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How to Avoid a Resurgence of Aches and Pain During the Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!! While the winter holidays bring much joy and excitement for most people, for many, the increased demands and stress leads to aggravation of existing aches and pains. This, along with the changing dynamics of our holiday season due to the current pandemic can make attempts to enjoy the holiday seem like a daunting task.  

Here are some things you can do to make the holiday season more manageable while maintaining your health and wellbeing:  

1. Watch out for heavy packages

If you are expecting a heavy package delivery or are unsure of the weight of a package that has arrived at your home, always test the weight first! You can do so by giving a gentle kick or push to the package to determine if it is something you can lift on your own. If you can lift, be sure to squat and lift with your knees, not your back! If it is too heavy, find someone who can help you transfer the item into your home. If you live alone, consider investing in a dolly or other apparatus that you can use to wheel the items into your home.        

2. Get plenty of sleep

While sleep may seem like the hardest thing to do during the holiday season, don’t skimp on it!  Research shows those who get 6-8 hours of sleep are more productive during the day and have fewer aches and pains.  Disrupted sleep makes your nervous system more sensitive and your immune system more run down, increasing likelihood of aggravating old aches and pains.

3. Take a walk

Many of us have been spending more time than usual indoors for the past few months. Close your tablet or laptop and put down your phone. Head outdoors and get some fresh air and much needed exercise with a walk.  Increased circulation and cardiovascular activity is shown to diminish pain. Just 10 minutes per day of elevated heart rate (brisk walk) is enough to decrease pain and stress!  Added benefit that the enkephalin and dopamine response will make dealing 2020 easier

4. Choose healthy food options.

These days healthy quick food options are everywhere. A healthy balanced diet decreases likelihood of illness and immune system response. 

5. Spend a few minutes focused on deep breathing. 

Being mindful of your breathing pattern decreases strain on neck and back muscles, improves posture and is proven to decrease pain and relax the nervous system.

6. Change positions

If you will be in one position standing or sitting doing tasks such as wrapping gifts or preparing food, consider mixing it up.  Wrap gifts standing at the counter instead of sitting on a floor or chop vegetables for that meal while sitting down.

7. Choose comfortable footwear 

For those with lower back and lower extremity problems, think carefully when choosing your footwear for shopping or events.  Consider what activities you have the following day and whether wearing those non supportive furry boots will likely make completing the next day’s tasks harder or impossible.  Frequently the more sensible shoe choice will win! Unsure of the best shoe choice for you? Contact us at Forever Fit for a consultation and we can help you find the best shoe type for your foot.

8. Plan out your days to conserve energy.

Consider breaking up standing, sitting and walking tasks into smaller chunks to avoid spending too much time in an aggravating position. It may be better to do just an hour or two of cooking then take some time to sit down and wrap some gifts or address some cards.  While doing everything at once may be more efficient, a lack of planning could result in time spent down and out because you didn’t listen to your body.

When it comes down to it, remember that pain is complex.  Stress, decreased sleep, poor nutrition and a run down immune system can activate old aches and pains.  If you feel old pains returning or current ones worsening, know that they will likely diminish as you calm down and get back to your normal routine and rest.  If they do not calm down come January, give your favorite physical therapist a call and we will be glad to get you back on track!

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