The holidays are associated with a joyous celebration at the end of the year and often, this period is coupled with excessive alcohol consumption: from work Christmas parties to Thanksgiving (and Friendsgiving get-togethers), as well as Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve as a final send-off to the year. While many people want to join in the fun on every occasion to avoid Festive FOMO, such as extended periods of social interaction, it’s easy to reach a plateau of burnout.
Rehabs.com, a leading provider of addiction treatment resources, conducted a survey of 3,192 drinkers to determine at which point they feel like they’ve reached this plateau of festive burnout. That is, when they’ve simply had enough drinking and need to exercise sobriety – at least for a few days. It was discovered that the average Maryland drinker expects to reach a state of festive burnout relatively early at just 16 days into the holiday period (starting the day after Thanksgiving): by December 11th.
When these figures were closer analyzed across states – Montanans and Vermonters have already reached their peak festive burnout, a mere seven days into the season: on December 2nd. Comparatively, Granite Staters could keep their spirits bright until 20 days into the holiday period, when they reach their festive burnout by December 15th.
The holiday period is traditionally focused on spending time with loved ones, which not only includes family but friends as well. However, people are inclined to go overboard on alcohol when surrounded by friends as compared to when they’re with family. In fact, it was discovered that nearly 62% of survey respondents said they tend to drink the most during the festive season when they meet up with friends. Almost 1 in 3 (32%) appear to feel more comfortable drinking with family as they tend to drink the most when they’re around their relatives over the holidays. Perhaps perturbingly, 6% of people said they drink the most at work events, which could prove risky business in front of team management if unruly behavior is involved.
Currently, Sweden is the only country to recognize burnout as a disease, but in 2019, the World Health Organization added this condition as an occupational phenomenon. While burnout isn’t considered a mental health condition, it is a mental health issue that can negatively impact peoples’ job performances as well as their day-to-day lives. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said their main symptom of end-of-year burnout is severe exhaustion, followed by 27% who said it was a general feeling of being miserable. Another 17% said they suffer most with poor sleep patterns and habits when they’re burnt out, 11% said they’re extremely irritable and 8% struggle with physical aches.
When people feel emotionally and physically exhausted, stressed, and sometimes, financially drained due to the holidays, it’s often easy to reach for a drink in an attempt to forget these issues exist. In fact, nearly a quarter (24%) believe alcohol actually helps when it comes to end-of-year burnout. Unfortunately, engaging in this behavior one too many times can lead down a winding road of alcohol dependence.
Worryingly, however, 22% said they use alcohol as a way to relax when they’re experiencing end-of-year burnout. Nearly half (43%) said their main way to cope with burnout is sleeping well, while 32% said they try and switch off from work. Lastly, 3% focus more on their diet and eating well when they’re feeling down at the end of the year.
Mindfulness-based activities can help manage symptoms of end-of-year burnout. Doing things like meditation, yoga or journaling may help towards achieving a clearer mind and increased ability to perform. But, concerningly, more than 1 in 4 said they’d most likely treat their end-of-year burnout by drinking alcohol, as compared to engaging in more holistic methods.