It’s that time of year again – the days have shortened and the cold is increasing. But just because it’s not as much fun to be outside doesn’t mean you have to give up physical activity! Here are some ways you can stay active and stay indoors.
Join a Gym
The most obvious answer is to join a gym. Depending on the facility, you may have access to treadmills, ellipticals, and weights. Some facilities may have a basketball court, indoor track, or indoor pool. Many gyms have free classes included in the membership, and some may have personal training, often for an extra fee.
Deep cleaning your house can work up a sweat! Climb (safely) on ladders to dust the tops of your cabinets. Move the furniture and vacuum underneath it. If you have younger kids, make it a game to see how quickly you can clean up their room or playroom. Squatting and reaching adds up to a lot of full-body movement.
Decorate! Go up to the attic and get your favorite pieces down. You can decorate for a religious holiday, your annual New Year’s Eve extravaganza, or just for winter in general. Hang up twinkle lights and put out a festive flag. If your balance is unsteady, skip the ladders and decorate things you can reach from the ground.
Have a dance party! Bounce around the house to your favorite tunes. Invite your friends over to rock out to your high school favorites, or get your kids (of all ages) involved.
Follow At-Home Workouts
Thousands of at-home workouts are available, from free videos on YouTube to DVDs to books from the library. Experiment to see what you enjoy the most: Yoga? Lifting weights? Doing bodyweight exercises? Walk-in-place routines? Whatever you feel like, there are exercises you can do at home.
Meditation, also called mindfulness, is an ancient tradition that has modern health benefits. You can learn to meditate at home, and it requires no special equipment.
What is meditation?
Meditation is slowing your thoughts down—literally. Your brain waves slow down to half as fast as they are when you’re thinking normally. Your brain naturally produces these slower brain waves when you sleep, but learning to meditate lets you also produce them when you’re awake.
What are the benefits of meditation?
Regular meditation has been shown to have a number of health benefits, including:
Lower blood pressure
It may also help with depression and pain, although traditional treatments such as mental health therapy and physical therapy, respectively, or prescribed medications should not be discontinued without direction from your doctor. Studies are ongoing to see what other conditions meditation may help with.
How should I meditate?
You can meditate at any time of day, as long as you are in a quiet area where you are unlikely to be disturbed. You only need to meditate for 15-20 minutes once a day in order to see benefits.
You may learn meditation from in-person classes near you, via audio files/CDs, via websites, or via apps. Experiment to find the method that works best for you.
Marc McGahee, who helps cancer patients learn meditation to help reduce their side effects, provided a meditation exercise on gratitude.
Most of the time we’re only grateful for what we already have, but this exercise can help you be grateful for things you don’t have.
Find a place where you will not be interrupted, sit down in a comfortable position, and close your eyes. Take several deep breaths and then imagine a white light emanating from the highest most wonderful part of the Universe reaching down and touching you. Allow this light to flow through every part of your body, relaxing from head to toe.
Think of something in your life that you are truly grateful for. Spend a few moments enjoying this feeling.
Get in touch with that feeling and anchor it into something you want to accomplish and feel this same level of gratitude for the new event.
Now think of an activity that you enjoy doing but had to learn how to do, such as nursing, playing chess, riding a bike, knitting, cooking, etc. Choose something that you are proud to know how to do. Now focus on that positive feeling and lock it in.
Think of the feeling of gratitude for the task you want to learn how to accomplish and add it to the positive feeling of having learned a new skill.
Next, see, hear, and feel the future accomplishment as real with these feelings.
The night before you leave on a flight for a long-awaited vacation, you notice a rash spreading all over your arms.
The last-minute gardening you managed to cross off your list seemed like such an accomplishment. Now, it appears poison ivy is having its revenge. The itching gets worse by the hour.
Not long ago, a situation like this would mean rearranging your flight plans so you can get to the doctor in the morning. Or taking the risk that you can find a doctor once you get to your destination.
Today, you have a better remedy. With Bon Secours virtual appointments, getting to a medical provider is as easy as downloading an app and making a few clicks on our website. You don’t even have to leave your home.
Bon Secours 24/7 allows patients to see a health provider without taking off time from work or school. You can talk privately to a licensed medical professional from your phone, tablet or personal computer.
The first step is to create an account at Bon Secours 24/7. You can also download the app to your phone or tablet. After that, you choose a provider and answer basic questions about why you need medical care.
Within minutes, you can speak face-to-face with a provider through your device’s video capabilities. Thanks to today’s video technology, health providers can examine skin conditions and detect breathing problems such as wheezing. Most appointments last about 10 minutes.
While some people need to see a doctor in person or for further medical testing, Bon Secours 24/7 is appropriate for several non-emergency medical conditions:
Cold, cough, bronchitis and flu
Sinus and upper respiratory infections
Conjunctivitis or pink eye
Skin conditions such as rashes
Urinary tract infections
Sprains and strains
Vomiting and diarrhea
When you or your child are not feeling well enough to get out of bed, Bon Secours 24/7 provides a convenient way to access medical care. Our medical professionals can prescribe many medications during your virtual visit. Every visit is private and held to the same confidentiality and security standards as a regular office appointment.
To use Bon Secours 24/7, your smart device or computer must have a web camera or video capability enabled. Once you establish an account, you can test your computer to make sure it can support a virtual visit.
