Blog Post

The holidays can be a joyful time, offering a chance to reconnect with friends and family. But they can also be stressful. You may feel pressure to buy and give gifts. Maybe you are worried about money. The holidays can also be hectic. There never seems to be enough time to get things done.

Think about the kinds of events that trigger stress for you during the holidays. Then you can focus on one or two things you can do that will help the most to reduce stress.

Preparing for the Holidays

Know your spending limit. Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. This year, set a budget, and don’t spend more than you’ve planned. It’s okay to tell your child that a certain toy costs too much. Don’t buy gifts that you’ll spend the rest of the year trying to pay off.

Give something personal. You can show love and caring with any gift that is meaningful and personal. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. Or use words instead of an expensive gift to let people know how important they are to you. Make a phone call or write a note and share your feelings.

Get organized. Make lists or use an appointment book to keep track of tasks to do and events to attend.

Share the tasks. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Share your “to do” list with others. Spend time with friends and family while you share tasks like decorating, wrapping gifts, and preparing the holiday meal.

Learn to say no. It’s okay to say “no” to events that aren’t important to you. This will give you more time to say “yes” to events that you do want to attend.

Be realistic. Try not to put pressure on yourself to create the perfect holiday for your family. Focus instead on the traditions that make holidays special for you. And remember that just because it’s a holiday, family problems don’t go away. If you have a hard time being around your relatives, it’s okay to set limits on your time at events and visits.

 

Read the full article at: https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/tc/quick-tips-reducing-holiday-stress-get-started#1

Share Button

Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.

By Mayo Clinic Staff  http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469

You know that exercise does your body good, but you’re too busy and stressed to fit it into your routine. Hold on a second — there’s good news when it comes to exercise and stress.

Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management. Discover the connection between exercise and stress relief — and why exercise should be part of your stress management plan.

Exercise and stress relief

Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.

  • It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
  • It’s meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements.

As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.

  • It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

Put exercise and stress relief to work for you

A successful exercise program begins with a few simple steps.

  • Consult with your doctor. If you haven’t exercised for some time and you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
  • Walk before you run. Build up your fitness level gradually. Excitement about a new program can lead to overdoing it and possibly even injury.

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (such as brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running). You also can do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.

Also, incorporate strength training exercises at least twice a week.

  • Do what you love. Virtually any form of exercise or movement can increase your fitness level while decreasing your stress. The most important thing is to pick an activity that you enjoy. Examples include walking, stair climbing, jogging, bicycling, yoga, tai chi, gardening, weightlifting and swimming.
  • Pencil it in. Although your schedule may necessitate a morning workout one day and an evening activity the next, carving out some time to move every day helps you make your exercise program an ongoing priority.

Stick with it

Starting an exercise program is just the first step. Here are some tips for sticking with a new routine or reinvigorating a tired workout:

  • Set SMART goals. Write down SMART goals — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-limited goals.

If your primary goal is to reduce stress in your life and recharge your batteries, your specific goals might include committing to walking during your lunch hour three times a week or, if needed, finding a baby sitter to watch your children so that you can slip away to attend a cycling class.

  • Find a friend. Knowing that someone is waiting for you to show up at the gym or the park can be a powerful incentive. Working out with a friend, co-worker or family member often brings a new level of motivation and commitment to your workouts.
  • Change up your routine. If you’ve always been a competitive runner, take a look at other less competitive options that may help with stress reduction, such as Pilates or yoga classes. As an added bonus, these kinder, gentler workouts may enhance your running while also decreasing your stress.
  • Exercise in increments. Even brief bouts of activity offer benefits. For instance, if you can’t fit in one 30-minute walk, try three 10-minute walks instead. Interval training, which entails brief (60 to 90 seconds) bursts of intense activity at almost full effort, is being shown to be a safe, effective and efficient way of gaining many of the benefits of longer duration exercise. What’s most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.

Whatever you do, don’t think of exercise as just one more thing on your to-do list. Find an activity you enjoy — whether it’s an active tennis match or a meditative meander down to a local park and back — and make it part of your regular routine. Any form of physical activity can help you unwind and become an important part of your approach to easing stress.

Share Button

GAUGE YOUR STRESS LEVEL

Read through this list of common ways we show stress. You are your best judge, if too many items on this list sound like you, come on in to the Y and tell us. We can help!

