Stress in the city? Life hacks for city stress

It’s no secret that city-dwellers experience high stress levels a lot of the time. Here’s how to manage your city stress levels when living in the most stressful UK cities.

What with busy commutes, high housing costs and lack of green space, it’s easy to feel stressed in the city. According to the Office of National Statistics, Brighton, Leicester and London are the three most stressful cities to live in. This was calculated by a range of factors. It took into consideration the National Wellbeing Index, as well as pay levels, costs and travel times. All of these things lead to city stress.

A little bit of stress is inevitable in our everyday lives. It helps to keep us working and motivated. However, when you experience prolonged stress, your long-term health could be compromised. If you live in one of ONS’s so-called ‘stressful cities’, you might be vulnerable to everyday stress. Our team of healthcare professionals has put together some advice for managing stress in the city.


Turn the commute into ‘you time’

Daily commutes eat into our free time. The injustice of this alone makes us feel agitated, right? We’re not paid for this time, we’re boxed into a tight space and we’re probably checking our work emails whilst travelling. If there’s no way of reducing your commute, turn it into ‘you time’. Stop mindlessly scrolling and do something you actually enjoy. Download an old favourite on Audible, or listen to some guided meditations. Headspace has some really relaxing meditations to help you tune out of the morning bustle. Just remember to get off at the right stop.

If you drive to work, pack a survival kit to help you shrug off the soul-destroying morning traffic. Pop your favourite hot drink in a travel cup and have a good playlist or CD on hand. When we do the same thing every day, these little pick-me-ups can boost our moods and make us feel happier.

Get out in nature

Go and get some fresh air. The emphasis on ‘fresh’. Cities have high pollution levels due to all the traffic and built up environment. Get out to green spaces whenever you can. Whether this be nearby parks our surrounding countryside. These places provide the clean air your lungs are crying out for. Being amongst nature also has a calming effect. This is something you might get very infrequently when living in the city.

If you don’t have time to visit green spaces, make some of your own. You can create your very own natural space on a patio, your living room or even your desk at work. As well as cleaning the air, plants have great stress-relieving qualities. Some scientists point towards biophilia, which is the concept that fundamentally, humans want to be around nature.

Get regular exercise

Exercise is a huge stress-buster. It reduces your cortisone levels (the body’s stress hormone). Exercise helps keep these stress levels at bay to help you stay calm. Some of the best exercises for managing stress levels include walking, cycling, yoga, pilates and Tai-Chi. Exercise can help re-set the body and get your head out of whatever it is that’s making your day stressful.

Making everyday tasks simpler and more enjoyable

If you have a jam-packed schedule, there’s some great tools to make your life easier. Here are some of our top recommendations for simplifying your everyday tasks:

1. PillTime- medication made simple.

Obviously, this is at the top of our list. PillTime is a free medication delivery service like no other. As well as delivering your prescription, it organises all your doses into clearly labelled pouches, in the order you need to take them. If you’re forever back and fore the pharmacy, PillTime is a simple way to get your prescription.

2. Headspace

Headspace is a great app for managing stress. Like we said, we recommend listening to their short guided meditations on the daily commute or before bed if you need help nodding off.

3. City Mapper

Just moved to the city or struggle to remember your transport routes? City Mapper is a life-saver in helping you get from A to B. You simply input your start and end location and the app tells you the best route, how long it’ll take and how much it’ll cost. Ideal for the geographically-challenged.

4. Move GB

Simply input your location and Move GB will show you nearby fitness classes and activities that fit around your busy schedule. It’s an easy way to find something that will work for you.

5. Audible

This is a great app for listening to a book or podcast whilst going about your day. It helps to focus your mind on something other than deadlines and traffic, which aids that all important stress-relief.

Get enough sleep

It’s hard to switch off when we lead busy lifestyles. City dwellers are often rushing from one place to the next. This makes it tricky to slow down and fully relax. Not getting enough sleep can makes stress symptoms even worse and has negative health implications in the long-run. Adults should aim to get between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Here’s some great tips for a relaxing bedtime ritual to relieve city stress:

Tune out of your screens at least an hour before bed.

Have a warm bath or shower.

Avoid caffeine after 2PM.

Drink a cup of chamomile tea in the evening- it’s naturally caffeine-free and has relaxing properties.

Read a book or listen to a guided meditation before bed.

Save where you can

City living is expensive. A recent BBC report finds that less young people are moving into cities because they can’t afford housing costs. In the last 20 years, the number of young people moving into cities for work has almost halved. With housing eating up any extra salary benefits, finances can be a real concern when living in the city.

Budget management is essential. There’s nothing worse than account balance anxiety at the end of the month. If your living costs are high, save smart in other areas. Make simple changes like taking your own coffee to work instead of buying one on the way. Or, make your lunches for the week ahead of time so you’re not tempted to grab a meal deal. These two changes alone could save you a whopping £170 a month, based on standard prices. That’s £2000 a year that you can afford to save or spend on necessities. The way we see it, that’s a bit of financial breathing space to reduce the burden of stressful living costs.

Address your medical needs

If stress is impacting your life, don’t let it slide. These are all great ways to reduce your stress levels when living in the city. But, if you need more help, visit your GP. Long-term stress is a medical issue. It’s is something that can be managed with medical or non-medical treatment. So, it’s important to work out what’s right for you. Your doctor may recommend talking therapy or medication, in conjunction with the techniques listed above.

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