Tips for a Stress-free Holiday
Stress Less, Enjoy More: Tips for the Holiday Season
The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year. It’s also an overwhelming time of the year! It’s easy to go over the top in almost every way imaginable: over-indulging, over-spending, over-traveling, just over-doing it all. And that leads to mental stress on our already overloaded minds AND physical stress on our over-worked bodies.
Busch Chiropractic has some suggestions for how to keep your mind and body in good shape. We want you to enjoy the holidays — not have to recover from them!
For your mind and spirit
- Learn to say no. Don’t feel bad for declining an invitation or a volunteer opportunity. Think of it as your holiday gift to yourself — a little unstructured time to relax and unwind.
- Plan as much as you can, but leave yourself some wiggle room on the non-priority items (maybe even take some of the non-priorities completely off your to-do list?). Use whatever method works best for you — a master handwritten list with daily to-dos, notes in your phone’s to-do list and calendar, automatic calendar reminders, etc. Group errand running and online shopping activities together as much as possible to avoid duplicating efforts.
- Take a holiday from technology and social media. It doesn’t have to be for a whole day (or even a whole hour), but relief from the constant alerts, notifications, and reminders of what everyone else is doing will give you time to focus. Instead of checking email and Facebook over morning coffee or lunch, read a book or leaf through holiday catalogs. Turn off the television and put phones in another room during meal times and talk about holiday memories with your family. Put the phone away while you address holiday cards and enjoy some uninterrupted Christmas tunes. Everyone will still be waiting for you when you turn your phone back on - promise!
- Give up the idea of a “perfect” holiday. Embrace the imperfect — let the kids decorate the Christmas cookies with icing they colored gray, hang up the lovingly handmade ornaments and save the fancy fragile ones for another year, take lots of candid shots and forget about the perfectly posed family picture. Focus on what really matters: enjoying time together with friends and loved ones.
For your body
- Drink lots of water. Holiday foods and beverages are packed with calories, sugar and sodium. Help your body keep cravings in check (and recover from over-indulging) by starting every meal with a glass of water. When enjoying alcoholic beverages, alternate a glass of water with every drink. Keep a water bottle in your car while running errands.
- Get moving. Don’t let your exercise routine slip too much. Weight gain exacerbates neck and back pain. Regular light exercise not only keeps the waistline in check, it helps to relieve stress. Stretching is especially important to relieve tension in the back or neck. And if you can get outside, even on a cloudy day, your body will thank you for the fresh air and the Vitamin D!
- Enjoy holiday foods but in moderation. Some strategies to help manage intake: Eat a healthy breakfast on the day of a party so you don’t arrive overly hungry. At the party, first fill up your plate with healthy, filling foods such as vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins — then enjoy a special treat or two. Don’t stand within arm’s reach of empty calorie or fattening foods — take a bit to taste, then move away.
- Practice care when decorating and preparing for the holidays. Back injuries from carrying heavy boxes, overreaching while decorating, falling off ladders, and snow shoveling are rampant. Practice proper lifting techniques, stretch before any physical activity, take frequent breaks, and always remember “safety first”.
- Pamper your back when traveling. Prolonged sitting is very hard on the spine. Stretch before and after travel. Take frequent stretching breaks during travel, whenever possible. Use a small towel, pillow, or even your rolled up scarf for lumbar support while seated for long periods. Use rolling luggage and/or bags with cross-body straps.
- Most importantly, don’t skip your regular chiropractic treatment! A healthy back will mean a happier holiday. Dr. Busch and his staff wish you an enjoyable, fun-filled, and pain-free holiday!
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