The holidays are a very busy time. There are so many things to do – cooking, shopping, travel, parties, and spending time with family and friends. This can make it difficult to keep up with your health and physical therapy plan over the holidays. However, if you are in physical therapy, it is likely that you may be having pain, which may affect your ability to do all the things you love to do over the holidays. If you are having pain, physical therapy may help you hug your loved ones, put up decorations, celebrate the season, and more. Therefore, it is important that you keep up with your physical therapy plans throughout the holidays so you are able to do all of the holiday activities that you love. For this reason, we would like to share our best tips for staying on top of your physical therapy progress and enjoying the holiday season.
- Get Enough Sleep – Sleep helps your body recover, conserve energy, and repair and build up the muscles worked during exercise. Therefore, adequate sleep is an important aspect in creating the energy and motivation to complete your physical therapy exercises.
- Create a Routine – The holidays can throw off everybody’s schedule. Therefore, creating a routine and scheduling times into each day to complete your home therapy exercises could be helpful in keeping you on track. This could include scheduling your exercises in as part of your morning routine. For example, your routine could be to wake up, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, then complete your exercises. Create a schedule that works for you, and set a reminder on your phone to complete the exercises at a set time if needed.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet – There are so many good treats around the holidays – cookies, chocolates, specialty coffees. This can make it difficult to maintain a healthy diet during the holidays. While treats are okay in moderation, it is important to consume healthy foods that will help generate the energy needed to complete your physical therapy exercises. Do not skip your favorite holiday treats, but make sure you are also eating your favorite fruits and vegetables.
- Stay Hydrated – Our bodies are comprised mostly of water; therefore, hydration is extremely important in ensuring that our body systems function properly. Make sure you are staying hydrated this holiday season so your body can properly perform your exercises.
- Plan Ahead – Because the holidays are typically so busy, we understand that physical therapy could get pushed to the side. Therefore, we recommend scheduling your appointments in advance so you can plan other activities around your appointments. We also believe it is important to come up with coping mechanisms and/or modified home therapy exercises that will accommodate your holiday schedule. This could include a shorter exercise routine that you can squeeze into your schedule, or talking to your physical therapist about any tips they might have for managing the pain if therapy is not possible on a certain day. These alterations can help you stay on track in a small way and help you ease back into your regular routines once the holidays are over.
- Give Yourself Grace – Physical therapy is meant to enhance your life, not cause more stress. If you are feeling bad about something you did over the holidays, such as overeating, binge drinking, or not being able to stick to a routine to complete your exercises, remember that these feelings are only temporary. Use positive self-talk to remind yourself that it is okay and that you will get back on track.
The holiday season can be very stressful for many people. At Physical Therapy at St. Luke’s, we want physical therapy to minimize your stress, not add to it. We hope that the tips above will help you stay on track with your physical therapy progress while enjoying the holiday season.