Healthspan October 20, 2017

‘Christmas shopping is as stressful as running a marathon’, says you

Last year, a study of the ‘emotional intensity’ of Christmas shopping saw participants suffer from increased skin temperature, soaring blood volume pulses and a 33% heart rate increase – symptoms that are all similar to those experienced when running a marathon. A whopping 88% of those involved saw their heart rate increase to 100 beats per minute which is actually referred to as a condition called tachycardia by doctors. If you’ve ever dealt with breathlessness (aside from seeing a dress you wanted in the sale), light-headedness or chest pain during a shopping trip, tachycardia could be the problem.

We’ve put together three top tips on how to keep your stress levels under control this Christmas:

1. Watch out for Black Friday

It’s roots lie in America but Black Friday found its way to the UK in 2010 and hasn’t disappeared since. For the average Brit who isn’t in tune with Thanksgiving – another America tradition officially scheduled to be the fourth Thursday in November by Franklin D Roosevelt – Black Friday always falls the following day meaning this year it’ll be on Friday 24th November.

History aside, Black Friday is a prime example of festive shopping hysteria – an opportunity for stress to bubble up to the surface as we go crazy for a bargain pre-Christmas.

Our advice? Save your bargain hunting for Boxing day or...

2. …Plan ahead

You’ve probably already heard the phrase, ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ but the Christmas season is the perfect time to start implementing it. The turkey, the cheese, the Christmas crackers, the gifts; if you know what you’re supposed to be buying you’ll more than likely avoid the stress of impulse purchasing, and you won’t go unnecessarily overboard, either.

On top of that, planning ahead means your gifts to loved ones will be much better thought out! If you simply haven’t got the where-with-all to plan ahead consider this…

3. …Do your Christmas shopping in short bursts

Ever heard of the phrase ‘the wall of disenchantment’? Didn’t think so. It refers to the intense stress that replaces the initial excitement suffered by people when buying gifts for friends and family. And it takes on average 32 minutes for shoppers to hit it.

The best thing to do is to commit to short bursts of Christmas shopping, under 32 minutes and that’s not just for shopping on the high street – the participants in the study included online shoppers, too. Keep your shopping – be it online or offline – joyous by staying within that half-an-hour window.

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