Christmas is the most magical time of the year! Or is it? The holiday season is often full of joy, but it can also be overwhelming, especially for those with tinnitus, dizziness/vertigo, or Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS). Travel, social interactions and obligations, stress, and schedule changes can all lead to feeling overwhelmed - physically and mentally. This can result in symptom exacerbation which can lead to a not so joyous Holiday celebration. In a perfect world, the raucous holiday party, loud concert, or blinking Christmas lights can be anticipated and adjustments made to reduce the possibility of triggering symptoms. Often, symptom aggravating scenerios pop up out of the blue. Denver's "Mile High Tree" (actually 110ft tall) on 16th Street Mall is a good example of this: a "dazzling music and light show" that is the definition of festive but also the definition of visual processing overload for those with visual sensitivity. If you're a tourist in downtown Denver, it is hard to miss it, which means it is hard to avoid the triggering flashing lights and loud music. So what can be done about that?
Learn more about the etiology of PCS here: VEDA
Learn more about PPPD (Persistent Postural Perception Disorder) here: VEDA
Anticipate Common holiday scenerios that may trigger symptoms:
Increased work load
Sweats and rich foods
Family and friends visiting
Change in routine
Sleep pattern changes due to light/seasonal changes
Focus on: Reducing the total time spent in these scenerios, space out your social activities throughout the whole week, find a quieter space within the party, and recognize when you've hit your limit and excuse yourself. Your health and well-being are always the priority.
Life is happening around us all the time and the only thing we can control is our behavior and actions. That is why I recommend having a "life kit" in your backpack or car at all times. These "life kit" items are helpful for managing symptoms and reducing sensory input to help you experience and enjoy life on your terms.
Must Have "Life Kit" Items:
Snacks & Water
Ear buds & a smartphone with a soothing music playlist
Dizziness and its related symptoms can greatly affect many aspects of life, at all times of the year, but specifically during the holiday season. Those lingering, subclinical symptoms tend to come out full force during periods of increased activity, increased sensory input, and increased stress. Recognize that this increase in symptoms is common and symptoms can and will improve again. A flare-up will not send you into a downward spiral!
Tips for Symptom Management
Schedule 1 hour of "you time" each day
Find time for meditation or breathing practice during the day
Maintain your normal sleep schedule as best as you can
Spread holiday parties and social obligations throughout the week. Don't cram them all into the weekend.
Vocalize to your close support system what your boundaries are
Maintain your exercise routine
Schedule appointments with your physical therapist, massage therapist, acupuncturist, and/or mental health counselor in anticipation of a mild holiday flare-up
Need more help and guidance?
Schedule an in-person visit in Denver, CO or a virtual Zoom visit here
Email Dr Jessica Klain PT, DPT directly: Jessica@physioyogaandwellness.com
Dr Jessica Klain PT, DPT, COMT, CSCS, OCS, CNPT
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS)
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist (COMT)
Certified Nutritional Physical Therapist (CNPT)
Certified Vestibular Specialist
Certified Concussion Specialist
Trigger Point Dry Needling Certified, Level 1&2
Certified Yoga Teacher
University of Florida, Doctorate in Physical Therapy (2009)
The Ohio State University, Bachelor of Science in Biology (2006)