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Beware of Santa Claus as a Cautionary Tale

Reviewed by: Dr. Steven Knauf, D.C.

By Sara Butler

The Health of Santa Claus

When you think of Santa Claus, chances are you picture a jolly, bespectacled, bearded man who spreads holiday cheer around. But if you really think about it, Santa is a cautionary tale.

He’s overworked. He goes on cookie benders. He’s working outdoors -- working in the cold, no less. He is, well, rotund. He continually lifts heavy objects. He stays up all night. And in the spirit of just keeping it real, he has a binge drinking problem -- with milk. The truth is, Santa has a lot to work on and it’s clear that there’s a lot of no-no-nos to go with all those ho-ho-hos.

What Impact Does Deadline Stress Have on Mental Health?

You may think Santa Claus has all year to make his deadline but don’t think the looming deadline doesn’t take its toll. If you were making toys for every single child in the world who isn’t on the Naughty List, then a year is hardly enough time. Chances are, Santa is stressed.

Some people think that deadlines are motivating or that they work more effectively with deadlines in place. The challenge with deadlines, other than the fact that they start with the word dead, is that they’re stressful. Researchers have found that this stress reduces creativity and kills off the very brain cells you’re depending on to meet that deadline.

Your body views the stress caused by deadlines in the same way it views any other threat -- and it does what it must to survive. Cortisol floods your system to help kick things into high gear so you can tackle the tasks before you. Emotions are heightened, the function of the frontal lobe is impaired, and you are left with a final product that lacks finesse and may come out flat. And that cycle repeats itself over and over again.

Simply put, deadline stress is not healthy for your brain or for the rest of you.

Is it Safe to Work Outside in Extremely Cold Weather?

Have you ever wondered what Santa’s famous red suit is made of? To withstand really cold temperatures, it better be moisture wicking, otherwise, he’s suffering from some major heat loss as he navigates his sleigh through sub-zero temps in many parts of the world.

If, like Santa, you can’t avoid working out in very cold temperatures, there are some dangers to be aware of. Shoveling a driveway or being outside for long periods in cold weather can increase your chances of frostbite and hypothermia. If you cannot stay indoors when the temperatures outside are cold, then make sure to take the following precautions.

  • Dress in layers, preferably with a layer that will help to wick any moisture away from your skin and keep you dry
  • Make sure all your exposed skin is covered
  • Try to get inside and warm up at least every 30 minutes
  • Drink warm water beverages

Keep an eye on the weather when you’re planning to be outside, too. If the windchill dips below -18 degrees Fahrenheit, try to stay indoors.

Are There Consequences to Going Long Periods without Sleep?

Santa claims to see you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake, but he seems to struggle with getting quality sleep himself.

If you have difficulty snuggling in your bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in your head, then you’re not alone. As many as 70 million Americans struggle with getting enough sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Sleep is important because it’s the time your body needs to regulate hormones, repair, and rest. Having trouble sleeping regularly can lead to severe health problems such as increased inflammation, high heart rate, and higher blood pressure. Suffice it to say, that the effects of sleep deprivation are serious. Staying awake too long is bad for your heart and your overall health. That’s why it’s important to have a regular sleep schedule and get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

What Are the Dangers of Obesity and Unhealthy Eating Habits?

It seems as if sugar is the cornerstone of Santa’s diet. Between all the candy canes, cookies, and other treats left out for him, it’s no wonder that Santa seems to suffer the negative effects of an unhealthy diet and could benefit from a little weight loss.

Obesity is a major problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 40 percent of adults in the United States are considered obese. Although many people strive to lose weight for vanity and to feel better, it’s important to understand that obesity has a huge impact on overall health. Being overweight or obese can lead to conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and high cholesterol. Plus, extra weight causes your heart to work harder to nourish your body, which puts a lot of strain on the body.

Eating a balanced diet with whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables can help you to stay healthy. Moving your body also helps, since muscle mass can help your body to more effectively burn the calories you take in during the day and keep the excess pounds away.

How Could Chiropractic Help Santa Claus?

All the issues that Santa seems to suffer from, from lack of sleep to excess body weight to stress, is all something that could benefit from chiropractic treatment. Regular chiropractic treatments can target joint dysfunctions that impede the ability of the central nervous system to work as it should. Once those dysfunctions are treated, the body can work as it was meant to and, most importantly, heal itself. Getting down a chimney? Santa needs as much range of motion as possible, which is in a chiropractor’s wheelhouse.

The Joint Chiropractic has locations all over the country and though there’s not yet a location at the North Pole, seeing the chiropractor could be a great first step for Santa to take back control of his life the 364 days of the year he’s not spreading holiday cheer. With a new year right around the corner, maybe it’s time you consider how Santa’s cautionary tale can help you to make the healthy changes you need.

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