuro-chemical systems are working normally, they regulate biological processes like sleep, appetite, mood and energy levels. If we are stressed, hormone levels are dysregulated and our energy sources are diverted, resulting in sleep disruption and mood changes.”
When stress and anxiety levels are high, our ability to concentrate worsens, emotions can rise and switching off before going to sleep can feel like an impossible challenge, all the while the impact of not having enough sleep as a result of stress continues to play havoc with our ability to cope with the uncertainty a pandemic brings.
Dr Irshaad Ebrahim, co-founder of the London Sleep Centre continues;
“Sleep plays a fundamental role in the body’s ability to regulate itself and recover, as well as a huge factor in our wellbeing and mental clarity. Achieving the recommended 7 to 9 hours on a daily basis may not be a realistic feat for everyone but it’s something we should be making more of a priority.
“When we start to feel unexpected stress or anxiousness, prioritising the body’s natural healing function, sleep, is a good place to start.”
For many households, the effects of lockdown restrictions remain relatively unchanged as home working is still advised and home schooling continues for a number of families. Finding ways to manage stress levels and improve wellbeing is key to helping us adapt to this new way of living.
Married couples: 5 tips to reduce stress levels and improve wellbeing
- Routine can help manage stress and brings a sense of achievement. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed quickly when we’re being pulled in lots of different directions. Start each day with a to-do list of work, household chores, homework and all the other things which need your attention. Establish routines to give your days and weeks some comforting structure.
- Be kind to yourself. Don’t let uncertainty or anxiety derail your healthy routines. Make efforts to eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. Remind yourself that it might take time for the stressful situation to resolve and be patient with yourself in the meantime.
- Take the edge off with a traditional herbal remedy. There are lots of natural remedies which can help manage emotions. Valerian Root has been used for centuries to relieve tensions caused by stress and anxiety and can also be used to aid sleep. Kalms Day tablets can be taken to relieve irritability, anxiety, and the stressors of everyday life, while Kalms Night One a Night contain just the right amount of Valerian Root to help you drift off with ease.
- Break the stress-sleep cycle before bedtime. Reducing cortisol levels, and in-turn stress levels, before we go to bed is a must. Try 15 minutes of meditation or breathing exercises beforehand to help promote relaxation so you can get into bed feeling rested and fall into a deep slumber.
- Simple pleasures. Throughout lockdown we’ve had to find new ways of bringing joy and satisfaction into our daily lives. The simplicity of going for a walk, baking a cake or starting a creative project can be a great way to unwind independently or a chance to bring the whole house together as a fun activity to do with everyone.