4 UAE-related stresses (and how to bust them)

Commuting, the weather, work and missing home – common difficulties and how to deal with them

Every major city has its list of difficulties and annoyances and the UAE is no different. Whether it’s transportation, the heat, the workplace or missing home that’s got your back in a heap of knots, you can now rest assured – we’ve got a few ways to help you breathe a sigh of relief.

Transportation

You don’t need us to tell you that the roads and the rush hour commute are a little hectic. Travelling to and from work everyday (unless you’re one of the lucky few who can walk) requires time spent in the car or on the metro, both of which can test our patience. While we might not be able to do the journey for you, we have come up with a few ways to make it more manageable:

  • Use the time to learn something new – download a podcast, read a book… it will help the journey pass by much quicker and who knows, at the next quiz night you might come out on top.
  • If you’re in the car, try stretching before getting behind the wheel. Live near a colleague? Take it in turns to drive. Not only does this mean you get to be the passenger once in awhile, but it also means company and conversation.
  • Put on some classical music, it’s been linked to alleviating stress. 

Heat

We’re all familiar with that blistering desert heat. If you’re one of those who walk to work (and avoid the stress of the commute) you may have your own battle to fight come summer. Picking up the pace in June, July and August feels like exercising in a sauna with a full suit on… well actually, it kind of is. While changing the climate might not be humanly possible, there are steps you can take to make the heat more bearable:

  • Try to leave a little earlier: power walking to work in the hot weather has its downside (sweating being the major drawback) so allow plenty of time to go at your own pace.
  • Drink water and lots of it: sweat functions to cool your body down and heat, especially if it’s humid, evaporates the moisture from your skin – be sure to stay well hydrated.
  • Start your day with a lukewarm shower. Yes, really. The colder the water, the more difficult your body finds it to regulate your temperature – tepid is the way forward.

Workplace

The combination of long hours and heavy workloads mean that life in the UAE can sometimes feel like a bit of a rat-race; it’s easy to let the stress of the working week take over. Here a few things that might help to alleviate the tension:

  • Talk about your problems – your boss isn’t a mind reader and they may not know when you’re anxious. Explain how you’re feeling and work with them to find a solution.
  • Get outside – leaving your desk and taking a proper lunch break can have a positive effect on your productivity.
  • Set boundaries: in an age where everyone is just a screen away, it’s very easy to let work spillover into your personal life. Fashion some rules (like no emails after 6pm), that will help to compartmentalise your private and professional spheres.
  • Keeping a journal can help you understand what causes you to feel stressed. If you know what triggers it, it’s easier to deal with.
  • Occasionally, just say no – you’re not a superhero and there’s only so much you can achieve in one day. Let your boss know if your workload is too high.
  • Take regular breaks: it’s hard to be creative when you’ve been looking at the same screen for the past hour. Take 10 and do something simple like chat with a friend, make a cup of tea or watch a funny video, all of which can help you get a fresh outlook.
  • Organise your inbox: dreading an influx of emails is a feeling many of us are familiar with. Set aside just half an hour a week to sort through them.

Being far from home

Homesickness is normal; we’ve all experienced it at one time or another. The familiarity of a shared history and the feeling of being apart from those you share it with can be extremely difficult. But, since we’re all in the same boat (or land of sand) here are some ways you can cope with it:

  • Organise a weekly Skype session; sticking to the same time each week will ensure you get some quality time with those you love. It’s easy to become consumed with work and this, combined with time differences, means it’s easy to miss the people you want to talk to the most.
  • Make a list of new things you want to try: being far from home means there are plenty of exciting experiences to be had. Take your mind off of homesickness by getting out there and discovering all the UAE has to offer.
  • Spend time choosing gifts to send back home – it may help you feel closer to family.
  • Keep up with existing habits; adding familiarity into your weekly routine. This can be anything from joining a sports club, reading group or gym, as well as finding a favourite coffee shop or park to visit regularly.