The holidays are a time of friends, family, fun–and holiday stress! Traditions, good food, and time off of work and school make us all appreciate the good things we have been blessed with and wonderful people we are lucky enough to have in our lives. The winter holiday season is full of potential physical and emotional stressors that can leave you feeling exhausted after all is said and done. Massage is a great way to prevent a lot of stress. It can also help you deal with stress and strain as they occur or help you recover quickly from your wonderfully memorable family time.
Plan Ahead for the Holidays With a Massage
Here we are going to take a look at some of the many different holiday stress factors to look out for around the upcoming holidays, some of which you may not have even considered. This will help you make a tentative game plan to keep your body comfortable and safe while also helping you stay calm and relaxed through any holiday turbulence that may arise. Massage can be helpful no matter what kind of holiday stress or anxiety you may be facing. We will also be taking a look at a few different kinds of massage you may want to consider making a part of your holiday traditions.
Holiday Stress #1: Conversational Tension and Emotional Complications
Time with family can be a very complicated affair. So can time spent apart from family around the holidays. You may be feeling anxious or even overwhelmed with excitement. Whether we admit it or not our emotional stressors have a way of manifesting themselves physically. We experience stress emotionally and socially, but we also experience it in our bodies. Particularly through muscle tension and tissue knotting. Getting a massage is a great way to help you prepare for whatever sort of social or emotional difficulties might be in store. Try your best to be aware of where you carry your stress tension so that you can let you massage therapist know where to pay extra attention during your holiday appointment.
Holiday Stress #2: Sleeping in a Different Bed
Celebrating this time of year can be a magical mixture of trips down memory lane and creating new memories. Taking a vacation somewhere new or going back to your childhood home can be just the break you need. Many times, this involves staying somewhere that doesn’t exactly have all the comforts of home. You might be staying on the couch, sleeping on an air mattress, or crashing on the floor. This holiday stress does serious damage to your physical comfort and bodily alignment. Massages are a great way to keep your holiday sleeping arrangements from doing long lasting damage to your mobility.
Holiday Stress #3: Travel Aches & Pains
Traveling around the holidays can be an exciting adventure. However, that exciting adventure can sometimes come at an uncomfortable price. Different modes of transportation present different challenges for you to consider. There are certainly things you can do to mitigate the damage, such as bringing support pillows and practicing various relaxation and stretching techniques throughout your travels.
However, no matter how careful you are, there will almost always be some kind of toll taken on your body physically after traveling. The cramped quarters mixed with general travel troubles can create an uncomfortable situation before you even get where you’re going. Not to mention the discomfort on the return trip. A massage will help you make sure that you are loosened up, relaxed, and ready for the good times you’re headed to. It will also help you shake off any travel pains you might have endured.
Holiday Stress #4: Hosting Events
Going out of town can be stressful, but so can hosting family and friends for the holidays. Even if you are planning to stay home this season there can still be challenges and difficulties that you have to deal with. Especially if you plan on hosting people in your space, there is the stress of caring for everyone. Even more, there is also the entertainment and general care of your guests that you have to consider once they arrive.
The physical and emotional work of hosting for the holidays can be exhausting, but also very rewarding. Most importantly, it is critical to take care of yourself before, during, and after your holiday so you can enjoy your time off.
Holiday Stress #5: Playing with the Kids
Children are often a big part of the holidays. They are adorable, joyful, fun reminders of the happiness the holidays can bring. They can also drain you of all of your energy. Small children in particular can have a serious impact on your muscles and joints because they aren’t exactly considerate of the comfort of the adults around them when they are playing. However, older children present their own unique set of challenges. Just because they are older doesn’t mean they can’t also be a hazard to your body. This is especially true if your family has sports traditions or other annual games or activities that are intensely physical. All of the climbing, running, holding, jumping, and playing with the kids is all so much fun, but all that movement can also damage your body if you aren’t being careful.
Play Can Lead to Strain
Taking precautions before and during child-heavy holiday activities can go a long way, but a trained massage therapist can assess and address the stress and damage that can’t be helped. If you aren’t used to being around children, then playing with them might be more physical stress than you are used to or anticipating. If you are used to being around children, the tension can layer and build into a muscular mobility nightmare. No matter what your kid situation is personally, a massage therapy appointment is a smart idea to keep the kids from bringing the pain this holiday season.
