It's so easy to get caught up in the "busy-ness" that comes with the holiday season. Errands, shopping, get-togethers, decorating, the kids' concerts, parties and/or games -- all pull us in many directions at the same time. This doesn't leave much time to take care of our own needs, which leads us to start believing that the busy-ness IS the most important thing - the top priority.
But what about your health and well-being? It's tempting to respond with “Later,” or "I'll be able to take care of myself once this craziness is over."
Of course, you’ve heard that now familiar analogy: "Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” In other words, you can’t help someone else if you don't take care of yourself first.
But a lot of us know for a fact that this isn't true. We've gone years putting others before ourselves - because of jobs, family situations, or simply because of what life has handed us. So, we may be convinced that we can do this occasionally without any real consequences down the line. Or worse yet, that we can do it indefinitely.
The fact is, we haven't really gotten away with anything. Our bodies took the brunt of that self-neglect. And we may not know this until our bodies can’t adapt to the stress anymore and let us know… sometimes in no uncertain terms.
This "Later" response is helpful to your mind and, frankly, may relieve mental stress temporarily, but your body doesn't understand the delay. It still needs what it needs - balance, ease, alignment – to function at its best.
The fact is, if we're “full up” with stress, eventually our bodies start drawing from our reserves and this creates a health deficiency.
Let me share an example...
Last year, New Year's Eve was on a Monday. Now, in any given week, I may care for maybe one patient who is in severe pain. Yet, that one morning, I cared for many. Most said "I don't know what I did." There was no physical injury, just an increase in stress. Most of them took days or weeks to fully recover. This required a temporary increase in the frequency of their chiropractic adjustments and in some cases, required visits to their family doctor, massages and time off from work, as well. These are the consequences of the sharp increase of stress that the holidays can inflict, particularly when one has been neglecting their own self care to begin with.
Tension doesn't build up only in our minds; it builds up in our bodies, too. We may be so preoccupied with what's going on in our day-to-day that we simply don't notice and come to believe that tension has little to no short or long term effects. Because tension is on the back burner, whatever is making the loudest noise in our lives wins our attention instead
How do you know tension is building in your body? Signs include: tight shoulders, headaches, body pain anywhere including neck, back, knee or hip pain, or simply feeling “out of whack” or “off.” The good news is that getting adjusted brings the tension down in your body, so your body adapts to and handles stress better. This in turn can help you avoid pain, injury or ill health
So, when you're at our front desk looking at your calendar saying "That week is too crazy; there's no way I can get in here," please take this message to heart and reconsider. Schedule your adjustment. Assist others with their oxygen masks after yours is securely fastened. You’re important, and we're here to help you put yourself first. That way you can show up healthy and balanced, not only during the holiday hustle and bustle, but also after the craziness is over.
Dr. Abby Power