Health & Wellness
The Art of Stress Management in Rehabilitation
he women of our world live in a day and age characterized by stress. In a fast-paced culture, it often requires running on all engines to simply make it through the day. Deadlines, errands and responsibilities demand attention at every turn –from juggling careers, homes, relationships and basic self-care. More often than not, the only place women find relaxation is scribbled at the bottom of a mile long to-do list. But the push to keep up with such hectic schedules may be having deeper long-term consequences on their health than women realize. “For many people, stress is their middle name,” said Hima Dalal, lead occupational therapist and owner of Vital Energy Wellness and Rehab Center in Lexington, S.C. With over 32 years of experience in her field with both conventional and complementary therapy, Hima often sees the effects of stress in her own patients. “When you are constantly running around in emergency mode, sooner or later your psychological and physiological systems breakdown,” said Hima. According to Hima, those breakdowns can manifest in many, often times multiple forms. Physically, someone suffering the effects of stress will typically experience a lack in sleep as well as dip in daily energy and endurance levels. This opens the body and immune system to a far greater susceptibility to sickness, allergies, physical stiffness and aching, headaches, high blood pressure and even certain types of cancer. Psychologically, they may experience constant frustration and irritability, unexplainable anxiety or nervousness, a lack of confidence or satisfaction in themselves and depression. “Anyone can experience stress,” said Hima. In her busy life as a wife, mother, grandmother, thera-
pist and business owner, Hima is no exception. “I am so busy caring for everyone else that I tend to forget about myself,” she confessed.
photo by Robert Patrick Image Design
But the key to living with stress is knowing how to manage it, claims Hima.
But the key to living with stress is knowing how to manage it, claims Hima. “The way I handle stress in my own life is I prioritize and organize,” said Hima, who tries to intentionally set time aside each day to meditate and relax. “I eat healthy food and have plenty of water. I also make sure to have family time that is separate from work.” Finding ways to manage stress is often different from person to person, and Hima recommends seeking professional guidance to anyone unsure about how to begin. “There are some major misconceptions about stress management,” said Hima. “It can be a quick fix or a long term process depending on the issue and that is why you need to seek professional help.” Occupational/Physical Therapists can evaluate and treat the problem with manual therapy, myofascial release, craniosacral therapy, muscle energy treatment (e.g., Reiki, Sanjivani Healing), yoga exercise, meditation, cardiovascular exercise, strength training exercise to
Hima Dalal increase blood circulation, improve your energy level and mood, and decrease pain. Hima also has some pointers to begin finding simple ways to de-stress at home. “The first thing you need to do is just take a deep breath,” said Hima. After that she recommends investing time in calming activities, like a scenic walk during a break, a bike ride on a day off or fishing on a weekend. Rekindling an old hobby like cooking or painting or exploring a new one like a yoga or meditation class can also help alleviate stress. Regular physical activity and a well balanced diet are also keys to successful stress management. “The best thing is to do whatever activity/ exercise that works for you and do it every day with positivity,” said Hima.
As your rate of stress is increasing, it feeds into an increased rate of non-communicable disease, including diabetes, increased blood pressure, increased heart condition, increased anxiety, and depression. Occupational/Physical Therapy can play a key role in encouraging lifestyle changes to support improved health. Keeping up with the pace of society often feels unavoidable for women of the twenty-first century. But in the urgency to keep up with life, it becomes easy to miss the opportunity to truly live in and experience your own. So rather than focus on the quantity of tasks that can be accomplished in a lifetime, why not take a moment to focus on the quality of the life itself? For more information or to set an appointment you can contact Hima at (803) 359-1551. www.lexingtonwomanonline.com
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