Princeton's Ask the Doctor November-December 2019

Do You Dread The Holidays? Do you dread the holidays? Does the thought of seeing your family bring on anxiety, maybe evoking painful memories of being measured against siblings, and al- ways being found wanting? Do you find yourself resum- ing childhood roles, feeling the same feelings, having the same arguments? Frustrating isn’t it? Maybe your family doesn’t support your life decisions, and going home means feeling always on the defensive. Or maybe, your warm and loving family doesn’t know that you are getting divorced, getting fired, or gay. Do you wish you could just stay home with Netflix and Chinese takeout rather than face family drama? Would you like to see your family AND keep your sanity this holiday season? I can help with that, using Mindfulness Meditation. First, find yourself a quiet place to sit, where you won’t be disturbed. Gently close your eyes and start breathing slowly and deeply. Allow the muscles in your forehead to relax, your face to soften, your jaw to unclench, your shoulders to drop. Notice your breath moving in and out of your body. As you softly breathe, allow yourself to imagine your family greeting you in the best possible way. Visualize spending time with them in the most en- joyable way you can imagine. Picture yourself speaking authentically and being accepted just as you are. When you notice your thoughts have wandered, do not judge yourself, but gently and kindly return your attention to your breath. As you relax and gently breathe, allow yourself to enjoy this imagined visit. I have seen clients make significant changes in their emotional life in a short time, using daily meditation. I encourage clients to practice this meditation at least daily for a week or so leading up to their holiday vis- it. While it cannot change anyone else’s behavior, the practice of visualizing yourself being comfortable and authentic can change yours. That is, rather than arriv- ing tense and anxious and waiting for the criticism and judgment to begin, you can arrive feeling at ease with yourself. You may even find that you are able to relax and enjoy yourself, regardless of how others behave. We know that we cannot change others, but practicing be- ing at ease with ourselves will affect how we act in the presence of our families, and increase the possibility of having a more pleasurable experience. Teaching clients Mindfulness Meditation to manage their difficult emotions is one of my favorite aspects of clinical practice. Providing virtual, online counseling is a new service I’m offering for busy people. Before work or in the evening, we can meet online.

Protect Your Wrists and Keep Your Balance This Holiday Season As the holidays approach, it is important to strive for bal- ance. That means not eating too much Thanksgiving dinner or working too hard the last few weeks of the year, but it also means striving for literal balance. Winter means adverse weather: ice, snow, sleet, freezing rain. These weather conditions increase the risk of falls, and falls are the top cause of wrist fractures. If you want to reduce your risk of wrist fractures, work on your balance. Wrist Anatomy 101 The wrist isn’t a single bone or joint. It has eight carpal bones, the ends of the radius and ulna (forearm bones), and the ends of the five metacarpal (finger) bones. They are some of the smallest bones of the body, and trying to catch your full weight on your hands after you slip on a patch of ice is a recipe for fracture. Balance Training Training your balance has a number of components, in- cluding core strength, leg strength and a concept called pro- prioception, which means body awareness. A three-day-a- week, three-month program targeted at balance training is enough to see improvement. Balance training can involve: • Seated exercises on a balance ball (also known as a Swiss ball or yoga ball) • Exercises for core strength and stability such as planks • Exercises for leg strength and stability such as squats and lunges, with or without weights • Standing on one foot • Walking around obstacles • Walking backwards …and more. Adding a motor or cognitive task, such as counting objects or doing exercises with the eyes closed, can add an additional challenge to people ready for advanced balance training. Get Help Training Your Balance If you’re interested in balance training, you should seek a professional who can develop a program custom-tailored for you. At University Orthopaedic Associates, you can find experienced trainers, physical therapists and occupational therapists who can customize a balance program for you and your individual needs. Visit or PTOTandSports. com, or call 855-UOA-DOCS to get started.

H E A L T H Y M I N D & S O U L

Check out my website https:// www.carolynne-lewis-arevalo- for more information and to book your free consultation.

Counseling for Resilience Virtual Online Therapy Lina Lewis Arevalo 609-414-7978



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