Oh, how I love the Christmas period. If you were to ask anyone who knows me, they may say I’m slightly obsessed! I’m the equivalent of a Bridezilla when it comes to Christmas preparation.
There will be some of you out there who will understand where I am coming from and some of you will be thinking “it’s only one day, why all the fuss?” But no matter how we look at it, Christmas can become stressful and can impact on our bodies in different ways.
Putting up the Tree
Putting up the Christmas tree to me is the proper start to Christmas. Getting up early in the morning to go and buy a fresh smelling Christmas tree, the excitement of spending the day decorating it and the result when you can sit down and admire your work.
Hold on a Minute!!! This sounds great on paper, but as I’ve seen over the years the day doesn’t go as smoothly as this does it?
Let’s start with the tree. You get to the garden centre and you are spoilt for choice, little trees, bushy trees, tall thin trees, different shades of green. You pick out the tree you like and wheel it outside, you then find you can’t get it in the car! So, you huff and puff, shove the tree this way and that until its wedged in the car. You then get home and have to “fight” again to get the tree out of the car and into your home. By this time there are pine needles in the car, outside your house and over your flooring. You get the tree into a stand or pot, which in its self is a marathon, and then you begin the decorating. How is you’re back doing so far? You untangle the lights and start to wind them around the tree. When you bought the tree that morning it didn’t seem to be that tall or that wide did it? You then turn the lights on to see if they are reasonably spaced out, and guess what they are not working!
You take them off the tree and check the bulbs and fuse. Still not working, so you jump in the car and go and buy some more. At this rate you won’t get the tree done today. By the time you get back with the new lights, you are stressed because not only are the lights more expensive than last time, there was a massive queue in the shop with people in the same boat as you. The new lights are now on the tree and the decorating begins. Hold on a Minute! You didn’t get the decorations out of loft. So up the loft you go. Can you believe it the decorations are not where you put them after Christmas last year? You are now angry because obviously “someone” has moved them during the year. This day isn’t going as planned and you are now feeling stressed. You start to look for the decorations, but to do so you have to move suit cases, boxes of bits and pieces, framed pictures, fans and other things out of the way first. You finally find the decorations and lean out of the loft entrance to pass them down before exiting yourself.
You sort through your decorations, the “special bauble” that always goes at the front of the tree is nowhere to be seen. Stress levels start to build and for some reason your back starts to ache slightly. You continue to decorate the tree but some of the baubles are missing their strings. Oh yes, you remember now, when you took the baubles off last year you cut the string for easy removal! Now you must find some thread and thread them through the baubles. Stress levels are now rising. All baubles, ribbon and lights are now on the tree and it just the star to go on the top. In my case I’m too short to do this so I ask my husband. He places the star on top but it’s not standing straight. He tells me its ok, stress levels rising again, I ask him to move it slightly and he knocks a few baubles off in the process. Stress levels rising more and star still not sitting straight. Hubby say’s “it will do”. I’m about to explode now, so I take the star, get a chair and put the star at the top. It looks straight but I’m not happy as I have now knocked some baubles off the tree, nearly fell off the chair and must rehang the baubles.
All done at last. Hubby’s back is hurting, my shoulder and back are aching, we are both stressed but both say it was worth it as the tree looks fantastic. Roll on next year!
We should all be back aware every day of our lives. At Christmas this can sometimes be forgotten due to time constraints, stress, alcohol, fatigue and eating excessive amounts of food.
It is very important at this time of the year to get enough rest and look at our back care. By doing so you can help with your general wellbeing, making the Christmas process less stressful.
When we are stressed we tense our muscles; which can trigger low back pain and neck pain. We then worry about our pain which then causes more stress. It then becomes a vicious circle. We need to look at our posture during lifting. Avoid twisting during lifting, have a stable base with feet shoulder width apart with one foot slightly in front of the other keeping the load as close to you as possible. Look at the weight and size of the object you are moving, can you move it safely on your own or do you need help. Don’t rush when moving something and make sure you if you need to reach a high level you use the right equipment and definitely not a chair, even if you are in a hurry or stressed.
Food for thought.
If you are cooking the turkey this year be aware of “Turkey Back”. Bending awkwardly to lift a bird out of the oven may lead to inflammation and pain in your back.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.