Inspiring Stories

Joan Janek, 67: Stress Fighter

Welcome back to this special series featuring the stories of the Senior Planet Sponsored Athletes as they pursue their fitness goals in 2020.

If you missed Joan Janek’s inspiring story of perseverance, you can find it along with all of our Sponsored Athlete updates here.

My name is Joan Janek and I’m a proud Senior Planet Athlete. My daily fitness program has given me stamina, endurance, and endorphin hormones when exercising, to help deal with life’s stressful events. I mention stressful events because I have dealt with several stressful events this past year, while thankfully not relapsing with my cancer diagnosis.  

I recently found an article from the University Hospitals website defining the top five stressful life events. They are: death of a loved one, divorce, moving, major illness or injury, and job loss. Well, I have dealt with four out of the five. In April, I was let go from my occupational therapy home care job. A few months later, my lovely cat Leela needed to be euthanized. Then in the summer, I sold my home of 23 years and moved to the east side of Providence. I have also survived three battles with breast and lung cancers. I have been recovered for the past 10 years, but the annual check-up is stressful in and of itself.

“I want to share how we can help ourselves get through these stressful times in the pandemic.”

-Joan Janek

The Senior Planet program has motivated me to cope with and survive these stressful life events. Stressors produce stress hormones in our bodies to help us get through the difficult events. We can take steps to reduce these stress responses in our lives with the following:  

  1.   Exercise

Exercise produces endorphins which are also known as relaxation or happy hormones. This is why runners often feel good and have a difficult time stopping.

  1.   Deep Breath  

A deep breath exercise improves our oxygen supply to our bodies and brains.      

  1.  Visualization

Think happy thoughts for at least 30 seconds. I use visualization of nature and healing images. Try it!

My routine

My own daily routine has helped me deal with life’s stressful events. I perform Jane Fonda’s Low Impact Aerobics at least three times a week. I also walk a brisk mile four to five times a week. I finish with a 15-20 minute breathing and meditation program to visualize nature in my mind.

Deep tissue massage for 60 minutes once a month has helped open some tight tissue around my hip. I take a daily multivitamin, calcium with magnesium, and D3, all approved by my medical doctor. I no longer have bursitis in my left hip, not just from the vitamins, but all the exercise, relaxation, healthy meals, and rest. 

I am a Proud Senior Planet Athlete, and I want to share how we can help ourselves get through these stressful times in the pandemic. I am turning 68 years old on November 8, and I am a proud survivor of four out of the five major stressful life events. I am happily living on the east side of Providence on a boulevard surrounded by beautiful trees. Well, it is time for me to get ready to go out and walk. Then, it’s back home to start my day with Jane Fonda.



5 responses to “Joan Janek, 67: Stress Fighter

  1. You are a inspiration Joan. I was on the event where you spoke and mentioned the Jane Fonda videos. Stay healthy and keep on inspiring the rest of us. I have toyed with meditation off an on and now do it 4, 5 times a week with a group for 20-30 minutes. I am a walker but I need to speed up. Seen many changes since I have been working on and targeting my gut health. Its the key to thriving.

  2. Joan – it’s great to see how organized and committed you are. May your health stay well and allow you to continue. I do yoga and ride a bicycle (since a knee injury, walking is not s good) and I hope to resume weight training soon within the new Covid-19 health club requirements.

  3. Joan, congratulations on perseverance through all of your stressful and very serious major illnesses and lifetime crises. I will adapt your three step approach to reduce stress. I would my add my observation to your successful recovery which is the smile which is always on your face showing your positive outlook.

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