The holiday season is here, and that means a lot of fun with friends and family, but also some big changes to your mental and physical health, schedule and even bank account. In fact, most people will experience some (or all!) of these changes during the period from Thanksgiving week until the confetti is cleaned up on New Year’s Day, and the holidays season in between.
Here are the ten major changes people experience during the holidays:
Almost 4 out of 10 people experience some sort of increase in stress during the holidays, while 5.5 out of 10 maintain the same stress level and less than 1 out of 10 say their stress levels decrease during holiday time.
But stress levels are higher than this for working adults, and nearly 5 out of 10 of all women also feel more stress during the holidays.
The top 10 things people find stressful during the holidays:
67% Lack of time
62% Lack of money
47% Pressure to give gifts
44% Family gatherings
The holidays bring out a range of emotions in people, both good and bad, creating a confusing and often contradictory emotional period.
The most positive emotions people feel during the holidays:
60% High spirits
The most negative emotions people feel during the holidays:
For many people, the holidays are all about spending time with family, friends and loved ones. When asked what their favorite thing was about the holidays, 53% of people mention family and/or friends and 36 percent specifically mention spending more time with family.
Interestingly, 35% of women spend time with their parents during the holidays, but only 15% of men do the same.
We make great efforts to spend time with family during the holidays. In fact, visits to see friends and family account for about 24% of long-distance trips throughout the year for Americans, but that number jumps to 43% for Christmas and 53% during Thanksgiving.
Speaking of travel, consider these holiday travel stats:
This Thanksgiving, 43.4 million people are expected to travel.
The average person travels 275 miles for Christmas.
The average holiday vacationer will travel 601 miles and spent $465 just on transportation.
Travel to a destination 50 miles or more away increases by 54% over Thanksgiving weekend but only by 23% during Christmas and New Years.
A whopping 71% of those surveyed report having extra time commitments and things to do during the holiday season.
We may get time off for work (an average of just 7.6 paid vacation days annually for U.S. workers), but between parties, family obligations, religious observances, travel and shopping, we have less time than ever.
- Shopping and spending
Wow, do we spend money during the holidays
In fact, the average shopper plans to spend $805 on gifts during the holiday season.
Total sales for holiday shopping totaled about $630 billion in 2015.,
Around the world, we spend $2.6 billion on wrapping paper alone!
Black Friday is estimated to generate about $64 billion in sales just that one day!
46% of holiday shopping is done online these days, and growing every year.
We may feel like we’re saving money by staying home but online shoppers actually spend 22% more than those who physically visit stores.
Visa reports 5,340 card swipes per minute between Thanksgiving and Christmas!
The average modest holiday meal contains 1,297 calories – without seconds, dessert, or larger helpings.
That means it would take 150 minutes of high-intensity exercise just to burn off one holiday meal!
Don’t forget about our super-charged sugar intake during the holidays, and increase in alcohol consumption as well.
- Weight gain
Most of us moan, lament and disparage at the weight we’re putting on during the holidays. But is it really that bad?
In fact, our perception is far worse than the reality, as most people estimate they’ve gained 5-10 pounds during the holiday season.
But the average weight gain is only 1-2 pounds.
The problem is that we’re not doing a good job taking that 1-2 pounds off, and often stressing about it more than doing something to lose the weight and improve our health!
In fact, roughly 75% of annual weight gain takes place during the holiday season.
We tend to work out less during the holiday season, or even abandon our exercise regimes all together.
Gyms and health clubs are often comically empty during the period from Thanksgiving week until New Years!
Likewise, though it would make perfect sense that we work out more at home – even taking brisk walks after meal time, doing some yoga or calisthenics, or just staying more active – we tend to exercise a lot less in the midst of all of those indulgent meals and sweets.
But the holidays also lead to hope for better things in the coming New Year, most often manifested through our New Year’s resolutions and goal setting.
In fact, here are the top ten New Year’s resolutions for Americans:
Spend less money and save more
Enjoy life to the fullest
Stay fit and healthy
Learn something new
Fall in love
Spend more time with famil
Contact me if you’d like to learn how chiropractic can help you stay fit, healthy, happy, and feeling great during the holidays!