New smoking cessation classes begin Jan. 11

The first smoking cessation classes of 2016 are scheduled to begin on January 11 at the SOMC Cancer Center.

SOMC partners with the American Lung Association to offer the Freedom From Smoking program, which helps anyone wishing to kick the tobacco habit.

The classes are free to participants and all materials are included.

To register, or for more information, call 740-356-2552.

A healthy resolution that won’t wear you out

Life is busy, especially around the holidays. We go straight from the hustle of Christmas shopping and holiday parties to the grind of setting and keeping our New Year’s resolutions.

As special as this time of year can be, it is also rather exhausting… which is why you might consider making this resolution for 2016: Get more sleep.

Sleep is not just a luxury. It’s something you need, and failure to get enough of it can have serious consequences on your health. Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression. As much as a resolution like “Get more sleep” might feel like a copout, it isn’t. It really is a serious step towards living a healthier, happier life.

But how much sleep do you need? Adults of all ages should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Teenagers need a little bit more and should get nine to ten hours. School-aged children, meanwhile, should get at least ten while pre-schoolers need between eleven and twelve.

As for newborns, they would ideally spend between 16 and 18 hours a day sleeping.

But as you probably know, falling asleep isn’t always as easy as it sounds. If counting sheep isn’t enough to put you out, try following these tips:

Go to bed at the same time each night, and get up at the same time each morning.

Sleep in a quiet, dark and relaxing environment. It shouldn’t be too hot or too cold.

Make your bed comfortable – and ONLY use it for sleep. Do not lay in bed to read, watch TV or listen to music. If you only sleep in your bed, you will become psychologically programmed to become sleepy when you’re in it.

Remove all TVs, computers and other “gadgets” from your bedroom.

Avoid large meals before bedtime.

If, despite following these tips, you still struggle with sleeping, it is possible you may suffer from a sleep disorder. If you believe this to be the case, contact the SOMC Sleep Diagnostic Center at 740-356-8822.

The secret to a resolution you can keep

In 2016, there will be more people who make a New Year’s Resolution than watch the Super Bowl. According to research by the University of Scranton, more than 90% of those people will fail.

Why is that? The problem may not be their commitment – it might just be their goal setting.

The key to making a resolution you can keep is keeping it simple. Be realistic and understand that sticking to a small improvement is better than failing at a drastic one. Rather than setting one huge goal for the year, try setting several that are small and obtainable.

Your resolution should also be tangible and tied to achievable metrics. For example, saying you are going to “lose weight” or “go to the gym” is just vague enough to be trouble. How are you going to lose weight? What kind of exercise routine will you be doing? Leaving those questions unanswered just gives you a built-in excuse to quit. Instead, resolve to avoid potato chips for six weeks – or to attend a weekly spin class.

By setting clear, measurable goals, you can keep your resolutions from feeling overwhelming. It also makes it easier to know when you are starting to slip.

CrossFit intro class offered for beginners

Starting any new exercise practice can be overwhelming, but entering a CrossFit gym can be particularly nerve-wracking.

To better integrate you, CrossFit Alpha Pack is offering a Foundation Class on Tuesday nights at 6:30pm.  Rather than throwing you right into CrossFit classes your coaches will get you started in an introductory classes to make sure you know how to safely execute the many CrossFit movements regularly seen in WODs (Workout Of the Day). These include the more basic, yet critical, exercises like the squat, deadlift and press, as well as more complex Olympic weightlifting movements, including the clean and jerk and the snatch.

Regardless of your own athletic background or ability the Foundation Class will help you come up to speed on performing a safe and effective CrossFit WOD.

For more information, contact the SOMC LIFE Center at 740-356-7650 or visit CrossFitAlphaPack.com.

Merry Mohawks visit SOMC Hospice

Northwest Christmas WebA group of students from Northwest Elementary School’s “Safety Patrol” recently visited SOMC Hospice to spread some holiday cheer. The students visited the facility on December 14, delivering Christmas cards and candy canes to patients and their families. They students, who were accompanied by their advisor, Ronda Sissel, also sang Christmas Carols.

The group was made up of fourth and fifth students. For more information about SOMC Hospice, follow SOMC on Facebook or Twitter.

‘Burg cheerleaders donate to Compassion Fund

Burg Cheer WebThe cheerleaders of Wheelersburg High School recently donated $1,500 to SOMC Breast Cancer Compassion Fund. Pictured here are members of the high school cheerleading squad alongside staff at the SOMC Cancer Center.

Learn to manage your holiday stress

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – but it usually comes with a side of stress. If you’re having a hard time managing the demands of the holidays, here are some tips that will help.

Change your mindset. Christmas only comes once a year – but it does come every year, without fail. That means if you’re too busy to participate in every party or family tradition, don’t worry about it. You can always do it next year.

Practice the power of no. Saying “no” is liberating. Don’t feel like you have to say yes to every party invitation or opportunity to volunteer. You’ll enjoy the holidays more if you pick and choose the ones that mean to most to you. Simply say, “I’m sorry, I already have plans for that time.” You can even practice by saying no in small ways, such as politely refusing a cookie from a well-meaning coworker.

