London stress levels rising post-lockdown

Managing work stress

Big city living is stressful enough without the events of the last two years – some studies have found that city dwellers have a 21% greater chance of developing anxiety than their rural neighbours. However, a new study has found that almost seven in 10 Londoners feel overloaded with stress currently.  At the time of writing, now Omicron is surging and the media reports are rolling in, this will doubtless become higher.

Researchers from Censuswide, commissioned by Microsoft, surveyed 2,007 adults in the capital, with 66% reporting that their stress levels are higher since lockdown restrictions have eased.

Returning to office-based work after many months of WFH, has left 42% of people struggling to keep up with the demands on their life and almost three-quarters are “showing signs of unhealthy perfectionism”, according to the study.

Joshua Fletcher, a psychotherapist, said: “As restrictions have eased, there is a sense of optimism and excitement for the upcoming festivities and getting back to old routines.

“However, there is clearly an underlying anxiety rooted in productivity weighing in the background for many of us.”

Managing work stress

Anyone can feel work-related stress, even if you love your job. Short-term pressures such as an approaching deadline are usually manageable, but when stress becomes long-term, it can be harmful to your physical and emotional health.

The body’s in-built stress response – known as the ‘fight-of-flight response’ – stimulates the production of hormones cortisol and adrenaline. If you frequently produce large amounts of these hormones, it can have a negative effect on your health.

Physical and emotional symptoms of stress include:

  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Chest pains
  • Racing heart
  • Joint aches and muscle tension
  • Insomnia leading to a continual feeling of exhaustion
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • Stomach or digestive problems
  • Weakened immune system

Strategies for addressing chronic stress include tracking your stressors, developing healthy responses such as exercise or making time for your hobbies, building healthy sleep habits, and establishing work-life boundaries. For more advice on managing work stress, call 07788 797 824 to consult with London private doctor Elaine Tickle.