  1. Emotional:
    • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
    • Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control
    • Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
    • Feeling lonely, worthless, or depressed, having low self-esteem
    • Avoiding others
  2. Physical:
    • Low energy
    • Headaches
    • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation and nausea
    • Aches, pains, and tense muscles
    • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
    • Insomnia
    • Frequent colds and infections
    • Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
    • Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
    • Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
    • Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
  3. Cognitive:
    • Constant worrying
    • Racing thoughts
    • Forgetfulness, disorganization, inability to focus
    • Poor judgment
    • Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side
  4. Behavior:
    • Changes in appetite – either not eating or eating too much
    • Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
    • Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
    • Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, such as nail biting and fidgeting

Share Button

STOP STRESS EATING

Are you a stress-eater? Many of us are and it can have catastrophic effects on our weight and health. Certain foods inherently help reduce stress so if you munch on them regularly, you may find that your stress level has been naturally reduced. If you reach for the cupcakes or ice cream when you get stressed, you’ll want to read more!

  1. Rich and creamy avocados are a great source of vitamins and nutrients that have been shown to naturally boost your mood as well as block certain fats. Avocados are even great as a dessert food and better for you than that cupcake or ice cream to satisfy that craving for sweets.
  2. Cashews are high in zinc, which has been shown to lower depression and anxiety. They are high in protein too, helping keep you feeling full longer. It’s easy to grab a handful when you get stressed and snack on them instead. They are perfect to eat by themselves or add to a salad or main dish.
  3. Oranges are a great souce of vitamin C that helps you feel energetic and the sweetness can help fight off sugar cravings. Since oranges are such grab-and-go snacks, they are perfect to reach for whenever stress makes you want something sweet.
  4. Garlic is great for warding off illness and boosting our immune system. Because stress weakens our immunity, eating plenty of garlic in your diet can help keep your immune system strong.
  5. Broccoli is loaded with folic acid which has been directly linked with stress reduction. While it’s not an instant treatment for stress, eating plenty of garlic regularly can help lower your stress level.
  6. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants that help lower stress. Just be sure to make it dark chocolate and don’t overdo it!
  7. Salmon is loaded with omega-3s that help with brain function. Improved brain function can help you deal with stress more effectively.
  8. Water is good for so many things! Drinking a cold glass of water and taking a brisk walk for a few minutes is a great way to get those endorphins going and easy your stress.

 

Share Button

NEED HELP MANAGING YOUR TYPE 2 DIABETES?
HERE ARE SOME TIPS

  1. Get your doctor’s OK. Let them know what you want to do. They can make sure you’re ready for it. They’ll also check to see if you need to change your meals, insulin, or diabetes medicines. Your doctor can also let you know if the time of day you exercise matters.
  2. Check your blood sugar. Ask your doctor if you should check it before exercise. If you plan to work out for more than an hour, check your blood sugar levels regularly during your workout, so you’ll know if you need a snack. Check your blood sugar after every workout, so that you can adjust if needed.
  3. Carry carbs. Always keep a small carbohydrate snack, like fruit or a fruit drink, on hand in case your blood sugar gets low.
  4. Ease into it. If you’re not active now, start with 10 minutes of exercise at a time. Gradually work up to 30 minutes a day.
  5. Strength train at least twice a week. It can improve blood sugar control. You can lift weights or work with resistance bands. Or you can do moves like push-ups, lunges, and squats, which use your own body weight.
  6. Make it a habit. Exercise, eat, and take your medicines at the same time each day to prevent low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia.
  7. Go public. Work out with someone who knows you have diabetes and knows what to do if your blood sugar gets too low. It’s more fun, too. Also wear a medical identification tag, or carry a card that says you have diabetes, just in case.
  8. Be good to your feet. Wear athletic shoes that are in good shape and are the right type for your activity. For instance, don’t jog in tennis shoes, because your foot needs a different type of support when you run. Check and clean your feet daily. Let your doctor know if you notice any new foot problems.
  9. Hydrate. Drink water before, during, and after exercise.
  10. Stop if something suddenly hurts. If your muscles are mildly sore, that’s normal. Sudden pain isn’t. You’re not likely to get injured unless you do too much, too soon.

http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/exercise-guidelines

Share Button

To understand diabetes, you need to know what it is, what causes it, the types of diabetes, the effects of having diabetes, who is most at risk of developing diabetes, and that the YMCA can help prevent you from getting diabetes. Read on for the easy to understand answers.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.

Sometimes people call diabetes “a touch of sugar” or “borderline diabetes.” These terms suggest that someone doesn’t really have diabetes or has a less serious case, but every case of diabetes is serious.

Read the full article with additional information.

What health problems can people with diabetes develop?

Over time, high blood glucose leads to problems such as:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • kidney disease
  • eye problems
  • dental disease
  • nerve damage
  • foot problems

What are the different types of diabetes?

The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

Type 2 diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes.

Other types of diabetes

Less common types include monogenic diabetes, which is an inherited form of diabetes, and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.

Who is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes?

You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight. Physical inactivity, race, and certain health problems such as high blood pressure also affect your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant. Learn more about risk factors for type 2 diabetes.


