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Take 12 Steps for Health


Take 12 Calendar

WHAT'S GOING ON WITH
'TAKE 12' THIS MONTH?

July 2014

STEP 7: Refresh Friendships

Healthy friendships are an important part of overall well-being.

The Animal Companion

The connection between humans and animals is one of the most fundamental bonds that human beings experience. It is a powerful and mutually beneficial bond, with people and animals connecting in ways that are essential to the health and well-being of both. From household pets to horses that herd livestock to therapy dogs that provide comfort to victims of disaster and illness, the lives of both humans and animals are made better by our mutual bond. To put it simply, pets are good for people. Pets give people a loving companion to care for. They encourage touch, conversation and often laughter. They cause us to exercise and offer an antidote for loneliness. They teach children responsibility. In addition to the emotional benefits of caring for a pet, a growing body of research into the human-animal connection shows that the presence of pets can lower blood pressure, boost infant immunity to infections and help with mental health disorders by affecting brain chemistry. Healthy animals, healthy humans – it’s a powerful two-way bond.

Source: Zoetis

The Importance of Friendship

Good friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too. Friends can also increase your sense of belonging and purpose, boost your happiness, reduce stress, improve your self-worth; help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one; encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise. Many adults find it hard to develop new friendships or keep up existing friendships. Friendships may take a back seat to other priorities, such as work or caring for children or aging parents. You and your friends may have grown apart due to changes in your lives or interests. Or maybe you've moved to a new community and haven't yet found a way to meet people. Developing and maintaining good friendships takes effort. The enjoyment and comfort friendship can provide, however, makes the investment worthwhile.

Source: The Mayo Clinic

Nurture Your Friendships

It's never too late to build new friendships or reconnect with old friends. Investing time in making friends and strengthening your friendships can pay off in better health and a brighter outlook for years to come.

  • Go easy. Don't overwhelm friends with phone calls, texts, instant messages or e-mails. Respect your friends' boundaries.
  • Don't compete. Don't let friendships turn into a battle over who makes the most money or who has the nicest home.
  • Adopt a healthy, realistic self-image. Work on building your self-esteem by taking care of yourself — eat a healthy diet and include physical activity in your daily routine. Vanity and constant self-criticism can be turnoffs to potential friends.
  • Avoid relentless complaining. Nonstop complaining can put a strain on your friendships. Talk to your friends about how you can change the parts of your life that make you unhappy.
  • Adopt a positive outlook. Try to find the humor in things. Laughter is infectious and appealing.
  • Listen up. Ask what's going on in your friends' lives. Avoid talking about your own problems all the time. Try to only give advice when your friends ask for it.
  • Don't judge. Give your friends space to change, grow and make mistakes. Encourage your friends to freely express their emotions.
  • Respect privacy. Keep confidential any personal information that your friends share with you. Try not to ask questions that make your friends uncomfortable.

Source: The Mayo Clinic

Bullying Survival Tips

Here are some things you can do to combat psychological and verbal bullying. They're also good tips to share with a friend as a way to show your support:

