Fitting in 'Me Time': How the Y Can Help

By: Mollie Shauger | Thursday, February 27, 2020 | Child Care

A woman practices yoga and meditation. YMCA group exercise classes help reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Have you ever thought about escaping for a bit to do something on your own, but felt guilty about it? It’s often a dilemma parents and caregivers face: trying to fit in some “me time” while making sure the kids are happy and healthy.

But taking time for yourself benefits your mental and physical health, and those things matter when you’re caring for others. Time for yourself, or "self-care," gives your brain a chance to reboot, improves concentration, increases productivity, and helps you discover or rediscover your own voice, among other benefits. This leads to a better relationship with yourself - and with others.

Here are some ways the YMCA can help you feel recharged: 

Take an exercise class

There are numerous fitness classes to choose from, whether you want something low-impact like yoga, or a more fast-paced activity like cycling. In addition to the physical benefits, exercise has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety and improve one’s mood. It can also improve one’s sleep, energy, and stamina.

Use the child watch services

While you take a class, use the Y’s gym or enjoy a dip in the pool, your child can have his or her own time to socialize with other kids under the supervision of Y staff.

Go swimming

Like other forms of exercise, swimming improves your physical and mental well-being by building strength and stamina, and lowering anxiety and depression. Swimming for just 30 minutes three times a week can reportedly lower stress levels, elevate your mood, lower incidences of depression and anxiety and improve sleep patterns. Swimming is also less taxing on the muscles and joints than some other aerobic sports, making it safe for pregnant women and people with certain physical ailments.

Try something new

Is there a sport or class you’ve always wanted to try, like dance or self-defense? New experiences can build your self-confidence and courage, break up the monotony of routines and expand your social circle. It’s also another great way to discover yourself and your interests.

Enjoy a “Parents Night Out”

These events allow the kids to hang out with other kids at the Y while parents enjoy an evening out.

Relax in the lobby or cafe

Read a book or catch up on emails - or just sit down for a few minutes.

Let off some steam

Take advantage of the locker room’s showers and steam rooms. Saunas can be relaxing and help relieve stress. Regular use of them has also been linked to a lower risk of high blood pressure and dementia.

Volunteer

Volunteering can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, and help you make new connections while giving back. The Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges offers opportunities for volunteering in the community or at the Y.

For schedules of classes, child watch services and other activities, visit your local YMCA branch. Because the Y is for all, financial assistance is available for eligible individuals and families who want to participate in Y programs.


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