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Is the cost-of-living crisis affecting your relationship this winter?

PUBLISHED: 1 Dec 2023

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As the festive season approaches, we understand that relationships can be put to the test. GroceryAid has partnered with relationship experts, Relate to offer colleagues the opportunity to make positive changes in their relationships this winter.

A recent survey conducted on behalf of Relate, sheds light on the fact that over half of adults in the UK anticipate family arguments over the festive season and 73% attribute these potential conflicts to the cost-of-living crisis.

The Heat is On
Believe it or not, the simple act of ‘turning the heating on’ is predicted to be the leading source of disagreement, with 20% of survey respondents pointing to this as a potential flashpoint. Following closely are discussions around ‘how much to spend on gifts’ (18%) and the ‘expense of electricity used for Christmas lights’ (15%). If that sounds like you, you’re not alone.

Stress and Strain on Relationships
Over a third (34%) of the adults surveyed expect the cost-of-living crisis to negatively impact their relationships this winter. This number jumps to 47% for the younger generations—Gen Z (16-24) and millennials (25-39). Money worries top the list of concerns, with 28% of respondents highlighting financial stress as their primary source of anxiety. Relationship counselling can help to improve understanding and communication skills within your relationships during times of conflict.

Understanding and Compromise
Relate counsellor, Holly Roberts shares some valuable advice: “Money is often a concern around Christmas time, but this year it’s on our minds even more due to the cost-of-living crisis. If somebody wants to turn the heating on or off and you don’t agree, try to understand what fear or unmet need is behind this. Acknowledge that you can see this is important to them and use ‘I’ statements to express how you’re feeling without placing blame on the other person. Hopefully, from a place of greater understanding, you can reach some kind of compromise.”

The Balancing Act: Time, Money, and Family
The cost-of-living crisis not only adds strain to relationships but can also affect how families spend time together. More than a quarter of respondents (28%) are avoiding hosting Christmas this year due to financial concerns. Additionally, a quarter (25%) have taken on extra work or additional shifts to pay for Christmas, rather than spending time with loved ones.

If you’re experiencing difficulties in your relationships, be it with your partner, children, family, friends or colleagues, help is available. In partnership with Relate, GroceryAid offers free and confidential relationship counselling to grocery colleagues. To find out more, visit: groceryaid.org.uk/emotional/emotional-counselling-relationship/

With the ever-increasing costs of day-to-day life, if you’re finding yourself worrying about being able to afford important costs like energy, food and rent, visit: groceryaid.org.uk/finances/cost-of-living-support/. We have a range of helpful resources such as budget calculators to help you plan your finances, debt advice and financial grants which you may be eligible for.

We understand that sometimes the pressures of everyday life can take their toll, especially at such a busy time of the year. So, if you need to take a breath, this 10-minute mindfulness exercise has been shown to leave you with improved mood: https://rswb.me/rs-ga-grounding

You’re not alone and we are here to help.

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