Study reveals that 30% of French people are anxious before the end of the year holidays – .

Study reveals that 30% of French people are anxious before the end of the year holidays – .

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                Quelque 18 mois après le début de la crise sanitaire, et face à un deuxième Noël Covid, les facteurs économiques ajoutent au stress des fêtes cette année en France et dans d'autres pays.                </p><div>

                <p>En France, un tiers des personnes se sentent tristes et anxieux plutôt que joyeux à la perspective des vacances de Noël cette année, selon un sondage publié le 2 décembre par l'Ifop et l'association Dons Solidaires.

Nevertheless, the health situation in France is undoubtedly better than it was at the same time last year. In early December 2020, France was in full containment amid a second wave of the virus and discussions over the type of restrictions that should be in place for year-end family reunions to continue.

This year, with daily cases rising rapidly and fears about the new Omicron variant, hospitalizations are still relatively low. Christmas restaurants, shops and markets are still open, and seasonal celebrations – for now – are expected to go on without restrictions. After a muted Christmas last year, shouldn’t the French feel energized by the prospect of more jubilant celebrations in 2021?

It’s still not Christmas business as usual, said Suzanne Black, a clinical psychologist who practices in France and the United States. “We were given this hope that Christmas 2021 would be better, and we started to create a sense of relief. Well, here we are at Christmas and we only recently learned of the existence of another potentially more dangerous virus variant, ”she told FRANCE 24 Black described it as a“ rude awakening ” pandemic fatigue. “We tend to forget that there is still time to be vigilant. Now, once again, we need to re-evaluate how we assess risk and whether we should move forward with our plans for the holidays.

Due to the health crisis, many of us are already living with feelings of “hopelessness, loss of control and grief for the way we once lived our lives before the pandemic,” added Black. At Christmas time, these feelings can seem all the more poignant, and the familiar stress of seasonal gatherings – the potential for disagreements, disappointments, and disappointed expectations – may be exacerbated by the health crisis. Not only are we now faced with the fear of getting sick, but this can be compounded by animosity from our loved ones who disagree on how to handle security measures.

The additional stress this year is not just happening in France. In the United States, a study found that 43% expected the 2021 holiday season to be more stressful than the last, and a Harris Poll survey conducted in October for the American Psychological Association found that nearly a third of adults (32%) said they sometimes find themselves so anxious about the coronavirus that they struggle to make fundamental decisions. And in Britain, a weekly national mood survey shows that since the summer, levels of happiness have declined while measures of stress and sadness have increased.

“It’s a collective, intercultural trauma,” says Black. “The holidays are times of coming together with loved ones and there is a great expectation of good times to be shared, but there is no respite from the basic anxiety caused by the pandemic. “

supply chain concerns

Added to this basic anxiety in December were the unusual economic circumstances caused by the health crisis.

The supply chain crisis, which has caused shortages of goods from lumber to microchips around the world, is already affecting people’s Christmas plans. As early as September, the American Christmas Tree Association encouraged consumers to buy trees early because of “a variety of trends influencing the supply of artificial and living Christmas trees across the country.” A retail boom in November indicated that shoppers had taken notice and started shopping for Christmas goods earlier to combat fears of stock depletion. Despite this, many have found that due to increasing shipping costs and high demand, the prices of all kinds of products have increased. Artificial Christmas trees alone are said to be 20-30% more expensive this year than last year.

A YouGov poll in Britain found people were also concerned about supply chain issues; they found it impossible to offer freebies due to a lack of stock or a late delivery as upsetting as the idea of ​​another announced strict lockdown. The only potential Christmas restriction that would bother people more was the thought of not being able to see close family.

The rising cost of living

In the United States, United Kingdom and France, the cost of living has increased at an exceptional rate, with increasing expenditure on fuel, food and other goods affecting household budgets. In October 2021, the inflation rate reached record levels in the United States and the United Kingdom. In France, where inflation rose 2.6 percent, three-quarters of people said their purchasing power had declined as a result. As some of the biggest price increases were recorded for gas and electricity bills, 66% of people said they tried to use less heating and hot water in the home, and 58% reduced their additional expenses.

So it’s no surprise that two months later the same financial crisis is affecting people’s Christmas plans. In a poll, just over half of French people said they should buy smaller Christmas presents than they hoped for this year and 29% of parents said they would not be able to buy Christmas gifts at all. gifts, up from 20% last year. Similarly, in the UK 36% of parents already under financial pressure told the charity Action for Children they felt more pressure to give their children a merry Christmas this year due to the canceled celebrations. Last year.

“This year, families have faced this double whammy of going through the pandemic – a lot of people have lost income, they may have been put on leave, they may have lost their jobs – and now they are entering. winter and face massive price increases. “Joe Lane, policy and research manager at the association, told FRANCE 24. “They worry about the price of fuel and energy in particular, but also the price of food. Going into Christmas, families are obviously desperate to treat themselves to a family Christmas, especially families with children. The pressure of trying to provide this often means that the parents themselves are depriving themselves of it and working overtime to make ends meet. “It all takes a toll on people’s moods,” Lane said.

Despite financial worries around the holiday season, in France the most important factor for a good Christmas is being able to spend time with family – an option that is still on the table for now.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal promised last week that the French could celebrate the holiday season “without reintroducing any restrictions due to the variant” before immediately clarifying that the current rules could be changed if necessary. A Covid Defense Council meeting will be held on Monday to see if this is still the case.

A flexible attitude towards Christmas plans this year – wherever you are in the world – might be the more conservative approach.

“We have to come to terms with this new reality of living with the virus and learn to accept uncertainty as a fact of life,” Black said. Despite the inevitable sadness that can accompany a shortened holiday season, she advised us to “focus on the moment and on gratitude for what we have in our lives.”



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