No matter where you are in the United States, you can access our virtual visits. Through Bon Secours 24/7, we’ll connect you with a medical provider licensed to practice in the state where you need care.
If there’s an important game coming up on TV, you do your best not to miss it. A weekend getaway with old friends? You’re in. But what about the time it takes to see a primary care doctor? Do you make time for your health? Do you have a primary care provider?
Men, for a variety of reasons, are less likely than women to go to the doctor for a yearly checkup. Roughly 40 percent of men skip this important health appointment, according to a Cleveland Clinic survey. What they may not realize, however, is that they’re missing out on much more than routine bloodwork. They’re passing up a relationship that could improve, even save, their lives. A primary care physician is more than someone who looks at blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Primary care providers act more like coaches – they can tell you what you need to work on to improve your health and the strategies it will take to achieve your goals.
Do you need a screening?
One of the perks to modern health care is the ability to catch significant illnesses early when they’re easier to treat. Of course, that can’t happen if you don’t take advantage of health screenings. The best person to help you stay up to date with recommended screenings is your primary care doctor. Using their knowledge of your health and the current recommended guidelines, your provider can tell you if you’re overdue for blood work or if it’s time to schedule a colonoscopy. Remember, many health problems won’t create symptoms. High blood pressure, a serious medical condition, doesn’t cause any symptoms at all. The only way to detect it is to have your blood pressure measured.
Peace of mind.
Is that freckle on your shoulder just a sun spot or something more to worry about? What about the pain you’ve recently noticed in your neck? Is it arthritis or just a pulled muscle? Should you keep lifting weights? These are the types of questions your primary care can answer, giving you peace of mind.
When you need urgent care, your primary care doctor can share important medical information with the emergency care doctors treating you. Your primary care doctor can tell them your family medical history, whether you take any medications, have drug allergies or have any relevant underlying medical conditions.
Guiding you through the insurance maze.
One of the greatest benefits to having a primary care physician is knowing they can help you navigate insurance requirements. Should you have a health problem, your primary care provider can help ensure you get whatever tests you really need. At Bon Secours, our primary care providers are part of a larger medical group of physicians, specialists, and facilities. With dozens of practices throughout the region, we offer many convenient locations to our patients.
For someone who’s grieving the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be especially hard. The time we take as Americans to surround ourselves with family and friends to celebrate being grateful is a painful reminder that not everyone we love is able to sit with us at the holiday table.
In fact, if someone close to you has died, you may feel like skipping the holidays and all the extra work and stress that comes with them. Giving yourself permission to opt out of activities or scale back on celebrating can help make the holidays a little less painful.
“If you’re grieving, don’t feel obligated to celebrate the way you used to or the way someone else wants you to,” said M. Regina Asaro, a psychiatric nurse who volunteers at the Bon Secours Bereavement Center in Newport News. “Recognize what you truly want for the holidays and honor it. Everyone is different and has their own needs.”
If you feel like coming together with others to honor a loved one, that’s a personal choice, Asaro said. If it’s too painful to talk about the person who’s gone or you want to spend time alone, that’s OK, too.
While it’s nearly impossible to escape the holidays altogether, Asaro offers the following survival strategies to help make this time less stressful.
Simplify holiday meals.
Although you may have always hosted the big holiday dinners, that doesn’t mean someone else can’t host this year instead. If you still want to have a holiday meal at your house, ask others to help prepare the food or organize a potluck. Feel free to adjust the menu, change the time, use disposable plates, or order takeout. Many local supermarkets offer holiday dinners and platters you can serve at home. Don’t feel like eating at home? Make a reservation at a restaurant instead.
Be mindful of your energy for decorating.
Grieving can drain your level of energy. If you decide to decorate, try to do it during the time of day when you have the most energy. Consider putting out fewer decorations or only the ones that are most important to you. Remember, it takes energy to put decorations away, too.
Socialize the way you see fit.
You may not have a lot of energy to attend every holiday party or dinner invitation. If you can, plan time to be with people who love and support you. Make sure you let your friends and family know that you may change your mind at the last minute. They will understand.
Cut back on holiday cards.
Go ahead and skip holiday cards if you don’t feel like dealing with them. Another option is to make the process easier on yourself by ordering cards with your name already printed on them. You can also ask someone else to help address and stamp the envelopes. Go through your holiday list and send fewer cards this year.
Remember others in need.
You might find great comfort in helping other people in need over the holidays. Food banks and soup kitchens welcome new volunteers every year.
Don’t ignore how you’re feeling.
Sometimes, it helps to talk about your loved one and your grief. Sharing memories about them may make you cry but it may also bring up past experiences that make you laugh.
Make a family visit to the cemetery or plant a rose bush or tree in your loved one’s honor.
Make yourself and your needs a priority.
The amount of energy consumed by grieving can leave little left for holiday activities. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t accomplish all the things you want to do. It also helps to change your expectations about what the holidays should be like. Try to schedule in down time for yourself. You can also seek comfort by observing the rituals of your faith. Or, attend a support group for people who are grieving. If being home becomes too much, travel somewhere new to give yourself a break from holiday memories.
“The fact is, when someone you love has died, the holidays can be really tough,” Asaro said. “Take care of yourself and your family. Resist the pressure to try to make these holidays like past ones. Be patient and gentle with yourself. If all else fails, remember that January is not too far away.”