Cold Sores 3 min read

How does stress cause cold sores?

How does stress cause cold sores? How does stress cause cold sores? How does stress cause cold sores?

When we’re feeling stressed, our immune system weakens, which makes it all the easier for a dormant cold sore virus to rear its ugly head. So it stands to reason that keeping your stress levels in check can be a good way to decrease your chances of getting a cold sore.

With that in mind, Compeed has compiled a list of useful tips to help manage your stress – both in your personal life and at work.

Stress management: in your personal life

  • Be proactive

Feeling like things are out of control is one of the primary causes of stress – and taking a passive approach of thinking “There’s nothing I can do about it” is likely to make things worse. Identify the things you are able to change and take control of them; doing so is empowering and will bring you closer to a solution.

  • Be realistic

While it’s important to concentrate on the things you do have control over, it’s not possible to change every situation that’s causing you problems. Work towards accepting the things you aren’t able to change, so you can focus your efforts on those that you can.

  • Prioritise tasks

A long to-do list can be daunting, so it’s best to prioritise those things that are most important and will have the biggest positive impact on your life. At the same time, remember that to-do lists never get cleared – there will always be something to add, so don’t expect it to ever be empty and try not to let that overwhelm you.

  • Stay active

Exercise helps clear your thoughts and calm your nerves – so while it won’t completely eliminate your stress, it will help you deal with problems more calmly and benefit your overall mental health.

  • Stay in touch

Keeping in contact with friends and family ensures you have people you can turn to when you need help, and spending time with others often helps put our problems in perspective. Laughing together can be a great way to relieve stress, as can talking through things that are worrying you.

  • Set goals

Challenging yourself to do something new – like learning to paint, play tennis or take up the piano, for example – can be a great way to occupy your mind while also boosting your confidence. Doing something productive is mentally stimulating and often makes you want to find other ways to keep occupied.

  • Me time

Pencilling in some time to yourself – whether that be to see friends, read a book or play sport –  is really important, ensuring that you give yourself some quality time away from work. Try to give yourself an evening or two a week doing something that you really enjoy.

  • Avoid bad habits

It can be tempting to use cigarettes, booze or caffeine as ways to avoid thinking about your problems – but they won’t solve the issues at hand, and may even make things worse. It’s healthier to tackle the things causing your stress, rather than drinking or smoking something to help you temporarily forget.

  • Helping others

Volunteering and community work has been shown to help put your problems into perspective, as well as making you feel better in yourself. Alternatively, it can also feel beneficial to just try and do something nice for someone around you each day.

  • Stay positive

Often easier said than done, but trying to focus on the positive aspects of your life has been shown to help people appreciate the things that are going well. In the evening, try writing down some positive things that happened that day, or a short list of things for which you are grateful.

Stress management: at work

  • Ask for help

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your workload, approach your manager for assistance (if you have one). They may be able to help with deadlines, redistributing your workload and setting more achievable goals.

  • Streamline your workload

Does it feel like you’re trying to do everything at once? Tasks can actually be harder to complete if you’re not focusing on one thing at a time, so wherever possible try dedicating segments of your day to specific projects rather than switching back and forth.

  • Take breaks

Once you’ve finished a task, try and resist the urge to dive straight into the next thing on your list. Reward yourself with a chinwag with a colleague, a few minutes with the book you’re reading or stepping outside for a short walk.

  • Don’t be a perfectionist

Nothing and no one can be perfect all the time, and it may be that you’re being too hard on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when your work isn’t flawless – it’s much more important to be kind to yourself.

  • Use your holiday

You’re always entitled to use your holiday allowance – that’s what it’s there for. If work is starting to overwhelm you, that’s a great time to take some time off to get away, get some perspective and feel refreshed.

  • Post-work wind down 

It can be a good idea to end your day with something that will make starting work tomorrow more pleasant – whether that be prioritising what needs to be done the next day, or organising your work space.

  • Socialise

Making and maintaining friends at work can be a good way to let off steam and make work feel more welcoming – as well as building up a support network that understands the specific challenges of your job.

  • Workplace support 

Your employer might offer services to benefit employees who are feeling stressed at work. There may be employee assistance programmes that offer free counselling. Alternatively, you might want to speak about any problems you’re having with your manager, human resources, or a trade union rep.

  • Find another job

Our jobs make up a large part of our lives, and it’s one of the areas that we actually have more direct control over. So if you’ve reached the conclusion that you’re simply not happy where you are, there’s always the option of finding another job.

If you still get a cold sore…

The very best thing to do is stick a Compeed Cold Sore Patch on it. Not only does it contain hydrocolloid gel technology to promote fast healing and a reduction in scabbing, but the discreet design of the patch also helps hide the cold sore.