The festive season brings lots outside of our usual schedule of activities and events. Here are some 9 steps to keep your body healthy through various activities this festive season.
- Decorating – we all want that perfect festive look in our homes but take care when decorating! Don’t try to carry around lots of heavy boxes or a tree by yourself. Remember to bend your knees and don’t use your back to do the lifting! You may want to stretch and twist to get your decorations in the perfect place but try to avoid pushing you body into awkward shapes and places and instead make sure you have a step-ladder out to reach that top branch and make sure you have space to get to where you need to place that perfect bauble.
- Shopping – Picture this: you are out on a Christmas shopping day, frantically running around with bags of shopping trying to find that gift they will just love. But we need to make sure you are protecting your back and your body while doing so! If you can, try and use a trolley or pop things in a sturdy backpack rather than big bags in your hands. If you must go with the bags, try to spread them evenly between each hand rather than piling them all on one side. Also make sure to take regular breaks to rest, I mean we all NEED that second (or third) coffee and cake, right?
- Wrapping presents – We all love to receive a lovely looking gift but when it comes to wrapping them ourselves it can be a bit of a job (especially if you are wrapping lots of kids presents!). Try your best to keep good posture when wrapping your presents – perhaps do it at a table in a well-supported chair. If you can wrap in stages go with this option, or make sure you take breaks to get up and have a wander round/make a cup of tea and then get back to it. Stretch out your neck and shoulders and shake out any tension.
- Party Party Party – the festive period seems to be the time to do EVERYTHING. Party with your colleagues, your friends, those friends you only meet up with once a year, family, and the list goes on. It is the season of overindulgence – eating, drinking, social battery, gifting…While we love catching up and spending quality time with our loved ones, it can be a bit hectic running from one event to another. Try and take some rest where you can, even if it’s just an hour or two spent watching a soppy Hallmark movie or reading a book. We don’t have to do everything, it’s okay to say no once you’ve reached your social limit. When getting your gladrags on, be watchful of the shoes you are wearing (especially the heels!) and how that can affect your posture or pain, especially if you are not used to wearing them. Also, heels on black ice is no fun!
- Cooking and Cleaning –One of the favourite parts of Christmas has to be Christmas dinner. Take care when moving food in and out of the oven, making sure your are lifting heavy items with your legs by squatting down and keeping a straight back, and make sure you are holding trays with both hands. Try to avoid bending over at the waist to grab the last tray of roasties! If you are standing for long periods of time when prepping the food or cleaning up, try to change up your position every so often and make sure to take small 5-minute breaks to have a walk and stretch out your muscles (check out our YouTube for some great stretches from Joe and Nancy!).
- Ice, Ice Baby! – As we head into the festive period the weather tends to tell us we are definitely in Winter (it certainly does here in Scotland!). It’s so easy to slip on the frosty or icy ground and whilst we can’t remove the ice from underneath you, we can be prepared on those wintry days. Wear shoes that are stable with good grip on those slippy days, and make sure any bags you may be carrying are distributed evenly and not obscuring your view. Take care by watching your foot placement- and no rushing!
- Manage the Stress – whilst it really can be the most wonderful time of year, it can also be a very stressful time. Not all of us enjoy the festive period, it can bring back memories of loved ones no longer with us, or it can be a crazy busy working time for those in the hospitality, retail, and service industries. Managing stress is hard at the best of times, but especially with all the added pressures of the holiday season. If you start to feel overwhelmed take a moment to just breathe. Step away from the situation and take 10 long, deep breaths to re-set. If meditation is your thing, try an app such as Calm and do a wee guided meditation. If you can find the time, take a break to do something that makes you smile. Whether its 10 minutes, 30, or an hour or two, try to take some time to do something for you.
- Fresh Air & exercise – leading on from de-stressing, try and get outside for even just a quick walk round the block as much as you can. With the chaos of the festive season our best laid plans for exercising and staying fit are often the first thing to fall away. However, keeping active as much as possible will help your body with all the added pressures of the season and keep you feeling more energised. We know how hard it is to find time for everything and it’s not saying you need to go and do a crazy gym session, just try to keep that step count up and go for a quick stroll when you can. One of the best things to do is make that phonecall you’ve been meaning to make to your friend or family member you haven’t seen in a while and walk while you talk – it’s amazing how many steps you end up getting in whilst you are blabbing away! And you’re killing two birds with one stone; exercise and catching up!
- Have fun! – the most important thing this festive season is to have as much fun as possible. And that is whatever fun looks like to you; you may be a social butterfly who thrives on the Christmas nights out, or you may be the person who loves to stay in and snuggle under a blanket on the couch and watch Hallmark movies. Whatever it looks like for you, enjoy it as much as you can!