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Archive for the ‘Self-Help’ Category

Singapore-based Intellect wants to lower barriers to mental health support in Asia – TechCrunch

Posted: May 16, 2020 at 1:41 pm

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Taking care of your emotional well-being is as important as physical health, but in Asia, the topic is often stigmatized. Intellect, a Singapore-based startup, wants to make the idea of mental health more approachable with an app that offers self-guided exercises based on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.

The company develops consumer and enterprise versions of the app (for employers to offer as a benefit) and now has users in several countries, including Singapore, Indonesia, India and China.

Since its beta launch earlier this year, co-founder and CEO Theodoric Chew says Intellect has signed up about 10,000 users, as well as 10 companies ranging in size from startups to large corporations. The startup plans to launch Mandarin and Bahasa Indonesian versions, and is currently working with researchers to develop localized versions of its exercises, which include guided journaling, behavioral exercises and rescue sessions with short audio clips about topics like stress, low self-esteem, emotional burnout and sleep issues.

The company has raised a pre-seed round that included Enterprise Singapore, a government agency that supports entrepreneurship.

In the United States and Europe, there is a growing roster of self-help apps that teach users coping strategies for common mental health issues, including Headspace, MoodKit, Moodnotes, Sanvello and Happify, to name a few examples. But the space is still nascent in Asia.

Before launching Intellect, Chew was head of affiliate growth and content marketing at Voyagin, a travel-booking marketplace that was acquired by Rakuten in 2015. He became interested in the mental health space because of his own experiences.

Ive been to therapy quite a bit for anxiety and in Asia, there is still a lot of social stigma and there arent a lot of tools. A lot of work is being done in the U.S. and Europe, but in Asia, its still developing, Chew told TechCrunch.

He added that most people shy away when you mention mental health. We see a lot of that in Asia, but if we frame it in other ways, like how to work on personal problems, like low self-esteem or confidence, we see a huge shift in people opening up.

Intellect was developed with feedback from mental healthcare professionals, but Chew emphasizes it is not a replacement for professional therapy. Instead, it is meant to give people an accessible way to take care of their mental health, especially in cultures where there is still a lot of stigma around the topic. The apps exercises address low mood and anxiety, but also common workplace and interpersonal issues, like developing assertiveness and handling criticism.

The enterprise version of the app can be customized with exercises tailored to people in different industries. It is meant for startups and other SMEs that dont have the kind of employee assistance programs (EAP) that bigger companies can offer, which often include mental health resources, like support hotlines and referrals to mental healthcare providers.

The consumer app usually charges a flat monthly fee that gives unlimited access to all its features, but Intellect is making it free during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eventually, the startup hopes to develop a network of mental health professionals that users can connect to within the app.

The way we approach this is that therapy is not solely for clinically depressed people, but for everyone, said Chew. In three to five years, we want to make therapy commonplace to address every day problems. We want to tackle more clinical issues as well, but we believe most people can benefit from framing it as a way to tackle every day issues using CBT-based methods.

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Singapore-based Intellect wants to lower barriers to mental health support in Asia - TechCrunch

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May 16th, 2020 at 1:41 pm

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‘I gave this to my dad’: COVID-19 survivors grapple with guilt of infecting family – NBC News

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Paul Stewart thought hed caught a bad cold.

In the third week of March, he came down with a sore throat, mild fever, cough, chills and body aches. The coronavirus was just starting to spread across Illinois, shuttering schools and workplaces, including the clinic in DuPage County where he worked as a rehabilitation technician. It didnt occur to him that he might have the virus, even after a co-worker tested positive. Pauls symptoms came and went, and on some days he felt well enough to go on a 5-mile run.

Then his father started coughing.

Paul, 55 and twice divorced, lived with his parents in the house he grew up in. He assumed his father, Robert, 86, a tough former pro baseball player, Army veteran and cancer survivor, had picked up his cold. But the bug seemed to take over Roberts body, wrecking his appetite and pummeling his lungs.

Before dawn on April 2, Paul woke to another of his fathers coughing fits. He helped Robert to the bathroom, where his dad passed out. Paul dialed 911.

A paramedic, dressed in full protective gear, told Robert he needed to go to the hospital. Robert quietly acquiesced. At the front door, still in bare feet, he paused and looked back at his son.

