Survey Highlights:

  • A majority of Americans (51%) say it takes them weeks to feel less stressed after the holidays, with more than a quarter of moms reporting it takes them a month or more to recover.
  • 71% of respondents say that their biggest regret after the holidays is that they did not take the time to relax and enjoy the season.
  • Overall, respondents (63%) claimed that the holiday season is more stressful than tax season.
  • Eating healthy (69%), exercising regularly (64%), and getting enough sleep (56%) are the top three things that respondents have trouble prioritizing during the holiday season.
  • 79% of people surveyed agree that, during the holidays, they are so focused on creating special moments for others they overlook their own needs.

Chicago, December 21, 2023 - According to new survey from the American Heart Association, the holidays are more stressful than taxes, causing people to overlook their own health during ‘the most wonderful time of the year.’ The survey suggests that adults of all ages have trouble prioritizing their mental and physical health at this time of year.

Of the 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide surveyed in December 2023 for the American Heart Association’s Healthy for GoodTM initiative by Wakefield Research, more than half (63%) claimed that the holiday season is more stressful to them than tax season. Balancing work, family, finances and everyday obligations, while trying to fit in festive events that make this time of year special becomes overwhelming and induces chronic stress for many.

Many survey respondents (71%) said that their biggest regret each holiday season is that they did not take time to relax and enjoy themselves. Most survey respondents say it takes them weeks to feel less stressed after the holidays; with moms reporting it takes them a month or more to recover.

The demands of the holiday season can often feel overwhelming; however, by practicing simple healthy habits, the stress from the holiday hustle and bustle can be easier to navigate and more relaxing.

According to Dr. Mercedes Carnethon, president of the AHA’s Metro Chicago Board of Directors and Vice-Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, “Heart attacks and stroke are especially common during the winter months. The added pressures from the holiday season may lead women to neglect cardiovascular health promoting activities including physical activity, regular sleep and cautious consumption of sugary and calorie-dense foods and alcohol. It is especially important for women to create space for self-care for themselves and their loved ones during this busy time.”

Keeping healthy habits during the holidays can be difficult, but these small additions from the American Heart Association, a global force for longer, healthier lives for all, can help manage holiday stress.

  • Eat Smart – Eat reasonable portions and think about what colorful fruits and vegetables you can add to your plate versus foods to avoid.
  • Move More – Physical activity is one of the best ways to manage stress, so aim to take a short walk each day. Any amount of movement counts.
  • Sleep Well – Quality sleep can influence your mood, eating habits, memory and more. Experiment with setting an alarm reminding you to silence your phone notifications and wind down.

Connecting with others is one of the most important aspects of the holiday season. Whenever you or a loved one begins to feel stressed, make sure to express your feelings and lean upon each other for support, so you can enjoy the holidays together with lighter, healthier hearts.

The American Heart Association’s Healthy for GoodTM initiative offers tips for managing stress, creating heart-healthy habits and more at  

Additional Resources:


About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookX or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.


Survey Methodology
was conducted by Wakefield Research ( among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18+, between November 28thand December 4th, 2023, using an email invitation and an online survey.

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.


For Media Inquiries: 
Erin Kesler;
For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and