2003-11-27 / Medical

Stressful Holiday Season Can Take Its

Toll On You, Physically And Mentally
By Dr. Lonnie S. Gross
Stressful Holiday Season Can Take Its Toll On You, Physically And Mentally

By Dr. Lonnie S. Gross

The holidays seem to come earlier every year – and along with them, the stresses of frenzied holiday shopping. Take a stroll through your local mall, and you’ll already see symbols of the approaching holiday season – from Thanksgiving, Chanukah and Christ-mas decorations to notices of blowout sales. As your muscles tense with each passing day, I ask you: "Are you ready for the holiday shopping challenge?"

Our bodies have the capacity to do little more than we normally do. But your bodies do not adapt very well to doing a lot more than we normally do. Since the added demands of this season can stress the capacity of our bodies, we need to do everything we can to help ourselves. Eat right, drink plenty of water, stretch, exercise and take a few minutes to slow down and reflect on what the season is all about. So relax and enjoy the holidays. I en-courage you to consider the following tips to help keep you and your loved ones healthy, happy and safe this season.

Treat Holiday Shopping As An Athletic Event

• Stay hydrated! Drink eight to ten 8 ounce glasses of water a day. (Cof-fee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol are dehydrators. Don’t substitute them for water.) On shopping days, you may need to drink even more water.

• Be sure to stretch before and after a long day of shopping. When you are stressed out, your muscles are less flexible than usual.

• Wear shoes with plenty of cushioning in the soles to absorb the im-pact of walking on those hard shopping mall floors.

• Make sure your clothing is as comfortable as possible. It’s a good idea to wear layers because you might be going from a cold environment (out-doors) to a warm environment (in-doors.)

• Leave your purse at home. Wear a light fanny pack, or if necessary, a light back pack instead. Pack only those items that are absolutely essential and necessary such as driver’s license, credit card, etc.

• If you start to feel some pain, nip it in the bud. Apply an ice bag to the affected area for 10 minutes, then take it off for an hour then repeat as needed over the next couple of days. If it continues then you should see someone for it. Remember the five most dangerous words….(MAYBE IT WILL GO AWAY!)

During the holiday season, we’re running at absolute maximum capacity, which can lead to stress and even depression. We need to stretch and stay hydrated to increase our capacity, so we are not overwhelmed by the activities of the season.

To Be Continued Next Week

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