The holidays are fast approaching. That means the next few weeks will likely be filled with food, family, travelling, and shopping! As exciting as this time of year is, all this increased activity and stress can take a toll on your body. Taking the time to care for yourself and your needs will be crucial if you want to relax and stay pain free.
We tend to get caught up in a never-ending to-do list filled with shopping trips, cleaning, decorating, preparing meals, and traveling to see friends and family. As a result, self-care tends to fall to the wayside, allowing stress, back pain, tension headaches, and other chronic ailments to make an appearance.
Fortunately, these ailments are often temporary. If you set aside time to practice self-care regularly, these aches and pains can disappear faster than Jack Frost on the first day of spring.
Self-Care Tips to Help You Stay Pain Free
Clean on a schedule.
When preparing for family or friends, we like to ensure our living spaces are clean and inviting. Unfortunately, the list of chores can seem endless, and if you’re spending all day wiping windows and scrubbing floors, you may end up with unwanted back pain.
To help reduce stress and ensure you’re not doing too much work at one time, set up a cleaning schedule to help you tackle the workload. Create a goal to get a certain number of chores done each day, keeping your health and stress levels in mind. While you’re cleaning, remember to take frequent breaks to stretch and reset your posture.
You don’t have to do all the cleaning, decorating, and preparing by yourself either! if you need a break, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Recruiting a friend, family member, or service can help you get the job done that much faster.
Whether you’re decorating your house for the holidays or carrying bags of Black Friday purchases, always practice proper lifting form to avoid back pain or a pulled muscle. When picking up heavy boxes or bags, make sure the weight is distributed evenly. Follow the steps below to help improve your lifting technique and reduce your risk of low back pain:
- Maintain a wide base of support by keeping your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight.
- Squat down and slowly lift the weight, utilizing your hips and legs instead of your back.
- When carrying a heavy object, use your feet to change direction.
- Avoid twisting your body or lifting heavy objects above shoulder level.
If you’re traveling, either for vacation or work, it is tempting to overpack your suitcase with “just in case” items. However, if you’re traveling for the holidays, try to pack only the essentials. Use a rolling bag over a traditional handbag or backpack to reduce stress on the spine and shoulders. Traveling lightly with the right gear can help you avoid common travel-related injuries.
Make time to rest and recharge.
Set aside time to take care of your needs each week. Even if it feels you have too much to do, adding a little “me time” to your weekly schedule is important to help avoid a strain on your physical or mental well-being. Here are a few easy self-care activities to get a much-needed boost during this busy season:
- Get 30 minutes of exercise. Even a simple walk or jog to get your body moving can help reduce stress levels and improve your cardiovascular health.
- Practice mindful meditation.
- Write down reflections or positive affirmations in a journal.
- Read a new book.
- Take a hot bath.
- Try yoga or light stretching. When you’re stressed, your muscles tighten up. Release that unwanted tension and loosen up your muscles with some stretches!
- Spend time enjoying your favorite hobbies. Whether it’s video games, puzzles, or Hallmark movies, give yourself time to do the things you love most.
Listen to your body.
With so much to do this time of year, it’s tempting to ignore nagging aches and pains, hoping they will disappear. Unfortunately, an untreated injury or chronic pain could become a recurring problem if it’s not diagnosed and treated properly. Pay attention to your body’s signals and don’t overextend yourself.
Airrosti Treats Pain at the Source
If pain is dampening your holiday spirits, it may be time to see a provider who specializes in musculoskeletal care. At Airrosti, our providers spend ample time with each patient to properly assess their pain. Once an injury is diagnosed, they develop an individualized treatment plan to help restore function and mobility quickly. They also educate each patient and equip them with tools and exercises to help speed recovery and avoid injury recurrence.
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