mickphoto-imageSurviving the Holidays

The day after Thanksgiving is a milestone of sorts in America. It reminds us of just how quickly the year has gone by— and how close we are to the holiday season. This realization— coupled with the fabulous sales at major department stores and malls everywhere— helps make the day after Thanksgiving our biggest shopping day of the year. And until we flip the calendar over to a new year, the chaos just doesn’t let up.

“Our bodies have the capacity to do a little more than we normally do,” says Dr. Scott Bautch, past president of the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) Council on Occupational Health. “But our bodies do not adapt very well to doing a lot more than we normally do. Since the added demands of this season can stress the capacity of our bodies, we need to do everything we can to help ourselves. Eat right, drink plenty of water, stretch, exercise and take a few minutes to slow down and reflect on what the season is all about.”

So relax and enjoy the holidays! Dr. Bautch and the ACA encourage you to consider the following tips to help keep you and your loved ones healthy, happy and safe this season.
Treat Holiday Shopping As An Athletic Event

Stay hydrated! Drink eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water a day. (Coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol are diuretics/dehydrators. Don’t substitute them for water.) On shopping days, you may need to drink even more water.
Be sure to stretch before and after a long day of shopping. When you are stressed-out, your muscles are less flexible than usual.
Wear shoes with plenty of cushioning in the soles to absorb the impact of walking on those hard shopping mall floors. According to recent studies, 60% of women report wearing shoes that are uncomfortable.
Make sure the clothing you wear is as comfortable as possible. It’s a good idea to wear layers, because you may be going from a cold environment (outdoors) to a warm environment (indoors).
Leave your purse at home. Wear a light fanny pack, or if necessary, a light backpack instead. Pack only those items that are absolutely essential (driver’s license, credit card, etc.).
If you start to feel some pain, nip it in the bud. Apply an ice bag to the affected area for 20 minutes, then take it off for a couple of hours. Repeat a couple of times each day over the next day or two.

“During the holiday season, we’re running at absolute maximum capacity, which can lead to stress and even depression,” says Dr. Bautch. “Why do so many people become depressed around the holidays? We need to stretch and stay hydrated to increase our capacity, so we are not overwhelmed by the activities of the season.”

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