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Why holidays can increase stress

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According to research by Paradigm Family Law, it is not January but July that is the month when most people are looking for advice on divorce. They suggest that the peak in divorce queries coincides with the main summer holiday period when families spend more time together than usual.

After a fairly grey and gloomy May half term for much of the UK many families are already dreaming about a fortnight of family fun in the sun, but for many the prospect of dragging themselves away from their desks, deadlines and the dreaded handover notes – not to mention the thought of a bulging inbox on their return – means stress can set in before they even join the queue for the airport check in. 

Many people struggle to unwind on holiday, away from their normal routines and forced to spend 24 hours a day together with a family that they usually spend less time with than their colleagues. In fact 65 percent of parents questioned in one consumer poll said they found a one-week holiday with the children more stressful than working full-time. Any cracks in a relationship soon start to show when a couple are together for a sustained period of time without the distraction of work. In fact many people take their work with them with 45 percent of holidaymakers recently surveyed saying that having free hotel Wi-Fi is more important than having a room with a view. 

Dr Judith Mohring, lead consultant psychiatrist at the Priory Wellbeing Centre in the City of London, coaches clients in work life balance and stress management and is keen to write a piece for you giving her advice on how people can get the best out of their annual summer getaway with their families and will offer pragmatic tips such as managing expectations, flexing the rules and digital detoxing. She will also explore how people can work towards a better work life balance year round, and tackle stress before it puts relationships under strain.

At Priory’s clinic in the City of London Dr Mohring sees problems such as anxiety, substance misuse, stress and depression. While The City has always been stressful, Dr Mohring believes that globalisation has added to the stress, with the internet eroding boundaries between work and home life. Dr Mohring believes that with mounting pressures in the workplace taking time to step off the treadmill and recharge batteries, as well as ‘regroup’ as a family unity away from the pressures of daily routine is vital.

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