1
Stealth Health – Tales From the Toddler Dinner Table
2
Spring Into Wellness
3
How Families Stay Strong
4
Hip Hip Hooray
5
Adults: Three Things Youth Want Us to Know
6
The Winter Blues
7
Exercising During the Workday is a Win-Win
8
Keeping Your Knees Healthy
9
Become a Live Well Lamoille Blogger!
10
What Is Your New Years Resolution?

Stealth Health – Tales From the Toddler Dinner Table

By: Julie Swank

If he had his own way, my son would subsist entirely on pancakes. In his words, “with syrup AND jam.” As a garden nutrition educator, I’m embarrassed to admit this, since I work hard to convince kids they love kale and beets over more sugar-laden food options. And here’s my own son double fisting pancakes drenched in syrup. 

I have to remember that I, as the well meaning adult in this picture, am in charge of helping my young one develop his palate to enjoy many different tastes and flavors. But a child’s love for all things carbohydrate and sugar can leave even the most determined parent feeling defeated from time to time at the dinner table. 

This is a good place to introduce the idea of stealth health, from the “if you can’t beat them, join ‘em” category of parenting advice. While it’s still important to introduce foods raw or solo for young kids to get a taste for them, sometimes you need to get creative to get all the nutrition you can into their growing bodies. I’m taking a page from my mom on this one, who had many vegetable pancake variations, most of which were not well received by my younger self. Corn, zucchini, and carrots all made appearances at the breakfast table, met with many a complaint from me to “just have normal pancakes.”

Well, here I am as an adult who loves many different kinds of veggies, so my mom’s persistence paid off. We’re in for the long haul teaching food habits to kids – food preferences are MUCH easier to shape at a young age.  However, this might not always look perfect. For example, my son tasting a bite of spinach and spitting it out onto my plate…but his excited “I tried it!” is a step in the right direction. We’ll work more on manners, but exposure to many different tastes in the toddler years will help our young ones become adventurous eaters as adults. 

Here are some fun ideas from the stealth health kitchen:

  • Pasta and pizza are often easy “wins” with kids – who doesn’t love them? Purée steamed kale or broccoli, roasted beets, or other veggies into the tomato sauce for extra nutrients. This also works for meatloaf or meatballs – add 1 cup of puréed veggies to your regular recipe. 
  • Take it from brussels sprouts, they got a lot more popular once they met bacon. Use small amounts of cheese or bacon to make a previously unpopular vegetables shine. 
  • If you’re desperate, you can always hide veggies! I often slip the kale and spinach under the cheese in a pizza. Also, grated or sliced veggies (raw or cooked) can easily be tucked into sandwiches and wraps without too much of a fuss.
  • Give in a little bit to a toddler’s love of sugar by roasting root vegetables like parsnips, carrots, and beets to bring out their natural sugars. Cut them in wedges and have “rainbow french fries”!

This pancake recipe is popular in our house and a great way to sneak some extra nutrients into breakfast without your picky eaters noticing. Enjoy! 

Carrot Apple Pancakes

  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1 large apple, grated
  • 1 cup plain yogurt + ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ½  tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ginger (dried or fresh)
  • ½ cup raisins (optional)

Mix flour, baking soda, sugar, raisins, and spices together in a bowl.  Separately, whisk eggs, milk, and yogurt together and then stir in the grated carrot and apple. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients, being careful to not overmix (this makes pancakes tough). Fry on a pancake griddle, or in a little oil on a skillet until crispy and risen a bit. 


Julie Swank is a farmer, a school garden and nutrition educator, and most recently a mom, which has put all of her skills to the test to keep her busy two-year-old healthy and fed. She loves to connect people to their food by sharing advice from the kitchen and getting hands in the soil on the farm.  You can find her in the kitchen cooking meals for her son’s preschool, Four Seasons of Early Learning, and tending gardens in Greensboro, VT.

Spring Into Wellness

By: Deb Nevil

I don’t know about you, but this time of year always tugs at my inner gardener. I linger in a space of memories to the joy I find in delicious, locally grown produce and berries. As I watch the birds ready themselves for mating and all that the ritual of spring renewal has to offer, I dream of seeds sprouting, sap running, and the trees budding.  In Vermont, we know how quickly things change and that goes for our short growing season. I’m longing for cool misty mornings with my bare feet in the garden, long, steamy days that turn into peaceful evenings filled with music and laughter, and for summer farmers’ markets to open and the connection that brings to abundance and community.

