Efforts to create special moments for others may take weeks of recovery.
Forced festivities during the holiday season are more stressful than tallying taxes in the spring, according to a new poll by the American Heart Association (AHA).
Gathering with family and friends and finishing the year at work often cause people to set aside healthy habits. Recovery may take months, according to AHA.
In 2021, AHA published a statement emphasizing patient wellness and the interconnections among mind, heart and body. Two years later, those points remain true.
“Chronic stress can negatively impact both your long-term mental and physical health in many ways if left unmanaged,” Glenn N. Levine, MD, FAHA, said in a news release. Levine is an AHA volunteer and chair of the writing committee that authored the 2021 statement.
“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,” Levine said.
Being busy at the end of the year ends up causing regret: 71% of respondents said they did not take time to relax and enjoy the season, according to the AHA survey.
A full 51% of people said it takes them weeks to feel less stressed after the holidays. Mothers had it the worst, with more than 25% stating it takes them at least a month to recover.
The survey found 63% of people claimed the holiday season is more stressful than tax season, the period from January to April 15 when people are preparing their federal, state and local income taxes. In the holiday hustle and bustle, healthy habits go on hold: 79% of people said they become so focused on creating special moments for others that they overlook their own needs, according to the AHA survey.
There are at least three ways to stay physically and mentally healthy as the year winds down and a new one begins.
AHA commissioned the online survey by Wakefield Research involving 1,000 adults aged 18 years and older from Nov. 28 to Dec. 4.