Surviving the Most Wonderfully Stressful Time of The Year

PROVO, UT – Nov. 29, 2018 – A new survey by VitalSmarts, home of Crucial Conversations® and Getting Things Done® Training, shows that many are just trying to survive the holidays—and this year the “happiest time of the year” might just do them in. Specifically, 1 in 4 people say they’ve already taken on more than they can likely do during the holidays. While they think they can get it all done, they say it takes a massive toll on their stress and health.

According to the survey of 1,166 people, 70 percent say that rather than taking “me” time to cope with holiday stress, they are more likely to give every part of themselves in an effort to make the season special. The top 5 holiday stressors include:

  • Just keeping up– trying to stay on top of all the activities, pressures, and expectations that come along with the holidays. (56 percent)
  • Finances– blowing the budget to make the holidays extra special. (50 percent)
  • Shopping– trying to find the “perfect” gift for that special someone. (46 percent)
  • Family events– attending holiday dinners, parties and gatherings with relatives. (33 percent)
  • Physical health– trying to stay healthy, active and sober at a time when food, drink and festivities is in overabundance. (26 percent)

According to researchers, the holidays, while festive, provide the perfect storm of schedule and relationship overload.

“Most of us struggle to keep up with the schedules and pressures of non-holiday life,” says Justin Hale, co-creator of Getting Things Done Training by VitalSmarts. “When you pile on additional commitments and double your to-do list, your stress levels grow exponentially. Now, more than ever, you must manage your commitments and actions with scrupulous attention—even saying no or renegotiating commitments in certain places. The data shows that nearly 60 percent of people don’t have clear lists of their commitments and it’s hard to renegotiate commitments you don’t remember making or don’t keep track of.”

The survey also uncovered all the areas in which people find themselves overreaching during the holidays:

  • Event Overload:27 percent say that when it comes to managing the busy holiday schedule, they NEVER decline an invitation.
  • Health Hangover:During the holidays, 1 in 10 say they have NO rules, when it comes to managing their health and diet during the holidays and 44 percent are more inclined to live by the motto, “the diet starts in January.”
  • Excessive Partying:1 in 10 say they drink excessively and ALWAYS need a designated driver after a holiday party.
  • Disgruntled Grinches: 20 percent say they are much more grumpy, tired and irritable than happy and joyful during the holidays.
  • Budget Breakers:Nearly 1 in 3 (29 percent) say they can’t stick to a budget—during the holidays, their credit card is their best friend.
  • Tradition Haters:1 in 10 of those who have important, long-standing traditions with extended family do not enjoy these events. And yet, less than half of disgruntled tradition-keepers have voiced their dislike of these traditions. They attribute their silence to fear of breaking hearts, being disowned, or believing speaking up wouldn’t make a difference.
  • Bad Behavior:Many admit to using the holidays as an excuse to do things they might not normally do and act in ways they might not normally act. Bad behaviors people are guilty of during the holidays include:
    • Secret re-gifting (32 percent).
    • Spoiling themselves while supposedly shopping for others (27 percent).
    • Passive-aggressive attendance – events and parties they hate but go to anyway (25.14 percent).
    • Lying or making up excuses to get out of events (23 percent).
    • Disingenuous gratitude (22 percent).

Hale’s colleague, David Maxfield, cofounder of VitalSmarts and expert in Crucial Conversations, says schedules aren’t the only thing that get taxed during the holidays—relationships also take a hit.

“When people are under stress, relationships will be stressed too,” says Maxfield. “During the holiday season, when families and friends come together, knowing how to navigate moments of stress and pressure is key to avoiding a blowup that can quickly kill the holiday cheer.”


About VitalSmarts: Named one of the Top 20 Leadership Training Companies, VitalSmarts is home to the award-winning Crucial Conversations®, Crucial Accountability®, Getting Things Done®, and Influencer Training® and New York Times bestselling books of the same titles. VitalSmarts has consulted with more than 300 of the Fortune 500 companies and trained more than 2 million people worldwide.

Contact: Kristen Linsmeier at vitalsmarts@methodcommunications.comor 801-461-9780.

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