Stress and depression are increasingly common problems in the UK. A combination of genetics, lifestyle factors, and outside interference can all contribute to a feeling of chronic mental distress. In some cases, people living in rented properties are particularly vulnerable to this, as they face the unique kind of anxiety associated with insecure housing. If you fear that you might not have a roof over your head in less than a month, then you’re bound to suffer stress. This goes especially during winter.
There are many strategies you might employ to keep your stress levels contained. They all involve troubleshooting your day-to-day life and trying to pinpoint the source of stress. Before we go there, though, it’s worth dwelling on one point in particular.
Stress is not a mental health disorder. If you are in stressful circumstances, then it is only natural that you will feel stressed out. If you want an analogy, you might consider a person who has to carry a heavy weight from place to place. Such a person is going to end up achy and tired before a person who is free to walk around unimpeded. The same goes for mental stressors!
What are the causes of stress and anxiety at home?
We’ve already mentioned a source of stress that’s more common in renters: the fear of losing your accommodation. A similar fear stems from the possibility that you might lose your income or your benefits.
If you’re living on your own, then you might be experiencing social isolation – especially in a remote-working, post-lockdown world. A lack of daylight exposure can be a problem for shift workers during winter. Then there’s the possibility that you’ll be made to pay for damage to your rented accommodation, and you’ll lose a substantial chunk of your deposit.
How to stay mentally healthy at home as a tenant
The solution to housing insecurity is to be aware of your rights and to get impartial advice on your circumstances. Having done this, you’ll be able to stop worrying. It might be that you do need to think about finding alternative accommodation. If you’re worried about damage to your property, then you might think about tenant’s insurance – but only when you’re at risk of violating your contract.
To beat isolation, there’s only one cure: real human contact. Find a social activity or a group and get involved. You’d be amazed at how much a little bit of regular human contact can alleviate stress.
Investment in a sun lamp can help you to supplement your light intake, and help you to avoid the winter blues. The same goes for a lack of exposure to green spaces. A few houseplants might make the world of difference.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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