Healthy activity and exercise are known to reduce the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. The YMCA is a great place to get the healthy activity and also support to keep going. Review our questionnaire to see if you are prediabetic to discover if you could benefit from our Diabetes Prevention Program.

Share Button

Your Search for the Perfect Gift Ends Here

Are you feeling the pressure to give the perfect gift this holiday season? Stop stressing. We have the solution: Give a tribute gift to honor someone who values the work we do at The Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA.

A tribute gift will make your loved one feel special because you are celebrating and supporting a cause that’s important in his or her life. It’s also an extremely easy gift to give—no need to visit a crowded shopping mall and no stressing over whether your gift is the right size or if it’ll arrive in time. An added bonus: Tribute gifts are affordable. You choose how much you can spend.

Charitable gifts are a good idea for a variety of situations. Consider the following:

  • Give a gift to The Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA in memory of a loved one. A memorial gift is a meaningful way to include a special person who is no longer here in your holiday celebrations.
  • Tell your friends and family members to donate to The Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA in YOUR honor. You aren’t the only one who has a hard time with holiday shopping!

To learn more about giving a gift that your loved ones will truly appreciate this holiday season, contact Danny Carroll at 757.223.7925 ext 203 or dcarroll@peninsulaymca.org today.

Celebrate the spirit of the season

Share Button

yConnect

At the YMCA, supportive community is a big part of healthy living. Download the YMCA’s new app, yConnect, and expand your journey to a healthier, more connected lifestyle. yConnect is a comprehensive digital community experience that opens up opportunities for you to live healthy, receive and give support, obtain updates, and connect with other Y members and groups. Whether you do it to keep up with your fitness goals, stay up to date on your children’s programs, or meet with one of your groups for a walk, jog, or a cup of coffee; we’ll help connect you and keep you connected within the Y’s friendly community.

As a member with yConnect, you can easily use your cell phone to:

Check in faster. Just call up the app, scan your bar-code, and enter.

Access schedules. Quickly find times for group fitness classes, the pool and the gymnasium any day of the week.

Simplify fitness tracking. Sync wearables through your Fitbit, Apple Health, and Google Fit.

Improve health. Set goals, measure milestones and view, update and track the progress of your body metrics. You can also track your nutrition intake, organize meal plans and view your food diary.

Celebrate progress. View your fitness points, badges, awards, active challenges and achievements.

Experience stronger connections in your Y Community. Read updates from your branch, take part in discussion groups, join Y fitness challenges, and integrate with your healthy living community!

Connect with a Fitness Coach. See workout plans, search example exercise videos, track completed activities and add new ones!

Visit My Y. Access your Y’s information: opening hours and available facilities.

Our App is FREE for all of our Members! 

Must have valid Email on file at the Y. Members receive an activation email.

Members also have access to all features from a desktop computer.

Visit your local YMCA Welcome Center for more information.

Share Button

In the past, people being treated for a chronic illness (an illness a person may live with for a long time, like cancer or diabetes) were often told by their doctor to rest and reduce their physical activity. This is good advice if movement causes pain, rapid heart rate, or shortness of breath. But newer research has shown that exercise is not only safe and possible during cancer treatment, but it can improve how well you function physically and your quality of life.

Too much rest can lead to loss of body function, muscle weakness, and reduced range of motion. So today, many cancer care teams are urging their patients to be as physically active as possible during cancer treatment. Many people are learning about the advantages of being physically active after treatment, too.

Ways regular exercise may help you during cancer treatment:

  • Keep or improve your physical abilities (how well you can use your body to do things)
  • Improve balance, lower risk of falls and broken bones
  • Keep muscles from wasting due to inactivity
  • Lower the risk of heart disease
  • Lessen the risk of osteoporosis (weak bones that are more likely to break)
  • Improve blood flow to your legs and lower the risk of blood clots
  • Make you less dependent on others for help with normal activities of daily living
  • Improve your self-esteem
  • Lower the risk of being anxious and depressed
  • Lessen nausea
  • Improve your ability to keep social contacts
  • Lessen symptoms of tiredness (fatigue)
  • Help you control your weight
  • Improve your quality of life

We still don’t know a lot about how exercise and physical activity affect your recovery from cancer, or their effects on the immune system. But regular moderate exercise has been found to have health benefits for the person with cancer.

Goals of an exercise program

During treatment

There are many reasons for being physically active during cancer treatment, but each person’s exercise program should be based on what’s safe and what works best for them. It should also be something you like doing. Your exercise plan should take into account any exercise program you already follow, what you can do now, and any physical problems or limits you have.

