Find your best intentions for the New Year

After the exhausting year that we all endured, maybe the goal for 2021 should be nothing more than finding new activities to bring us peace of mind. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to shed a few pounds, expand our minds and get more exercise. But this year especially, there may be the need to make our yearly vows manageable — and not a source of additional stress.

Find Balance — And Simplify Your Life

Deb Mareb, owner and instructor at Yoga of Yarmouth Port, prefers the word “intentions” over “resolutions” when describing the changes people make at the start of every year.

Instead of focusing on something that you don’t like about yourself and trying to change it, ask yourself: “What would be a nice picture of your life for you?” she said. Then bring in more of a positive outlook.

One result of the ongoing pandemic is that we were all forced to slow down, Mareb said, adding that slowing down while simplifying your life can improve your outlook. Relaxing your mind while moving your body helps, too — whether it’s part of an instructor-led yoga class or just getting outdoors to walk your dog and enjoy nature. 

If you want to try classes, Yoga of Yarmouth Port has a variety of on-site sessions inside the small studio at 161 Route 6A. Classes include a maximum of five participants, and everyone wears a mask, Mareb said. The studio also has Zoom classes for those who want to practice yoga at home, she said. Find more at

Tennis, Aerobics, Weights and More

Maybe you want more variety for your workouts. At Mid-Cape Athletic Club, 193 White’s Path in South Yarmouth, members can play tennis, build aerobic endurance on cardio machines, work out with weights or take a variety of classes — offered onsite and online.

Roughly 90 percent of the exercise classes at MCAC are now available to members via Zoom, said Director of Operations Jennifer Majewski. Among the many offerings: Barre, Cardio Sculpting, Pilates, Spin, Tabata and Zumba.

When the club shut down in the spring of 2020, Majewski said she sold more than half of the gym’s stationary bikes to members who now take Spin classes at home. She said on-site Spin classes will be returning soon, albeit with fewer bikes spaced farther apart to ensure safe social distancing.

Other safety measures at MCAC include wide spacing between exercise machines, improved air filtration, hand sanitizer stations throughout the club, 14-feet of marked spacing between class participants, and mandatory masks for everyone inside the gym, including on the tennis courts. Equipment, exercise areas and surfaces throughout the facility are cleaned with Viking Pure natural sanitizer, Majewski said.

Mid-Cape Athletic Club also has nutrition counseling and private coaching to help members strive for personal goals. Find out more about classes, programs and safety changes at

Healthy Body and an Enriched Mind

Maybe you want to stimulate your mind as well as move your body. If so, consider classes at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod.

Yoga for Wise Warriors! is offered online on Friday mornings. Sessions are accessed via Zoom, and they include some online social interaction before the yoga begins, followed by personal attention from instructor Lee Yunits throughout the hour.

The Cultural Center also runs Tai Chi classes, which are held in Owl Hall with a small number of clients who have plenty of space for social distancing. The routines in Tai Chi involve slow, methodical movements, and there’s not much heavy breathing, said Director of Education Amy Neill. But as with all classes at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, masks are required.

For those who feel more comfortable exercising at home, the Tai Chi instruction with Holly Heaslip is also available via Zoom, Neill said. However, the center is phasing out its hybrid online/physical classes and looking to begin a new program of online courses that will be available 24/7. Neill expects the new virtual classes will be scheduled in the coming months.

For creative development — which always helps nurture a positive attitude, the Cultural Center runs classes in visual arts, cooking, humanities, do-it-yourself projects, and kids’ activities. All of the courses can help improve your well-being just by participating in something new, Neill said.

“Every class that we offer is all about health and wellness, and just bettering your mind,” she explained. “Something about working with your hands or focusing on something new is always good for your mental health.”

Expand Your Reading…. And Your Horizons

The town’s libraries have been operating with limited hours and curbside pickup since early December, but there’s still plenty of ways to engage with other bookworms.

Read and review topical books online with the library’s Zoom book clubs. A mystery group meets on the second Thursday of every month, and a book discussion group meets on the fourth Thursday. Copies of the books  to be read and discussed are available in advance of each meeting, either via curbside pickup or through Outlook/Libby and Hoopla.

The library also has virtual craft and story times for young patrons. For info on any of the virtual programs call the South Yarmouth Library at 508-760-4820, ext. 1 or the West Yarmouth Library at 508-775-5602, ext. 2. You can also find more at the Yarmouth libraries’ website or sign up for the library newsletter to stay informed about new books and activities.

Practical Advice for Healthier Eating

Looking to eat healthier in 2021? Find advice on diet and nutrition without leaving your home by joining one of the food and nutrition programs hosted by Cape Cod Cooperative Extension.

The extension runs a variety of nutrition and food safety courses for adults, pre-schoolers, seniors. A new free phone-in series on nutrition targets local seniors, who may not be comfortable with the technology involved in video conferencing. The weekly sessions, promoted through the Yarmouth Senior Center, are held every Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. Each call-in program is taught by a Cape Cod Cooperative Extension nutrition educator and includes time for participants to ask questions from the experts, said Kim Concra, a Nutrition and Food Safety Specialist with the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension.

Upcoming programs include: Cooking for One or Two on Jan. 7; Blood Sugar and Sweet Treats, Jan. 14, Fruits and Breakfast, Jan. 21; and Citrus Fruits, Potassium and Blood Pressure on Jan. 28. Call 508-271-1520 for phone access. Learn more about additional nutrition programs at the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension website.

Andy Tomolonis is a textbook author, travel writer and freelance multimedia journalist.