Blog en October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month <span>October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month</span> <div class="field-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-09/blog-100121-october-is-national-bullying-prevention-awareness-month-tn.jpg" width="185" height="120" alt="October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/61" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jeffrey.needham</span></span> <span>Fri, 10/01/2021 - 00:01</span> <img src="" width="230" height="153" alt="October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /><h3>With a mission to enable healthy spirit, mind and body for all, the YMCA maintains an ongoing commitment to preventing bullying.</h3> <p>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines bullying as, “any unwanted aggressive behavior by another individual or group that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance, and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated.” Common types of bullying include rumors or lies; name calling, insults or teasing; hitting, shoving or tripping; exclusion and property damage.</p> <p><a href=""></a> cites that:</p> <ul><li>All young people are impacted by bullying, whether they are bullied, bully others, or witness bullying.</li> <li>20% of kids ages 12-18 experience being bullied.</li> <li>Nearly 15% of high school students are bullied online.</li> </ul><p>Although 19% of students in grades 9-12 report being bullied at school, bullying also takes place in sports and extracurricular programs. This is why the YMCA prepares program leaders with trainings, workshops and the emotional intelligence to support youth. Y programs for all ages:</p> <p><strong>Have clear processes for resolving conflict</strong></p> <p>Kate Whitby, Senior Director of YMCA Neighborhood Centers explains the process used to address bullying in the <a href="">Neighborhood Centers</a>. “The first thing we do is to call it out. If you make a public mistake, you make a public apology. Although teens often want minimize bullying as ‘just joking,’ we do not sweep reconciliation under the rug.” </p> <p>Kate says the next step is to counteract bullying. “Saying sorry isn’t the same as reconciliation. We might also ask the initiator to think of three positives to share about the person they bullied.” This protocol helps young people acknowledge unacceptable behavior, take accountability, undo the harm and even learn how to accept compliments.</p> <p>When a cyber bullying incident occurs at a Neighborhood Center, it’s more often between a participant and an external party, so Kate shares that program leaders shift focus to the person being bullied. “We’ll talk about their feelings, what they would like to do and what changes they might want to make in how they relate to the cyber bully.” Again, she says it can be a challenge for young people to want to ignore it, but she stressed the importance of peeling back layers to help the young person to instead address it.</p> <p>Maddie Hodapp, Youth Support Program Manager for <a href="">Youth &amp; Family Services</a> says that participants in Youth Leadership Council and Youth Advisory Boards are asked to create their own code of conduct. “When young people create and agree to their code of conduct, it gives them ownership and autonomy—versus being told what to do.”</p> <p><strong>Role model core values and talk about the Y’s mission</strong></p> <p>Participants in Y programs learn about and practice values that include <a href="">caring, honest, respect, responsibility and equity</a>. Kate says that all program leaders role model each of these values in interactions with families at Neighborhood Centers. </p> <p>Maddie echoes this concept. “I work to ensure that role modeling is reflective of how I want to be treated. We focus on intentional listening and creating a culture that treats all youth with care. We walk along with them and ask for their permission to support them.”</p> <p><strong>Include activities designed to help participants think about things from different points of view</strong></p> <p>Maddie says that highlighting youth voices in Youth &amp; Family Services programs is an ultimate embodiment of respect. “Giving youth a voice at the table, and asking them what success looks like in their eyes requires us to have a willingness to change, and adjust to individuals.”</p> <p>She shares that especially when young people can bond over passions and share in the advancement of policy change, youth are really welcoming to other opinions.</p> <p><a href="">Find more tips from the Y on bullying prevention</a>.