Did you know that starting in July, just in time for peak growing season, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Division is opening up the Farm to Family program to our local farm stands?

This program falls under Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and supplements healthy eating choices of locally produced fruits, vegetables and plant starts for families from birth to age five. Farm to Family was originally only for farmers’ markets, but with this expansion, a broader focus on the importance of starting to eat healthy from the start helps to foster healthy habits for a lifetime. Families receive $30.00 in Farm to Family coupons in $6.00 increments. Here’s who can get support from WIC:

  • Pregant Women
  • Moms
  • Dads
  • Grandparents
  • Foster Parents
  • Step Parents
  • Guardians

“If you’re pregnant, a caregiver, or a mom with a child under age 5, you can get the right personalized support for you and your family. Caregivers with low to medium income and those who are part of other programs such as foster care, medical assistance or SNAP are eligible. Contact your local office for details.” – signupwic.com

This time of year also brings renewal and change. I try to focus on eating healthy and incorporating recipes that are easy, versatile and satisfying. I was on my social media account last night and a good friend, Kim Place-Faucher, posted a picture of a delicious salad.

Healthy spring seasonal recipe

 The funny thing was, her post asked about food blogging! Well of course, I had to share my guest blog post through Healthy Lamoille Valley and that I was writing this post for all of you. I asked if I could share her recipe and she said, “Yes!”  Here is Kim’s recipe:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 blood orange
  • 1 Cara Cara orange
  • 1 navel
  • A small handful of fresh cilantro
  • Dress the salad with fresh-squeezed lime juice and drizzle with local honey.

This season also provides the best local maple syrup, so you could try a variation by changing out the honey with maple. Whatever your choice, I hope this finds you well and wanting to enjoy the offerings of the season. At the very least it might make mud season more tolerable.

In gratitude,

 Deb


Deb Nevil is a Boston native who grew up summering on the ocean in Marshfield, MA. Clamming, blackberry picking, gardening and homemade cooking has always been her passion. Consequently, her love for healthy, natural food and wellness has brought her to create in her hometown, Jeffersonville Farmers’ and Artisan Market. Deb was encouraged by her parents to live life on her own terms while helping others achieve their goals through neighborliness, generosity and compassion.

A mother of 4 with a M.Ed., Deb oversees the after school and summer Enrichment program as the 21st Center for Learning Coordinator at Cambridge Elementary School. Deb understands the importance of a healthy, educated and engaged community to raise positive and productive children. She is a Vermont Farmers’ Market Advisory (VTFMA) Board Member, Brand Ambassador for Kingdom Creamery of VT and coordinates the JFAM Mtn. Jam Music Series in Jeffersonville in July-August.

Deb lives in Cambridge with her family, and babies: her dogs and cats.

How Families Stay Strong

By: Steve Ames

Local Resources Available for Parents

Speaking to a legislator earlier this session, I came to realize that not everyone knows about the significant integrated approach to prevention the state and a large number of partner organizations take, sometimes called “upstream strategies,” to ensure kids and families succeed in life.

Data shows that focusing on prevention efforts has a significant impact on lowering costs down the road for other systems and services, including special education, health care and even corrections. Even more important, they help kids and their families lead healthier, happier lives.

While there are many different efforts aimed at prevention, from smoking cessation, Early Intervention, Strong Families Home Visiting, and Care Coordination to name just a few, my focus here is on a prevention framework that Vermont has committed to over many years that can be incorporated across many other prevention strategies – the tried and true Strengthening Families Framework.

