Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 26, 2006
Balance priorities and tune up your stresed lifestyle
Dr. Maria Shapiro
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
If you tell your children you do not have enough time when they invite you to something that is important to them, what you are really saying is they are not a priority, suggests a leading medical consultant.
Balancing primary values - family, career and self - is a problem because we are ill-equipped to shift the load around as needed.
"We are not trained jugglers," Dr. Marla Shapiro told the Caritas Health Group's annual general meeting June 15. "We get into a bind."
That bind can jeopardize all three factors, as well as a person's health due to the onset of stress-related diseases.
"We have to be able to rotate the primary values and be mindful of what to focus on," she said.
The whole person
Shapiro is a well-known television personality and medical columnist who documented her own journey with breast cancer last year, surviving a bilateral mastectomy.
Married and a mother of three children, Shapiro is a family physician who believes good health requires caring for the whole of the person.
When we become stressed, life is disorganized and easily interrupted. We communicate poorly and feel isolated.
There is an inability to separate work from home. Our moods are affected.
Shapiro suggests we continually make lists of specific and measurable goals that should be attainable, reviewable and time sensitive.
"Be conscious of your primary values," she said.
If a person begins to feel his or her priorities are getting in a bind, practise deep breathing, eat well, meditate and laugh.
"Get past the no-talk barrier," Shapiro said.
"Stop denying the anxiety and get support. Network with friends or family."
Stress can lead to weight gain, an increase in smoking or drinking and heart disease.
And the majority of people do little to improve their lifestyle, falling into a cycle where stress begets even more stress.
"We must challenge unhealthy beliefs, open up to others and share our thoughts," she said.
"Be mindful to observe self and take charge. Continually re-evaluate your balance - your priorities. Seek moments of clarity and don't say yes to everything."
During the meeting, it was announced that Patrick Dumelie has been appointed president of Caritas Health Group effective July 24. Dumelie takes over from interim president Sheli Murphy.
As well, Diane Berge was awarded the Caritas 2006 Mission Award (individual). Berge is the volunteer chair of the Family and Community Advisory Council at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre.
The Mission Award (team) was presented to the Perinatal Bereavement Team at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital, led by Heather Crosland.