Simplify your celebration. Holiday traditions create lasting family memories, but you should make sure they fit your lifestyle. Do you really need to cook a meal for your entire extended family? Or, this year, would it make more sense to fix a different main dish and ask everyone to bring a side or a dessert?

Focus on others. Instead of getting wrapped up in giving gifts, attending parties and baking goodies, find a way to give back to your community. Volunteer at a toy drive for underprivileged children or help out at a local food bank.

Choose a charity gift. Go to TisBest, JustGive or Network for Good and give someone a “charity” gift card. These cards allow the recipient to donate the money to a non-profit of their choice.

Don’t skip your regular workouts. The holidays provide plenty of excuses for cutting back on your exercise schedule, but it won’t help you feel any better. Exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress.

Boost your immune system. There’s nothing more stressful than getting sick during the holidays. Make sure you’re getting plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep and washing your hands. You should also get a flu shot to protect yourself from the most common strains of the flu virus.

Be flexible. Instead of trying to pack multiple family celebrations into a single day or weekend, create your own schedule for festive gatherings when it’s more convenient for everyone. For example, if you celebrate Thanksgiving with one side of your family, invite the other side over a few days later to celebrate leftovers day.

Take a day off. Rather than trying to fit all your holiday errands in on the weekend, use one of the vacation days you were saving for the holidays for some stress-free mid-week shopping. The mall will be less crowded and you’ll be able to zip through all the tasks on your list.

Get out of town. Need a fool-proof excuse for skipping out on holiday obligations? Book a vacation. It can be just you and your significant other, or you can bring your immediate family along. Use the money you would have spent on gifts to fund your trip and accumulate memories instead of stuff. Who knows, maybe winter travel is a new family tradition that you can pass on to the next generation–the gift of a totally stress-free holiday season!

Take a deep breath. If you find yourself feeling too stressed out and overwhelmed to even consider any of the suggestions above, pause for five minutes and take a few cleansing breaths. Then get a piece of paper and write down all the tasks that are swirling around in your head and driving you crazy. Once you have a plan in place, you can focus on checking off tasks instead of worrying how to juggle everything.

Eight tips to avoid holiday weight gain

The holidays are a great time for getting together with loved ones, but they are a terrible time for trying to lose weight. In fact, you might consider it a success if you can make it through the holidays without gaining weight.

To help you do just that, here are eight surefire strategies to avoid taking new pounds with you into the new year.

1. Get moving. This one is obvious, but effective. Regular, sustained aerobic activity is one of the most effective ways to maintain or lose weight.

2. Cheat a little, but only once a day. If you must indulge in a holiday treat, allow yourself just one small serving. Savor the texture and aroma. Then, compensate later on by reducing your calorie intake or burning a few extra calories through exercise.

3. Control the risk for temptation. Clear your office and home of tempting holiday goodies. When you bake, only keep a small amount for your family and give the rest away.

4. Eat your fruits and veggies! You should aim for seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. They’ll satisfy your stomach without adding empty calories. Plus, the fiber will help you feel full.

5. Never go to a party hungry. Eat one serving of fruit, fat-free yogurt or raw nuts beforehand. Approach the party food only if you feel hungry.

6. Be in charge of your party choices. Bring a heart-healthy appetizer or dessert so you’ll have at least one nutritious option. Use a smaller plate to control portion sizes. Bypass the rich sauces, the high-fat meatballs, and the wings.

7. Say no politely. You’re not obliged to eat high-calorie foods, even when they’re homemade and your host encourages you.

8. Focus on socializing, not food. Conversation is calorie-free and standing burns more calories than sitting. Get out there and mingle – and even offer to help clean up!

Sunscreen matters, even when it snows

No matter what time of year it is, it’s important to wear sunscreen — but it’s only really effective if you’re using the right kind. Here’s a crash course to help you better understand what you’re getting when you purchase your next bottle.

SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor,” and the higher the number the stronger the protection. SPF 15, for example, indicates that it will take 15 hours in the sun for you to receive the same amount of sun damage as you would by spending one hour in the sun unprotected. It blocks about 93% of UV rays. That sounds impressive, but it’s far from the most effective sunblock you could purchase: SPF 50 lets you spend 50 hours in the sun before receiving the equivalent of one unprotected hour in the sun, and it blocks 98% of UV rays.

Whatever sunscreen you wear, though, you should reapply every two hours. You should also make sure it is water-resistant and non-comedogenic. Water-resistant sunscreen means you’ll stay protected even if you decide to take a dip in the pool, while non-comedogenic sunscreen doesn’t block pours, which reduces the chance for pimples and blemishes.

You should apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside to allow the active ingredients time to bind to your skin. The ideal amount to cover your entire body is one to two ounces, which is equal to the size of a ping pong ball or an egg. Make sure you apply it to commonly missed spots, like behind the ears, the back of the neck and on top of your feet.

And, don’t assume that you only need protection from the sun on sunny days. The reality is that the sun’s UV rays can penetrate your skin when it’s cloudy – or even when it’s snowing! In fact, snow and sand increase the need for sunscreen because snow reflects 80% of the sun’s rays, while sand reflects 25%.