December 06, 2021
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Americans report high stress levels during holiday season

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Americans are five times more likely to say their stress increases rather than decreases during the holiday season, according to a recent poll.

The poll, which was conducted over a 4-day span in mid-November by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Psychiatric Association, assessed various factors of holiday-related stress for 2,119 adults.

infographic with Levin quote

The main areas of concern this year are contracting COVID-19 during gatherings, along with locating and affording gifts for family members, according to a press release from the APA

Results of the poll also revealed that unvaccinated individuals are less worried than those already vaccinated about catching COVID-19, while almost half of adults surveyed expressed anxieties about not being able to see family members.

In addition, a higher incidence of younger adults, compared with older adults, reported their anxieties about holiday gatherings and family dynamics.

“This holiday season, as many are returning to pre-COVID traditions like seeing family and shopping, it’s normal to feel a mixture of emotions,” APA President Vivian Pender, MD, said in the release. “It’s important to take joy in the moments we can, and to know that it’s okay not to feel okay. Check in with yourself and if you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, talk to friends or family, and know that help is available.”

Among the additional findings:

  • 40% of health care workers expressed concern with a heavy workload during the holidays.
  • 54% of those same health care workers revealed their stress levels increase this time of year.
  • One-third of adults in the survey anticipated higher stress levels than last year.

Despite these concerns, many of the poll participants reported an optimistic outlook on the season.

“While we are pleased to be rejoining our families and friends, depending on who you are or where you work, stress may be a bigger factor,” APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, MD, MPA, said in the release.

“It’s particularly important, in this season of celebrating, to remember how hard our health care workforce continues to labor to ensure the rest of us can be safe, and that this work has an emotional toll. Remember to protect yourselves and those around you by following health guidelines in these COVID times.”