Holiday #6: The Toxic Build Up of Holiday Food and Drinks
Traditional foods and drinks are some of the most nostalgic parts of the winter holiday season. The treats, cocktails, and traditional celebratory meal foods that accompany the holidays are some of our favorite parts of this time of year. They can also go a long way in bringing people together, even if things are a bit on the tense or difficult side. Recipes that have been passed down through generations, modern food traditions, and brand-new culinary experiments are some of the things that connect us to the people we love. However, they aren’t always the most healthy or nutritious options for our bodies.
Flooding your system with toxins, sugars, and fats can have a significant effect on how you feel physically. Certain kinds of massage can be useful for clearing toxins that build up in your tissues and muscles. Indulge in all of your holiday favorites, just make sure that you take care of yourself after your finished with the festive foods.
Holiday Stress #7: Lifting Luggage and Other Holiday Labor Pains
People come with all different kinds of baggage, and I’m not just talking about the emotional kind. I’m talking about the kind that needs stored and pulled out on a regular basis during holiday vacation stays. The kind of luggage that can be heavy, cumbersome and difficult to deal with. It may be that you are going to handle your own luggage fairly regularly. It might also be that you have a guest that needs some assistance handling their luggage. Regardless of who is bringing the bags, chances are you will have to do a bit of semi-heavy lifting over the holidays.
Wear and Tear on Your Body
There are also all kinds of other things beside luggage that need to be moved, carried, and put away during a vacation stay. Some of these lifting factors are things you can control. For example, you can be mindful about how much you pack, what kind of bag straps and handles you use, and your lifting technique. These minor considerations can all help you avoid serious injury. But you can’t control every single aspect of the physical activities you’ll need to do around this time of year. A certified massage therapist will be able to help you make sure your muscles and joints are properly supported throughout your holiday lifting and pulling.
Holiday Stress #8: Weather Conditions
Ice and snow are nothing to play around with. Falls can be dangerous and are often entirely unexpected. There are things that you can do to lessen the risks of harsh weather and keep it from catching you by surprise. Removing ice from your sidewalks, making sure the driveway is shoveled, and ensuring that you are wearing the proper footwear are all ways that you can help protect yourself from the slippery effects of winter weather. This doesn’t mean that you will avoid them altogether, though. Chances are you will be places, such as parking lots and public sidewalks, that you don’t have any control over. You might also be in an area where weather is unpredictable, severe, or uneasy to prepare for. The tension of walking in snow and on ice can damage your muscles and joints even if you never slip or fall. Making regular appointments with your massage therapist during this time of year is important for both stability and mobility.
Holiday Massage Therapy Techniques
Now we are going to take a quick look at some of the massage methods you may want to consider for combatting holiday stress, tension, and physical strain. While these suggestions are a good place to start, you will want to consult a trained professional before making decisions about which technique best suits your needs.
This is a widely available method of massage that uses various alternating pressures to relieve tension and create a relaxing, calming effect on your body. This is a good option if you anticipate your holiday stress will be more emotional or social. It can be great as preparation for holiday madness, a self-care maintenance break while you’re in the middle or it, or a great way to recuperate after everything has returned back to normal.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is an intense, sometimes even uncomfortable, method of massage that strongly and strategically manipulates your muscle groups while also working to unbind certain kinds of tissue that stress or injury may have damaged. If you anticipate your seasonal celebrations to have a heavy impact on you physically you may want to seriously think about talking to your massage therapist about this method. You can use it to ensure proper alignment before the wear and tear begins, you can use it to address any serious physical stress as it comes along, or you can use it to help you repair what may have been damaged over the holidays.
This option is particularly useful if you don’t have a lot of time and know where you carry your tension. Maybe you don’t need a full body massage to help you get through the holidays. You might only need something like a hand massage, foot massage, or neck massage to keep you from hurting yourself or getting overly stressed out. Spare whatever time you can this year to take care of yourself, even in small ways.
Massage therapy can keep your holiday stress from turning into something ugly and painful in the future. Treat yourself to a holiday massage to keep you from needing a vacation after your vacation. No matter how you spend this season, take care of yourself so that you get the absolute most of it.
Want to Learn More?
Did this information about beating the holiday stress with massage therapy interest you? If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 5 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.
*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.