</p> Fri, 01 Oct 2021 05:01:00 +0000 jeffrey.needham 4151907 at Falling doesn’t need to be in your future <span>Falling doesn’t need to be in your future</span> <div class="field-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-08/blog-090121-falling-doesnt-need-to-be-in-your-future-tn.jpg" width="185" height="120" alt="Falling doesn’t need to be in your future" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/61" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jeffrey.needham</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/01/2021 - 00:01</span> <img src="" width="230" height="153" alt="Falling doesn’t need to be in your future" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /><h3>Find out how you can reduce the risk of landing fall-related injury</h3> <p>The start of the fall equinox in September is a good reminder to consider your risk of falling, and learn more about steps you can take to prevent a fall. </p> <p>According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year. These falls result in more than 3 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations.  </p> <p>The fact is, falling does not need to be a normal part of the aging process. Falls can be caused by many things that are common as we age, including:</p> <ul><li>Vision and/or hearing loss</li> <li>Slower reflexes</li> <li>Muscle weakness</li> <li>Chronic health conditions like diabetes</li> <li>Side effects from medications</li> </ul><p>Regardless of age, there are things you can do to help make yourself (and your loved ones) safer. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) suggests these tips to prevent a fall:</p> <p><strong>Be intentional about functional fitness</strong></p> <p>Jennifer Menk, the Y’s Senior Director of Health &amp; Wellbeing stresses the importance of functional fitness, “Exercises that mimic daily life, and enable people to move well and pain free.” Jennifer says that preventatively moving your body through all planes of motion and ranges of motion will help you avoid unnecessary muscle pulls and the like. She suggests that if you do a daily walk, try to change up the terrain so that your body works to walk on gravel, sidewalks, and inclines.</p> <p>For some, “functional fitness” can conjure up images of intense exercise, however, Robin Hedrick, Director of Community Health at the Y  says, “Functional fitness can be small, simple steps taken each day.” Consider the things you do, and want to keep doing. For example:</p> <ul><li>Using the stairs in your home (if you have them)</li> <li>Carrying groceries and putting them away</li> <li>Getting out of bed and off the couch</li> <li>Getting down to the ground and back up again—especially if you have a hobby like gardening</li> </ul><p>In addition to regular physical activity, consider intentionally setting aside time to support your functional fitness by focusing on <a href="">core strength</a>, stability, balance and range of motion.</p> <p><strong>Find a good balance and exercise program</strong></p> <p>Some think that limiting activity is one way to reduce the risk of falling. However, this is a myth—staying physically active is one of the best things you can do to limit the risk of falling. With regular physical activity, be mindful of changing things up to help keep your body engaged and work toward using your whole body. The <a href="">benefits of regular physical activity</a> are bountiful, and especially as it relates to preventing falls, it helps quite a bit with joint stability and maintaining muscular strength.</p> <p>For Y members, you can stop in at your local YMCA for a free <a href="">fitness assessment</a> and/or balance assessment to help you ensure you’re engaging in the physical activities that will support your efforts in preventing a fall. You might also try a Group Exercise class that helps build muscle, or <a href="">Tai Chi, Pilates and Yoga</a> for better balance.</p> <p><strong>Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist</strong></p> <p>Especially when starting a new medication, or changing medication doses it is important to understand how the side effects can potentially increase your risk of falling. For example, dizziness and drowsiness are common side effects that are often linked to falls.</p> <p><strong>Get your vision and hearing checked annually</strong></p> <p>Aging is associated with some forms of vision loss, which can increase the risk of falling and injury. People with vision problems are more than twice as likely to fall as those without visual impairment.</p> <p><strong>Make your living environment safe</strong></p> <p>Remove tripping hazards—think clutter and throw rugs, increase lighting, add railings to both sides of stairs and install grab bars in key areas like inside the shower and next to the toilet. While inside, it’s a good idea to wear supportive shoes or slippers with non-slip soles. Outdoors, have sand or salt spread on icy areas during the winter.</p> <p><strong>Ask your health care provider for an assessment of your risk of falling</strong></p> <p>If you need help feeling steady when you walk, your health care provider might recommend using an assistive device like a cane or walker. To give yourself a quick idea on your potential risk, <a href="">try this NCOA online tool</a> or get the <a href="">CDC’s printable checklist</a>.