A Quick & Dirty Holiday Survival Guide for Your Body

A Quick & Dirty Holiday Survival Guide for Your Body

  • By Susannah Steers
  • December 4, 2013

The holiday season has officially arrived, and with it come the madness of festivities, family time, and perhaps even  travel.  And don’t forget shopping-til-you-drop. And parking wars.  And hours on a plane or in a car to get to Grandma’s house.  And not enough sleep. And uber-rich food & drink. And not enough physical activity to stay sane.

This season can bring  many, memorable moments.  But without a little self-care, you can find yourself on the other side of New Year’s Day feeling fatigued, stiff, heavy and sluggish.

What if you could do things differently? What if you made the choice to really look after yourself, as you go through all the varied activities that make up YOUR holiday?  Beyond getting “workouts,” there are things you can do to support your body and keep it moving well during what can be a crazy time of year. Do what you can to keep up the whatever kind of regular activity you’re used to doing. And on top of that, try a few of these tips:

Your Quick & Dirty Holiday Survival Guide


1.  Place a small rolled up towel or a small pillow in the small curve in your lower back while you’re sitting down during an extended drive or flight.. This helps to preserve the natural lumbar curve in a sitting position, preventing stress on the discs and soft tissues of your low back.

2. When you stop for a break (or when the seat-belt sign is extinguished), take time for a little stretch. Extend your hips, do some heel raises, some side bending, some shoulder opening. If you’ve been sitting for a while, make sure to get up and move around a little. Walk up and down the aisle of the plane, or take a  little jog around the rest stop on the highway.


1. You want to look great, I know, but leave the sassy shoes at home. If you’re spending a day trekking around the stores, wear comfortable shoes you can walk for hours in without even a smidge of discomfort. If you’re trying to balance a load of stuffed shopping bags over pinched toes, high heels and a teetery walk… are you surprised when your legs and back hurt at the end of the day? Really? Save the fashion pieces for the parties.

2. Save your neck & shoulders. Balance the load of stuffed shopping bags between two hands – and keep your back long and shoulders open. Slouching under load is never a good thing. If you need to – use a cart! No cart? Take an extra trip to the car, and then you can shop hands free!

Hanging out with the Family

1. Instead of sitting around and eating all the time, or watching movies, or even playing board games – get out into the great outdoors! Take the family for a walk, go skiing, go skating – heck, go surfing if you live in place where you can do that! Design active family time!

2. How can the older generations engage the kids? How about letting the kids decide? You might be surprised by how much fun & physical a  rip-roaring game on an X-Box Kinect can be. Heck, even a game of checkers can turn into something crazy when you let the kids make the rules.


1. If you’re sleeping on a different bed – bring your own pillow. Sometimes just having your own pillow with you can save all kinds of aches and pains, and may help you sleep better if you’re not in your own bed.

2. Don’t go from zero to sixty in 2.2 seconds. If you’ve been lounging for days – don’t expect to be a rock start at the weekend hockey tournament. It ain’t gonna happen. Don’t give in to the food coma! Keep up some kind of regular activity every day to prevent injuries doing anything from to shoveling the driveway, to serving that big turkey, to hanging the star at the top of the tree. Even a little walk can help!

Just Keep Moving!

If you make a conscious choice to include a little physical activity into every day, and to look after HOW you’re moving during this crazy season, your body will feel better, your mind will feel better and you’ll be better able to enjoy your holidays to the FULLEST!

Happy Holidays!

Lilia Lee - December 6, 2013

Thanks for sharing your wonderful tips. I will remember to bring my own pillow when we visit overnight.

    Susannah Steers - December 9, 2013

    I like a really skinny pillow – so it travels with me everywhere!
    Thanks Lilia!

Nancy Tierney - December 6, 2013

Oh, such good tips! On so many different levels. Thanks for sharing!

    Susannah Steers - December 9, 2013

    Thanks Nancy. Sometimes it’s the little things we don’t think about that can help us the most. Enjoy your holidays!

Cindy - December 7, 2013

Good tips …

Dorothy Pang, The Natural Fertility Expert - December 9, 2013

Great tips to stay healthy despite the cold weather, which many find discouraging.

    Susannah Steers - December 9, 2013

    Thanks Dorothy! We don’t always have to “exercise” to look after our bodies. Sometimes, it’s just about the simple things we do everyday. Happy holidays!

Kelley Grimes - December 9, 2013

Great ideas Susannah! I love how your posts bring mindfulness to how I can support my body in all my activities! Thank you!

    Susannah Steers - December 9, 2013

    Thanks Kelley – embodied mindfulness can support your whole system through all the many varied things you do in life. It’s like a constant moving meditation! 🙂

Tricia - December 9, 2013

Yay! Thanks for the permission to wear my tennis shoes 🙂 I guess I can live with showing up in the fashion mags with the black stripe over my eyes and the title “fashion faux pas.” 🙂 I must say it is hard for me to go out in the cold…but I just wrote a post-it with the words, “Tricia – Just keep moving! Love, Susannah.” Thank you for saving my feet, my back, and my waist line this holiday season! Cheers!

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