Thursday, February 17, 2011
Tips for planning a real vacation

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

We are beginning to plan for summer vacations. Travel guides are in hand and airline and hotel reservations are on the horizon. Consider the following vacation tips that are important for your mental health while on vacation. We sometimes forget that vacation does not just mean time away from work. It is actually aimed at recharging your body and your mind so that you can return refreshed. Theoretically, it should allow you to function at a higher level than when you left. In our current work oriented society, we often lose sight of things. We tend to forget that vacation is a time to relax and that it is meant to be a break from things. Electronic devices allow individuals to actually carry aspects of their work with them when they are on vacation. The first question to answer is how long should a vacation be? Medical studies have looked at this question. The most recent study was done in 2010 at the University of the Rockies. The answers are surprisingly consistent. It appears that the most beneficial period of time for a vacation is 10 days. More than 14 days is too long, so for that reason, it is best to plan at least one 10 to 14 day vacation per year. When I was in the Air Force, one of the Four Star Generals required his senior officers to take at least one 2-week vacation every year. There is clearly good support for that in medical literature. The next thing is to make sure everything is done at work before you leave. If you know that there are a lot of things coming due, make sure you pace yourself so you don't have to do it all at the last minute which increases stress levels unnecessarily. Some people stress out by packing at the last minute. It is better to spread your packing over a few days which will allow you to remember things that you may forget if you do it all at once. The purpose of a vacation is to relax. Staying with family is relaxing. However, it is more relaxing to be away from everyday type activities. For that reason at least part of the vacation time should be spent in a more relaxing atmosphere. Vacation does not mean doing so many activities that you wind up being sleep deprived. A good night's sleep while away is important to re-energize you. You might find it useful to bring your pillow from home to help you sleep. An important piece of vacation is to make it a vacation. You should not bring work with you. You should not be checking your office e-mails several times a day. Consider leaving your laptop at home if it is going to tempt you to do work. You should also plan a vacation that adds some balance to your life. If your daily life is hectic, get away and relax. If life is lethargic, consider a more active vacation. These items need to be considered as part of your planning. The list needs to include more than just travel guides and reservations. If you are going to go on vacation, you should plan to do it right.

Nanticoke offers cholesterol class Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next cholesterol class is Tuesday, March 29 at 5 p.m. at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. The class will focus on foods and eating habits that may help to manage your cholesterol levels and will incorporate practical suggestions for overcoming the barriers to eating in a heart healthy way. Topics will include risk factors, saturated, unsaturated fats, trans fats, portion sizes and other American Heart Association guidelines. There is a class fee of $20, and pre-registration is required. For more information and to register, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 2455.

Community CPR classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child or infant who is choking. This classroom-based, video and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friendsand community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency because of job responsibilities or regulatory requirements. Cost is $30. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations (if seating is available) will be an additional $5 fee. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

'Back' to better living Dr. James Hummel and staff at Nanticoke Chiropractic Center have taken a pledge to better their lifestyle, physically and mentally.

And to help you do the same, the center is offering free events over the next several months. Coming up firstin February is a health lecture, "Why your Normal Headache is Not Normal," where you can learn the types, causes and treatments for those annoying headaches. This event is Tuesday, Feb. 22, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The lecture is open to the public at no cost, but reservations are requested. Call 628-8706 to reserve your seat.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pick Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Nanticoke offers childbirth classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer a childbirth class on Wednesday, Feb. 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the hospital.The class will meet each Wednesday for four weeks. The maternity education classes are designed to offer information, counseling, support and hands-on experience to help prepare for a new family member. They will cover pregnancy in general, information to prepare the expectant mother for labor and delivery, and will include a tour of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Mother Baby Care Unit. A refresher course is also available for those who have previously taken childbirth classes. The refresher class covers breathing techniques, signs, symptoms and stages of labor, birthing options, and a tour of Nanticoke's Mother Baby Care Unit. The cost of the childbirth course is $50, and the cost for the refresher course is $25. Mothers are encouraged to bring their partner or support person for all courses. Registration in advance is required for either class. To register, or for more information, contact the Health Education Registration line of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 2540.

Cancer Support Group offered The Wellness Community-Delaware offers a general cancer support group for people affected by cancer and their loved ones at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. The on-going monthly support group meets in the first floor resource library of the Cancer Care Center on the third Monday of each month. For the winter months the group meets from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The next meeting is Feb. 28 at 3:30 p.m. due to the Presidents' Day holiday. Call 645-9150 for information or to register for this free program. The Wellness Community, an affiliate of the Cancer Support Community, is dedicated to helping people affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of emotional support and hope. For more information about The Wellness Community, visit Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospice's "New Beginnings" bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program.The location rotates each week of the month according to the following schedule:
  • 1st Thursday: Grottos Pizza, Rt. 26, Bethany Beach;
  • 2nd Thursday: Georgia House, 300 Delaware Ave., Laurel;
  • 3rd Thursday: Millsboro Pizza Palace, Rt. 113-southbound lane, Millsboro;
  • 4th Thursday: Blue Ocean Grill (formerly Milton House), 200 Broadkill Rd., Milton;
  • 5th Thursday (when applicable): Texas Grill (formerly Ocean Point Grill), 26089 Long Neck Rd., Millsboro.
"New Beginnings" luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required.There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Carol Dobson or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

Wellness Center shows art The Wellness Community will be featuring Renew Your PaletteƉ Art for the Mind, Food for the Soul, scheduled for March 12. To submit art or obtain more information, contact Marcia Esposito, special events coordinator, at 645-9150 or For more info see