Resolutions: Mental health is key, says Jan Calder

Jan Calder, chief health and wellness officer at the Asheville YWCA

What do you see as the top health challenge facing WNC?

We’ve been involved with CHIP, the community health improvement plan, and some of the objectives that have been identified for the next few years are mental health (which ties to the severe opioid epidemic), maternal health and infant mortality. We support that here through our women’s empowerment program. Diabetes is also a national and local concern. We address that at the YWCA with our diabetes wellness and prevention program.

What’s the best thing you’ve done for your own health lately?

Sleep. I’m making sure I have an inviting and comfortable sleep environment. The room is dark, the temperature is correct, and I don’t have technology in my bedroom at all. I’m being really intentional about going to bed early, based on what time I get up, so I can get eight hours because that’s what I need to function well.

Is there something new you plan to do to boost your health in 2019?

We have an intern from A-B Tech who will be leading a boxing class here at the YWCA, and I’m thinking about taking that. We also have new Schwinn spin bikes in our renovated fitness center, and I’m going to try that as well. I’ve always ridden my bicycle outside.

What piece of advice would you give others to help them have a happier, healthier new year?

What is very helpful is to set goals that are specific with a time limitation, so that one can wrap one’s arms around that. I also think it’s important to plan for tomorrow but then take a step back and live in the present. Most anxiety and depression come from thinking about the future or the past. When you’re living in the moment, you’re much more likely to be happy.

 Jan Calder is the chief health and wellness officer at the Asheville YWCA.

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About Kim Dinan
Kim Dinan is a freelance writer and author of The Yellow Envelope. She lives in WNC with her husband and daughter. Follow me @kimdinan

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