We're not in lockdown now – so why are we all so stressed?

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We're free to go out and about again – so why the sad face? (Getty Images)

We all looked forward to the end of lockdown, with hopes of resuming our old social lives, getting the kids back to school – even having a holiday. But while some of that happened this summer, for at least some of us, a new survey has revealed that despite our freedoms, we're more stressed than ever.

Far from rejoicing at the lifting of most restrictions in England, many are still fretting about whether it's safe to mingle, and feeling worried by the pressure to 'go back to normal.'

Over a third (37%) of Brits have felt more stressed since the lifting of lockdown restrictions on 19 July, with parents of young children and millennials having the toughest time.

Data from the survey of 2,000 UK residents by life insurance broker Reassured shows only 17% have seen their stress levels lower after lockdown ended.

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Over the past month, over a quarter (26%) of Brits have rated their stress levels as an eight out of 10, with millennials and parents struggling the most overall.

In fact, almost half of millennials and parents with children under 18 claim that they have felt under a lot of strain since lockdown ended. Within the 25-34 age group, nearly one in ten say they are feeling “tremendously stressed” (10/10) right now.

The pandemic continues to be a huge stress factor for the nation. Uncertainty around COVID-19 restrictions and potential future lockdowns are the main cause for concern for 24% followed closely by the expectation of “getting back to normal”, despite not feeling ready to (21%).

The UK’s top 10 stress factors are:

1 Not knowing what the future will bring (in terms of further COVID-19 lockdowns) – 24%

2 Being expected to get back to normal life and not feeling ready – 21%

3 Trying to fit everything in – 21%

4 Financial situation – 18.4%

5 Health related worries/issues (personally) – 18%

6 The news in general – 16%

7 Family in general – 15%

8 Health related worries/issues (family or friends) – 14.5%

9 Leaving home in general – 14%

10 Travelling via public transport – 12%

London, January 26, 2020. People wearing a face masks to protecting themself because of epidemic in China. Selective Focus. Concept of coronavirus quarantine. MERS-Cov, middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV.
Whether to mask up has become a new, stressful issue for some. (Getty Images)

According to the data, the UK’s most stressed city is Edinburgh, with 32.4% rating their stress level at 8 or higher, followed by Cardiff (31.3%) and Leeds (31%).

The UK’s most stressed cities:

1 Edinburgh (32.4%)

2 Cardiff (31.3%)

3 Leeds (31%)

4 Bristol (29.3%)

5 Birmingham (28.5%)

6 Belfast (27.9%)

7 Southampton (27.4%)

8 Manchester (27.1%)

9 London (25.2%)

10 Glasgow (22.9%)

Glasgow: Not that stressful compared to its nearest neightbour. (Getty Images)
Glasgow: Not that stressful compared to its nearest neightbour. (Getty Images)

Top Tips for Reducing Your Stress Levels

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Read more: Healthier You: 5 Top Tips To Boost Your Mental Health

1 Make lists or 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.

2 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.

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It's very important to get enough sleep, just ask Mister Snuffles. (Getty Images)

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 help you enjoy things more and feel on top of everything that’s happening. There's nothing wrong with an early night!

Keep track of your spending. If your financial situation has been worrying you, 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...

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.

Watch: Meet Harley, the Mexican pug helping hospital staff to destress