Avoiding a relapse in pain & autoimmune conditions this festive season

It's that time of year again when we try to see everyone we've ever met before the end of another year.  There is shopping to do, family time and cooking to prepare for, kid's end of term plays and concerts, team parties, client entertaining, friends get togethers. Our diaries get so booked up!  We put everyone else's needs before our own.  We throw caution to the wind and eat and drink want we like, we consistently stay up late.  This is a recipe for a potential flare up of an autoimmune, pain condition or chronic injury.  So how do you enjoy the festive season whilst minimising the likelihood of a flare up that could ruin your Christmas? I've put together a little plan for you... 


There are three things you need to be very mindful of when minimising the risk of a flare up: 

1.  Adrenal fatigue

Adrenal fatigue develops when you do not get enough rest and recovery time.  It usually occurs from a combination of too little sleep, too much exercise, ongoing stress and poor nutrition.  For more information on how adrenal fatigue affects your healing and recovery and also how to minimise the affects read Spotlight Specialist Samantha George's article HERE. 

2. Inflammation

Inflammation is again a combination of not enough rest and ongoing poor nutritional choices. For more information on nutritional choices for reducing inflammation read Spotlight Specialist Samantha George's article HERE

3.  Lack of sleep

Sleep is where the body regenerate, heals, repairs and recovers. Sleep is my second passion in life.  It is an essential for managing autoimmune and pain conditions and the effective healing and recovery of injuries.  Click HERE for my most popular article on 10 recommendations for your best nights sleep ever. 


Here are my recommendations for minimising a flare up... 

Book it in advance

The most important thing for reducing the chance of a flare up is making sure you get enough rest and recovery between parties and late nights.  Plan your schedule in advance.  Look at what you have to attend and if you can follow it with a day of recovery or at the very least a lighter day. Be strict with your time - remember you want to get to Christmas Day and beyond with minimal issues. 


Play catch up

As I mentioned above sleep is absolutely essential to reducing the chance of a flare up.  Use your weekends to recover by taking afternoon naps and extended sleeps.  I like to schedule a beauty day where I switch off my phone, take an Epsom salt bath, do a salt scrub, do my nails and a mini facial at home.  A luxurious alternative would be to book a day at a spa!  A say or relaxation and pamelring puts you in a parasympathetic sta


Make mine a work-in

If your December is likely to be wild with parties, drinking and late nights (lucky you!) then I would recommend that you drop the HIIT, boxing and spin classes and go for a moderate yoga class instead.  It's important to keep moving but it even more important to give back to yourself and recharge if you are giving out a lot of energy.  It's important to bear in mind that consistent lack of sleep, too much alcohol and poor nutrition are major contributors to adrenal fatigue and inflammation which negative impact healing and recovery and interfere with the manager t of pain conditions. 


Be mindful of your nutrition

During the party season we are much more likely to drink more and eat foods that cause an inflammatory response in the body. On many occasions we don't have choice about what food and drink are served at work and social events.  Try to counteract this by planning good breakfast and lunch choices. I make an inflammatory busting breakfast smoothie that takes 5 minutes to prepare in the morning -click here to see instructions. For lunch stock up on nutritious antioxidants, vitamins and good fats and proteins.  


Do your exercises!

If you are on an exercise programme to support your recovery make sure you continue with this during the busy seasons.  Letting go of the things that help maintain your condition will most likely result in a flare up.  Just make a pact with yourself that you are not going to let that happen.  If it helps book in to see your therapist a few extra times to make sure you do your stretches, exercises and mobilisations without having to motivate yourself. Again, you can always catch up at weekends if your weekdays are full. For those of you working with me you can now get an audio recording of your exercise programme. Just plug in, press play and you've got me for 30 mins.  


Other considerations

Wrap up warm. It sounds obvious, but the effects of alcohol often numb our sense to the cold.  Make sure you wrap up warm to and from your venue.  I always wear everything - hat, scarf, gloves, and a huge duvet of a coat! 

Be mindful of wearing high heels for long periods of time if you are not used to them.  High heels force the body weight forwards into the front of the foot and you tend to lean back from the mid back area to compensate for this. Effectively you are creating an imbalance when wearing high heels. If your injury or condition is sensitive to postural imbalances then err of the side of caution.  I always pack a pair of flats in my bag so I can travel home in comfort. 


With that said I wish you a happy festive party season.  Eat, drink and be merry - just do your exercises and get enough sleep too!  And if you need any assistance with doing your exercise over the festive season please do visit my website for more information on how I can help.