by Dr. Bartlett

We’re approaching the winter Solstice (December 21st), so the days are still getting shorter and the weather is getting colder. With holiday expectations, increased travel plans, and a natural desire to “hibernate” by going out less and cozying up at home, what are the implications for our health?

Most patients tell me that as winter settles in their Self-Care habits suffer from the increased demands coupled with the reduced daylight hours. As their regular care drops, they become de-conditioned which makes them more likely to have an old injury resurface. With the increased stress around the holidays, they are more likely to have an accident causing a new injury as well.

What are steps you can take to prevent this?

  • Recognize that this time of year has more stressful triggers and prioritize the activities that nourish you rather than ones that feel like an obligation.
  • Give yourself permission to say “No” to some invitations.
  • Plan for the time it takes between activities. One the best ways to decrease stress is to account for more than enough time to get from an activity in one location to another, especially if you have kids in tow.
  • When traveling out of the Bay Area, schedule time for packing and unpacking for the trip. Most people cram as much “vacation” as possible into their days off, and the lack of adequate time to get ready or to decompress afterward makes travel more likely to experience an injury due to overexertion.
  • Plan additional times for exercise. A lot people miss their “before work” or “after work” exercise because it’s dark when they would have exercised before. You can schedule additional times on your lunch break or on weekends to compensate, or find activities to do at home.
  • Schedule “self-care” visits with your Massage Therapist, Acupuncturist, or Chiropractor.
  • In the winter your body craves more warm and starchy foods, so don’t force yourself to eat cold salads if you don’t want to. Consider cooking with root vegetables like turnip, parsnip, and heirloom potatoes to satisfy what your body wants. Be sure to include a variety of veggies to keep up your nutrient uptake!
  • Make sure your car insurance includes “Medical Payments” since automobile accidents are much more likely in the winter months.