Sandra Vanatko did all she could to put everyone to sleep Thursday night as she spoke.
And that’s OK because it is exactly what she intended to do.
Giving tips on how yoga can help manage stress, Vanatko talked women through several deep breathing exercises at the monthly Healthy Woman event, held at First United Methodist Church in Weatherford.
“Problems only really start when you think about them,” said Vanatko, who owns Indra’s Grace, a yoga and meditation studio in Weatherford. “Emotions are a guidance system to bring us back to neutral but we get stuck in the emotion themselves most of the time.”
With that in mind, she said once people become aware of what they think about, it’s possible to “switch it.”
Attendees then spent about 45 minutes doing various breathing exercises, designed to relax the mind and help the body deal with emotional stress.
Prior to that, nurse practitioner Kim Hilmer gave several stress management tips, tailored to women, and explained that there is actually “good stress” too.
“Eustress is positive stress like the feeling when you win the lottery, for example,” she explained.
Hilmer, who is part of Lone Star Medical Group, said stress begins as a mental issue but can lead to several physical problems like hypertension, fatigue, weight loss/gain, gastrointestinal problems and personality changes, among others.
She said that while many patients want medication to help deal with stress, it isn’t necessary in most cases.
“So many people want a pill but there really isn’t a ‘one-pill fix,’” Hilmer said.
Emphasizing that everyone’s stress is unique, Hilmer did offer some advice that each woman can follow that will help. Some of those include making to-do lists, shutting off social media and communication devices for a set amount of time, staying in the present, changing their attitude and practicing in positive self talk.
“Don’t search for things to worry about,” she advised. “Focus on the task at hand and ask yourself if whatever it is is really that important.”
Hilmer added that proper diet, sleep and exercise are also key in how women, who tend to carry stress in their neck and shoulders, deal with it. She said avoiding sugar, nicotine, alcohol and caffeine can dramatically improve overall well-being.
“Women tend to care of everyone else but try to look for opportunities to take care of yourself every day,” she said.
Healthy Woman is a free community resource at Weatherford Regional Medical Center that provides women with the information they need to make informed healthcare and wellness decisions for themselves and their families. Healthy Woman offers free bi-monthly seminars and activities, covering a wide range of subjects including women’s health issues, stress management, healthy cooking and more.