A new study reveals that over half of mums find that school holidays affect their stress levels negatively - a phenomenon which can affect day-to-day performance.
The study, conducted by the creators of self-development and meditation app Anamaya, revealed that at least 20% of mums feel less focussed at work as a result of the stress caused by arranging childcare and trying to juggle a demanding career with even more demanding children.
The study saw the meditation experts at Anamaya question 1,000 UK mums, with children of school age, on their anticipated stress levels throughout the looming school holidays and the impact that this stress has on their everyday lives.
Got an understanding boss? Lucky you! A shocking 19% felt that the stress of the school holidays had a negative effect on their relationship with their boss, with their superiors unable to relate to childcare issues. Almost a quarter of mums (23%) admitted to suffering from prolonged anxiety, causing a serious cause for alarm when it comes to school holiday stress.
Worryingly, the findings revealed that the school holidays result in almost a fifth (19%) of stressed mums neglecting their own wellbeing, with 18% admitting to feeling constantly tired and others blaming the holidays for long-term weight gain as a result of having no time to exercise (14%). Lunch time nap at desk anyone?
Most surprisingly, it found the summer holidays are ‘the most stressful time of year’ - trumping the stress that Christmas brings!
Graham Doke, founder of the Anamaya meditation app, comments: “It’s no surprise that parents stress levels increase during the school holidays – there often a lot to organise and the pressure of trying to juggle children and work-life for such a long period of time is a challenge. However, what’s really concerning is to see just how stressed our parents are getting and the negative effect that this stress is having on their everyday lives.
“For the most part, the holidays should be an enjoyable time for parents and their children, not a time to worry and stress. We need to look at ways of addressing this stress and, although ‘me’ time is limited, ten minutes focusing on mindfulness or meditating each day could really help calm your mind and ease stress levels significantly.”
And it seems it’s not just work-life that is affected, with the school holidays causing serious issues in the home too. Interestingly, the study found other detrimental effects of the stressful summer include loss of libido/sex-life (9%), increased arguments with their partner (15%), and binge drinking (2%), as a handful of mums admitted to hitting the bottle as a direct result of school holiday stress.
Meg Mathews, mother of 15 year old Anais, regularly meditates with the Anamaya app, she said: “Before I started meditating I would wake up stressed and shout about the little things like the top being left of the toothpaste or my daughter Anais’s bedroom being a mess. Since I started meditating I’ve realised that the drama is going on in my head before it even happens, yet no amount of screaming and shouting is going to make a 15 year old clean her bedroom.”
Meg concludes: “Since meditating daily with the Anamaya app, I’ve learnt to set up my day so it goes smoothly without any dramas. I’ll set my alarm 10 minutes earlier and meditate cross legged on my bed before anyone wakes up. I’ve realised that if I start out being nice and smiling about things like the school run, we’re still going to get there the same time as if I’ve been shouting.”
The Anamaya app contains more than 340 guided meditations as well as a wide range of new self-development modules, set to help people combat everyday issues such as anxiety, stress, relationship problems, and coping with loss, which are having significant impact on their day-to-day lives. Each module is led by an expert in that field and aims to combine meditation with an ‘at-home therapy’ programme, combatting issues much more effectively.