Posted: 19/12/17 by The University of Northampton
The Adult Nursing team at the University of Northampton are all qualified nurses and have seen plenty of mishaps and accidents at Christmas during their time on the wards. Here, they offer a few top tips to keep in mind and ensure you enjoy the festivities without a trip to A&E.
Think before you act!
Racing around at Christmas, getting the house ready for the festivities, carrying large bags of shopping, moving furniture and all those other tasks we line up can all put a strain on your back and cause it to hurt or even cause a long term injury. Think twice before you lift a heavy load or move that heavy object. Maintain proper back posture, use your legs and bend them when lifting …and wait until someone else is there to help you move that table or lift that turkey! Don’t rush into hurting your back.
‘Tis the season to be jolly and many people look forward to well-earned rest and relaxation over the festive season. However, ’tis also important to keep active and not become a well-rooted couch potato. Getting out and about is important and not just to the nearest commercial centre to battle over bargains. Get out in the local parks or country side, breathe the air, stretch the joints and expand the lungs. Keeping active will improve a sense of well-being and why not start the New Year with a new resolution to improve fitness and exercise levels through 2018!
Try to get outside over the festive period, fresh air and exercise is good for both your physical and mental well-being. If you’re starting a new exercise regime, don’t overdo it. Slowly build the amount of exercise you do. If you can’t manage 30 minutes in one go, break it up into 10-minute chunks. If rain or ice is making exercise dangerous, do it another day. The weather might be better tomorrow, but an injury could take weeks to heal. How about a New Year’s resolution to keep this up?
Hugs without bugs
Christmas is a great time for being together with family and friends but also a great time for coughs, colds and sneezes to spread. The cold virus loves company. Protect yourself and others by covering your nose and mouth, and if you use a disposable tissue then throw away properly. Around 80% of infectious diseases are spread by touch, so washing your hands regularly, always after using the loo, and before preparing or eating food will help you stay well. Wash your hands using soap and dry thoroughly.
Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water (warm or cold) and drying them before handling food, after handling raw food – including meat, fish, eggs and vegetables – and after touching the bin, going to the toilet, blowing your nose or touching animals (including pets) is the best way to avoid being unwell over the Christmas period.
Reach out at Christmas
Although it only lasts for a few days, Christmas can seem a long and lonely time for those who don’t have family or friends around them, and unfortunately many elderly people spend Christmas day alone. Look out for neighbours, elderly or otherwise who might be isolated or vulnerable; perhaps you are able to pop in, or give them a lift to spend the day with a friend- or perhaps there is a space for one more at your Christmas table!
Cindy O’Dell, senior lecturer in nursing at the University of Northampton, summed up what she has learned about enjoying Christmas from her time on the wards: “As a cardiac nurse Christmas was often one of the busiest times of the year. Preparing food, buying presents, and being with or without family can be very challenging for all of us, but if you have had a heart condition then it can bring extra pressures. So make sure you have enough of your prescribed medication. Eat and drink healthily, enjoy the company of others and if you have to spend time with people who irritate you try and see the positive side to their personalities.”
Donna Bray, subject lead for nursing at University of Northampton, added: “Please remember that your physical and emotional health are linked so:
- Sing it out
- Hug it out
- Share your highs and lows
“There is no shame in loneliness, it’s not always about being alone, it’s about feeling alone. Christmas can be a tough time so sharing and forgiveness can help keep us and those around us well.