The most STRESSFUL time of year

As the song goes, the holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Visiting with family, big meals, running errands, preparation for all these activities…. While this can be a magical time of year, it’s also often stressful.

The most common injury I see during this time of year is strain on the shoulders. The increase in shopping – long walks on harsh concrete surfaces – the increase in driving for longer distances between errands and family gatherings, and even stress from all those wonderful family gatherings tends to manifest in the neck and shoulders. A tight neck and shoulders leads to neck pain, headaches, and shoulder pain as the tension tightens fascia and starts to spread out.

Bodywork sessions can help stretch and release tension caused by these tight muscles. Between sessions, however, there are some tips to help relieve tension:

1. S-T-R-E-T-C-H! Get out of your chair every 30 minutes or less. Stand up and reach your arms up over your head, bring your hands together and reach over to the right and left sides while taking deep breathes. Next, bring your arms behind your back and lace your fingers and pull your arms down. Lastly, in your seat take several rounds of deep breathing while shrugging your shoulders toward your ears then back down.

2. HEAT IT UP!: Using soothing heat is another great de-stressing strategy.  Heat will increase blood circulation to the muscles, and promote a relaxation effect through the nervous system.  15 minutes of heat a day (using a shower, bean bag, or heat blanket) will have a positive effect.

3. LET’S GET PHYSICAL: Although you may be doing hours of walking while shopping make sure you do not make that a replacement for daily exercise. Routine is important as well as keeping your cardio and muscles in shape.

4. DRINK IT UP: Water is our friend, make sure to drink water throughout the day. We all have been to the mall with our winter coats on and carry lots of bundles. Dehydration will make you sluggish, cranky and overheated. Take a water bottle and sip a few ounces every 30 minutes.

5. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…SCHEDULE YOUR BODYWORK MASTERS APPOINTMENT IN ADVANCE!: Taking care of you is an important during a time of year that we are so focused on others. Be sure to schedule your bodywork in advance since this is a busy time of year and appointments book up fast.

Throughout this holiday season we’ll be sharing tips to keep your tissue healthy so stay tuned!