Shopping isn't always fun. Sometimes it's exhausting and dangerous — especially if you're fighting through the crowds and overloading yourself with last-minute Christmas items. Here are some simple tips from an osteopath to ensure you don't become a Christmas casualty.
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Osteopathy Australia passed on these hints, and we figure they're worth sharing.
Take a deep breath
Shopping is stressful — and stress leads to headaches, especially if you're constantly clenching your jaw while you fight your way to the checkout. "When stressing during the hectic Christmas shopping take a breath - a large breath - and then exhale, as you exhale try to relax your shoulder and jaw muscles," osteopath Bill Adamson suggests. "Be conscious, be aware and stop holding tension wherever it is that you're holding it."
You can reduce overall stress levels during the Christmas season by practising simple breathing exercises. "To help ease stress levels, a simple solution might be worth to try - a diaphragmatic (deep) breathing exercise at home, preferably somewhere quiet and not too bright, like a bedroom," said osteopath Claire Richardson. "Lay down with one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. As you slowly and deeply inhale, aim to have the hand on your stomach rising before the hand on the chest does. As you exhale, aim for the hand on the chest to drop before the hand on the stomach does. Try and have 4-5 of these breaths, followed by 5-6 normal breaths. Repeat 2-3 times and your stress levels should have somewhat decreased."
Choose the right shoes
Forget fashion and think comfort. "Don't wear 6-inch stilettos while shopping," Adamson advised. "Ideally wear flats or shoes with a shorter broader heel or wedges." (That's my Christmas shopping outfit ruined then.)
Don't let bags be a drag
Dragging parcels and kids around can play havoc with your back. First and foremost: use a trolley where possible, or a backpack if you're not in a shopping mall. If you are carrying bags, balance them evenly. Always make sure you lift from the hips.
Again, preparation can be your friend here. "More important get strong, use the lead up to Christmas as a driving force to get stronger through your hips and back," Adamson said. "Do Pilates or yoga, use Alexander technique, take a martial arts class or go dancing."