Strengthening Families is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths (also sometimes referred to as “resilience”), enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. It is based on engaging families, programs, and communities in building five key protective factors – factors that help kids and families do better when difficult things happen to them (including Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs):

  1. Parental resilience: Managing stress and functioning well when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma. We can all learn ways to manage the inevitable challenges that occur in our daily lives. Parent education classes offered through the Parent Child Centers (like the Lamoille Family Center) are just one strategy to help parents learn these skills.
  2. Social connections: Positive relationships that provide emotional, informational, instrumental and spiritual support. Social connections include keeping in touch with family members, but also are as simple as going to community events and school events – or just talking to each other on the street and waving to each other as you pass by on the road.
  3. Knowledge of parenting and child development: Understanding child development and parenting strategies that support physical, cognitive, language, social and emotional development. If you know that your three-year-old’s brain is not able to reason like your nine-year-old’s, then parenting will be a little bit easier – but there are myriad ways that knowledge of child development helps people to interact with kids in more positive ways.
  4. Concrete support in times of need: Access to concrete support and services that address a family’s needs and help minimize stress caused by challenges. Concrete support can be help from a friend when your family is stressed, or help from a family member. It can also come from a Parent Child Center, church, or a state agency. It can be fundamental – like help with food or housing, or it can be more emotional, like help dealing with the fantastic new skills of your two-year-old.
  5. Social and emotional competence of children: Family and child interactions that help children develop the ability to communicate clearly, recognize and regulate their emotions, and establish and maintain relationships. When kids learn the difference between thinking and feeling, they are more likely to communicate successfully and feel better. These key skills result in all of us getting the help we need.

Local Resources Available for Parents

In Vermont, the Child Development Division of the Agency of Human Services have been awarding annual grants for the past eight years to help child care providers learn about and incorporate the Strengthening Families Framework into their programs.

Parent Child Centers in every region of Vermont, like the Lamoille Family Center and the Family Center of Washington County, with whom I work, promote resilience and the protective factors every day at their centers, at the many playgroups they lead, during free parent education classes, and through the Children’s Integrated Services activities they provide for their communities.

Help Me Grow, Vermont’s Child Development call center (211), also provides support for people looking for solutions to challenges around being a family.

The five protective factors at the foundation of Strengthening Families also offer a framework for changes at the systems, policy and practice level – locally, statewide and nationally. Part of Building Bright Futures’ work includes creating and revising plans of action each regional council uses to inform and guide their work through the year, and the Strengthen Families Framework helps us identify key strategies in our communities.

At its heart, Strengthening Families is about how families and individuals find support, and are supported to build key protective factors that enable children to thrive. In most cases in our day-to-day lives, we find these five protective factors on our own. Sometimes we need a little more help – and Vermont is working through a collective impact approach to make sure that our variety of formal and informal services and supports for children and families are designed to make families strong.


As the Regional Coordinator for Building Bright Futures, Steve staffs The Lamoille Valley Building Bright Futures Regional Council, a volunteer committee focused on the well being of young children and their families. There is one such Council in each of twelve regions of the State. Steve also works with the Playroom in Morrisville. He writes about early childhood, families, community, play, and equity.

Hip Hip Hooray

By: Dan Regan

The other day, Presidents’ Day to be precise, I had my hip replaced. Years of playing squash, a fast-moving and otherwise healthful racquet sport, had worn away the cartilage on one hip and had ground the joint down to nothing. The surgeon’s highly technical (sic.) diagnosis was that it was “beyond broken.”

Leading up to this common but still major surgery, I found myself with three overwhelming concerns: (1) my toenails; (2) a slight irritation at waist level, dry skin from Vermont’s cold winters exacerbated by a styrofoam flotation belt worn for exercise in a pool; and especially (3) whether home health, after the operation, would look askance at our small house, and at the clutter and occasional mess created by its three dogs and three cats. Anyone who has given birth may already be scoffing at these concerns. Whether they are merely peculiar, fairly usual, or an abject denial of what was to come, I am not sure.

importance of preventative care

I do know for sure that, soon to turn 73, I am extraordinarily fortunate. This was the first time I had ever been an in-patient at a hospital. By contrast, in a single year—2016 for instance—7% of the total US population experienced a hospital stay of at least one night duration. That’s over 35 million inpatient stays in one year.

These Americans—readers of this blog among them—are a hardy bunch. My hospital of choice (Copley) provided an exceptional quality of highly personalized care during my recent stay. The entire staff was just terrific.

