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  • Writer's pictureDr Gi Ming Chan

Tips to Survive the Holiday Season

During the holidays, we can get so busy getting our shopping, baking, cooking and traveling done that we often forget to take proper care of our bodies. We sometimes forget to check in with how our bodies are feeling. No one wants to be hiding in pain or discomfort during the holidays!

Here are six ways to prevent any injuries that you may face during the holidays!

1. If you’re driving for long periods of time, take breaks every couple of hours. When you stop, get out of your car, stretch and walk around to get your muscles and blood flow moving again. When you’re constantly sitting stagnant in the same position, your lower back muscles, neck and various other areas of your body will become sore and not happy with you. Take breaks and pull over, your friends and family will understand as you will be a happier person!

2. If you will be traveling for a little while and have lots of luggage to carry, it’s a good idea to pack a few smaller suitcases if possible, instead of one very big one! This can literally save your back! Having heavy awkward luggage can strain your back.

3. If you’re staying in for the holidays, it’s understandable if you want to chill on the couch and have a lazy day! It is the holidays after all! You just need to be mindful of your posture, slouching will not be relaxing when you start hurting. And pain can drain your energy. What fun can you have if you’re feeling sluggish?

4. Sleeping in a proper bed and in the horizontal position can save your spine during the holidays! It may be difficult if there are a lot of family and friends packed in one house. But you need to watch for your muscles and joints. When we sleep, we need to be flat and in a neutral position that keeps our joints from becoming inflamed and muscles don’t spasm. Recliners are the worst for sleeping on because of the angle! It can cause your joints to shift and cause pinched nerves.

5. While shopping can be very fun for some people, it can be exhausting for others! Not only does it take a long time finding the perfect gift for everyone, but it can also require a lot of walking. It’s a smart idea to wear comfy, arch-supportive shoes when you have lots of walking in your future like when shopping for the holidays. Trust me, your feet will thank you! If you seem to be carrying a lot of bags, see if the mall has a locker you could rent to store your purchases/bags. If that’s not an option, you can always store some of your goodies in your car! You might not notice it, but your posture isn’t going to be the best if you have bags hanging off your arm and shoulder. If this isn’t an option and you need to carry those bags then try to disperse the weight evenly in both arms, to avoid leaning in one direction for long hours. While taking care of your arms and feet, you need to stay hydrated! You shouldn’t let the stress of holiday shopping to overwhelm you. Take your time window-shopping, sit down and take breaks in between shops! This way you can ease any tension that may be building up.

6. Most people would agree that one of the most important parts of the holiday is the food. So when you are preparing a large meal, be mindful of how you are standing and lifting everything! Never bend directly over the oven. You should always contract your core, pull out the shelf and bend at your knees for better balance. This way you’re helping your lower spine by avoiding any awkward leverage. If you’re going to be slaving away over the stove for a few hours, make sure you’re not standing in prolonged static postures or leaning to one side for too long. This results in asymmetric loading to your muscles and joints that can very shortly lead to sprains and strains of those same muscles and joints. Your feet may also start to hurt for all the hours of standing and constant pressure, so if it’s possible, have a cushion to stand on as well as good supportive footwear to wear on your feet while you cook. Always remember to take breaks, change angles and change positions!

The holidays are meant to be a relaxing and joyful time. We don’t want you to ruin your holiday because you’ve hurt your back, lounged poorly or slept weird! You need to take care of your physical health in order to keep your spirits high to enjoy the magic of the holidays. Dr. Horne cares about your well being and can offer many different types of treatment or recommendations to help you stay strong and well. He treats the nerves, muscles and joints through use of modalities, various soft tissue techniques and adjustments. Call us to book an appointment and let Dr. Horne help you get ready for the holidays!

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