</p> Wed, 01 Sep 2021 05:01:00 +0000 jeffrey.needham 4117894 at (Re)committing to self-care <span>(Re)committing to self-care</span> <div class="field-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-07/blog-080721-recommitting-to-sel-care-tn.jpg" width="185" height="120" alt="(Re)committing to self-care" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/61" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jeffrey.needham</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/29/2021 - 12:47</span> <h3>How to set yourself up for success, whether returning to wellbeing or just starting out</h3> <img src="" width="230" height="151" alt="(Re)committing to self-care" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /><p><strong>What wellbeing is all about</strong></p> <p>Caring for your whole self—mind, body, spirit, community and environment—means engaging in practices designed to help you reach your full potential. <a href="">Wellbeing</a> goes beyond exercise and nutrition.</p> <p>To help give the concept of “wellbeing” more shape, think of practices such as: journaling, sleep, mindfulness practices, spending time in nature, advocating your needs, fostering meaningful relationships, creating structure to decrease anxiety and stress, and carving out space for creativity.</p> <p>While self-care sounds appealing to most, sometimes it takes a backseat when faced with the demands of daily life. Practicing self-care can be a challenge because:</p> <ul><li>There aren’t enough hours in the day</li> <li>There are a lot of changes happening in my life</li> <li>I can’t get motivated</li> <li>I don’t have the financial resources</li> <li>I don’t know where to start</li> </ul><p>You’re not alone if you’ve struggled making time to care for yourself. Why not make today the day you commit to <a href="">changes that benefit your wellbeing</a>?</p> <p>To help you overcome barriers that have historically made self-care a challenge, Paula Jimenez, Manager of Integrative Health and Wellbeing for YMCA of the North suggests working with a <a href="">health and wellbeing coach</a>—here’s why …</p> <p><strong>What is a health and wellbeing coach? How can they help?</strong></p> <p>At the Y, a coach is an expert in behavior change that serves as a connector and a guide for your wellbeing. A certified health and wellbeing coach can help:</p> <ul><li>Provide direction and support for long-lasting behavior change</li> <li>You improve your overall wellbeing and self-awareness</li> <li>With day-to-day support in setting boundaries (with work, in relationships, etc.)</li> <li>You reconnect to yourself</li> <li>Navigate your health journey following a new diagnosis from a doctor, or in dealing with symptoms of a chronic illness</li> <li>You find what brings you joy, passion and fulfillment in life</li> <li>Refer you to other services that might support your goals—such as nutrition, massage, Personal Training and more</li> </ul><p>Using a whole-person approach often means integrating a variety of tools and techniques that will help. Paula says, “By looking at every dimension of a person, a health and wellbeing coach can create lasting change and balance, rather than looking at only one dimension of a person (for example, fitness).” The key to health and wellbeing coaching is focusing on your unique needs and goals—what does wellbeing mean to you?</p> <p><strong>It’s free to get started</strong></p> <p>If you’re ready to get started with coaching, or are just interested in learning more, contact <a href="">George Wellbeing</a> to schedule a free, 20-minute discovery session. (Note: George Wellbeing is currently open by appointment only.) During a virtual discovery session, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about what coaching includes. </p> <p>Following a discovery session, the next step is a Foundation Session where you will identify your goals, do a detailed review of your self-care and health history, and select a number of sessions to work with a coach and/or coaching group. Subsequent sessions can be done in-person and/or virtually. <a href="">Need-based scholarships</a> are also available.</p> Thu, 29 Jul 2021 17:47:32 +0000 jeffrey.needham 4101181 at Keeping connections during COVID-19 <span>Keeping connections during COVID-19</span> <div class="field-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-12/blog-011421-keeping-connections-during-covid-19-tn.jpg" width="185" height="120" alt="Keeping connections during COVID-19" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/61" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jeffrey.needham</span></span> <span>Thu, 01/14/2021 - 00:00</span> <img src="" width="230" height="153" alt="Keeping connections during COVID-19" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /><h3>Staying active mentally, physically and emotionally is important for feeling your best—especially when it’s not possible to get out and see people or complete usual activities.