The holidays bring people together in traditions and celebrations. Stress, illness, and injury, however, can often accompany the joy.
Typical holiday stressors can range from trying to do too many activities, to spending too much on gifts, to finding enough time to cook or clean for parties and visitors. People can experience anxiety over familial relationships. The sleeping schedules and the diet can be off, too. Holiday food is generally more fattening, with higher sugar and sodium. People could be exposed to more food, pet, and environmental allergens. Heart attacks during the holiday season are possible, due to all of these changes, as well as inclement weather and snow shoveling. Viruses are easily transmitted during all of the social gatherings. Other dangers can come from hanging lights on the house, such as falls and accidents. Over-scheduling, travel problems, and finances can all contribute to anxiety and depression. Stress and mood issues may weaken the immune system.
It is important to take time to cope with holiday stressors so that the holiday season can be one of joy. From a psychological standpoint, it is necessary to take stock of the emotions and honestly deal with them. Reaching out for help, and even doing volunteer work, can boost the mood. While holidays have traditions, and it is natural to want to “do it all”, it is less stressful to be realistic and not shoot for perfection. Trying to set aside differences with family members can help. Sticking to a budget will prevent the stress of opening the bills at the end of the month. Homemade gifts and gift exchanges are useful alternatives to overspending. Planning ahead and doing a little work at a time, with assistance from others, will help to avoid last minute rushing around. To prevent being overwhelmed, it is important to say “no” to certain activities. Healthy habits don’t have to be abandoned during the holidays. Eating a healthy snack before going to parties could help to cut down on overindulgence in eating and drinking. Exercise and sleep habits should be maintained as much as possible during the holiday season. Taking breaks, meditation, having a walk, or just finding time alone, can all reduce stress. If depression and anxiety are too overwhelming, professional psychological help should be sought.1 Some may find it beneficial to find meaning in the season, while others may enjoy muscle relaxation and deep breathing.2 It is useful to break large tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps. Sometimes new traditions can replace older, stressful ones.3 It is important to avoid using alcohol or high calorie foods to boost the mood, as these indulgent forms of self-medication can have many consequences later.4
Chiropractic and Massage for the Holidays
It is crucial to deal with physical pain before it is a problem. Wearing comfortable clothing and shoes, staying adequately hydrated, and seeking regular chiropractic and massage care can be part of a healthy lifestyle all year round. In stressful times, such as the holiday season, taking care of the body is even more important. Chiropractors can alleviate pain naturally.5 Chiropractors may offer nutritional supplements and suggest exercises and stretches patients can do at home to maintain their health. Massage can also be a great holiday present to give and receive. Massage is another natural way to promote relaxation.