Certain things affect your ability to exercise, for instance:

  • The type and stage of cancer you have
  • Your cancer treatment
  • Your stamina (endurance), strength, and fitness level

If you exercised before treatment, you might need to exercise less than usual or at a lower intensity during treatment. The goal is to stay as active and fit as possible. People who were very sedentary (inactive) before cancer treatment may need to start with short, low-intensity activity, such as short slow walks. For older people, those with cancer that has spread to the bones or osteoporosis (bone thinning), or problems like arthritis or peripheral neuropathy (numbness in hands or feet), safety and balance are important to reduce the risk of falls and injuries. They may need a caregiver or health professional with them during exercise.

Some people can safely begin or maintain their own exercise program, but many will have better results with the help of an exercise specialist, physical therapist, or exercise physiologist. Be sure to get your doctor’s OK first, and be sure that the person working with you knows about your cancer diagnosis and any limitations you have. These specially trained professionals can help you find the type of exercise that’s right and safe for you. They can also help you figure out how often and how long you should exercise.

Whether you’re just starting exercise or continuing it, your doctor should have input on tailoring an exercise program to meet your interests and needs. Keep your cancer team informed on how you’re doing in regards to your activity level and exercise throughout your treatment.

After treatment

When you are recovering from treatment

Many side effects get better within a few weeks after cancer treatment ends, but some can last much longer or even emerge later. Most people are able to slowly increase exercise time and intensity. What may be a low- or moderate-intensity activity for a healthy person may seem like a high-intensity activity for some cancer survivors. Keep in mind that moderate exercise is defined as activity that takes as much effort as a brisk walk.

When you are living disease-free or with stable disease

During this phase, physical activity is important to your overall health and quality of life. It may even help some people live longer. There’s some evidence that getting to and staying at a healthy weight, eating right, and being physically active may help reduce the risk of a second cancer as well as other serious chronic diseases. More research is needed to be sure about these possible benefits.

The American Cancer Society recommends that cancer survivors take these actions:

  • Take part in regular physical activity.
  • Avoid inactivity and return to normal daily activities as soon as possible after diagnosis.
  • Aim to exercise at least 150 minutes per week.
  • Include strength training exercises at least 2 days per week.

A growing number of studies have looked at the impact of physical activity on cancer recurrence and long-term survival. (Cancer recurrence is cancer that comes back after treatment.) Exercise has been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, body composition, fatigue, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, happiness, and several quality of life factors in cancer survivors. At least 20 studies of people with breast, colorectal, prostate, and ovarian cancer have suggested that physically active cancer survivors have a lower risk of cancer recurrence and improved survival compared with those who are inactive. Randomized clinical trials are still needed to better define the impact of exercise on such outcomes.

Those who are overweight or obese after treatment should limit high-calorie foods and drinks, and increase physical activity to promote weight loss. Those who have been treated for digestive or lung cancers may be underweight. They may need to increase their body weight to a healthier range, but exercise and nutrition are still important. Both groups should emphasize vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. It’s well known that obesity is linked with a higher risk of developing some cancers. It’s also linked with breast cancer recurrence, and it might be related to the recurrence of other types of cancer, too. Exercise can help you get to and stay at a healthy weight.

Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. This is especially important if your treatments can affect your lungs (such as the chemo drug bleomycin or radiation to the chest), your heart (such as the chemo drugs doxorubicin or epirubicin), or if you are at risk for lung or heart disease. Be sure you understand what you can and can’t do.

Your cancer care team will check your blood counts during your treatment. Ask them about your results, and if it’s OK for you to exercise.


This is an excerpt from an article on the American Cancer Society.

The Y offers emotional support and physical exercise for those with cancer and their caregivers. Learn more…

 

Share Button

REMEMBER TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. July 2, 2015

If you’re a caregiver for a person who is going through cancer treatment, you’re probably giving your all to them as they endure it.

It’s so essential for the person living with cancer to take the time to heal their body and recover. However, if you’re the caregiver, it’s also important to take care of yourself.

Taking care of yourself includes nurturing both your mind and body. It may include reconnecting with what brings you energy, happiness and joy. The following are a few ideas to help you reconnect and start your self-care plan:

  1. Be grateful and appreciate what you have
  2. Take time every day to smile and laugh
  3. Enjoy 5-10 minutes to relax, breathe deeply and just be alone
  4. Eat well to nourish your body
  5. Read a good book
  6. Enjoy nature
  7. Set priorities and make a plan
  8. Listen to music
  9. Invest time and energy in things you value
  10. Learn about something new
  11. Trust yourself
  12.  Connect with your spiritual self
  13. Ask for help whenever you need it
  14. Communicate in an open and honest way
  15. Get plenty of sleep

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/expert-blog/cancer-caregiver-take-care-of-yourself/bgp-20146142/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=living-with-cancer

Another great source for support, information, and ideas is AARP/Caregivers.

The Y offers support for those with cancer and cancer caregivers. Learn more…

Share Button
Do You Have a Question?

Our mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.