  • Talk about it. It may help to talk to a guidance counselor, teacher, or friend — anyone who can give you the support you need. Talking can be a good outlet for the fears and frustrations that can build when you're being bullied.
  • Ignore the bully and walk away. It's definitely not a cowardly response — sometimes it can be harder than losing your temper. Bullies thrive on the reaction they get, and if you walk away or ignore hurtful e-mails or instant messages, you silently tell the bully that you just don't care. Sooner or later the bully will likely get bored with trying to bother you.
  • Walk tall and hold your head high. Using this type of body language sends a message that you're not vulnerable.
  • Hold the anger, use humor. Who doesn't want to get really upset with a bully? But that's exactly the response he or she is trying to get. If you're in a situation where you have to deal with a bully and you can't walk away with poise, use humor — it can throw the bully off guard.
  • Work out your anger in another way, such as through exercise or by writing it down (make sure you tear up any letters or notes you write in anger).
  • Don't get physical. However you choose to deal with a bully, don't use physical force (like kicking, hitting, or pushing). Not only are you showing your anger, you can never be sure what the bully will do in response. You are more likely to be hurt and get into trouble if you use violence against a bully. You can stand up for yourself in other ways, such as controlling the situation by walking away.
  • Practice confidence. Practice positive ways to respond to the bully verbally or through your behavior. Practice feeling good about yourself (even if you have to fake it at first).
  • Take charge of your life. You can't control other people's actions, but you can stay true to yourself. Think about ways to feel your best and your strongest. Exercise is one way to feel strong and powerful. (It's a great mood lifter, too!) Learn a martial art or take a class like yoga. Another way to gain confidence is to hone your skills in something like chess, art, music, computers, or writing. Joining a class, club, or gym is a great way to make new friends and feel good about yourself. The confidence you gain will help you ignore the mean kids.
  • Find your (true) friends. If you've been bullied with rumors or gossip, all of these tips (especially ignoring and not reacting) can apply. But take it one step further to help ease feelings of hurt and isolation. Find one or two true friends and confide how the gossip has hurt your feelings. Set the record straight by telling your friends quietly and confidently what's true and not true about you. Hearing a friend say, "I know the rumor is not true. I didn't pay attention to it," can help you realize that most of the time people see gossip for what it is — petty, rude, and immature.

Source: The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth®.

Step Up!

  • KIDS: Smile and introduce yourself to a new person at school or on the playground.
  • TEENS: Practice ways to respond to bullying verbally or through your behavior. Practice feeling good about yourself (even if you have to fake it at first).
  • ADULTS: Encourage new friendships through meaningful conversations with new people.

'TAKE 12! STEPS FOR
FAMILY HEALTH IN 2014'

PROGRAM SPONSORS AND PARTNERS
Sponsors

Take 12 Steps to Family Health

The Take 12 program is free and anyone can participate at any time. This program is designed to:

  • Help you accomplish healthy goals each month, with tips to keep you going for the duration.
  • Give you access to information - free workshops are available each month on different healthy topics and bulletin boards loaded with information are posted at all the RECenters.
  • Provide an opportunity for you to experience fitness and wellness programs offered across Fairfax County.
  • Empower you to make important lifestyle changes... you can do it!
  • Plus, sign-up to receive the monthly e-newsletter, packed with recipes and healthy tips, upcoming events, and opportunities to achieve your Take 12 goals!

2014 TAKE 12 CALENDAR

Take 12 Steps for Family Health in 2014 Calendar
Download Calendar

12 Months, 12 healthy goals. Don't miss out on this year's great family wellness opportunities in the Fairfax County community! The calendar contains fitness and wellness tips, ways to improve your nutritional habits, and better health ideas for kids, teens and adults. Also, the calendar contains coupons to use throughout the year. STEP UP to better health!

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS & EVENTS

Healthy Workshops and Events are always being added!
Check our events calendar often for great opportunities in the community.


All events are free (unless indicated with a "$") and require advanced registration.
To register, please email Take12@fairfaxcounty.gov.

TELL US YOUR STORY

We are looking for people who have used the Take 12 program and found better health as a result of their participation. We are also looking for any kind of feedback about the program - the calendar, events, workshops, tips, articles - anything that you want to tell us, we're listening! Email us at Take12@fairfaxcounty.gov.

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Healthy Strides
Click to Review 2014

CONTACT US

Email: Take12@fairfaxcounty.gov
Phone: 703-324-8423

Mailing Address:
Fairfax County Park Authority
Attn: Take 12 Program
12055 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 425
Fairfax, VA 22035-1118

All content within www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/rec/take12/ is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult your doctor if you are concerned about your health. Always consult your physician or health care provider before taking any new medication, beginning any program of exercise, or following any health or wellness advice contained herein.

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
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