</h3> <p>Here are four ideas to help maintain connections with your friends and family during COVID-19:</p> <p><strong>1. Try new technology</strong></p> <p>Video calling saw a huge rise in 2020 as more people were physically away from work, family and friends. <a href="">Learn how to use Zoom</a> video calling with this short video. Once you have <a href="">Zoom</a> or another option like <a href="">Skype</a> or <a href="">WhatsApp</a>, try getting a small group together for a video call. </p> <p><strong>2. Vacation virtually</strong></p> <p>Consider inviting a friend to take a virtual vacation. You could each complete the online trip and then schedule a video call to discuss—instead of a book club, it’s a trip club! You can find lots of options by doing an online search for “virtual vacations,” or try one of these options:</p> <ul><li>Explore a virtual park with all kinds of online features from the <a href="">National Park Service</a>.</li> <li>Virtually stroll through the exhibits at the <a href="">National Museum of Natural History</a>.</li> <li>Take a multimedia tour to discover <a href="">Florence, Italy</a>.</li> <li><a href="">Immerse yourself in India</a> with suggested films to watch, music to listen to, food to make and video guides.</li> </ul><p><strong>3. Join an online class or activity</strong></p> <p>The YMCA is offering a variety of online options—from social opportunities to workouts to educational seminars. You’ll have an opportunity to interact online with your fellow attendees. Explore the possibilities with <a href="">ForeverWell</a> events in the online <a href="">Activity Finder</a>.</p> <p><strong>4. Plan a socially distanced outdoor activity</strong></p> <p>According to <a href="">Mayo Clinic</a>, an outdoor activity that allows you to stay at least six feet away from a friend is considered low risk. Whether you plan a walk or cross-country skiing, get prepared for your next <a href="">outdoor adventure</a>.</p> Thu, 14 Jan 2021 06:00:00 +0000 jeffrey.needham 2876840 at Set the stage for wellbeing in 2021 <span>Set the stage for wellbeing in 2021</span> <div class="field-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-12/blog-010721-set-the-stage-for-wellbeing-in-2021-tn.jpg" width="185" height="120" alt="Set the stage for wellbeing in 2021" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/61" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jeffrey.needham</span></span> <span>Thu, 01/07/2021 - 00:00</span> <img src="" width="230" height="154" alt="Set the stage for wellbeing in 2021" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /><h3>Exercise, nutrition and meditation all contribute to wellbeing—here’s how to get started.</h3> <p>The Y thinks of “wellbeing” as the state of practicing one’s full potential for the capacity of life, mind-body-sprit-community and environment. Wellbeing requires a multi-pronged approach that ideally includes exercise, nutrition and meditation. Each element is interconnected—and they impact each other.</p> <p>As you look ahead, here are some ideas to help you set the stage for a year of wellbeing:</p> <p><strong>Exercise</strong></p> <p>In addition to feeling energized and positive about your progress, regular physical activity is shown to improve overall health and make a positive impact on aging. Need reasons to try this <a href="">30-minute full-body workout</a>?</p> <p>Ongoing exercise can help:</p> <ul><li>Control weight</li> <li>Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and some cancers</li> <li>Strengthen bones and muscles</li> <li>Improve mental health and mood</li> <li>Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls</li> <li>Increase your chances of living longer</li> </ul><p>Exercise can influence how your quickly your body grows older. For example, with age:</p> <ul><li>Resting heart rate increases—exercise can help decrease resting heart rate.</li> <li>The speed at which intestines empty decreases—exercise can help increase speed.</li> <li>Metabolic rate decreases—exercise can help increase metabolism.</li> <li>Body fat increases—exercise can help decrease body fat.</li> <li>The risk of depression increases—exercise can help decrease this risk.</li> </ul><p><strong>Nutrition</strong></p> <p>Good nutrition impacts so much more than weight. <a href="">Jennifer Barnes</a>, a licensed nutritionist with <a href="">George Wellbeing</a> at the <a href="">Dayton at Gaviidae YMCA</a> says proper nutrition can have a positive impact on mood, blood pressure, cholesterol, digestive function, sleep and even <a href="">stress</a>.</p> <p>When working with people on creating a personalized nutrition plan, Jennifer can help uncover underlying causes of symptoms by thoroughly considering an individual’s health history. She often explains how blood sugar impacts cravings, mood, sleep and the ability to lose weight.