The holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of the year. Not only are you juggling your normal responsibilities (work, housework, chauffeuring the kids around), but also all of the responsibilities that come with the holidays (extra baking, more cleaning, gift shopping).
And those added responsibilities are often accompanied by more stress. Do I have enough time to bake three kinds of cookies and clean the house before people begin arriving at noon? I don’t know if my mother will like this gift, and I really want to get her something special after all she’s done for me.
Then, you realize midway through December that your neck has been aching. At first you thought you may have slept on it wrong, but after a week of constant pain, you know that can’t be the cause.
Did you know that holiday stress, or just stress in general, can cause neck pain? All of that built up tension can really take a toll on your body, and your neck is one of the most common areas stress-induced pain flares up.
Stress-induced neck pain is defined as pain either triggered or worsened by psychological or emotional factors.
Don’t worry though, there are plenty of ways you can relieve stress-induced neck pain and feel like your old self in no time!
- Stretch your neck. Regularly stretching your neck can loosen muscle tightness and maintain or expand your range of motion.
- Practice meditation. Meditation is a great way to calm your thoughts and anxieties. If you’ve never meditated before, consider taking a class or watching a guided YouTube video to get the hang of it.
- Ask friends and family for help. Stress is often caused by having too much on your plate. Ask a friend to run that last-minute errand for you or instead of cooking the whole holiday dinner yourself, have each family member bring a different dish.
- Treat yourself to a massage. Massages are a great way to ease tightness in the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Don’t normally splurge on a professional massage? Think of it as a gift to yourself this holiday season.
- Get 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. Exercise is extremely important in maintaining a healthy mind and body. It will help to relieve your neck pain by releasing feel-good endorphins to help dull the pain.
- Prioritize what’s important. We know everything on your list is important, but sometimes you have to realize that you can’t get everything done, and that’s okay. Get the most important tasks done first, and don’t stress about the less important items.
- Get a full night’s rest. Even though you’re extremely busy during the holiday season, you have to remember to take care of yourself which includes logging a full eight hours of sleep, or more.
If none of these tips work in helping to relieve your stress-induced neck pain, or your pain has persisted for more than a few weeks, we recommend that you see a doctor. Have a happy holiday season and remember not to stress about the little things!