The health experts at Bupa Global offer some advice on how to cope with stress
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Bupa Global on how to cope with stress
City living can be stressful at the best of times. Add a pandemic to the mix, and it’s no surprise that many Londoners have been struggling with their mental health in 2020.
New research from University College London* corroborates this. Researchers tracked the effects of the COVID-19 virus and social distancing measures on more than 70,000 UK adults and found that though levels of depression and anxiety did reduce as lockdown restrictions lifted, they remained higher among those living in urban areas.
Recent research from Bupa Global** among high net worth individuals in the UK also revealed that lockdown-related stress manifested itself via a range of physical symptoms. These included fatigue (31%), disturbed sleep (24%) and a general low mood (23%). Feelings of anger and impatience (23%) were also common.
But with so much happening in the world, how can people stay on top of stress? Dr Pablo Vandenabeele, Mental Health Clinical Director at Bupa Global, provides his advice here.
Identify your triggers
Conflict with a colleague, economic recession, existing health issues or even arguments over mounting bills – there are a multitude of triggers which might leave you feeling stressed at the moment. “Though they may feel obvious, formally identifying your triggers is an important and effective first step,” explains Dr Vandenabeele. “Writing a list can not only help people distinguish between internal stresses (such as health fears) and external stresses (such as heightened workloads) but also help you recognise and avoid certain situations or people.”
Exercise is a fantastic stress-reduction tool, releasing positive endorphins and decreasing levels of cortisol, known as the stress hormone. NHS studies*** show that regular exercise can also make you happier overall. Integrating exercise into your existing routine gives the best chance of long-term success, so try rediscovering your local park for an early morning jog or replacing your regular tube journey with a bike ride to the office.
Set clear boundaries
“The word ‘no’ can be incredibly effective when used correctly,” Dr Vandenabeele says. “Spreading yourself too thinly or allowing work issues to consistently creep into your home life can often lead you to a breaking point.”
To avoid this, lay down your limits clearly and calmly reinforce them if they are ignored. Self-imposed boundaries can be equally useful. This could include completely switching off from technology at least an hour before you go to bed, or limiting non-urgent work calls at weekends.
Address issues early
If you feel that you are unable to cope with the levels of stress and anxiety that you are experiencing, then it’s vital that you get professional help as soon as possible.
At Bupa Global, we believe that mental health and wellbeing are just as important as physical health. To support this, we have started to remove both annual and monetary limits across plans for in-patient and day-patient mental health treatment, and we also now include cover for ADHD, addiction and self-inflicted injuries.
Bupa Global also has multiple resources for those affected by mental health issues – including our Global Virtual Care service which provides confidential access to a global network of doctors available 24/7 in multiple languages, enabling you to speak to a specialist at a time that suits your busy schedule best.
For more information, talk to the Private Client team today on 0371 346 0409 or visit: bupaglobal.com/withyou
*According to figures taken from the 2020 COVID-19 Social Study, research run by University College London
**According to research from Bupa Global (August 2020), conducted by Opinium Research among 100 high net worth individuals from the UK, defined as those with over £1 million (or market currency equivalent) in annual salary and investable assets.
***According to figures taken from NHS England
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