What do you see as the top health challenge facing WNC?
The health care system is broken, and people feel that. I see that in the line of work I do. People don’t have access to health care, and they don’t understand how to use the existing system. I also think the politics happening in a place like Western North Carolina are stressful for a lot of people — we are a liberal hub surrounded by the conservative politics of our state. I see a lot of people in the clinic trying to manage the stress of all of that, especially women and people of color.
What’s the best thing you’ve done for your own health lately?
I am trying not to overeat, and I’m working on my stress. I try to take more time to do things that feel relaxing, like hiking, cleaning and spending time with friends.
Is there something new you plan to do to boost your health in 2019?
Stepping away from every single news article about every single thing, and being more chill and less reactive with the political state of things. Less screen time for me, especially around eating. And when I have downtime, trying to think of things to do other than pick up my phone.
What piece of advice would you give others to help them have a happier, healthier new year?
I tell my patients that at this time of year they should avoid raw and cold foods. Keep your diet very warm, with stews and other things that are cozy and deeply nourishing. I like the Danish concept of “hygge” [a feeling of contentment through enjoying the simple things in life].
Aimée Schinasi is co-owner of The People’s Acupuncture of Asheville, a community clinic.