During the COVID-19 pandemic, the outreach staff of Williamson Health and Wellness hasn’t been able to get out in the community to work, but this hasn’t stopped them. The group has moved from a hands-on approach to offering activities and information online through social media.
Reaching Out From a Distance
Williamson Health and Wellness Community Resource Network Director Amy Hannah explains with the changes that came about so quickly during the pandemic, the outreach team had to think of a creative way to continue engaging the communities they serve.
“We knew there would be an increase in social media use, so I suggested we do active living, healthy eating, and mental health tips via the Healthy in the Hills Facebook page. It’s about meeting people where they are,” Amy says.
During the week, you’ll find live cooking demonstrations with outreach team members, Kristen DeBoard and Rebecca Casey. The pair offers healthy recipes and cooking tips online during their Tasty Tuesday segments. Many of their demonstrations use items that will be in the Williamson Farmer's Market Pull Up 4 Produce fresh foods bag that week.
A segment dedicated to providing mental health tips for the week is also offered through Facebook live. These tips are provided by licensed counselors at Williamson Health and Wellness Center’s Behavioral Medicine Clinic. During the March 20th segment, behavioral health services provider Melissa Lecik reminded viewers, “Mental health breaks are very important because if you don’t take care of your mental health, everything else suffers."
Amy also describes the importance of active living saying, “During this time of uncertainty, many folks can find themselves stressed and/or anxious. Some may not realize that physical health can improve mental health, thus relieving stressors. If we pay attention to ourselves and what we need, we can be more fully present with our families.”
To meet the need of active living sessions, online yoga and gentle yoga sessions, with Heather Wolford are available. Heather is a staff member at Williamson Health and Wellness Center, but she is also working to earn her yoga teacher training 200-hour training certification. After graduating in September, Heather will be a certified yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. For now, she is helping others stay active through Facebook live each week.
Heather says, “Recently, COVID-19 has caused increased rates of isolation and unemployment, which has taken a psychological toll. Yoga gives great benefits to help reduce stress and anxiety. Yoga is a great practice for both the body and the mind, it offers peace and mindfulness.”
Setting Goals and Staying Healthy
According to their mission statement, Healthy in the Hills has a goal to improve the health of our community by promoting healthy eating, active living, and entrepreneurship activities. Through their various online activities during this time of social distancing, they continue to meet those goals.
If you’re interested in some of these things we’ve highlighted, flip over to the Healthy in the Hills Facebook page and give them a “like”!