Survey: 79% of Respondents Admit to Neglecting Health Needs During the Holiday Season

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American Heart Association survey suggests holiday stress has a major impact on health habits.

Depressed frustrated woman wrapping Christmas gift boxes, winter holiday stress concept. Image Credit: Adobe Stock Images/triocean

Image Credit: Adobe Stock Images/triocean

A recent survey released by the American Heart Association revealed that 79% of respondents tend to neglect their health needs during the holidays, focusing instead on creating special moments for others. Additionally, 51% of Americans state that they take weeks to recover from holiday stress, with more than one-quarter of moms requiring a month or more for recovery. Furthermore, 63% of respondents find the holiday season more stressful than tax season, 71% regret not taking time to relax and enjoy the holiday season, and healthy eating remains the top priority to be overlooked.1

The nonprofit organization offers multiple solutions for people to keep track of their health during this time of year. This includes eating reasonable portions, more physical activity, and making sure to get enough sleep. Furthermore, they suggest connecting with loved ones whenever feeling stressed in order to enjoy the holiday season with happy and healthy hearts.1

“Chronic stress can negatively impact both your long-term mental and physical health in many ways if left unmanaged,” said Glenn N. Levine, MD, FAHA, American Heart Association volunteer, writing committee chair of the Association’s 2021 Psychological Health, Well-Being, and the Mind-Heart-Body Connection scientific statement, in a company press release. “The holidays are an easy time to justify putting off healthy habits, but it’s important to manage chronic stress and other risk factors to stay healthy during the holiday season and into the New Year.”

The survey, conducted by Wakefield Research, involved 1,000 nationally representative US adults, with results subject to a sampling variation of 3.1 percentage points. The American Heart Association stated that it is committed to promoting longer, healthier lives and equitable health in all communities.1

In an article published by CNET, author Taylor Leamey offers six strategies aimed to keep stress at bay during the holidays. These strategies include:

  • Acknowledge what you’re feeling.
  • Plan ahead where you can.
  • Embrace saying no.
  • Make time for yourself.
  • Stick to health habits.
  • Reach out to family and friends.2

“The holidays are quickly approaching, and you might be feeling the pressure of this time of year,” wrote Leamey. “In addition to the elaborate meals, well-thought-out gifts and never-faltering smiles comes the anxiety. For many people, holiday festivities trigger an influx of stress and anxiety symptoms.”

References

1. New survey: 79% of survey respondents overlook their health needs during the holidays; find the holidays more stressful than tax season. Eurekalert. December 18, 2023. Accessed December 19, 2023. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/1029378

2. 6 Expert Strategies to Keep Your Stress at Bay During the Holidays. CNET. December 19, 2023. Accessed December 19, 2023. https://www.cnet.com/health/mental/6-expert-strategies-to-keep-your-stress-at-bay-during-the-holidays/

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