I love you, Robert said.

I love you, Dad. Everythings going to be OK, Paul replied.

At Central DuPage Hospital, his father tested positive for the coronavirus.

The news made Paul realize that he may have had the virus too. As his fathers condition deteriorated, Paul began to wonder if he was to blame.

That haunting feeling afflicts untold numbers of Americans who believe that in the fog of the coronavirus early spread across the country, they unwittingly infected the people they loved the most.

While it is often impossible to know exactly how the virus passed from one person to another, many survivors hold themselves responsible, questioning decisions they made in the days when they had little information, could not get tested and were not yet subject to strict social distancing and mask measures.

These experiences hint at the unanticipated scope of the suffering caused by the coronavirus.

The mental health consequences of all this, beside the deaths and physical aspects, are profound, said Dr. Michelle Riba, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School. Weve never been through this in our lifetimes, so we are learning as we go.

People who develop mild symptoms, or none at all, are convenient pathways for the coronavirus spread, because they dont know to take steps to avoid passing it on to people who are at risk of life-threatening complications, researchers say.

Paul believes that is what happened to him and his father.

Could I have been more careful with what I thought was the common cold? he said in a recent interview. If you felt the way I did now, you would not expose people to that. But there just wasnt enough information then. Thats what Ive struggled with.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

He has not been tested for the coronavirus; he asked about getting a test but was told that his relatively mild symptoms wouldnt be considered serious enough to meet the stringent requirements. His mother and his girlfriend, meanwhile, developed only minor symptoms.

In the hospital, Roberts lungs began to fail. Doctors said there wasnt much more they could do to stop the virus assault on his body. They began palliative care, easing his pain with sedatives.

Visitors were not allowed, but Robert and Paul spoke frequently by phone, including some FaceTime chats. Robert seemed at peace. Married for 60 years and deeply religious, he said hed had a good life. Paul never heard his father speculate on how he got the disease or the possibility that his son had given it to him.

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Paul told his father he believed he was the likely source.

Im sorry, Pops, he said.

On April 9, after Robert had been in the hospital for a week, they had their final conversations. Paul thanked him for being a good parent. He assured his father that he would take care of his mother, and help pay the bills.

Thank you, son. You are a wonderful son and Ill see you in heaven someday, Robert replied.

Later that afternoon, the hospital called Paul to say he could visit his father the following morning. As he was preparing to leave, his sister called with a palliative care nurse on the line. Robert had died.

I just killed my dad, Paul told his girlfriend after hearing the news. I gave this to my dad.

She told him he was not responsible because he didnt know if he had the virus, and he never intended to harm his father. His sister and his mother also reassured him.

But he could not let it go. A few relatives questioned why Paul didnt call an ambulance sooner. He overheard his mother defending him on the phone.

Its an odd feeling, like youre not at peace, he said. You cant get rest because youre still dealing with the guilt.

The coronavirus feeds on families. As researchers track its spread across the world, they have found households are a common source.

To be the person who introduced the virus into a family carries a heavy emotional burden, even if the risk wasnt clear at the time, experts say.

You cant use the facts you have now to go back and judge yourself back then, Riba said. In retrospect it looks easy now, but it wasnt easy back then. People were getting on planes, still going to events and restaurants. They didnt know.

This guilt is not limited to cases in which a family member fell gravely ill.

I couldnt keep my family safe, and thats your No. 1 job as a parent, said Carianne Ekberg, who believes she passed the virus to her husband and their two young children in early March after coming down with what she initially thought was a bad cold or allergies.

She suspects she picked it up while getting a manicure with her 5-year-old daughter near their home in Gig Harbor, Washington. Midway through, the nail technician told her that a recent customer had just told them theyd come down with the virus. Ekberg left in a panic, showered and disinfected her familys car and home.

Ekberg, 37, a social media consultant and Air Force reservist, said she called her doctor and a public health worker, and both told her that she probably wasnt exposed to the virus, to be careful and to quarantine herself if she got sick. She stopped seeing relatives and canceled a trip to the East Coast, but did see two close friends while observing social distancing recommendations.

Ten days passed, and then she developed overwhelming fatigue, nausea, coughing and shortness of breath that lasted two weeks. A few days into her symptoms, her children developed low-grade fevers and runny noses, and her husband felt tightness in his chest. Theyve all since recovered.

