As a pediatrician, Dr. Tammy Bottner sees a lot of adolescents come through her door complaining of ailments like anxiety, headaches, abdominal pain and fatigue.
A lot of times, those symptoms can be traced back to one thing: stress.
Bottner thinks the solution for many of these problems lies not in medication but in a combination of nutrition, exercise and relaxation techniques.
In their new wellness workshop designed especially for teenage girls, Bottner and personal trainer Paulette Dunn aim to emphasize the connection between the mind and the body.
“It’s really about learning some things that will help each girl destress,” said Bottner, co-founder of Riverside Pediatrics in Newburyport. “It’s about getting to a calmer, happier place.”
Between the challenges of school and work and the prevalence of social media in society today, teenagers are often “tuned out” to the world around them and to what their bodies are trying to tell them, Dunn said.
“They don’t get that mind-body thing because they’re tuned out,” she said. “They need to unplug.”
The workshop, called Mind-Body-Health, is aimed at helping young women become stronger, happier, healthier and less stressed by focusing on both mental and physical health.
Starting Jan. 23 and running twice a week for four weeks, the after-school classes will all start with five minutes of quiet reflection and deep breathing, to help participants “leave their day and stress behind,” Bottner said.
Each week will have a different focus, with the first sessions delving into the mind-body connection and featuring yoga led by Newburyport instructor Ann Biese.
The second week will focus on nutrition, with advice from Newburyport naturopathic doctor Alia Elias. Dunn, who trains clients at All Natural Fitness in Salisbury, will lead the girls in strength and cardio exercises.