As we find ourselves in the middle of the holiday season, for many of us, it's actually a time to be stressed rather than a time to be merry. With everything from last minute holiday party planning to frantically completing year-end tasks, it's no wonder holiday stress affects millions of people each year. 

'Tis the season to be stressed out

As we find ourselves in the middle of the holiday season, for many of us, it's actually a time to be stressed rather than a time to be merry. With everything from last minute holiday party planning to frantically completing year-end tasks, it's no wonder holiday stress affects millions of people each year. 

recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Psychological Association, determined that money, work and the economy are the top causes of stress in American adults. As our economy struggles for the third year in a row, our country continues to be an overly stressed nation. Americans struggle to find a balance between work and home life, while also making the time to engage in healthy behaviors. 

Around the holidays, overall stress levels can really escalate. People are confronted with more family, financial and work issues than at any other time of year. In fact, the American Psychological Association found that nearly half of all women in the United States experience heightened stress during the holidays, which puts their health at risk. 

 

Top causes of American adult stress

  1. Money (76%)
  2. Work (70%)
  3. Economy (65%)
  4. Family responsibilities (58%)
  5. Relationships (55%)

Stress in the workplace

Unfortunately, stress affects the workplace, whether during the holidays or year round. 

  • Workplace stress causes approximately one million U.S. employees to miss work each day. It also accounts for more than $300 billion in lost productivity, absenteeism and workers' compensation claims each year. (American Institute of Stress web site 2010).
  • Approximately 40 percent of employers reported higher use of health care benefits because of increased employee stress; 35 percent cited a higher incidence of disability claims; and nearly half indicated a marked increase in the use of employee assistance programs. (2009/2010 Staying@Work study conducted by Watson Wyatt Worldwide and National Business Group on Health)
  • Approximately 68percent of employers cited lack of work/life balance as a leading employee stress producer, but only 38 percent said they are taking action to combat this stress factor. (2009/2010 Staying@Work study conducted by Watson Wyatt Worldwide and National Business Group on Health)

 

Consequences of stress in the workplace

  • Stress has behavioral consequences and, in excess, could have physical consequences.
  • Two-fifths of adults reported overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress in the past month.
  • Nearly one-third of adults reported skipping a meal because of stress in the past month.
  • More than 4 in 10 said they had lain awake at night in the past month.
  • The most common physical symptoms of stress reported were irritability (45 percent), fatigue (41 percent) and lack of energy or motivation (38 percent).

At work, holiday stress and problems can be exacerbated by pressure-packed work environments as many scramble to finish up tasks before the holidays. It's clear that this stress can take a serious toll on employee productivity. Avoid the negative costs associated with holiday and workplace stress by leveraging resources like Lifework Online and other Ceridian health & productivity solutions.