</p> <p>Focusing on eating foods that support your body can help achieve your health goas, alleviate common health symptoms and even reduce the need for medication. For example, if <a href="">quality sleep</a> is a concern, incorporating foods that support mineral and b-vitamin status can help. Foods such as leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds and salmon build nutrients, keep your energy balanced during the day, and maintain healthy sleep cycles at night.</p> <p>Whether you’re looking for a refresh, or are managing a chronic illness, <a href="">working with a nutritionist</a> can help you create the lasting changes you hope to make in your life. You can work with a George Wellbeing nutritionist virtually or in person.</p> <p><strong>Mindfulness and meditation</strong></p> <p>Mindfulness is also an important component of overall wellbeing. It can even improve physical health and mental health. So, what is “mindfulness”? It is a certain way of paying attention, and bringing awareness to whatever is happening in the moment. Mindfulness means:</p> <ul><li>Having intention to be attentive</li> <li>Being open to the idea of being present and honest with yourself</li> <li>Observing what’s happening, rather than trying to control what’s happening</li> </ul><p>Meditation is one of the ways you can train yourself to work toward mindfulness. As the new year ramps up, try these ideas to start or expand your mindfulness practice:</p> <ul><li>Everyone breathes, so try focusing on the sensation of breath—whether you’re working or working out.</li> <li>Do a <a href="">quick scan of your body</a>, starting with your feet and working your way up. How do you feel right now?</li> <li>While walking, try to appreciate where you are, rather than where you’re trying to go. What colors, smells and sounds do you experience?</li> </ul><p>The Y is currently offering virtual meditation and mindfulness classes on <a href="">Facebook Live</a>.</p> Thu, 07 Jan 2021 06:00:00 +0000 jeffrey.needham 2876754 at Get a glimpse into an overnight camper’s experience <span>Get a glimpse into an overnight camper’s experience</span> <div class="field-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-12/blog-121520-get-a-glimpse-into-an-overnight-campers-experience-tn.jpg" width="185" height="120" alt="Get a glimpse into an overnight camper’s experience" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/61" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jeffrey.needham</span></span> <span>Tue, 12/15/2020 - 10:05</span> <img src="" width="230" height="153" alt="Get a glimpse into an overnight camper’s experience" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /><h3>Days and evenings are filled with fun at each of the YMCA’s four overnight camp locations.</h3> <p>Whether you loved summer camp as a child, are exploring your child’s <a href="">readiness for overnight camp</a>, or are looking to create a magical experience for your child this summer—YMCA of the North’s four <a href="">overnight camps</a> are the perfect place to try new things and make lasting friendships. Registration is now open for the summer 2021 overnight camp season.</p> <p>Lauren Ott, Program Director at <a href="">Camp Icaghowan</a> and Jana Graczyk, Program Director at <a href="">Camp Warren</a> provide a closer look at what an overnight camper’s experience during traditional camp typically includes:</p> <p><strong>Traditional camp activities</strong></p> <p>During the summer, camps offer both traditional and specialty tracks. While specialty camps allow participants to spend more time on a favorite activity (like horse riding) or a wilderness trip/adventure, all campers have the opportunity to participate in classic camp activities like:</p> <ul><li>All-camp games</li> <li>Arts and crafts</li> <li>Boating (canoe, kayak, paddleboard)</li> <li>Campfires</li> <li>Climbing</li> <li>Nature</li> <li>Swimming</li> <li>Talent shows and skits</li> <li>Target sports</li> </ul><p>Lauren says, “Everyone has the opportunity to try new things at camp—regardless of their age.” Jana elaborates, “There is a lot of structure to the day, but autonomy is built into the schedule—kids have a lot of choices.”</p> <p><strong>General structure for the day</strong></p> <p>Although each camp has unique features and personality, all four locations include the same general components of spending time with their cabin group (by age), enjoying family-style meals, taking time for reflection and enjoying activities.</p> <p>The flow of the day goes something like this:</p> <ul><li>Wake up with optional morning activities such as “polar bears”</li> <li>Flag raising / morning ceremony</li> <li>Breakfast</li> <li>Community gathering</li> <li>Break into smaller groups for activities</li> <li>Lunch</li> <li>Rest hour</li> <li>Break into smaller groups for activities</li> <li>Dinner</li> <li>All-camp activity</li> <li>Evening reflection with cabin group</li> <li>Lights out</li> </ul><p>For more detail, check out a <a href="">sample schedule from Camp Icaghowan</a>.