It’s That Time of Year Again…

by Paul Maitland-McKinley, AmeriCorps Member, GLIDE Health Services

As November moves forward it’s important to realize that we are in a time of change. Stores start to show off their beautiful holiday displays, the smell of freshly baked cookies and earthy spices is in the air. Not to mention that extra layer of clothing that becomes so necessary just to make it through the day.

But with these changes comes a more unexpected and often forgotten enemy: the holiday season stress. Whether it comes from trying to make some extra money for gifts, to looking for a warmer place to stay, this stress can have wide-spread effects on the body.

See, stress comes in two forms: acute stress, which refers to our response to a problem that appears suddenly and goes away pretty quickly. Like the increased heart beat you feel if you miss the bus in the morning. Even though it’s uncomfortable, it’s actually a good reaction. It’s caused by something called adrenalin which is made to super charge your body and prepare you, in this case, to chase after that bus.

Then there’s chronic stress, which is our response to a long-term problem over a stretch of time. Using the example above, it might cause the sleep loss you suffer from because you worry every night about missing that bus in the morning.

As unimportant as it seems at the time, long-term stress can have a large negative impact on your health.  Besides the psychological effects that stress can cause (e.g.  anxiety, depression, anger, etc.), it also has the ability to break down our body’s greatest defense: the immune system.

Stress affects our immune systems using natural hormones made by our bodies. Over time, constant stress can wear down our immune systems and increase our chances of getting sick. Ever notice how you always seem to catch that cold or stomach virus right when you’re most busy and can least afford to give up time? That’s what I’m talking about.

Stress can be dangerous, and that’s why it’s time to take it by the horns. It can become easier to manage by making small changes like getting more sleep or learning to better manage commitments.

But if you’re looking to take a more fun approach to dealing with stress, why not try the new beginner Tai Chi course at GLIDE Health Services. It is called “Silk Reeling” and it combines simple and easy movements with deep breathing designed to relax the mind and body. It is generously taught by two volunteer Tai Chi masters, Malcolm and Kevin, and is offered on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 10:00am to 11:00am on the beautiful rooftop garden of GLIDE. And it’s free if you are a GLIDE client or staff member! Just come by the 6th floor front desk in the morning before class to sign up and then get ready for a lesson in tranquility.

So before you let something as small as a missed bus ruin your day and your body, think about joining us for a session. The things you learn will give you the tools to manage your stress and take back your health. We’ll see you up there. And don’t forget some comfy clothes!

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The GLIDE family remembers #NelsonMandela, who would have been 100 years old today. Our Co-Founder Rev. Cecil Williams greeted South Africa’s beloved Madiba in Oakland in June of 1990, just five months after his release from prison. . “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” - Nelson Mandela . #nelsonmandela100 #madiba #nelsonmandeladay #fromthearchives #cecilwilliams @nelsonmandelafoundationsa @mchammer @goapele @fantasticnegrito @shakasenghor @feliciahorowitz @mglide
Exactly one week ago, a group of GLIDE seniors completed a six-week Healthy Living workshop with our own Ms. Tina Huang. Here is what Tina had to say about the experience: . "I am so happy that we're celebrating with this gratitude ceremony. Congratulation to the seniors who have completed their healthier living workshop. Within six weeks, our seniors learned how to live healthier by coping with their stress and creating positive changes for their lifestyle. I am very proud of them as they showed an interest in learning and dedication throughout the workshop. I hope they can bring this knowledge and apply it in their every-day lifestyle, as well as share it with those who may benefit from this information." . Congratulations, #GLIDEseniors! #healthyliving #wednesdaywisdom
Thanks to this group of #volunteers from @salesforce for stepping up to the plate and braving the onions yesterday! They prepared lunch for hundreds of diners from the community! . "I think it's a really smart thing for Salesforce to do. Not just talk about it – of course everybody wants to be a part of their community, of course everybody wants to volunteer and support causes, but to actually insist on people coming down here on their first day of training – hey, that's putting your money where your mouth is." - Shan Nichols, Systems Engineering Director (not pictured) . GLIDE relies on 75-85 volunteers EVERY DAY to serve three meals to everyone who walks through our doors. #startyourdaywithservice #volunteersf #foodjustice #givingback #stepuptotheplate @benioff @salesforcejobs @salesforceorg @ggundry @joselynmarie1
Yesterday we were pleased to welcome the #SaferInside Planning Committee to Celebration and a press conference with Mayor @londonbreed! Thanks for all of your hard work & commitment to helping people understand the importance of bringing #safeinjectionsites to San Francisco.

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