As the holiday season approaches, we have noticed two patterns emerge over the last 19 years of chiropractic practice. The first is that we see our highest rate of missed visits and people falling off from care as the perceived stress of the season builds through late November and into December. The second pattern is that we see more ‘emergencies’ with people in crisis during the month of December than at any other time of the year.
It is not a coincidence that these two phenomenon happen together and it gives us some insight as to why so many people end up spending the holidays overwhelmed, sick, and in pain when it really should be one of the most cherished times of the year.
So, how do you not only survive, but actually thrive this holiday season? There is a simple formula to help you to make it happen.
The first step is to acknowledge and accept that there WILL be greater stresses on you. When I talk about stresses, I am referring to not only mental/emotional stress, but also chemical stress (food and drink), and physical stress (shoveling, lack of sleep).
We know going in that we are going to have some late nights, eat some cookies, drink some bubbly and have to deal with dear aunt Sue’s passive aggressive insults. We know we will have the ‘normal’ time and money stress inherent of the season. Acknowledging this will allow us to create a plan to mitigate this stress. By doing this we can enjoy the fun without losing our health or our minds.
The common denominator amongst these stresses is that they consume our energy and leave us depleted. If we become too depleted, we move into what is called an ‘energy poor’ state and that is when we get sick, have our back ‘go out,’ develop headaches and experience complete overwhelm.
The solution to an energy poor state is very simple – add energy to the system! How do we do that? We do things to build up our energy reserves before we reach a crisis. Because we know that we are heading into a season of energy depleting stress, we can actually plan practices in advance that will keep us out of an energy poor state.
Here are some ideas to build your energy reserves both leading up to and during the holidays.
Knowing you will be eating some not-so-good for you food – make sure you continue to eat plenty of healthy food too. If you are going to eat those butter tarts, make sure you are loading up on high quality meats and produce as well. During the holidays I really focus on eating a healthy breakfast as a way to build up energy.
Supplements can also be an advantage at this time of year. Vitamin D, high quality fish oil, magnesium, zinc, and a greens supplement are a great idea.
Daily exercise is an excellent shield against stress. It is easy to fall out of a routine – especially while traveling – but it doesn’t take much to get massive benefit. Some push-ups, burpees, and air squats can get you what you need in less than 15 minutes. I keep a kettlebell in my car at all times!
Even a brisk walk (bonus points for getting fresh air) can keep you on the right track.
Meditation or even just some quiet time set aside each day is crucial for dealing with the mental stress and chaos of the season.
Those familiar with the Neurospinal Optimization care we provide at Nexus Chiropractic know that what we do works by allowing the nervous system (and thus the spine and body) to move from a fight or flight state to a normal relaxed state that is required for healing and restoration. Staying on track with your visits and at the very least doing your SRI exercises is a great weapon to have in your arsenal against the stress of the season.
The take home message is to make sure you continue to do the things that fill up your fuel reserves so that you can get the absolute most out of what can be a magical time.
Because we understand this, Nexus will have office hours over the holidays. We will be open on Monday the 23rd and 30th and then will be back to normal starting Thursday, Jan. 2nd.