The Holidays. They seem to hit us like a freight train every year. One moment it's summertime, the next it's the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping at the mall. Unfortunately, that hustle and bustle can take its toll, especially on the spine. The beginning of the year is a time when I see quite a few back pain sufferers in my office looking for relief. This often has to do with people overextending themselves during the holiday season. I think most would say the pain wasn't worth the temporary gain. So here are a few quick lifestyle tips that will hopefully help you to enjoy the holiday season without over-burdening your back in the process.
1. Just Say NO!- It's tough to do, I know. Especially during the holiday months. But running yourself ragged by shopping, cooking, baking, traveling, entertaining, decorating and more can leave you absolutely exhausted in the long run. Like a moth to a flame, back pain likes to spring up when we're run-down and over-stressed. Make this the season you decide to no longer over-commit yourself. Manage expectations now and save yourself the last minute hassle and guilt of not wanting to let others down. At least a few times this season, schedule opportunities to curl up with a cozy blanket, a warm beverage and a good book, or whatever else help you to relax and de-stress. It's good for your mind AND your body.
2. Plan Ahead- Have you simply got a lot to do and no conceivable way to shorten the list? Try planning ahead. I know we often roll our eyes at those people who say they've completed their holiday shopping in JULY, but maybe they've got the right idea. Planning ahead during off-holiday months can help to minimize the stress put on the body during the busy season. That way, you can save your spine strength for the events that absolutely require it. An added benefit: By planning ahead, perhaps you'll be able to RELAX and ENJOY the holidays too.
3. Don't Forget About YOU- In the whirlwind of holiday festivities, we often neglect caring for ourselves. Whether it's the exercise that's fallen off the schedule because there isn't enough time or the extra 10 pounds of decorations you've added to your already huge armful because you don't want to make another trip, I guarantee that your spine will scream at you when it feels neglected. Try to take it easy on your body. While we may be Super Heroes in our minds, our bodies do not always live up to such high expectations, especially when we ignore them. Slow down when you can, listen to your body when it gives you signs of fatigue and remember to care for yourself the same way you care for everyone else in your life – with lots of TLC!
Wishing You Happy Holidays,