Nevertheless, no matter how wonderful the ministrations of a healthcare team, a hospital is a humbling place. That’s because a hospital is an example of a « total institution »—that is, a place of work and residence where a large number of people are cut off from the wider community for a considerable time. Their new community has its own rhythm, rules, and procedures. For the healing and recovery process to play out properly, hospital patients must skillfully play their important roles; above all, they must make an effort to get better.

Of course, the promise of eventual recovery makes it all well worth it, but hospitalization is nevertheless far from easy: frequent patients have to be mighty tough. For one thing, a slight pall of anxiety overlays everything. Patient instructions, for instance, even for a planned-in-advance procedure such as mine, can end up seeming more complicated than assembling furniture from IKEA. Amidst the swirl of prescriptions, instructions, do’s and don’ts, it’s hard not to feel at least a little dense.

To be sure, lots of valuable lessons are learned in the process, including humility, gratitude and our common humanity. But they come at a price: a temporary loss of privacy, nakedness and exposure, the surgical assault upon one’s body, as well as a forced immersion into the private travails of strangers who are all too close.

No one looks forward to feeling these ways. Their antidote would seem to be minimizing hospitalizations. Accomplishing that will require, on the part of many of us, a greater focus on wellness. And even then, some hospital stays are the product of bad luck or non-preventable circumstances beyond our control. Certain microorganisms, genetic legacies, environmental factors or accidents can land us on our backs.

But there remain many hospital stays that result from individual lifestyle choices. My hope is that, to minimize the chances of being hospitalized, readers will take whatever steps they can toward their own wellness. Recent posts on this blog, for instance by Caleb Magoon and Michele Whitmore, provide some great and practical suggestions. Future posts will provide more, so stay tuned.  

In addition, wouldn’t it be great if insurance providers increased their support for wellness? In Germany, for instance, certain blood pressure readings would yield an Rx for hydrotherapy and spa treatments. Try charging your insurer for those! Nor is there generally insurer support for membership in a gym or fitness center, despite the consensus among healthcare providers that more exercise would be beneficial for most people. Acupuncture, in spite of its lineage that dates back thousands of years, is rarely supported. Even therapeutic massage, the benefits of which are widely recognized, is not generally covered.

A greater investment in preventive and wellness measures would save a great deal of money now expended on curative, after-the-fact treatments. So I urge readers to take whatever steps they can, hopefully with—but even without—the support of their insurers. The hospital, even a great one, should be a last resort.


Dan Regan, a sociologist, is the former dean of academic affairs at Johnson State College and continues to work part-time for Northern Vermont University. He writes for a variety of publications about whatever interests him, including—recently—climate change, living with arthritis, the NFL players’ protests, and higher education.

Adults: Three Things Youth Want Us to Know

By: Jessica Bickford, Coordinator, Healthy Lamoille Valley

Mental Health in Teenagers

One of the things I love most about my work is connecting with students. Recently I had the opportunity to meet with three Lamoille Valley students. As part of our conversation, I asked them what they wished adults knew…  Here’s what they had to say:

“Depression, anxiety, and insecurity are real in our lives.” While adults struggle with these things, our students are experiencing them, often for the first time, without the tools that adults have learned. As adults, we need to acknowledge these feelings as real and very pressing. Students have limited life experiences to reference and are making life-altering decisions that will shape the rest of their lives.  Honor these feelings and be there to help.

Similarly, “Stress is real.”  There are a lot of things that youth have to manage. Create opportunities to develop skills and habits to manage stress. These can be simple things: talking, listening to music, going for a walk/run, journaling, creating art, physical activity, and learning to know what you can do and how to say “no.” This last concept is key… youth don’t want to let anyone down… friends, teachers, parents… it’s easy for them to overcommit to avoid hurting others’ feelings. Learning to look at their schedules, balance their time, and say “no” gracefully are important life skills.

“Recognize that we have different personalities and enjoy different things. Provide opportunities to develop our unique skills.” Many students like to help, but as adults, we should be aware of their personalities and interests and find ways to meet those interests and build those skills. As an example, one person may love to speak and be out front while another enjoys helping behind the scenes. Embrace their personalities!

