Below is a recent post from one of our partners, the Oxford County Wellness Collaborative.
Social distancing and quarantine have become the new norm for millions of Americans. Our day-to-day routines have been put on hold and we are asked to isolate ourselves and limit in-person social interaction. As we know, experiencing isolation and disconnection can cause mental health concerns like depression or suicidal thoughts. As we navigate through the global health crisis of COVID-19, we need to be thinking about the effects this pandemic is having on our mental health, as well as our physical health.
Here are the CDC’s guidelines on how to cope during these times of uncertainty.
Here is another great article on how grief is at the heart of the discomfort that so many of us are feeling, and what you can do to ease those feelings: That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief
As a Collaborative we maintain a focus on addressing isolation and disconnection as root causes of poor health and wellness. These issues were identified by a large group of people from across our county.
We are excited to introduce you to our newest team member, Daniela Fine! Daniela graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Biobehavioral Health. As an undergraduate student, she worked as a research assistant at the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Center for a research study titled Just Breathe, a mindfulness meditation program for college freshman. Through this, she furthered her interest and knowledge of contemplative practice. Upon graduation, she worked as a project coordinator for the Family Foundations research study, an NIH-funded longitudinal research study for first-time expecting parents. During this time, she was involved in the development and implementation of several additional projects with various focuses and audiences.
In her new role here at Healthy Oxford Hills, Daniela will be working under the Substance Use Prevention Services grants. This work will include working with an assortment of business owners and organizations to develop updated tobacco policies, as well as providing resources and educational programming to the greater Oxford County communities that aims to decrease substance use among community members. Outside of work, Daniela enjoys spending time outdoors with her dogs, listening to music, and cooking.
As a new decade begins and the busy holiday season is officially over, a natural opportunity exists to reflect on the previous year with curiosity. How many special events or family gatherings included alcohol as a central part of the celebration? In our culture of “mommy wine” and “beer yoga,” it seems there is always an occasion to drink. Holidays, weddings and vacations are just a few. For many people, it may never seem like the right time to take a break from drinking. This is indicative of our alcohol-obsessed culture. However, a growing number of people are challenging these social norms and beginning to question their relationship with alcohol. It is becoming more common for people to abstain from alcohol for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, you do not need to have a problem to give up drinking.
Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind and The Alcohol Experiment, is someone who is challenging the status quo. Her books and online support group have been helpful to many people who would like to change their relationship with alcohol or give it up altogether. The premise of the “Alcohol Experiment” is simple: give up alcohol for 30 days and see how you feel. There is no commitment and no need to label yourself. There is no way to fail because it is just an experiment, right? According to Annie, you need nothing beyond “your own curiosity and wanting to take a deeper look at yourself and your drinking.” The idea is similar to Dry January, a movement that started in the United Kingdom and is now practiced all over the world. By taking a break from drinking for a period of time, many people experience the benefits of an alcohol-free lifestyle, and often report they experience better sleep, have more motivation to exercise, and generally feel better.
It is important to note that this trend is not meant to minimize the difficulties that many people with a Substance Use Disorder experience. For some people, this is not the solution and more intensive, professional support is necessary. However, I believe this “sober curious” movement can benefit everyone by making alcohol less central in our lives. One does not need to be pregnant, on antibiotics, or have a serious problem to say no to alcohol and people don’t need to defend their choice to abstain. What do you think? Are you curious about life without alcohol? If so, visit alcoholexperiment.com. It’s free and might be a great way to start 2020 as your happiest, healthiest self.
Erika is the Substance Use Prevention Coordinator at Healthy Oxford Hills. Her position is funded by the Maine Prevention Services, a project of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, February 26th is our Open House! Stop by Healthy Oxford Hills’ new office space to get familiar with our new location while enjoying some light refreshments & conversations with HOH staff.
All are welcome!
Swing by, we’d love to see you!