31Jan

    Dealing with Depression

    Depression is bound to lower your emotional and physical energy levels. While it can definitely feel like overcoming depression is close to impossible, it’s not. Even though you may not feel it now, you still have some control. Here are a some self-help tips you can use to overcome depression.

    Cultivate Supportive Relationships

    Support will go a long way when it comes to dealing with depression. Being alone can actually worsen depression. You need to surround yourself with people who will provide positivity, hope, and light in your life. Naturally, these relationships need to be emotionally stable; keeping close contact with toxic dynamics will also worsen depression.

    Keep in mind that reaching out for support and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. The moment that thought comes into your head, remind yourself that that is just the depression talking. Depression is a natural thing to experience. Many of us go through it at some point in our lifetime.

    So turn to your loved ones and give the opportunity to build a solid support system. Some of the people you may consider contacting are friends, family members, and depression support groups. You can also consider getting involved in miscellaneous social activities. While you won’t necessarily dive into personal conversations during these events, you can still run into people who can lighten your mood.

    positivity

    Get Moving

    Depression can make it really hard for someone to get out of bed, but making the effort to do it will totally be worth it. Many studies show that physical activity can act as an antidepressant as increases mood-enhancing neurotransmitters and endorphins. It also reduces stress and relieves muscle tension. In other words, physical activity will increase your energy levels and decrease your feelings of fatigue. Some activities you may consider are: going for a walk (if you have a pet this can be even easier to accomplish), going for a jog, going to the gym, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and even better, finding an exercising partner who can keep you motivated.

    Challenge Negative Thinking

    Depression will make you look at everything from a negative point of view. This includes the way you see yourself, the way you perceive others around you, and the way you see your future. Forcing yourself to “think positive” or “think happy thoughts” won’t do the trick. Breaking free from negative thinking is no easy task, perhaps one of the hardest when battling depression.

    Instead shifting from one end of the spectrum to the other, consider replacing those negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts. For example, allow yourself to be less than perfect. Instead of damning yourself for not fulfilling your own expectations, cut yourself some slack. Allow yourself to realize that you are not perfect, and that’s okay. Another thing you can try is when you catch yourself obsessing over something you weren’t able to, try to think outside yourself.

    book on the grass

    Ask yourself what would you say to someone who is going through what you’re going through. Would you be that tough on them? Would everything be so gloomy when you look at it from outside? Lastly, keep a “negative thoughts log.” Sometimes, when you are able to externalize your looming internal thoughts, you are able to put things into perspective. When you’re in a good mood, re-evaluate those recorded thoughts on the log, and see if there was a better, more healthier way of coping with the issue.

    When dealing with depression, you will have your good days and you will have your bad days – and that’s totally okay. Just keep in mind that coping with depression takes time, but you can and you will make it.

    15Oct

    Senior Healthy Living Classes Encourage Not Sitting Down

    YMCA Senior Fit Classes

    YMCA Instructor, Nancy Johnson, advises her seniors to “never sit down” if they want to practice best health.

    The Stateline Family YMCA offers a variety of senior fitness classes, for a variety of fitness levels. Their Senior Fit class accommodates more active seniors, requiring a fair share of standing during the various exercises. Alternatively, the Silver Sneakers class is tailored to those seniors that wish to stay active, yet struggle to maintain overt exercises for extended periods of time; most or all of the exercises are completed from within a chair. The YMCA has such a large senior population in its membership, they have decided to dedicate October to celebrating said senior members, as they host Senior Appreciation Month. During the event, the staff will work with seniors to develop healthy lifestyles. In the process, the employees will use social media to promote their message of senior fitness and honor several of their active members.

    According to an article recently completed by Beloit Daily News, Nancy Johnson instructs one such class that consists of some of the YMCA’s regular senior members. Johnson is a fighter in her own right, having survived breast cancer, which has now been in remission for eleven years. In addition to this, Johnson is a recipient of open-heart surgery. The combination of these two experiences equips Johnson perfectly as the instructor of the class. Her motto, which results directly from her struggles, is to “never sit down.” To Johnson, this motto is the best means of living a healthy lifestyle and, as a result, she applies this belief to every single class she instructs with her seniors.

    The class, therefore, relies on quite a bit of movement. The instructional period starts with some low-key aerobics walking, before carrying on to more intensive practices, such as weight training, balance exercises, stretching, jumping jacks and other various practices in leg work. Through her dedication, Johnson has helped the class grow significantly; in the ten years she has been teaching it, the class has grown from eight participants to over forty students, all by way of word of mouth.

    02Jul

    Vets Who Fence Together, Grow Together

    Veterans On Guard provides a bonding experience as well as a healthy outlet to work through frustrations.

    Veterans On Guard provides a bonding experience as well as a healthy outlet to work through frustrations.

    Veterans returning from service often struggle to readjust to the life of a civilian.  However, finding a way to bond with fellow veterans has been proven to be a successful technique of reacquainting with everyday life; veterans going through the same struggle can work together to ease into normality.  Knowing this, Liz Cross set out to create a free program that would allow veterans to meet and bond, while receiving a fair bit of exercise to help work through the frustrations of previous experiences.

    According to an article recently completed by ABC News, when designing this program, only one sport came to mind that could meet all of her requirements.  Fencing, which relies heavily on a combination physical activity and mental agility, would be the perfect solution for struggling veterans and active duty members.  To her, the sport’s emphasis on strategy, focus, determination and a strong honor code just naturally meshed well with the existing traits of those who serve; in essence, to Cross, the sport was a sort of natural extension on a veteran’s abilities.

    The group she formed, often referred to as Veterans On Guard or The Fencers Club, began last fall and now holds twenty veterans and active duty members.  Participants are of all ages and come from a variety of wars and branches of the military.  They meet twice a week to study the epee style of fencing.  In a typical session, participants engage in conditioning, the study of footwork and techniques, as well as lunges, jumps and arm work.  Cross’s goal with the group was to engage disabled and able-bodied service members to integrate into the broader community, through a variety of experiences, both involving in the actual study of fencing, as well as through the sharing of stories and knowledge from their time in the service.

    Most participating veterans, such as Alberto Cruz, first heard of the program through the VA of New York Harbor’s Healthcare System.  Cruz, a United States Air Force veteran, has found the club to be very beneficial; focusing on fencing allows for a return to something familiar—discipline.  Through the community of veterans, he has also learned so many new things, from vets that served in a variety of different battlefields and wars; it has been a very positive means of getting out frustration and helping others at the same time.