BOONVILLE – Virtually everyone suffers from stress.

What’s yours? Maybe it is too much to do in too little time. Traffic jams. Relationship problems. Family demands. Living paycheck to paycheck. Whatever the sources of stress in your life, University of Missouri Extension delivers a nationally recognized stress-relief program to help meet your challenges so you can live a healthier life.

Taking Care of You: Body, Mind & Spirit (extension.missouri.edu/TakingCare) is a four-session workshop co-designed by Molly Vetter-Smith, former assistant extension professor and state health education specialist with MU’s School of Medicine.

“When people’s lives get really busy and really stressed, or something traumatic happens, it can affect both physical and mental health,” says Vetter-Smith. “This program is there to help all aspects of your health and to help get you through whatever challenge you have going on in your life at that time.”

Offered in weekly, 1.5-hour sessions, the course covers the mind-body wellness connection, providing practical strategies to help people manage stress. When people are able to manage stress in healthy ways, they are better able to take care of themselves and maintain their overall health.

“When life gets out of balance, we become very stressed and we don’t always make the

healthiest of choices,” says program co-designer and instructor Vera Massey, retired MU

Extension regional nutrition and health education specialist. “This program helps

people better manage the stress and challenges in their lives.”

Follow-up research indicates that program participants significantly lowered their stress

levels and made lifestyle improvements immediately following the sessions and even

three months later, says Massey. Evaluations show they regularly use stress management

skills taught in the program, make healthier food choices and live more

physically active lives.

“One of things that sticks out to me — that I remember word-for-word from the Taking

Care of You class — is, ‘Don’t spend an extraordinary amount of time on ordinary

things,’” recalls one of the program’s students, Beth McClure, a public relations

professional from the St. Louis area. She also appreciated the limited class size.

“I approached the class because I was looking for help in finding balance in my life and

just really improving as a person in both my career and in my personal life. This class

seems to bring it all together for people.”

The Cooper County University of Missouri Extension Office in Boonville will offer the

stress-relief program this fall. The four session series will begin Monday, November 6

from 9:30-11 a.m. and will continue on November 13, 20, and 27 at the MU

Extension Office located at 510 Jackson Road, Suite A. For more information and to

register for this course call the MU Extension Office at 660-882-5661.