The Holiday Season is quickly approaching, whether we are ready or not. People have already begun to bake and decorate, and the arrival of the first proper snow fall has come…and with it the cold.
While it’s supposed to be the most loving, cheerful and giving season of the year, we can not ignore the stress, cold weather, and recurrent aches and pains that accompany it, although we will try—desperately.
However, as the day light hours shorten, it seems to be an ongoing battle. When once upon an October we could have be found outside kicking leaves while enjoying the crisp fresh air in the river valley, now we tend to find ourselves inside, huddled under warm blankets, consuming tasty but rich foods and drink with our loved ones, and watching Netflix for episodes longer than we mean to.
So, with that in mind, here are a few friendly hints and reminders to keep you in the tides of health during this busy season so that you can enjoy it as much as possible—after all, winter is here, and it’s here to stay!
1. Are you feeling the season? You’re not crazy, the cold weather will affect your body and cause chronic aches and pains in the body—like your knee—due to stiffening of the tissues, dehydration, and the barometric pressure change in the atmosphere. Now, you can’t change the atmosphere, but you can regulate the other things, so stay warm with proper clothing and drink lots of fluids—you know, the hydrating kind!
2. Beware of ice unknown! Hidden beneath that soft fluffy snow can be a devastating injury. Pay attention to where you’re walking (or driving for that matter). Falls, or even almost falls, can be jarring enough on the body to lay you out for the holidays. Winter season is notorious for injury, including slips, almost falls, skiing and car accidents. ’Tis the season to pay a little more attention.
3. Diet and Exercise: The curse of the cold. It’s fairly common knowledge that what we put into our bodies and what we do with them has a huge impact on our physical well being, particularly bones and joints, muscles and organs. But sometimes you just need a friendly reminder: As the cold settles in, our bodies will crave heartier, ‘energy rich’ foods, and it will be harder to convince ourselves to venture outside for fun. Enjoy the festivities of the season and the indoor warmth of family and friends, but if symptoms are acting up ‘without cause’, pay closer attention to what (and how much) you’re eating, and try to be conscious of your activity levels throughout winter. When the body becomes stagnant, it will become cranky. Plus, when the freeze eventually thaws and you become more active, there is a greater chance of hurting yourself if you haven’t be keeping up with any activity.
4. Stressed for the season. It’s no secret that the holiday’s are often as stressful as they are charming, particularly for parents with younger children. While it’s easy to get wrapped up in the must-haves, the shopping, the cleaning for company, the cooking of feasts, the decorating, and all the other things that make the magic happen, it’s also easy to get overwhelmed with stress, making you clumsy, tired and depressed. These feelings and distractions can lead to accidents and general, physical pain. If you’re feeling any of these, take a moment to breathe, ask for help, and/or do something that makes YOU happy and satisfied. Your mental health will 100% affect your physical health, and you’re just as important as everyone else on your Christmas list!
5. Fallen and can’t get up! If you do happen to slip and fall, or almost fall (yes, you can get whiplash and other injuries from almost falls), and in pain, find a manual therapist to help you ASAP. Sitting on an injury over the cold months will worsen many problems that might be quick, easy fixes. Besides, getting them sorted right away will help you get back to enjoying the season with family and friends much faster!
Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful, cheerful and pain-free holiday season!
Kati Waygood is a registered Manual Osteopath. To book an appointment or get more information regarding her services call us at 780.455.6123