In the United States, Thanksgiving this Thursday will kick off the end-of-year holidays, synonymous with joy, comfort and carefreeness. But not all men and women seem to be rejoicing at the imminence of these festivities, on the contrary… A survey reveals that this period represents a source of stress and worry this year, particularly in relation to inflation and national conflicts. and global, and the resurgence of Covid-19 cases.
From decorating the tree or the Thanksgiving table to welcoming guests: the end-of-year holidays are generally a source of excitement, happiness, calm and even hope. A return to childhood which is not without bringing its share of joys and laughter, no matter how we approach it. But this year could be an exception. A study conducted by the Wexner Medical Center and the Ohio State University School of Medicine even suggests that this period could become a source of stress and worry. In question ? Inflation which should have an impact on the expenses initially planned for pleasure and pleasure, but also national and international conflicts and the increase in cases of respiratory diseases.
Conducted online and by telephone among 1,007 American adults, the survey found that national issues and world events represented a source of stress for 81% of respondents this year. But this is not the only problem that could spoil these end-of-year celebrations. Three-quarters of Americans surveyed also say they feel stressed by rising prices and, even more so, by the expenses inherent to Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is despite inflation slowing down during 2023 in the United States compared to the same period a year earlier.
Another uncertainty highlighted by those interviewed: the impact that certain illnesses could have, or at least their resurgence, on the preparation of these end-of-year celebrations, and even more on the trips planned during this period. . More than half of those surveyed said they were anxious about the increase in cases of respiratory illnesses across the country, including the flu and Covid-19. Stressors that affect the mental health of the population, and transform a period synonymous with comfort into an enormous wave of stress.
“The holidays bring about a feeling of sadness and struggle, when we would like them to be more joyful. I encourage people to think about what the holidays meant to them when they were young“, advises Nicole Hollingshead, psychologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, in a press release.
Don’t lose sight of the essential
In a note, the psychologist delivers her recommendations for managing this period and above all not losing sight of the essential: enjoying the time spent with family and loved ones. Among the advice given by the health professional is the need to focus only on the problems that can be solved – in other words those over which you have real control. Impossible, for example, to tackle inflation, but it is more relevant to discuss the budget allocated to the end-of-year holidays with your loved ones or your partner to decide on a potential reduction in expenses.
According to the specialist, the observation is the same for the most stressful events, whether national or global. If it is not possible to intervene in the country’s politics, or even in the escalation of conflicts on an international scale, it is possible – and sometimes necessary – to limit the time spent in front of the news, or even to completely protect yourself from this type of news. As for respiratory diseases, “reducing risks is the best way to protect yourself and your family (…) Make sure you are up to date with recommended vaccinations, set clear limits around being around sick people, and wash your hands frequently“, advises the psychologist.
And to conclude: “As the holidays approach, I worry: ‘Have I bought enough things for my family? Have I done enough?’ We then lose sight of the essential, namely the time spent together“.
This study was conducted on behalf of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center by SSRS on its Opinion Panel Omnibus platform, a bimonthly national survey conducted October 20-23 with a sample of 1,007 respondents representative of the target population U.S. adults aged 18 or older.