As exciting as the holidays can be, the added stress that comes along can really affect how your body functions. Whether you’ll be doing a lot of shopping, cooking, wrapping presents, or attending holiday parties, chances are you’ll be putting your body through a lot more than it’s normally accustomed to and all of this can trigger back and neck pain. Here are 11 tips to help you prepare for a happy and healthy holiday season.
• Dress appropriately before heading out for a day of shopping. Wear comfortable low-heeled shoes with arch supports and leave your heavy purse at home. Opt for a light backpack or a fanny pack to carry your personal belongings.
• Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
• A long day of shopping, i.e. walking, should be treated like an athletic event. Make sure you stretch before and after.
• Make extra trips to the car to drop off your goods so you don’t have to carry those heavy bags around all day.
• Take advantage of online shopping. Skip the long lines and crowded malls completely and shop from the comfort of your own home.
• Simplify your to-do list by picking up gift cards at the grocery store. You’ll get two errands done in one stop.
• Use a table or a counter to wrap gifts. The floor is a less than ideal spot to do your wrapping. Standing or sitting in a chair will promote better posture and help you avoid back and neck pain.
• Don’t wait until the last minute to wrap all of your gifts. Wrapping a few at a time is best.
• Don’t neglect your fitness routine. Although you’ll be busier than normal, it’s important to keep those workouts on your daily to-do list. Even a quick 20-minute workout is better than skipping it all together and you’ll be helping to manage your stress.
• Get enough sleep. The holidays won’t be as enjoyable if you aren’t catching enough z’s. Make sure you’re getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
• Try to stay on track with your healthy eating. Gaining extra weight will only contribute to back pain and health problems. Before attending a party, make sure you eat something healthy and drink plenty of water to avoid overeating while you’re there. It’s ok to indulge a little with holiday treats, just be sure to be sensible about it.
With some simple preparation, you can manage holiday stressors and ward off debilitating back and neck pain. If you do experience pain this season, please give our office a call. We’re experts at finding the root cause of your pain and can help you get back to a better quality of life.
Cliff Atwell, B.S., D.C.