Got the end of summer blues? You’re not alone, according to Rally’s new “End-of-Summer Checkup” survey of 1,000 adults. Americans overall are happiest during the summer, and 60% report feeling sad as the days start to get shorter.
The transition into fall is especially hard for Gen Z respondents (age 24 and under), with 61% of them saying they are bummed that it’s “back to normal life.” (For many of them, that probably means school). And parents aren’t loving it, either — 60% say the back-to-school season is stressful for their kids.
But as the leaves start to turn and temperatures drop, many Americans agree it’s also a great time to reboot. A whopping 75% of survey respondents say they are “relieved” that the weather is starting to cool down, and 60% actually feel re-energized and see fall as the time for a fresh start. Of the 1,000 adults age 18 and up interviewed for the survey, 45% say they plan to focus on healthy habits, with Gen Z respondents the most optimistic at 62%.
That’s good, because apparently some of us let things slide a bit in the summertime.
Six in 10 say their sleep schedule is more irregular during the summer, with 83% of parents finding that’s true for their kids. Almost half of all respondents admit they let their healthy eating habits slide, and about four in 10 (42%) don’t exercise as much as they do the rest of the year. (On the plus side, that means 58% of us do stick to our fitness routines.)
So how do people plan to get back on track? Doing a big cleanup/reorganization is the most popular move (42%), followed by resuming a normal sleep schedule (38%). And notwithstanding what you may see on social media, only 19% are on the hunt for pumpkin-spice lattes or similarly flavored treats. That said, 29% of parents are starting to plan what kind of costume their kids will wear for Halloween.
But even as many people are resuming healthier habits, going to the doctor or taking care of their annual screenings are not high on most to-do lists. Only one in three Americans (33%) plan to get an annual checkup or go for recommended preventive health tests in the fall, and about the same amount (35%) report that they don’t even have a primary care doctor.
Why is that? Because they’re not sick, according to 30% of those without a doctor. Another 25% says it’s too expensive. Yet almost 70% say they want to learn more about preventive health and how to approach it. While 61% understand what the term preventive health means, even these folks aren’t quite sure what services are included as part of it.
Of course having a primary care doctor and taking advantage of your various health benefits are intertwined. Primary care doctors help people understand the importance of preventive care, like getting a flu shot, and which tests or screenings are right for them. Having an ongoing relationship with a doctor can also help you spot, and treat, problems earlier. Are you one of those Americans who don’t have a regular doctor? Check out How to Find the Right Primary Care Doctor (and Why You Need One), which has tips on choosing a doctor and what to look for in your first visit. And here’s why you really need to get that flu shot this year.
When it comes to health in general, 44% say mental health is most important to them, followed by sleep (25%) and nutrition (16%). Exercise comes in dead last at 6%. Apparently Americans would rather do pretty much anything except work out, with 62% preferring to focus on healthy eating only when it comes to achieving their overall health goals.
Finally, it turns out that the old “health is wealth” adage still rings true even in today’s modern era, according to the 79% of survey respondents who say they’d prefer to be healthy versus wealthy. Their main motivation? Feeling good (56%), followed by living longer (31%). Only 13% say looking good is what matters most.
So as you start unpacking your sweaters and saying farewell to summer, take advantage of the fall season to reboot your health as well.
The End of Summer Checkup was conducted by the global market research firm Edelman Intelligence, which interviewed 1,000 respondents of the US general public (18+, weighted to be nationally representative of age, gender, region, race/ethnicity, and education). Fieldwork took place in July 2019. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points.