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Make time to ease stress

Dr. Drew Warner

EAGLE COUNTY – Hakuna matata, no worries. Sure is easy to say.I was enjoying the music with my wife and good friends at the Grand Ave. Grill Friday when I heard this wonderful bit of wisdom. As Dean and I were commiserating about busy lives and everyday stress, we shared our thoughts on what we believed were the important things in life. What more could we ask for than living in this wonderful community, enjoying live music and cold drinks in the company of our spouses and great friends? Then Dean put it so simply and honestly I still think about it: “3 o’clock will come.” The story behind that true piece of wisdom related to his wife’s dread of a visit to the dentist. With an appointment at 2 o’clock, he reassured her not to worry because 3 o’clock would come. How true for all the worries we face. The struggles of today will be the memories of tomorrow. Grab on and hold tight to the treasures you have, especially the ones so easily taken for granted. Dear Doc: I am a massage therapist and I think that many people don’t realize the benefit of taking care of themselves. Could you talk about that?- Caring hands in Eagle Dear Caring: What a wonderful idea! I talk so much about what we should do, it is easy to forget the equally important what we want to do. Our lives are busy enough with rules and directions. Put on your helmet and buckle up. Don’t forget the DEET and drink plenty of fluids. Get a good night’s rest, plenty of exercise, and skip dessert. As important as they may be, one thing we don’t talk about enough is the “just me” activity. What is that, you ask? Anything that takes away stress, puts a smile on your face and let’s you sleep better at night counts. Your definition may be different, but anything that makes you feel good and is healthy for you works. Frequently, when patients come into the office stressed out and overwhelmed, one of the first questions I ask is: “When is the last time you did something for you?” The reply I often get is a long pause, followed by either “I don’t know” or “I can’t remember when.” That is a troubling thought. What would your answer be?Spend an afternoon at the library. Go for a hike in the mountains, without a watch. Watch a bird fly or just the clouds pass by. Pick up the hobby you’ve left behind. Sit for a bit and just relax. Get a massage! A what? About once a year I get a massage. They usually happen as a gift for a special occasion. Too long ago (perhaps six months), such an unexpected surprise came up and I was able to be good to myself and get a massage. I felt better immediately. That sense of relaxation and well being lasted for a long time. Why don’t I indulge more often? Thinking back on that, however, “indulge” is the wrong word. Doing something for ourselves is as important as following any of the other advice I have given. It is an investment in our health. Massage may in fact be one of the healthiest “just me” activities we can do. It helps heal strained muscles and joints. Massage increases circulation to tissue and organs. Like vigorous exercise, massage can even stimulate the release of endorphins, the natural feel good hormones in our body. Blending traditional and alternative medicine, Valley View Hospital offers a free massage from a qualified massage therapist to all its in-patients. Whether during labor, after surgery or just to help speed recovery from illness, this is a wonderful service. Vail Valley Medical Center offers massage to patients receiving physical therapy at the direction of the therapist. Both hospitals recognize that massage is for more than just relaxation. It actually helps patients feel better and get better faster.If you don’t manage your stress, it will manage you. One of my patients simply replied after hearing that “If you don’t take care of your stress it will eat you alive!” So make an investment in yourself. Indulge. Schedule a massage. De-stress. Most of all, remember, “3 o’clock will come.” Dr. Drew Werner of the Eagle Valley Medical Center writes a weekly column for the Daily. He encourages health questions. Write him by e-mail to editor@vaildaily.com or c/o Editor, Vail Daily, P.O. Box 81, Vail, 81658.Vail, Colorado


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