We asked the nation how they’re feeling now we’re out of lockdown and discovered that stress levels are running high

Back in July, the nation celebrated as the final COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were lifted. But it appears that many of us have found ‘getting back to normal’ rather challenging, and stress levels are running high.

We ran a survey with 2,000 UK adults, asking them how they’ve been feeling since 19th July, what (if anything) was causing them stress day-to-day and what day of the week (and time of day) they feel most frazzled.

Here is what we found out…

Stress levels are higher since lockdown lifted

Over a third of the people we surveyed (37%) told us that they’ve been more stressed since the lockdown rules were lifted in July, than they did earlier in the year (when we were having to stay at home).

Less than one in five (17%) said they’ve actually felt less stressed recently.

It seems to be parents with young children and millennials (aged 25-34) who appear to have found the last few weeks particularly tough. In both instances, nearly half (44% and 45% respectively) said they’ve been a lot more stressed over the last few weeks.

On average, the nation’s typical daily stress level is sitting at a 6/10, with over 65s the least stressed (averaging a 5/10), and 25-34s the most stressed (average a 7/10).

Across the nation, some cities had higher levels of anxiety too, with a third of people living in Edinburgh (32%) putting their stress level at an 8/10 or above - the highest in the UK.

Stressed out desktop

Not knowing what the future holds is a leading cause of stress

Having gone through so many months of uncertainty, it’s perhaps not surprising that the thing we’re most nervous about as a nation is the future, and what it may hold for us (in terms of further COVID-19 lockdowns).

Being expected to get back to normal and not feeling ready is also proving a challenge for one in five (21%).

On the flip side, those who are getting back out there say that simply trying to fit everything in is giving them a headache (21%) - I don’t think anyone imagined we’d be worrying about this back in January!

As may be expected, money and financial pressures are a common source of stress too (18%), while personal health issues are worrying for around one in seven (18%).

What’s causing you the most stress day-to-day does seem to vary a bit depending on where you live though.

In Glasgow, Southampton and Manchester trying to fit everything in came out on top; while in Belfast, Bristol, Newcastle and Sheffield not knowing what the future holds took first place on the ‘worry board’.

While parents with young children admitted to feeling particularly anxious recently, just 16% said that childcare was a stress trigger for them, and a similarly low number (15%) said juggling home working with children has been challenging recently.

Having to go back to the office has stressed out more people working in IT (27%) than those working in any other industry, but in general, work and commuting featured low on the list of things making us feel stressed nationwide.

Monday morning is peak stress o’clock

It seems that there are certain days of the week and even times of day when we feel most on edge, and Monday morning topped the table with most of the UK adults we surveyed.

This was followed by Wednesdays and Fridays - with stress levels running high in the morning and mid-afternoon.

Sunday night (after 9pm) was voted the most zen time of the week…. and relax.

Over a quarter (28%) said they don’t find any particular day of the week especially hectic or worrying, which is good to hear.

Top Tips for reducing your stress levels

When you’re feeling like everything is getting on top of you it can be really hard to take a step back and work out what will help, but it’s really important to try and do this.

Identifying triggers or challenge areas and making small changes can make a world of difference.

Here are a few other tips that may help you over the coming weeks:

Icon green tick Make lists / keep a calendar
Simply jotting everything down that you need to do, or keeping a clear calendar of confirmed events, can help to clear your head and prioritise what really matters right now.

Icon green tick  Don’t be afraid to say ‘no
You may be getting a lot of invitations to meet up with people, but if you’re not ready, or you need to pace yourself then that’s absolutely fine.

Everyone has to move at their own speed. It’s best to be open and honest about this when you can, as you’ll find that the vast majority of people completely understand and are more than happy to wait a little longer or change plans, so you aren’t forced out of your current comfort zone.

Icon green tick  Get plenty of sleep
Getting back to normal can feel quite exhausting after so many months of nothing. You may be feeling a lot more tired and getting some extra Zzzzs could really help you enjoy things more and feel on top of everything that’s happening. There is nothing wrong with an early night.

Icon green tick  Keep track of your spending
If your financial situation has been worrying you then you may also be fretting about how much more money you’ll be spending now you can go out for dinner, go shopping, go on holiday and so on.

Keeping track of your incomings and outgoings and setting a budget enables you to see what’s available to spend on non-essential purchases, so you can go out and enjoy yourself knowing exactly what cash you can afford to splash.

Give yourself peace of mind with life insurance

After such a challenging and uncertain time, you may welcome some extra peace of mind as things transition back to normal.

Life insurance can provide you with some reassuring financial security, giving you one less thing to stress about. We offer a range of different life insurance policies to meet different individual requirements and varying budgets.

Read our comprehensive article on how life insurance works to find out more »

Methodology & sources

We ran a survey with 2,000 UK adults in September 2021. The data was split by respondent age, gender, city, working industry and if they are or aren’t a parent.

Please note, the data displayed in this article is correct at the point of publication 18/09/21.

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