Easier Said: Welcome to the Wellness Issue | Wellness Issue | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Easier Said: Welcome to the Wellness Issue


  • Luke Awtry | Rev. Diane Sullivan

This year, I only made one real resolution. As the ball dropped in Times Square, the last of my Champagne disappeared and the calendar flipped from 2021 to 2022, I resolved not to beat myself up when I inevitably fall short on all my other resolutions. Could I stand to drink less, eat healthier, exercise more, stop procrastinating, write my novel, record my solo album, take up birding, volunteer at a charity, and generally be a better, kinder and more well-rounded human being?

And how.

But, frankly, after the last two years of constant strife and turmoil, perhaps the best change we can make is to go a little easier on ourselves. That's not to say we shouldn't strive to be better. But, if you don't quite get there, it helps to realize that it's not the end of the world. The pandemic, the climate crisis and the 2022 version of murder hornets (aggravated assault pigeons?) probably have the end of the world covered.

Existential end-times dread can be crippling — or it can be a powerful motivator, as Jordan Adams discovered. In an entertaining, informative and unflinching personal essay that anchors this year's Wellness Issue, he recounts how he lost 120 pounds during the pandemic through diet, exercise and 1990s sitcoms.

Making the decision to change one's fundamental habits is hard, as Adams attests. But it's even more difficult without access to the right support. Meg McIntyre reports that a shortage of American Sign Language interpreters is devastating for Deaf Vermonters who need their services at substance abuse recovery meetings.

Winooski School District superintendent Sean McMannon will take a four-month leave from his job, starting in late February. The sabbatical is meant to ease the physical and mental strain he's feeling from running a school district during a challenging time. But Alison Novak reports that not everyone in the Onion City is happy about it (page 15).

The connection between mind and body is a central tenet of yoga therapy. That's a burgeoning mental health practice that combines the benefits of conventional talk therapy with the principles and movements of yoga, Hattie Lindert writes.

Scientists have long puzzled over the causes of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig's disease. Colin Flanders reports that a bill before the state legislature could help identify patterns by mandating that health care providers report ALS diagnoses to a central registry.

You are what you eat, the old saying goes. But for people with celiac disease, the options are extremely limited. Ken Picard explores the work of Dr. Martin Linseisen, who helps patients and caregivers alike navigate the oft-misunderstood condition.

Linseisen and other celiac sufferers would likely find a sympathetic ear in Dr. Deb Kennedy. The author of a new culinary medicine textbook, she spoke about it with Melissa Pasanen.

Those seeking a tasty health boost can turn to wellness syrups from Sisters of Anarchy. As Jordan Barry found out, the fruity concoctions pair well with the South Burlington business' ice cream.

Here's hoping Ben Feinson treated himself to a sundae after traversing the Long Trail last summer. The Richmond speed hiker set a record by hiking the 273-mile path in about four and a half days, Sally Pollak reports. A crew documented the effort in a short film available on YouTube.

Flo Meiler doesn't have any Long Trail records that we know of, but she has plenty of others. The 87-year-old track-and-field athlete — that's her on the cover — set three world records and two U.S. records in competitions last summer. Chris Farnsworth tagged along with the Senior Olympian as she trained for 2022.