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Class offers ways to destress before the holidays

Published: Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 1:38 p.m. CST
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(Photo provided)
Exercise is one way to relieve stress.

ANTIOCH — Feeling sad is often due to stress, and 75 percent of illnesses are caused by stress. That's what Wendy Gwaltney of Spring Grove Wellness tells her clients. She'll discuss those facts and more in a four-session class called Managing Stress, hosted by the Antioch Parks and Recreation.

The sessions will be held 7 to 8:30 p.m. each Wednesday, starting Nov. 6, ending Dec. 4 at the park district, 806 Holbek Drive, Antioch.

Gwaltney said stress can build and negatively affect the body and the mind. She added the key to keeping stress under control is to first understand where it comes from. Although there are general stressors, she said, such as bills and poor health, a steady stressor may be different for everyone.

Gwaltney said stress overload needs to be managed or it can get out of control and make people physically and psychologically ill.

“The positive effect of stress is that it can motivate us to make changes in our life,” Gwaltney said. “The negative can be headaches, anxiety, lack of sleep and [crabbiness.]

Mary Quilty, recreation supervisor at Antioch Parks and Rec, said the managing stress class is part of the parent workshops introduced this year to keep the community informed on life skills. Others were Raising Teens Isn't for Sissies and The Launching Years, which offered support for parents of young adult sons and daughters.

The anti-stress class, Quilty said, coincides with the generally stressful beginning of the holiday season and will start by having participants do some self-awareness techniques and figure out their priorities.

"The class is a perfect opportunity to start working toward that goal most people have to reduce stress so we can enjoy life,” Quilty said.

Gwaltney tells her cleints that they should spend most of their time on personal values and goals. “If this is not where they're spending that time, then maybe it's time to make a life change.”

Session one covers identifying stressors. Session two will help participants determine their stress personalties. For example, Gwaltney said the basketcase is a person who feels rattled under strees. She also identifies the cliff walker, who works well under pressure and the lone wolf, who shuts everyone out.

The four-week session class for adults costs $60. Register online at www.antioch.il.gov/parks.cfm or call 847-395-2160 for more information.

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