</p> <p><strong>Supervision at camp</strong></p> <p>Jana and Lauren often get questions about this, and share there is always an adult—an individual 18 years or older and having completed a background check—around. The ratio for adults to campers is determined by activity—whether campers are on land or in the water. Throughout the day and during the night, age-based cabin groups include trained counselors.</p> <p><strong>The impact of COVID-19</strong></p> <p>The safety of YMCA campers and the surrounding community in which camps are located has always been a top priority for the Y. Because of this, the Y had to make a tough decision to cancel overnight summer camp in 2020.</p> <p>For 2021, the Y plans to offer overnight summer camp. With almost a year spent planning and preparing, the Y has worked closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state government and health officials, the <a href="">American Camp Association</a> and Y-USA to create a safe path forward for 2021 summer camps.</p> <p>Based on guidance from these agencies and leading health experts, camp modifications might include:</p> <ul><li>Smaller group sizes for sleeping quarters and activities</li> <li>Requirements for campers to complete prior to coming to camp</li> <li>Ventilation in cabins and gathering spaces</li> <li>Mask requirements</li> </ul><p>Jana stresses, “The health, safety and wellness of campers and staffers is our top priority, so our plans and protocols are being updated every day as we approach the summer camp season.”</p> Tue, 15 Dec 2020 16:05:32 +0000 jeffrey.needham 2854676 at Tips to make the most of the last weeks of the year <span>Tips to make the most of the last weeks of the year</span> <div class="field-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-11/blog-120320-tips-to-make-the-most-of-the-last-weeks-of-the-year-tn.jpg" width="185" height="120" alt="Tips to make the most of the last weeks of the year" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/61" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jeffrey.needham</span></span> <span>Thu, 12/03/2020 - 00:00</span> <img src="" width="230" height="153" alt="Tips to make the most of the last weeks of the year" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /><h3>Try these ideas to enjoy—rather than stress about—the end of 2020</h3> <p>This year has presented opportunities for all of us to try doing things differently—from <a href="">remote work</a> to how we connect with friends and family. Keeping with this theme, there’s an opportunity to approach the holidays in a new way, too.</p> <p><strong>If you’re missing the holiday spirit …</strong></p> <p>Thanksgiving might already be over, but it’s still a great idea to <a href="">focus on gratitude</a>. Try:</p> <ul><li>Making a list of the 2020 “opportunities” (see what we did there?) that have had some enjoyable benefits. Maybe you’ve swapped commute time with a new routine with a loved one. Maybe you’ve discovered a hidden passion for cooking …</li> <li>To determine simple gifts for your friends and family. Skip shopping and whip up a new dish (or craft, etc.) you’ve learned to master in 2020. Pair the item with a thoughtful note and leave a lovely surprise on someone’s doorstep.</li> </ul><p><strong>If you’re missing tradition …</strong></p> <p>It might not be possible to carry on with a favorite year-end tradition this year. Try:</p> <ul><li>Putting some traditions on a new every-other-year schedule. This can help traditions feel more special, and give you a chance …</li> <li>To create new traditions. Bummed your favorite holiday party is cancelled? Consider instituting a themed holiday movie night for your household where everyone wears holiday pajamas and noshes on a nutritious holiday snack for the flick.</li> </ul><p><strong>If you’re overwhelmed …</strong></p> <p>Whether today’s feeling is exhaustion or frustration, it’s never been more important to care for yourself, which can have a tremendous impact on your overall wellbeing. Try:</p> <ul><li><a href="">Making sleep a priority</a>. Adequate sleep supports your immune system, and can help ward off overeating holiday treats. Learn more about self-care with a one-on-one appointment with <a href="">George Wellbeing</a>.</li> <li>To move your body every day with a range of activities. Enjoy a <a href="">seasonal outdoor activity</a> like sledding, skating or skiing. Find all kinds of virtual options to stay active, including on-demand wellness classes from <a href="">Facebook</a> and <a href="">12Bursts</a>.</li> </ul><p>As the holidays approach and we close in on a new year, it is most important to remember that this year has been full of extenuating circumstances. It’s OK to give yourself a break when things don’t go as planned. Start 2021 with an importance on being kind to yourself!