It’s a tale as old as infomercials – tiring nights of Christmas shopping followed by equally tiring days at the office. You felt fine doing the same thing last year, didn’t you? Why should this year be any different?
This year you feel cramped and tense, with hurting feet and a twinge in your neck or stiffness in your back. Or maybe you aren’t hurting yet, just a little more stiff than usual.
You ignore it and keep going. Work isn’t going to do itself, and you’ve still got Christmas shopping to do. You think maybe you overexerted yourself, and just need to take a rest once all this is done. Right now, you have so much to do, you can’t possibly stop – you can recover during the holiday, right?
Unfortunately, that is not the case. These are the kinds of problems people ignore too easily, but they all too often lead to big trouble later. If you take care of yourself now with a deep tissue massage, you might save weeks or even months of recovery.
Neglecting your body’s warning signs of overuse and stress can turn your healthy body into one which is suffering. What was once an enjoyable evening Christmas shopping around Vancouver for your loved ones becomes an arduous task.
There are several reasons why Christmas shopping and office jobs can cause pain and damage to your body. Let’s discuss a few of those to help you prevent it or keep it from getting worse, or to aid you in recognizing how it happened and what you should do to treat it:
- Most of us sit for several hours a day… and the average shopping mall is two football fields long! Just walking and standing for long periods of time can be stressful on your muscles and joints, especially if you suffer from poor posture or are wearing unsuitable shoes. Wear shoes designed for walking can help guide your foot into the correct position and help to ease the strain of shopping on your feet. Make sure your shoes aren’t too worn as well, as this can cause instability in walking and will force you to overexert your smaller stabilizing muscles – muscles which are already prone to tearing or damage.
- Those bags full of gifts for your family are literally weighing you down! When you carry extra weight, it makes your joints and muscles work harder, and they can affect your back, feet, knees and neck. Some people even get migraines from the constant strain of carrying heavy bags. Keep heavy gifts for later in the shopping trip or bring someone to help carry the bags. This will keep you from hurting yourself in ways that often are only obvious the next day.
- Sometimes the culprit isn’t necessarily the shopping itself, but the extra activity makes a problem in your daily life more apparent. For example, your office chair might be the wrong shape for you, causing you to place pressure on parts of your body which are further damaged by the extra activity of Christmas shopping. Having to crane your neck to look at the computer screen doesn’t help either. Include info pdf of ergonomic desk sitting
- Winter weather could be to blame as well. When your body is cold your muscles don’t work as well as they should, and the stiffness from frigid temperatures can cause you to injure yourself with activities which would normally be easy. Beyond the temperature, in some areas black ice or piles of wet leaves could cause you to slip. Even if you don’t fall, you could tear a muscle or ligament trying to catch your balance.
- Stress is around every corner in the holiday season. A common natural reaction to stress is an unconscious tightening of the muscles, leading to increased pain, more fatigue, and a higher chance of injury.
Sometimes Christmas shopping pains are inevitable.
Even people with active lifestyles are prone to muscle soreness when a long day of work and shopping are combined. In addition, as you age the strong and flexible muscles you had when you were younger get less resilient.
The good news is there are ways to help your body handle the stress. Allowing your muscles to recover is a vital part of the healing process. Take a short nap before going out shopping to help recharge you. It can make your body less likely to react badly when you have to work under conditions which aren’t ideal.
The Right Shoes
The right shoes are more important than you think. If your comfy sneakers have worn soles, you should consider investing in new ones to help keep your foot in the proper position. Even changing shoes so your foot isn’t always forced into the same shape can make a huge difference.
A massage by a registered massage therapist – even for less than an hour – can help you get your muscles back into safe working condition and prevent further damage. This helps keep your muscles supple and flexible, ready for whatever your shopping expedition throws at them.
Making certain that your workspace is comfortable, ergonomic, and healthy for your body can make a significant difference, especially if you have to slouch or sit unnaturally for long periods of time. Activities like holiday gift purchasing can’t worsen injuries that aren’t already there.
For more tips on how to keep yourself healthy and free from injuries, make sure to read next week’s column. Every week we will be sharing tips and ideas on how to remain pain free, as well as the latest information on tests and studies which can help your health.
Above all, keep yourself healthy and happy. Enjoy your holiday season!