David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about holiday stress and ways to keep calm during the season.
It’s that time of year. And if you are like most NYC’ers, you’ll want these tips for holiday stress.
This year we are sharing our favorite tips for holiday stress to help you identify and plan for the things that usually send our clients into the land of back, shoulder, and neck pain. With so much more on your plate, it’s easy to rush, over do it, carry too much around, etc. Then one or two mornings on a bad pillow and suddenly you wake up to shooting pain. If you read and practice our tips, then maybe we can see you come in for a happy maintenance massage, rather than battlefield triage.
Here’s just a short list of that “stuff” that is adding to your stress levels:
- Shopping while fighting through tourists
- Traveling on crowded trains, planes, and buses
- Crazy traffic if you are driving
- Sleeping on less than awesome guest/hotel beds
- Sitting down to a family dinner entirely made from things that you are trying not to eat
- In fights with family over who’s giving to whom this year and how much you are “allowed” to spend
How can you DEAL??!!
Step 1: Let’s all just actually admit to ourselves that this time of year is stressful. If you are telling yourself that it’s just you and that everyone else seems to have it together…stop. Ask around. We see hundreds of clients who face holiday stress…trust us, it’s everyone.
Step 2: Identify what your stressors are and where/when they are likely to push your buttons. Make a list.
Step 3: Make a plan to lessen the impact for each of the things on your list and practice self-care. If you accept that it’s going to be stressful instead of trying to kid yourself, then you get to do something about it. Choose some ways to handle the stress from our tips list and schedule them in your calendar like you would an important meeting at work.
Top on the list of self-care practices that most people avoid: negotiating with family to create a better experience that everyone can enjoy…including you.
Step 4: Find ways to do more with less. What if we all chose to have the goal this year that everyone gets to have a good time, relax a bit, and enjoy each other’s company?
“My family usually gets into full throated political arguments when we get together….and we are all of the same party!? This year at Thanksgiving we have a new in-law who belongs to the ‘other’ party. So we decided to institute a ‘no politics allowed’ rule to avoid making him uncomfortable. It was fantastic. We had a great time.” – David
To help you make a plan, here’s some of our go to tips for holiday stress
General Tips for Holiday Stress:
- bring your own pillow
- pack a rubber ball to use for stress squeezing and for self-massage
- plan ahead to make sure food is available that is on your diet
- if you are staying multiple days, plan some “me” time to yourself
- go with the flow rather than get caught up in arguments…then take that “me” time to de-stress
Check out our recommendations for travel size pillows and stress balls:
Tips for Holiday Travel
- avoid driving if possible, driving is one of the worst activities for your lower back and neck, and you’ll do more of it than normal with heavy traffic
- when flying, stick to a carry on bag and pack light…several of our clients always throw their backs out around the holidays trying to deal with a way heavier suitcase
- pack your own snacks for longer waits at the airport or train station
- download several episodes of that tv show you’ve been meaning to watch
- learn a simple stretching routine to do while you are waiting or sitting on the plane/train
- take vitamin C to boost your immune system
- spend a little extra and take a car service to the station rather than leave your car in parking or taking the subway
Tips for Staying with Relatives
- book a hotel or Air BnB instead of staying in the guest room on an old mattress
- if the bedsprings are old at either the family guest room or a hotel, consider putting the mattress on the floor for better support
- make a trip to the grocery store yourself and pick up food that you can eat on your diet, especially snacks in case food isn’t going to be served when you get hungry
- decide ahead of time what time you’ll have breakfast, lunch, dinner and have a family agreement on it to avoid getting “hangry”
- pack earplugs and an eyemask to help sleep in an unfamiliar room
Tips for Holiday Shopping
- unless you are getting something that needs to be seen in person, shop online
- pay to have it gift wrapped and shipped to the relatives house…it’s a small luxury you can probably afford that saves a lot of time/effort/back pain
- buy small stuff that has meaning to avoid carting heavy packages around (yes, there is a theme here)
- consider giving experiences over “stuff” (museum memberships, tickets to a show, a class on cooking, etc.)…again, it fits into a card, and is super memorable
Have a happy holiday season 🙂
We are sure some of the tips above caught your eye and went ding ding ding in your mind as something to take on this year for your holiday stress. Even practicing just a few new self-care tips this year can make all the difference.
Happy Holidays and we look forward to seeing you at the studio!