<br />  </p> Thu, 03 Dec 2020 06:00:00 +0000 jeffrey.needham 2846739 at How to have an active, safe winter <span>How to have an active, safe winter</span> <div class="field-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-11/blog-111920-how-to-have-an-active-safe-winter-tn.jpg" width="185" height="120" alt="How to have an active, safe winter" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/61" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jeffrey.needham</span></span> <span>Thu, 11/19/2020 - 08:39</span> <img src="" width="230" height="180" alt="How to have an active, safe winter" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /><h3>Adults of all ages can enjoy a mix of outdoor and indoor options to keep moving this season. </h3> <p><strong>Outdoor adventures</strong></p> <p>Getting outside for some fresh air is a great (and free!) way to stay active—no matter the season.</p> <ul><li>Whether you walk your neighborhood sidewalks, around one of our many lakes, or on a local trail, heading out for a walk can boost your health in several ways. A study by the National Institutes of Health <a href="">published in JAMA</a> shows that the more steps you take—even low intensity walks—lower mortality risks. </li> <li>The Twin Cities are home to miles and miles of groomed cross-country ski trails. If you’re new to cross-country skiing, sign up for lessons and rent equipment at the <a href="">Wirth Winter Recreation Area</a>, the <a href="">Como Park Ski Center</a>, and at several <a href="">Three Rivers Parks</a>. In Rochester, cross-country ski equipment is available for rent to use on trails at some <a href="">local parks and golf courses</a>.</li> <li>Lace up for ice skating. More than 60 outdoor ice rinks managed by the <a href="">Minneapolis</a>, <a href="">St. Paul</a> and <a href="">Rochester</a> park and recreation boards—most have warming houses and some have free skate rental on a first-come, first-served basis.</li> <li>Exercising with a partner provides extra motivation, helps keep you accountable to your fitness plans, and is more fun! Ask a friend or family member to join you on an outdoor adventure.</li> </ul><p><strong>Gear up for outdoor activities</strong></p> <p>Layering is the only way to ensure you’re comfortable before, during and after an outdoor activity. Consider:</p> <ul><li><strong>Base layer (including socks)</strong>— Worn closest to your body, a base layer should include fitted clothes that wick moisture away from your skin. Choose items made from polyester or wool, which help keep you dry and warm. Avoid wearing cotton clothing in your base layer—cotton will trap your sweat and you’ll feel wet.</li> <li><strong>Mid layer</strong>—Over your base layer, you’ll want to focus on lightweight pieces that keep you warm and allow you to move well—like a fleece or a down vest.</li> <li><strong>Outer layer</strong>—Depending on your activity and the weather, you might also consider outerwear that is wind and/or water proof.</li> <li><strong>Warm accessories</strong>—Hats, headbands, gloves, mittens, neck gaiters and balaclavas can keep your head, neck and hands warm.</li> </ul><p><strong>Indoor ideas</strong></p> <p>When the weather is especially nasty outside, you can still stay active indoors including virtual workouts and visits to your local Y.</p> <ul><li>Try a <a href="">workout in the water</a> at your local Y</li> <li>Visit a local attraction like an indoor garden or shopping mall to take a stroll</li> </ul><p><strong>Not sure where to start?</strong></p> <p>The Y’s <a href="">Activity Finder</a> makes it easy to find options that are a fit for you this winter—based on age, day, location and interests.</p> Thu, 19 Nov 2020 14:39:36 +0000 jeffrey.needham 2836777 at Making the most of remote work and learning <span>Making the most of remote work and learning</span> <div class="field-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-11/blog-111220-making-the-most-of-remote-work-and-learning-tn.jpg" width="185" height="120" alt="Making the most of remote work and learning" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/61" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jeffrey.needham</span></span> <span>Thu, 11/12/2020 - 08:30</span> <img src="" width="230" height="156" alt="Making the most of remote work and learning" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /><h3>If you feel like you’re in a rut with everyone at home, try changing things up with these ideas. </h3> <p>With working from home and distance learning part of most everyone’s life this year you might have already taken some steps to ensure you and your family are set up for success. Most experts recommend that you create a dedicated space to work or complete school activities and that you establish routines that mimic “normal” life—such as getting dressed or taking a lunch break.</p> <p>As circumstances continue that require ongoing remote education and work, there are few more tips you can try to elevate your experience:</p> <p><strong>Keep your space separate</strong></p> <p>Once you have a setup that enables your work or school to continue:</p> <ul><li><strong>Ensure your space stays dedicated.</strong> Try to avoid letting your home office transition into the new room for folding laundry.</li> <li><strong>Maintain boundaries.