The Christmas trees are decorated, the wreaths are hung, and the colorful lights are shining bright at night. What does this mean? The holidays have arrived! The holidays are a beautiful time of the year, but can also be a hectic time of the year when routines are disrupted by festivities. It is during this time that it is most important to remember your health, specifically what your mind and body need.
To help you with your self-care goal during the holidays, here are a few wellness tips to keep in mind:
1) Hydration is essential.
While preparing meals and last minute shopping before rushing to events, most people forget to drink water throughout the day. This may lead to an unpleasant holiday experience due to dehydration. The holidays are also filled with cocktails (alcohol) and treats (sugar). Both alcohol and sugar are also factors that may lead to dehydration when consumed in large quantities. One way to prevent dehydration is by alternating each alcoholic drink with a glass of water. It is also helpful to have a bottle of water next to you during preparation and during an event. This makes it easier to monitor the amount of water you drink throughout the day.
2) Schedule your exercises.
It is easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle when your routine is disrupted. It is also easy to forget to do the exercises recommended by your physiotherapist. By scheduling your exercises and workouts, you create a new routine for the holiday period that you can follow. If you are unable to do your usual workout or exercise plan on a specific day because of your cooking schedule or an all-day event, try to fit in a few stretches instead for your lower back, legs, feet, shoulders, and neck. It is also important to keep your core tight during prolonged periods of standing. This will help prevent the discomfort you might feel from standing on your feet for a long time while cooking or attending an event.
3) Plan ahead.
If you are suffering from neck, shoulder, low back, or feet pain, try to plan your cooking, shopping, and wrapping gifts in a way that you can avoid standing for long periods of time. By finding recipes of dishes that can be made ahead of time, you can reduce your cooking time on the day of your event. You can also plan your shopping on separate shorter days or shop online. Wearing a good pair of shoes can also help prevent pain. If you are suffering from lower back pain or sciatica during prolonged periods of sitting, plan activities during the day where you are more active. If you are attending an event, such as dinner, where you are required to be sitting for a long period of time, try to excuse yourself from the table to stretch.
4) Balance is the key.
The holidays are about family, friends and delicious meals. It is the time of year when it is easiest to put back on the pounds that you worked so hard to lose throughout the year. By planning family activities where the presence of food is scarce, you have a higher chance of avoiding weight gain. If all the events are centered on food, try to fill your plate with salads and vegetables rather than desserts.
5) Stop and breathe!
During the holidays, it is difficult to say ‘no’ to your family and friends. If you feel overwhelmed, remember to just stop, sit down, and breathe. It is better to be truly present at each event for each person than simply saying ‘yes’ to please everyone. If you feel your muscles are tense, just taking a moment to stop and breathe can go a long way!