Finding Time To Exercise

Finding the time to exercise is often as much of a challenge as a new aerobic workout.  In fact, the number one reason given for not exercising is lack of time.  That’s why it is important to come up with a regular exercise schedule – one that lets you know where and when you’re planning to work out each week.   <!–split–>

Of course, plans can change but it’s better to skip a scheduled exercise session than to have no schedule at all.  If you save your workouts for whenever a spare moment “pops up,” you’ll end up exercising infrequently.  Your own schedule might involve a variety of workout times, morning workouts on some days, for example, and lunchtime or after work exercise sessions on other days.  The key is to find a blend that works for you and to stick with it.  You may find it helpful to mark your calendar and schedule your planned workouts in advance.  Keep track of how often you work out.  It is important to find an exercise schedule that fits your lifestyle and includes activities you enjoy.   There are many new pedometers and step counters available to help you keep track of your activity.  They can be fun to use and motivate you to increase your activities.  If you are not used to doing any type of exercise activity, start with walking.  You can start at just a few minutes a day and work up to the recommended 30 minutes per day.  Your stamina will improve as you continue any exercise program.  Warm weather is on the way!  Sunshine and flowers will be here.  What better way to brighten your day than to take a walk and enjoy the sun and flowers of spring!

Young Adult Depression:  Not Just Another Bad Mood

Depression is the most common emotional problem in adolescence and young adulthood, and yet it is difficult to diagnose because young people are notorious for their moodiness.  The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that up to 8% of American young adults suffer from major depression, but many parents don’t recognize the signs.  According to a 2009 survey, about 20% of high school students have considered suicide.  Each year, 8-11 in every 100,000 young adults do take their own lives, as many as those who die from all natural causes combined.  Depression can also result in intense family conflict, poor choice of peers, marginal or no personal achievements and poor coping ability, all of which can have a lasting effect on a teenager’s life.

Warning Signs

Mood Changes:  Irritability, angry outbursts, sad sullen or weepy periods, withdrawal.  Keep in mind that family conflict can cause young adult depression, but young adult depression can also cause family conflict.

Changes in Appetite:  Sudden over or under eating; significant gain or loss of weight.  Eating disorders are frequently  accompanied by depression.

Lack of Interest:  No longer enjoying social activities, hobbies or sports.

Bad Sleep Patterns:  Difficulties falling or staying asleep; excessive or diminished sleep.

Changes in Energy Level:  Frequent fatigue, agitation or restlessness.

School Problems:  Difficulty focusing or concentrating; feeling fuzzy; unable to sustain mental effort; decline in grades;  misbehaving; refusal to go or disinterest in school.

Self-Criticism:  Taking blame for things that are not their fault; intense dissatisfaction with their appearance or other attributes.

Rumination:  Worrying or obsessing about problems.

Inability to Cope:  Overwhelmed by everyday stresses; difficulty recovering from a significant event or problem; pessimism or negative thinking.

Recurrent Thoughts about Death or Suicide:  Morbid interests; self-injurious behavior.

Aches and Pains:  Physical discomfort without medical causes.

Successful treatment can be achieved by parents and physicians asking direct questions about the young adult’s general level of happiness, moods, activities, achievement and problems.  Offering to help will open the door for the young adult to contact you later should the young adult ever suspect that he/she might be depressed.  Keep in mind that a family history of depression is a risk factor.

Parents are advised to make efforts to talk to their young adults even if they are initially rebuffed.  Be careful not to minimize their young adult’s moods as “just a phase” or “hormonal fluctuations” and be alerted to the possible seriousness of their young adult’s difficulties.

If you have a young adult that is seriously depressed, it is a good precaution to lock up all medications, remove guns from the house and institute more careful supervision to prevent the young adult from engaging in reckless behavior.

The good news is that young adult depression is quite treatable with medication and individual and/or family therapy.

Your Parish Nurse, Kara