I encourage you to take time to ask the youth in your life, “What do you wish the adults in your life know about being a teen?” or “Life seems pretty stressful right now, how can I support you better?”  Then really listen and find ways to show that you heard them. When you do this, you’re building protective factors* for youth.  You’re showing them that they matter and opening up opportunities for future conversations!

* Healthy Lamoille Valley is a substance abuse prevention coalition working to reduce youth substance abuse. Find out more at healthylamoillevalley.org. Youth who have strong protective factors are less likely to rely on substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana to manage stress or find value. 


Jessica Bickford works as a Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

The Winter Blues

By: Caleb Magoon

Seasonal Affective Disorder

In my blog posts, I normally talk about staying active, fit and healthy. Of course, this is my wheelhouse. But this month I’m tackling a different subject: the all-too-familiar winter blues.

I’m generally a positive and upbeat person. I also love winter. I like to play in the snow and make the most of it, no matter the condition. But just a couple weeks ago something happened- I was in a bad car accident that has left me injured. Though my injury isn’t severe, it has left me unable to participate in many of the winter activities that bring me joy during these challenging months.

This has been a profound awakening for me. While I undergo rehab to get back to form, I now have a much greater understanding of and respect for those who are not able-bodied. The challenges of staying upbeat in our long winter become even harder with even modest limitations. So do mundane tasks like shoveling snow and walking down the road when your body can’t keep up.

What can we do but adapt? This can be very hard for someone like myself with set ways and ideas of how my winter should be. But adapting and making adjustments is the only way to stay positive. Here are some thoughts I have about the process:

  • Do what you can! Walking is widely recognized as an excellent exercise. It’s considerably lower speed than I am used to but necessary. It’s forced me to slow things down and take stock. This is good for both physical and mental recovery. Don’t discount the importance of some quiet time to think.
  • Stretch – Anyone can do it. A little physical therapy and stretching can do everyone good. It’s also the gateway to more robust activity. There are so many resources online that it’s easy to get started.
  • Exercise is mental – Every time I ski or bike I am helping my body and my mind. While my body must take it easy for the immediate future, I need to focus on sharpening my mind. I am reading the paper a bit more, writing in a journal about things going on in my life and working to reflect on the good things in life. Stay positive.
  • Set some goals – We all want to get back out. Setting modest goals will help the downtime fly by and keep you focused on recovery. We all want to be ready to enjoy that first sunny, 50-degree day in March. Be ready for it!
  • Don’t forget to socialize – Mental health is greatly improved when we engage with other people. Taking myself out of my routine pulls me away from the people I normally interact with. I tend to pull back from people and isolate a bit. This isn’t healthy. In situations like this, we all need to go out of our way to stay engaged with others.

I now recognize the challenges of those who are less able-bodied to get through our long winters. You can make it through by staying positive and focusing on doing the things we are able to do.


Caleb Magoon is a Hyde Park native who grew up hiking, hunting, biking and exploring Vermont’s Green Mountains. His passions for sports and recreation have fueled his career as the owner of Power Play Sports and Waterbury Sports. Caleb encourages outdoor activity and believes it is an essential element to a healthy lifestyle and the Vermont way of life. Caleb serves the Lamoille Valley by volunteering on numerous community boards such as the Lamoille County Planning Commission, The Morrisville Alliance for Commerce and Culture, Mellow Velo, and the state chapter of The Main Street Alliance. He lives, plays and works in Hyde Park with his wife Kerrie.

Exercising During the Workday is a Win-Win

By: Michele Whitmore

exercising during the workday

A couple of weeks ago, I read a great article on LinkedIn about the importance of taking time to exercise during the workday. The article affirmed my own personal feelings and beliefs about taking time out your workday for “me time”—and not feeling guilty about it. The guilt piece, I put on myself; we are all likely a little guilty of this too.

However, what I keep reminding myself is:

  • Regular exercise releases brain chemicals key for memory, concentration, and mental sharpness.
  • Regular exercise has been shown to increase efficiency.
  • Regular exercise helps maintain healthy blood pressure and weight.
  • Regular exercise improves one’s energy.
  • Regular exercise can improve one’s mood while also lowering stress and anxiety.

Life is busy. If you are a parent with active children, finding time to exercise after work or on weekends can be challenging. Been there, done that—not so well.

