The holiday stress gap: Is the festive season bad for British women?
February 1st, 2024, Clifton Mark

The holiday stress gap: Is the festive season bad for British women?

The holidays can be fun, but are they good for us? Preparing merriment can be a source of strain and stress, then there are the risks of drinking and eating to excess and sleeping too little.  Whilst jolly, the holidays can leaved us drained and stressed.

About a third of Britons (30%)say the holidays don’t pose any challenges to their health and well-being. However, that leaves two in three (67%) who say that they do. By far the most common complaint is expense, with 49% of respondents citing high holiday costs as a challenge to their well-being.

Stresses associated with holiday-related chores and obligations are also common worries.

A quarter of Britons mentioned choosing gifts (26%), family-related stress (25%) and having too much shopping, entertaining and other preparatory work to do (23%).

The data also shows a significant holiday stress gap between genders. More than a quarter of British women (28%) say that entertaining and prep work are a challenge, compared to only 18% of men. Women also worry more about choosing gifts (29% vs. 22%) and about family-related stress (28% vs. 21%). This all may indicate holiday duties are falling disproportionately to women.

Overindulgence is less of a problem. One in five respondents (20%) said having too much food on offer during the holidays was a problem, and only one in ten (10%) said the same thing about alcohol.

There are also significant differences between age cohorts when it comes to attitudes to the holidays. Britons aged 55+ are by far the most sanguine, with 39% saying the season poses no challenges to their health and well-being. On the other hand, those aged 25-54 all perceive the most challenges at this time of year in all categories. Less than a quarter of respondents in each segment of the 25-54 age group think the holidays are not an issue for their well-being.

Britons may enjoy the festive season, but they also see it as a health hazard. High costs and a dizzying number of chores and family stresses create challenges to well-being. These fall especially heavily on women compared to men, suggesting a holiday stress gap between the genders.

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YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of 2004 adults in Great Britain aged 18+ years. All surveys were conducted online in January 2023. Data uses a nationally representative sample. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.