</strong> When schoolwork is done for the day, take the necessary steps to transition the area back to the family’s dinner table.</li> </ul><p><strong>Connect as a family</strong></p> <p>With more time and experience working and learning remotely, things are bound to evolve—and it’s important to keep talking about these changes.</p> <ul><li><strong>Consider dedicated checkpoints.</strong> Schedule a time each day or each week to run through a list of questions together. Having tech issues on a regular basis from everyone sharing a single connection? Missing collaboration? Having trouble feeling productive? Create a space to work through each item on the list together.</li> <li><strong>Go beyond troubleshooting.</strong> Although it might be tough at times to make it through a workday or a school day, try to make time for sharing experiences with each other. Did you learn something new? Figure out a cool new trick for web conferencing? Wear a new outfit? Feel good about celebrating these milestones.</li> </ul><p><strong>Change your scenery</strong></p> <p>Kids and adults typically change location throughout the day—from classroom to classroom or from meeting room to office desk. </p> <ul><li><strong>Try a flow.</strong> Consider moving to different areas for different tasks. For example, perhaps math homework is done at a desk in a child’s bedroom, but reading assignments are completed in the living room chair.</li> <li><strong>Post up somewhere new.</strong> If you’ve had enough of home, head to select YMCA camps to work and learn remotely, with the option to participate in enrichment programs.</li> </ul><p>While tips and ideas can be a great place to start, or experiments to try, remember that every family is different, and the most important thing is to do what works for yours!</p> Thu, 12 Nov 2020 14:30:50 +0000 jeffrey.needham 2836776 at Summer Water Safety <span>Summer Water Safety</span> <div class="field-image"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-06/water-safety-for-kids-tn.jpg" width="185" height="120" alt="Summer Water Safety" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/61" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jeffrey.needham</span></span> <span>Thu, 06/25/2020 - 15:06</span> <img src="" width="230" height="145" alt="Thumbnail" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /><p>In the summer of COVID-19, water safety is important with fewer pools with lifeguards, limited access to swimming lessons, more families spending time outside around the water and more pools coming into backyards.</p> <p>Safety tips to practice in and around the water include below and on video: <a href="" title="No results">YMCA Swim Safety 2020</a></p> <ul type="disc"><li>Never swim alone.</li> <li>Constantly and actively watch children in an adult’s care.</li> <li>Always keep young children or non-swimmers within arm’s reach of parent or guardian.</li> <li>Remember inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.</li> <li>Be wary of inflatables because a poke or blown valve can turn into a dangerous situation quickly for a child relying on it to float.</li> <li>Don’t engage in breath holding activities.</li> <li>Don’t jump in the water to save a friend who is struggling in deep water rather use a long object to reach for them and pull them to safety.</li> <li>Enroll children and non-swimmers in water safety or swim lessons.</li> <li>Be mindful of the hazards of backyard pools with standing water around because kids can fall down or can’t get out and infants or preschoolers can climb or crawl in. To be safe: <ul type="circle"><li>Install barriers around the pool like a fence</li> <li>Know CPR</li> <li>Guarantee that every child in the backyard pool who cannot swim wears a lifejackets</li> <li>Provide constant supervision</li> <li>Make sure there is a way to climb out of the pool if it’s too tall to step out of</li> </ul></li> <li>Remember to keep a distance, and if a beach looks or feels too crowded, go find a different spot to hang out away from the crowd.</li> </ul><p>Keep kids safe when adults are also engaged in fun is incredibly important. A simple tip for parents near any kind of water this summer is to take the Abbey’s Hope Foundation Water Watchdog pledge. As a Water Watchdog, an adult agrees to:</p> <ul><li>Maintain constant visual contact with the children in the group.</li> <li>Not drink alcohol, talk on the phone, socialize or read while watching children.</li> <li>Keep a phone near the water for emergency purposes only.</li> <li>Remain by the water until relieved by a new Water Watchdog.</li> <li>Makes sure kids are respecting social distancing and giving space to other swimmers and beachgoers.</li> </ul><p>For outdoor water fun, we encourage you to <a href="">check your local Ys</a> for splash pads and other outdoor pool areas for you to enjoy this summer.</p> <p>Summer Group Lessons registration will open in early July.</p> Thu, 25 Jun 2020 20:06:28 +0000 jeffrey.needham 2735170 at