What I have learned is that scheduling in a “me” appointment either in the morning before the workday begins or taking a “runch” during the workday has made all the difference in my focus, productivity, and energy at work. I notice the difference when I do not make the time, and so does my supervisor, coworkers, and family. Now, they encourage me and remind me of the importance of that appointment which helps lessen my guilt and stick to my exercise plan.

Check with your supervisor first and let them know your “me time” plan and how it might slightly impact your work schedule, just in case you need a little flexibility getting into the office in the morning or taking a little extra time during lunch. That time will be made up because you will be more efficient, productive, focused, energized, happy, and healthy—all important attributes that a supervisor looks for.

Here are a few additional resources:

“How Exercise Can Improve Your Productivity and Efficiency.” Balance  – http://www.asteronlife.com.au/balance/fitness/exerciseproductivity#sthash.OTVVRaxR.dpbs

“How to Exercise During the Workday (And Why it’s Important).” BBC – http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20190116-why-you-should-exercise-during-the-workday—and-how?ocid=ww.social.link.linkedin

 


Michele Whitmore is the Associate Dean of Students at Johnson State College. She works closely with Student Service Departments within the College to provide purposeful events to students that will strengthen their professional leadership, personal growth, life skills development and social engagement. Thus far, the College has provided educational programs that cover LGBTQ issues, alcohol and drug use, sexual assault prevention, socio-economic struggles, and healthy choices related to eating well and being fit, to name a few. Michele writes about the outreach and program opportunities that enhance the wellness of a campus community.

Keeping Your Knees Healthy

By: Leah Hollenberger

Copley recently hosted a seminar on Knee Health. A key piece of new information for several of the attendees was that exercise helps you build bone and maintain bone density. If you spend most of your time sitting down, your body gets the message that you aren’t using your bones, so your bones stop absorbing the calcium and minerals they need to become and stay strong. So to avoid problems with your knees, the best thing to do is to move more.

Here are some tips from the National Institutes of Health to help:

Think about all the movements you do every day: walking, climbing stairs, typing, turning doorknobs and lifting. Your bones, muscles, and joints all work together to make your body an amazingly movable machine. Like any machine, your body can suffer some wear and tear. It needs regular care and maintenance to keep moving with ease.

The main moving parts of your body include the solid bones, the joint tissues that link bones together, and the muscles that attach to your bones. Your body has about 200 bones and more than 600 muscles. These parts all work together to help you move throughout the day.

Muscle strengthening and proper joint alignment are important for just about anyone who wants to stay flexible and mobile. Exercises that improve your balance and strengthen your muscles can help to prevent falls.

Tips for Body Maintenance

  1. Maintain a healthy weight. A knee sees 3–5 times body weight with every step.
  2. Engage in muscle-strengthening (resistance) exercises. Activities that involve all your major muscle groups 2 or more times a week.
  3. Stay active all week long. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, such as brisk walking.
  4. Wear comfortable, properly fitting shoes.
  5. Eat a well-balanced diet. Focus on vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean protein.
  6. Get enough calcium and vitamin D daily to protect your bones.
  • 80-1000 IU of Vitamin D daily
  • 1,200 mg calcium daily for women age 51–70, and men and women age >70
  • 1,000 mg calcium daily for men age 51–70

Copley’s Rehabilitation Services created a free downloadable guide to the best exercises you can do to keep your knees strong. See it online here.


Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

Become a Live Well Lamoille Blogger!

The Live Well Lamoille blog is a joint community effort to share information and encourage one another to make healthy choices, and now YOU have the opportunity to be a part of it! This month, we are beginning our search for new bloggers to join the conversation about how to live well and build a healthier community.

So many factors contribute to “health.” Medical care is certainly important; however, many of the other factors that shape our health reside outside the doctor’s office, such as access to nutritious food, economic stability, and the policies and laws that shape the choices available to us.

Too often, the clinical aspects of healthy living are considered separate from the more social aspects. Live Well Lamoille attempts to create a shared space where our community can come together for a more holistic conversation. We bring together bloggers from health organizations, local government, advocacy groups, educational institutions, and local businesses to contribute blog posts sharing resources, activities, and ideas to help readers make healthy choices.

