Ditch Stress and Chronic Pain this Holiday Season

Chronic Pain

The most awaited time of the year is, once again, around the corner. There is a lot of preparation that goes into having delightful reunions with family and friends. Among the tree getting trimmed, the fireplace being set up and decorations draped all around the place, things can get really overwhelming. Whether you are destined to accomplish all these tasks in one go or only few of them, the holidays can be full of anxiety, stress and panic episodes.

Unfortunately, pain and stress do not mix well. The more the chronic pain, the more stress you will feel. And, the more stress you will be under, the more chronic pain you will feel. It’s a destructive and uncomfortable cycle to put your body through. Stress breeds inflammation throughout the body, taxing its systems and making you more vulnerable to pain and discomfort.

Before strain of accomplishing your to-do list overshadows the pleasure of the season, plan ahead and make this Christmas a memorable one. Here are a few tips to keep next few weeks stress free, making chronic pain work hard to drag your holiday spirit down.

Simplify shopping

Back and leg pain or sciatica, may make shopping difficult if not impossible during this busy shopping season. To avoid lifting and carrying heavy shopping bags, buy personalized gifts online. Have them shipped straight to your loved ones and friends. This will save you driving in the cold weather and damp chills.

Stay active

People who are overworked during the holidays frequently drop exercise from their routine. It is often forgotten that working out is one of the simplest and most effective ways to combat stress. Avoid eliminating health and fitness from your schedule in December. Aerobics, gentle stretching, Yoga or even starting a physical therapy program is a great way to manage pain and improve mental health, this holiday season.

Know your limits

Hanging lights, shoveling the snow, and making the best holiday pie brings on the added strain. Prioritize those activities that are most important to you. The holidays can be extremely busy with shopping and family gatherings. Try to set limitations to yourself and participate in activities you can comfortably enjoy. Take a break to stretch your neck toward your shoulders.

Speaking of sleep

Between staying up late to finish gift wrapping and baking your favorite cake, sleep tends to fall. You, just like most people, may also rely more heavily on caffeine this time of the year. Remember, not resting and overloading yourself with caffeine which affects sleep patterns, (especially when consumed late in the day) may cause muscular tension, and pain. Read our guide to restful sleep.

Indulge in relaxation

Set aside a little ME time to relax and de-stress every day. Whether it’s swimming or soaking in a warm bubble bath, find one thing that relaxes you. Relaxation activity like massage can also help you relax tired and achy muscles, easing out muscular tension. Share this activity with someone who is supportive and understands your medical condition.

Seek professional help

A poll by the American Psychological Association shows that 8 out of 10 people anticipate increased stress over the holidays. In some cases, the increase in stress may lead to mild depression. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling irritable, sad or anxious, unable to sleep, and incapable to concentrate on work. If that’s the case, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

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