Christmas. ‘Tis the season to be …. stressed?

Photo by Luca Venturi Oslo via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

Photo by Luca Venturi Oslo via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

The pre-Christmas season. A time for letting your hair down with friends and family and enjoying some festive cheer? That’s one way of looking at it. Alternatively, for some, it’s a struggle to manage the additional Christmas commitments alongside the usual balancing act of sustaining work and family life.

Many people put themselves under increased stress at this time of year with the pressures of shopping, time, financial concerns and social demands, as well as fatigue, general overindulgence and lack of physical exercise. It can be stressful even for those who are lucky enough to enjoy a stable home life, sufficient finances and a job they are happy in. But the Christmas season does have a habit of making those who are less than content with their lives acutely aware of the elements they are unhappy with.

So, bearing all of this in mind, it’s perhaps no great surprise that the Christmas period is one of the most stressful times of the year for many. According to the Money Advice Service’s 2013 Christmas spending survey:

  • 8 million people expressed concern about how they would afford Christmas this year and one in three UK adults said they expected to start 2014 in debt because of their Christmas spending.
  • 1.2 million people are expected to ask for loans from pay day lenders to fund their Christmas festivities this year.
  • One in 10 adults in November 2013 is still paying for Christmas 2012.
  • Two in five adults described feeling under pressure to spend more than they could comfortably afford to put on a special Christmas for their families.
  • One in four adults admitted to getting carried away with Christmas spending so that they end spending more than they can afford.

Add to these financial pressures the potential added strains in the workplace over the winter months such as travel disruption due to bad weather, winter colds and flu, increased stress in the workplace due to workloads and the effects of ongoing Christmas festivities, and the workplace has the potential to become a boiling pot for mental and physical health issues. If you’re an employer who is concerned about the health of your staff, or a worker who is having work-related health issues, why not view the resources on the Health for Work Adviceline website?

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