This year, we hope to feature even more perspectives and approaches to improving health. Adults over the age of 18 in the Lamoille Valley are invited to enter our contest to become a new Live Well Lamoille blogger. Entering is simple:

  1. Visit Copley Hospital’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CopleyHospitalVT
  2. Comment on the blog contest announcement (link above) discussing why you would be a great blogger to represent and inspire people in our community to make healthy choices.

Use this as an opportunity to introduce yourself and let your personality shine. Who are you? What is your approach to health? Do you enjoy cooking, exercising, or practicing mindfulness? Do you work to improve quality life for children and families through your career?

We are looking for a variety of backgrounds and approaches to health and wellness. In the past, bloggers have written about both traditional healthcare topics (such as heart health and managing a chronic disease), as well as topics not traditionally thought of in health discussions, such as:

  • neighborhood walkability
  • preventing substance abuse
  • addiction recovery
  • early childhood education
  • coping with grief
  • local recreational resources

Every blogger will bring their own unique voice and stories to the blog. Each Live Well Lamoille blogger will be responsible for writing 2 to 3 blog posts per year.

Head on over to Copley Hospital’s Facebook page and tell us why you would make a great blogger!

What Is Your New Years Resolution?

A new year has arrived, presenting the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past and reset. Even if you’re not in need of a completely fresh start, everyone can benefit from embracing a more positive frame of mind and a few new wellness goals.

We asked Live Well Lamoille bloggers to share the healthy habits they hope to embrace this year. Here is what they said:

Valerie Valcour, Vermont Department of Health: A renewed focus for me in 2019 is work-life balance. The first step will be to incorporate 10 minutes of meditation into each day. The best time will be the transition between work and home each afternoon and mornings on the weekend. A book with 52 meditative focus areas will be my weekly topic guide. I wish you all the best in accomplishing your goals for 2019.

Caleb Magoon, Power Play Sports: A couple of years ago, I was a bit down in the dumps following a very tough year. In an effort to focus on all the positive things I had going in life, I resolved at the New Year to write a bit about those positive aspects of my life. Rather than a traditional journal chronicling all life events, I decided instead to simply write about positive events, moments of beauty I saw daily, or uplifting interactions with people around me. My goal was to write nearly every day, which I did, albeit not for the whole year.

Though my effort was short-lived, it was not without a positive effect. I found that by focusing on the positive rather than complaining about the many negative things (because that is just too easy), had a profound effect on my outlook.

This year, I plan to do something similar. I have some new and slightly more realistic expectations. I’m quite certain that by taking just a few minutes each week to celebrate the positive things in my life, I will see an improved outlook. Deep in the Vermont winter, many of us struggle to keep a positive attitude. Small exercises like this that take little time can do big things for your mental health.

Dan Regan, Northern Vermont University-Johnson: In 2019 I resolve to continue two strategies, which I’ve begun. The first is: Allot extra time for all tasks and commitments. My mom gave me this advice, and she lived past 95. It means leaving early to pick someone up, arriving beforehand for an appointment or meeting, planning on extra time to cook dinner, complete a report, etc. I’m someone who acutely feels the pressure of an upcoming commitment. For me, and maybe others among you, a more unhurried approach reduces stress, helps control blood pressure and contributes to overall health.

In my seventies, time is obviously precious; but I can’t honestly claim that each second is equally indispensable. So I don’t begrudge waiting and “wasting” some of those seconds. Paradoxically, the willingness to waste some time unapologetically has made my “productive” moments feel—well—more productive and meaningful.

The second resolution is: Minimize multitasking. That means, for starters, no peering at screens while I’m exercising or checking phones when I’m actually watching something. I find the more I commit to uni-tasking, the more I get done. I’m better able to focus on the task at hand. And an unforeseen benefit is that, without distraction, my mind is free to move in unexpected and sometimes productive directions. For instance, I “wrote” this short piece in my head while running in a pool.

I hope I can make good on these two, simple commitments and I wish everyone a good (better) and healthy 2019!

What are your health and wellness resolutions? Maybe you’d like to start meal planning, start walking for 20 minutes per day, or just want to stop overscheduling your calendar to cut down on stress. How do you plan to stick to them? Let us know in the comments section below.