by Amelia Meigs, MS, ATC
As an industrial athlete, the holiday season can be one of the busiest times of year. Your work may be ramping up to meet increased demand. There can be joyous moments with family and friends and also tough moments of loss, heartbreak, or mismatched expectations. In fact, 45% of Americans say they would prefer to skip the winter holidays due to stress over not having enough time and not having enough dollars. You may feel overwhelmed at finding the time to fit in everything you would like to do this season.
Even if you aren’t stressed about the holidays, this time can be isolating to those who live far from home and are unable to travel. As an industrial athlete, this isolation might come in the form of working while friends and loved ones celebrate.
EXPECTATION AND REALITY
Social media can be deceiving – just because your social feed appears positive with happy photos of families does not mean they don’t experience the same struggle you do.
THE GIFT OF EMPATHY
The holidays mean something different to everyone, which means each of us brings something different to the table. A few empathetic topics to acknowledge may be:
Meals: Since holiday celebrations revolve around meals, remember these can be difficult for some who have dietary restrictions or who struggle with body image.
Loss: You may know someone who recently lost a loved one, become estranged from family, or gone through a breakup.
Excitement: Some of us may just be Captain Christmas and want to celebrate every single day of December!
Around this time, it can be an expectation to happily discuss holidays, which can burden those who aren’t feeling this way. If someone needs to sit out the family ice skating, that’s okay! They aren’t being a Grinch, but perhaps choosing how best to use their time and energy.
HOPE FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Our top tips for making it through this holiday season with less stress involve taking a BREAK:
Take a beat and (B) BREATHE! Spend a minute breathing at the end of your shift or before your commute home to wind down after a hectic workday, and go home with a calm, clear mind.
(R) RESIST the urge to say yes to everything. Setting boundaries can help protect your time and energy and prevent burn-out.
(E) EAT! You deserve to eat every day of the holidays, even if you had a big meal the day before. Eating regular meals helps keep our blood sugar at a steady level and prevent an energy crash.
Get (A) AHEAD of holiday drama. Often when family gathers, tough discussions can come up. Think in advance of how you are going to end a difficult conversation, such as by saying, “I’d rather talk about my favorite holiday outfit” or “I’d really prefer not to discuss that.”
(K) KEEP in mind all the holidays this season! We love them all – Hannukah, Diwali, Yuletide, Kwanzaa, and Christmas!
Amelia Meigs, MS, ATC || Amelia is a Certified Athletic Trainer in Fremont, CA. She grew up in the Seattle-area and went to school at Marquette University and Saint Louis University for her Master of Athletic Training. She worked for a few years in the secondary school setting, then moved abroad for a year to New Zealand! In her free time she likes to travel, bake, and hike with her wife in San Jose.
Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips from Work Right NW!