As we enter into the holiday season this month, many of us will find ourselves busier than we already are in our everyday lives. While this time of year is full of fun and festivities, it’s also important to make sure to take good care of yourself. The season of joy should not turn into the season holiday aches, pains, overdoing and too much stress.
Here are a few tips to keep you going strong this holiday season.
Shop But Don’t Drop
When you hit the mall, keep these tips in mind so you enjoy your trip and feel great the next day.
- Distribute your shopping bags between both arms rather than carrying them all on one arm, which will cause you to be off balance and can contribute to achy joints and muscles.
- Forego fashion and wear comfortable shoes for all that walking and standing in long lines.
- Lighten the load in your purse and carry only what you need to put less stress on your shoulder.
- If you’re doing a marathon-shopping spree, make a couple trips to your car to unload heavy shopping bags.
- Take a break. If you’re going to be out shopping for hours, build in some breaks. Don’t skip lunch or dinner – grab a bite to eat that has some protein to keep you going. Perhaps now is the time to indulge in that Starbucks pumpkin latte that just popped up on their menu while relaxing a bit and either visiting with your shopping partner or doing some people watching.
- Want to avoid the mall madness altogether. Plan ahead and do all of your shopping online.
Many people love to bake a bit more during the holidays and have special holiday treats they look forward to baking and sharing with their family and friends. When you bake, be sure to:
- Stand on a padded surface mat. Standing on hard floors for extended amounts of time can lead to an achy back and overall muscle fatigue.
- Pause every few minutes to stretch your neck and upper back muscles.
- Fire up Pandora and listen to some holiday music or any music that is relaxing and enjoyable to you while you bake.
Decorate with Ease
Here is the Arizona desert, one of the ways we know it’s the holiday season is by all the colorful lights hanging off of our stucco houses. However, the lifting and unloading of holiday ornaments and all that decorating can lead to injuries if you’re not careful.
- Take a moment to do a few stretches before your begin unpacking your boxes and putting up the decorations.
- Practice good form when lifting – keep your back straight when you squat and your stomach muscles tight.
- Wear slip resistant and comfortable shoes.
- Be present. Accidents often happen when we are not focused or are trying to do too many things at once. Turn on some holiday music and let yourself focus solely on putting up the holiday cheer.
You may not be able keep up your full exercise routine during the holidays, and that’s ok – it’s a busy time of year, so go easy on yourself – but do keep moving with at least 30 minutes of exercise a few times each week. Exercise will:
- Help you deal with the holiday stress
- Stave off the extra “holiday pounds” that are a struggle for us all to avoid.
While it’s hard to find time to indulge in activities that are nourishing and restorative during the holiday season, try to do something relaxing at least weekly this time of year. A few ideas:
- Get a massage
- Take a Sunday nap
- Treat yourself to a holiday mani-pedi
- Make a cup of herbal tea and take 15 minutes to enjoy it
- Download a meditation app onto your phone and use it
- Roll out your yoga mat and do gentle stretches
- Go for a walk in the sunshine
- Meet a friend for coffee
- Make plans to attend one of the many Phoenix area holiday festivities
It’s easy to get too busy and become stressed during the holidays, which makes getting enough sleep each night that much more essential. Sleep is critical and a foundation for good health. Make a good night’s sleep a priority during this holiday season and you’ll enjoy your time with family and friends that much more.
We hope these tips from Integrated Orthopedics have been helpful as you gear up for your holiday season!