Hi Friends. The winter and holiday season can be a busy and stressful time. With this in mind, we would like to offer a few tips to help you relieve tension and stay vital!
Health Tip #1 Neck stretch
Sit with your feet flat on the floor. Pull your shoulders back so your shoulder blades move toward your spine. Gently tilt your head so that your ear moves towards your shoulder. A stretch should be felt along the top of the opposite shoulder and along your neck. Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat on both sides. Repeat this stretch several times per day. Stretching should never be painful.
Remember to breathe! Taking slow deep breaths that fill your belly can help to relieve muscle tension and reduce tightness throughout your body. You can incorporate this breathing exercise into your busy schedule by performing it during your neck stretch, while sitting at your desk or even in your car.
#3 Rest more, sit less
Over the winter holidays, families and friends share meals and take a load off together. This can sometimes mean sitting for long periods and sometimes in less than ideal positions. Remember to sit on your sitting bones, and try to move and stretch and stand as often as possible. Make a conscious effort to sit in ways that are kind to your body, and also to sit less!
#4 Make travel less painful
Travelling can be challenging during the holiday season. Flights are often crowded, cramped and uncomfortable at the best of times, but even more-so at this time of year. Here are a few tips to help ease back and neck pain while getting to your travel destination:
- Lumbar support roll: to help spinal alignment, posture, and relieve pressure on your low back. You may also request pillows on the plane to make a roll, or use an article of clothing rolled up.
- A tennis ball/travel size foam roller: roll under feet for circulation. Often there is a small area at the back of a plane where you can do some stretching. Use these tools to roll your back or buttock muscles (against the wall).
- Bring a small carry-on: a smaller, lighter piece of luggage is easier to manage both getting around the airport as well as loading into the overhead storage container. If needed, request assistance with putting the bag overhead to prevent straining your shoulders while lifting overhead.
- Move around: when the seat belt sign is off, get up and move. Prolonged sitting in a tight space increases tightness in neck and back muscles and joints. Stretching out your legs and feet and moving around during flight will also decrease fatigue and aid circulation and decrease potential blood clots from developing.
Family can be complicated. Holidays can come with many expectations. It’s not easy for everyone. And you can’t do everything. So consider taking something off of your to-do list – just let go. Practice saying no. Forget about perfection. And don’t forget: 1. stay hydrated! 2. walk it off! 3. soak up some sunshine for a boost of Vitamin D!
#6 Keep warm!
It’s widely thought that the joints don’t work as efficiently below 15º Celsius. This is important for all the outdoor sporty people out there and the joint pain sufferers. Wrap up and keep moving throughout the winter months to keep those joints warm and protected from the elements.
Best wishes for health and prosperity in the New Year!