“The holidays are joyful, there’s always something new…”
The holidays are also a disruptive time that can throw your exercise and physical therapy schedule off-kilter, and seriously hurt your overall routine and future health trajectory.

In the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, family gatherings, and traveling, it’s easy to let your exercise or physical therapy routine fall by the wayside. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Read on for simple tips to keep in control of your health and life even in potentially tumultuous and hectic times.

Physical therapy (and general wellness) quick tips:

•  Move/exercise whenever you can.  Just don’t over do it! Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go out and take walks if you can. Ask a grandchild, a child, a sibling, a parent, or an aunt or uncle to join you. This can double as exercise and as well as family connection time. Just stay safe!

•  Stay hydrated.  Hydration is important to remember and maintain regardless if you participate in physical therapy or not. Water is a nourishing source for you and your brain, just as important as oxygen. Additionally, with holiday parties arising, you may be consuming more alcohol than usual. Since alcohol is a dehydrating substance, it’s especially important to remember to drink plenty of water and be safe!

•  Create an action plan ahead of time.  With your physical therapist and doctor, devise a therapy/exercise routine (if you haven’t already). Since the holidays are known to throw off such plans, so maybe come up with some tactics, coping mechanisms, and/or lighter, less involved physical therapy exercise routines to accommodate your altered holiday schedule. If you can stay on track even in just a small way–it makes a difference, and helps ease you back into your regular exercise and health routines.

•  Ask your physical therapist about simple on-the-go stretches.  Since traveling is usually quite sedentary, find out about any low-impact exercises or stretches you could do at the airport, at a rest stop on a road trip, or even while in the car.

•  Take time to stretch each day.  Don’t rush yourself! Taking the time and going slow (for at least thirty seconds per stretch) ensures that your muscles actually get the benefit of the stretch.

•  Give yourself grace.  Overeat at a holiday meal? Or maybe you’re spending the holidays alone, and you took it as an excuse to binge eat or drink excessively? One of the biggest reasons for self-sabotage regarding health is the feeling of self-doubt or defeat. Fight those negative feelings. You are more than what you feel, and it is possible for you to rise above the pessimistic thoughts and discouragement.