How to Avoid a Body Breakdown this Festive Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, Andy Collins once said. December is definitely one of my favourite months of the year. December means the beginning of  summer (most days in Melbourne), the smell of pine from the Christmas trees, and an overall joyous feeling as we near the end of the year. However for most of us, December really means Christmas shopping stress, over-eating (or drinking) at the work Christmas party and a drop off in exercise because we become “too busy”. This is where we find ourselves out of balance, out of whack and leading to a body break-down. We get caught up in the Christmas madness and forget to look after ourselves, so I’m going to discuss a few areas we let slip each December and some tips to help you enjoy every second the Christmas period this year.

Diet

Ahhhhh food, glorious food! December to me means Christmas parties and get togethers almost every weekend (and a lot of week days) which usually involves a lot of indulgent food. And why shouldn’t it? We’ve worked hard all year, we deserve to celebrate our success with a cheese platter, a pizza, a few beers and of course cake (maybe for me anyway). I think the key to diet over Christmas is balance, enjoy the foods you love with your friends on the weekend, but try to limit your sugars and carbohydrates throughout the work week. Have a healthy relationship with food, don’t punish yourself for eating a Christmas pudding, but don’t eat excessively.

Mind

Stress is something we all deal with during the holidays. Whether its deadlines from work, trying to find a car park at the shopping mall, or sleepless nights worrying about the family drama that may unfold on Christmas Day, stress is something that spikes in most of us around December. Caring for your mind is just as important as any other aspect of your health. Try meditating every night before bed to help you relax and get the rest you need. I use the app Smiling Mind (it’s free!) and use the guided meditations every day. If you’re a sceptic of meditation or think it’s something only yogi’s do at the end of a session, I highly encourage you to download the app and give it a go. You’ve got nothing to lose, only your stress!

Body

Around December every year, our bodies become the last priority, which is a shame when most of us have worked really hard all year to keep it functioning. I hear it so often this time of year; “I can’t make my appointment I’m too busy with Christmas”. This is the time of year maintaining your body is most important, most of us have family functions to attend or holidays planned, the last thing you want is a body break down days out from Christmas (when every clinic in town is closed). December is a great time to use up the remainder of your private health benefits as most health funds renew in January. If you can’t make your appointments, a good tip for home or holiday maintenance is using a foam roller or a spikey ball to help relieve some of the tension held in the body. Trigger areas are usually the upper back/shoulder, gluteals and hamstrings. Foam rollers and spikey balls make great gifts for Christmas too!

The holiday season is something to be celebrated, let’s face it, we all deserve to revel in the year that was. So wherever you’re spending your Christmas this year, remember to look after yourself, make memories and most of all enjoy your time spent with the ones you love. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Happy Holidays!

Dr. Ashton Wilson, Osteopath
ALPHA Sports Medicine & Osteopathy

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