Several months ago a local TV station aired a news show about the shortage of mental health workers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Two mental health experts talked about the fact that a large part of the population was feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and possibly depressed.
They were asked what individuals could do to recover from this stress and help themselves cope.
To the dismay of Carlene Banister (LMT LA1262) the suggestions given were rather lame – don’t drink caffeine before bedtime and write down your feelings.
What about massage? What about meditation? What about exercise and nutrition?
Carlene knows about these things because she’s a licensed massage therapist, but also because she was a victim of a life-altering accident and these “alternative” methods helped her to regain her life.
Back in 1985 Carlene was involved in a car accident. It left her with three years of misdiagnoses, a herniated disc, a neck and lower back disability, fibromyalgia, and a lifetime of pain.
Her chiropractor told her that she should start getting massages or be prepared to suffer with arthritis.
Carlene went for a massage and felt so good afterwards that she signed up for massage classes, then carried that even further and became a massage instructor.
Carlene worked as an instructor for five years, specializing in Shiatsu massage, and incorporated various forms of ancient Chinese therapy into her classes and her life.
She’s now in private practice and has worked with several actors, movie producers, and professional athletes.
Recently Carlene became the stress management consultant to both Children’s Hospital and Ochsner West (formerly eadowcrest) Hospital.
After watching that local news show Carlene decided to do something to help the local community deal with the stress, but she knew that she couldn’t take on a city-wide program.
Instead she contacted the people at the St. Rose Library and asked if they would be interested in hosting a series of workshops on stress management.To her delight they were.
The purpose of the workshops is to teach people how to incorporate stress-relieving strategies into their everyday lives, and Carlene is especially hoping to reach people who may not be able to afford private stress management sessions and those who may be looking for alternate methods of stress relief.
One of the easiest things we can do to relieve stress is to remember to breathe.
Of course, we all breathe without having to think about it, but a lot of people have a tendency to hold their breath while they’re concentrating or dealing with something stressful.
Carlene says if we just pause for a moment and take a few breaths, our heart rate will slow down and our body won’t be as stressed. She suggests Scotch-taping the word “BREATHE” onto your office telephone as a reminder.
If your company is interested in hiring Carlene as a stress management consultant, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re a private individual interested in learning Carlene’s techniques for stress relief, you should attend her Stress Off workshops. The next one is scheduled for Saturday, May 19 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the St. Rose Library.
Admission is free, and everyone is welcome to attend.