Seven Helpful Tips for a Pleasant Holiday
Don’t Let Thanksgiving Be a Pain!
Helpful advice to make your holiday pleasant – not painful.
by James McCaughern-Carucci, MHS, DD, CNHP, RMT
Thanksgiving is a time for food, fun, family and for some – pain. Thanksgiving preparations and the stress of the holiday may take a toll on those with chronic pain, triggering a flare-up and leaving you exhausted. But it doesn’t need to be that way. With some advance planning and self-care, you can relax this Thanksgiving and enjoy the company of friends and family.
Here are some suggestions to help make the holiday a piece of cake –er, pie!
- If you find yourself hosting the meal or cooking a large part of it, prepare as much as you can in advance. Casseroles and some desserts can be prepared days in advance and baked later.
- Plan the menu in advance and do as much of your grocery shopping beforehand. Fewer last minute trips to the grocery store will not only reduce your stress, but will spare your wallet some pain, too!
- Spending long hours slaving in the kitchen? Take frequent breaks and keep moving. Don’t do the same activity or type of movement for more than 15-20 minutes at a time. Wear comfortable shoes to reduce fatigue.
- Be mindful of what you are eating. Watch those refined sugars and starchy foods that can trigger inflammation, such as white breads and potatoes. Instead, reach for the salad, leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, and legumes which have anti-inflammatory properties.
- If you are traveling for the holiday, make yourself as comfortable as possible. Wear comfortable, breathable clothing and take time to stretch, especially on long car trips. If at all, take short walks to help keep muscles loose. Many airports have chair massage kiosks. Splurge! Be sure to tell the massage therapist if you have a chronic pain condition, and enjoy!
- Listen to your body. Don’t overdo it or you may pay for it later. Recruit help in the kitchen or for post-meal clean-up. If you feel tired or sore, then stop!
- Get plenty of rest leading up to the holiday, drink plenty of water, and eat properly.
Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful – not be in agony! Good self-care and organization will help make your holiday enjoyable and less of a pain later. Besides, the better you feel the next day, the more energy for Black Friday shopping!