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Life Restructuring: Energy Conservation and Work Simplification

Jan 13, 2014

Life Restructuring/Energy Conservation and Work Simplification
Have you or someone you care about recently experienced a major health change? Perhaps it was a serious injury with a long recovery time ahead or maybe a diagnosis of a chronic disease that requires some readjustments to the way you are used to living, or maybe it was a surgical procedure that requires some down time. All of these circumstances find us in a place that can leave us tired, overwhelmed and frustrated. We cannot do things the way we used to be able to do. We wonder if we will ever be able to manage things again.
Who needs energy conservation?
Persons with a chronic condition which may cause fatigue or episodes of fatigue. Persons in temporary situations such as recovery from major surgery or acute illness whose body systems are healing but need time to return to normal function.
Persons undergoing treatments that may cause fatigue as a side effect.
Persons who are experiencing body changes due to normal aging.
Anyone who wants to do things more efficiently.
We all have a certain amount of energy to spend on any given day whether we are in perfect health or have a condition or situation which affects our health and therefore, our energy systems and reserves. Every person, regardless of ability or disability has their own mobility and energy expenditure range. Athletes train to use their resources as effortlessly as possible to compete as they perfect their performance. Someone who has a chronic condition such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, myasthenia gravis, COPD (to name just a few), may experience episodes of fatigue due to their condition and have to adjust the way they complete tasks while in these episodes. Someone who is undergoing cancer treatments or who is rebounding after finishing cancer treatments may need to modify the way they complete daily tasks of life until they feel more restored.
Physical Therapy can help by teaching you strategies to conserve energy. These may be techniques, devices or simple strategies to approach the task that can reduce the effort needed for the task and reserve energy. It is a multilayered skill of developing a process to do daily tasks in a planned, orderly way so that unnecessary body motions are reduced. By eliminating steps to tasks or doing them in different ways or sequences, the body can conserve energy. The physical therapists at Optimal Physical Therapy and Sports Performance can help you learn to make the Mind/Body connection to first have improved body awareness, teach you how to identify fatigue patterns for your daily life, help you learn pacing (how to best alternate work and rest and change pace as needed), how to control for environmental factors and poor body mechanics which may be contributing to your fatigue. Learning new ways to do things at times is not easy. As humans, we are creatures of habit and often our identity of ourselves is linked to our abilities to do certain things or fill certain roles. This can be particularly difficult for persons who have “invisible illnesses” who do not appear “sick” but are physically limited in some way. These individuals tend to delay restructuring of their lives. But if you remain open to the new and emerging challenges and are willing to try things a new way, you can learn to do it better. I often encourage my patients by reminding them that being willing to learn a new thing, being willing to try – is truly learning a highly prized human characteristic – RESILIENCE. Resilient people are able to cope effectively. Remember this proverb, “The strength of the oak lies in its ability to bend”. If the mighty Oak does not bend when confronted with storm and wind, it will break. Trees sway for a reason. Do not be rigid. Give yourself the ability to sway. Realize there is always more than one way to get things done. Contact us if you would like more information on this topic. We are here to help. Promoting physical recovery is our expertise. Designing an individual physical comeback to life is our passion at Optimal Physical Therapy!!!

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