People are feeling the effects of inflation this holiday, survey shows.
The Aflac Holiday Health Issues Survey is an annual survey that recently revealed many Americans feel financially strained this holiday season. The results showed that most Americans would cut back on holiday gifts and travel expenses, likely due in part to money issues resulting from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, three-quarters of respondents indicated they would take on credit card debt for health care and other out-of-pocket costs. And, despite being financially strained, many are still determined to power through the season. Some are even working more instead of taking time off due to a lack of resources.
The findings of the study illustrate the level of financial hardship that many families are experiencing during the winter holidays. Findings highlight the negative impact of being financially strained on Americans’ physical and mental well-being. With gas and grocery prices soaring, must-haves have taken precedence over gifts.
The survey revealed that most people plan to cut back in various respects to save on costs. Their planned frugality concerned hosting or attending holiday parties or events, buying presents and cards, or even canceling travel plans. Additionally, over a third of the participants admitted to coping with the stress through either alcohol or retail therapy.
Nearly half of American employees don’t think their pay has kept up with increases in everyday expenses. This belief is held most strongly by those making less than $50,000 annually, as indicated by the poll. Seventy percent or more of people surveyed stated they had to spend more on basics like housing, food, healthcare, and transportation in 2022 compared to the year before.
With the financial strain evident during this holiday season, it is essential to take positive steps to reduce its effects on mental and physical health. Exercise and self-care are two top ways to combat fatigue and stress. It is also vital to be aware of potential health hazards such as overindulging in food or alcohol consumption, drowsy driving, and slipping in icy conditions. Maintaining a budget conducive to one’s financial situation is also important.
Taking care of both our physical and mental health is more important than it has ever been before. Aflac is broadening its scope of plans to include mental health coverage and incentives for giving wellness visits more priority.
For those struggling more intensely, seeking out mental health and substance abuse care is essential. Treatment centers, twelve-step meetings and outpatient therapy centers can provide a safe space for support. These resources can be particularly helpful when sought alongside lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol consumption.
This holiday season is creating an immense amount of strain for many Americans. The combination of financial pressure and everyday expenses can take a toll on general well-being. Taking advantage of mental health resources and maintaining healthy practices at home, such as eating right, exercising, practicing mindfulness, and doing other self-care activities, can be beneficial in combating the effects of these issues. And finally, recognizing the signs and symptoms of overindulgence can help reduce holiday hazards for those experiencing a heightened financial burden this season.