The holiday season brings much joy, as well as many demands and expectations. We tend to rush around to get our goals accomplished and with this comes the chance for increased injury.
The expression “shop ‘til you drop” is the more common way of how we start and finish our Christmas shopping. While many of us try to get an early start on our shopping, there are many who procrastinate until the final days or even hours before Christmas. This can lead to binge shopping where we make one trip to purchase all of our gifts in only a few short hours. It is important to realize that our body is already in a certain degree of stress and we can overload ourselves by walking and carrying multiple bags on our shoulders at once. It is recommended to pace ourselves, keep hydrated, and make frequent trips to your car to drop off shopping bags, especially after a heavy purchase. Stretching in between each store and taking a 15-20 minute sitting break is ideal. Wearing a good pair of shoes is also important, especially if you are out all day finding that perfect gift.
One of the most common activities is cooking a turkey which can be fairly heavy. It is important to be mindful while bending, lifting, and twisting especially with a heavy turkey in a pan. Using your hips and knees to bend, and getting close to the item you have to pick up is very important. Once you are carrying the tray, keep it close to your body and try to take smaller steps instead of twisting your back to put it on the counter. Breathing is also important when carrying any heavy load. We tend to hold our breath to give us more stability. If you already have some problems with your low back or any upper or lower body issues, make sure you ask for help for the heavier work. Physiotherapists in Rosedale will remind you to take breaks if you are standing for a long time, and change positions often to keep your body balanced. Additionally, baking can be very demanding as you tend to stand for hours to create delicious treats for your family and friends. Rosedale physio suggests that you wear a good pair of shoes, stand on a cushioned mat (if possible), and sit down while items are baking in the oven to give your spine, legs, and feet a rest.
Wrapping gifts can be a long process, especially if you leave it until the last minute. We often try to get all our gift wrapping done in one sitting and this can take a toll on our bodies. We often don’t choose the best location to complete this task; often we sit crouched over the living room floor in bad posture. If you know you have pain in a specific or prolonged position, it is best to change your positions often or even pace yourself by taking breaks after wrapping a couple of gifts. You may also try gift wrapping early so you can spread it out over a longer period of time. Be sure to sit on a chair or stool to stretch your legs or stand at a tall table so that you don’t have to slouch. Physiotherapists at Yonge and Bloor suggest that there are many things you can do to help yourself during the gift wrapping process.
Whether it is shopping, cooking/baking, or wrapping gifts, it is vital that you take your time and make good choices in order to avoid any unwanted injury or stress on the body over the holidays.