Pharma Dynamics commissioned a poll among 500 South Africans across various walks of life, age and gender groups. The survey was conducted by market research specialists Leelyn Management, and sought to identify the most common sources of stress during the holidays.
The survey revealed that seasonal expenses are by far the biggest source of holiday stress for 92% of people, and that women are more likely than men to worry about finances.
Securing the house before going away on holiday was rated as the second most stressful activity by 85% of respondents and 72% cited memories of loved ones who passed away as the third most common source of stress.
Interestingly, 90% of those polled, listed having sex as the least stressful activity, which supports the notion that more sex means less stress.
Mariska Fouche, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics, says various clinical studies have shown that when holding your partner's hand, couples show a significantly reduced stress response in the brain.
"Kissing and hugging also alleviates daily anxiety. Cuddling couples report much lower stress and depression levels than their unaffectionate counterparts, and pairs who smooch a lot are eight times less likely to be tense or depressed," says Fouche.
Other major contributors to stress:
Most stress-free activities:
"People who regularly have high levels of overall stress are most likely to feel stress specific to the holidays," says Fouche. "Being aware of stressors and taking steps towards managing them is essential to making the holiday season less stressful."
Fouche offers the following advice:
"My advice to both men and women is to pay attention to what causes their stress and to find healthy ways of managing it. Everyone has the power to reduce the impact of stress. With practice, you can learn to spot stressors and stay in control when the pressure builds," concludes Fouche.