Hello everyone, it is that magical time of year again. It is time to relax and spend quality time with our loved ones. Christmas is always a big occasion and a lot of us love to completely switch off from our day-to-day lives (work) and indulge in all the festive activities, from giving gifts to stuffing our bellies full of good old Christmas dinners. However, Christmas is incredibly busy and can be both physically and mentally taxing, which can impact our Christmas experience. So, here are a few top tips to keep you active, relaxed and out of pain over the festive period.

No. 1 – Movement is a gift:

During Christmas we find ourselves sitting down for long periods of time, whether this is catching up with family, sitting around the dinner table, or even watching our favourite cheesy Christmas movies (yes, die hard is a Christmas movie), we all do it. However, prolonged static sitting can put us at risk of low back pain and stiffness, due to increased pressure on our lumbar vertebrae and discs (low back) resulting in reduced cushioning and irritation. But how do we solve this? Simple, the key is movement. Making sure to get up every 20-30 minutes helps to reduce pressure in the low back and restore the pliability of the joints and muscles, keeping our backs loose and mobile. Finding time to go for walks during this time is also key as it exposes us to fresh air, sunlight (vitamin D – keeping bones healthy and strong) and of course keeps us moving, with all the Christmas lights being put up, why would we want to stay in any way!

No. 2 – Water wonderful year (terrible x-mas pun):

A time of good cheer, by this we mean Christmas is a time when we let our hair down and in an old traditional way this can usually be achieved with the odd alcoholic beverage or two. But one drink we must all remember to have is water. Water is an essential component of our body and our health. Water helps lubricate and cushion our joints, helps remove waste materials from our bodies, gives us energy, and it helps us maintain a normal body temperature (key for this cold season). Water is crucial, and as you can see has many great benefits. It is suggested that we should be consuming between 6-8 cups a day to help maintain good hydration. So, please this Christmas keep the water flowing just like the good times you will be having!

No. 3 – Sleeping peacefully:

A time to relax and recover. Time spent with family but also time spent catching up on sleep. Day-to-day life is busy with work, family, socialising, etc. So much so that a lot of us use Christmas as a time to catch up on sleep as we have time to relax off work and spend more time at home. The Christmas holidays are a perfect time to catch up on our REM/ deep sleep. Sleep is so important as it helps us to restore our energy both physically and emotionally, but further allows our bodies to recover from the day. So, please, put those alarm clocks back and be kind to yourself this Christmas and stay tucked in for an extra hour or two.

No. 4 – Seat. Eat. Repeat:

We all think of the Christmas dinner don’t we, the roast potatoes, the turkey, the stuffing, gravy, etc. even just listing a few of the components has got me starving, and don’t worry I am not going to tell you to watch how much you eat. What I am going to say is that when you are at the dinner table, make sure that you are sat upright when eating and not slouched. The reason for this is that it improves posture reducing the risk of low back pain and stiffness, but it also helps aid digestion, helping to reduce the feeling of being ‘stuffed’, and maybe allowing space for that second, third or even fourth serving!

No. 5 – Don’t be naughty, be nice to yourself:

All the family is coming over, there are so many gifts to buy and wrap, and the turkey is in the oven; Christmas, though wonderful can have its stressful moments. Therefore, it is important we take time for ourselves to relax and de-stress so that we can reap all the excitement from the holiday without letting it get us down. A few ways to do this are to go for walks, morning meditation, breathing exercises before bed, exercise in general, etc. all of these are great ways to help relieve stress.