The holidays, despite our best efforts, can be quite stressful; we ALWAYS see an uptick in the amount of patients experiencing strange headaches, old injury flare ups, and waking up with bizarre neck or back pain during this time of year. Awful pull-out couches and old childhood mattresses, squeezing into planes or cars for long road trips, and lugging all the stuff that you and your family need for the holidays are only a few of the contributors to holiday stressors. One factor that is often forgotten about, but equally important, are the old family and friend relationships that enable you to get triggered easily.
You may have seen this triad of health (Pictured). Yes, structure is important to health, and that’s mainly what we focus on (posture, making sure the joints are moving well, making sure the muscles are balanced), but there are two more factors that are put to the test during the holidays: emotional (mental) and chemical health.
Emotional (Mental) is self talk, old family patterns, and overall stress.
Chemical is how you eat, drink, and chemicals you’re exposed to; maybe there are things or people over the holidays that influence you to engage in smoking or drinking more than you normally would.
Here are my 3 tips to maintain your triad of health:
1) Get out of the house. Make a commitment to yourself to get out and explore and move your body. Whether that’s going on a run, taking a swim at a local pool, trying out cross country skiing, or just going for a walk around the block. Additionally taking a hike and getting out into nature has shown to decrease stress and allow you to reset some of the bad patterns from sitting around and overeating and over-drinking.
2) Bring your pillow. People don’t talk about it enough, but finding the right pillow is extremely difficult. If you have one that works well for you, bring it with you on your travels. It’s worth the space in your bag. Supporting your neck is incredibly important when you’re dealing with stress management, because it will reduce the likelihood of you waking up with neck pain. If you don’t LOVE your pillow, let us know; we have lots of pillow tips or can take some measurements and order you a custom pillow based on your body’s configuration.
3) Gently be in your truth. This is hard: you don’t have to always agree with your loved ones, but you can be kind as you disagree. Don’t forget to stick to your boundaries during the holidays. Boundaries are not easy, especially for those who haven’t seen you set them before, but they’re critical for preserving your mental health.
Bonus tip: many people book something right before and right when they return from their trip, because they know they’re going to need bodily support before and after the holidays. If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa, book something with us before you leave to make sure you’re dialed in when you get back.