The guilt you feel when you infect your family, especially your children, is serious, she said. Even if you didnt know you had COVID or you couldnt help getting it, you still feel guilty and anxious and panicked at the first sign of a fever, cough or runny nose.

Ekberg has found comfort in speaking to other coronavirus survivors. She participates in a weekly Zoom forum hosted by the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties. She also runs a Facebook group for parents seeking advice on dealing with school closures.

You cant blame yourself forever, but while youre going through it you have to find something that will keep you focused on something else, Ekberg said. Because you are not going to recover yourself unless you have a positive mindset and are doing things to get well.

Ekbergs outlook fits the advice from experts, who say there are many paths to managing this kind of remorse. They include helping others, focusing on work, exercising and talking to someone friends, self-help groups, a religious leader or mental-health provider.

Giving yourself a break is hugely important, said Dr. Ronjon Banerjee, a psychiatrist and assistant professor at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where a growing number of his patients are health care workers. Some have infected family. They feel guilty. Others feel shame. Others feel they have no power or control. They feel hopeless. Talking about it can help make sense of it and how to regain control.

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Jane Weinhaus is a talker, and she says that has helped her cope with her belief that she infected her husband, two adult sons and a daughter-in-law. She spent time with all of them before falling ill, and all ended up testing positive and getting pneumonia. Weinhaus, 63, spent more than a week on a ventilator.

A suburban St. Louis preschool teacher with a busy social life, Weinhaus has retraced her steps from early March to figure out how she may have been infected, and who else she could have exposed. The list is frightening: She went to work, out with friends, attended a bat mitzvah and a wedding, sat shiva with a friends family, ate dinner with her 90-year-old father, babysat grandchildren.

To think I could have given them something that could have killed them, that I could have exposed so many people... Weinhaus said before trailing off in tears.

She watches news of people who died on ventilators and wonders why she survived.

She has decided to make her work the reason.

She has been teaching preschool for 25 years. During her recovery, she has joined Zoom meetings with her 2-year-old students, and hopes to return in late August, provided her school is allowed to open.

I will go on and make a difference in the life of a child, she said. That is my calling. That gives me purpose.

After his fathers funeral limited to 10 people Paul continued to wrestle with regret.

He went into playback mode, wondering if he could have done more to keep his father from getting sick. Should he have quarantined himself in his bedroom? Been more aggressive in sanitizing their home? Taken his father to the hospital earlier?

I think about it every day. Could I have been more careful? he said.

There is one piece of information that might help him come to terms with what happened.

Because he never got tested, Paul still doesnt know definitively that he had the coronavirus. But he plans to get an antibody test, which could provide the answer. He expects it to come back positive; his girlfriend has already taken the test, and she has the antibodies.

I definitely want to know, Paul said. Its important to me so I can close that chapter out in my life.

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'I gave this to my dad': COVID-19 survivors grapple with guilt of infecting family - NBC News

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May 16th, 2020 at 1:41 pm

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What can healthcare staff do to prevent PTSD during the pandemic? – Medical News Today

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People who work in healthcare are tirelessly looking after patients with COVID-19, often in challenging conditions. There is a clear risk of long-term mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But expert resources are available, and many rely on lessons learned from the experiences of military personnel.

Early research from China suggests that significant numbers of healthcare staff are experiencing anxiety, symptoms of depression, and feelings of distress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontline healthcare professionals were particularly likely to report these experiences.

A new study from Italy, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, echoes this and shows that among 1,379 survey respondents in the healthcare sector, 49.38% reported PTSD symptoms.

It will take some time until the full picture of the psychological toll on healthcare staff emerges, but professional organizations have already started to provide resources specifically for this group.

The National Center for PTSD, part of the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, has specific COVID-19 resources for healthcare workers that strive to help them look after themselves as well as others.

In addition, the British charity Help for Heroes has put together an online Field Guide to Self-Care for people working in the healthcare sector, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medical News Today spoke with psychologists from both organizations about their resources for healthcare staff, PTSD, and parallels between the experiences of people serving during armed conflict and those on the COVID-19 front lines.

Dr. Patricia Watson, from the National Center for PTSD, provided essential background information about the condition and discussed how professionals recognize and define it.

Dr. Watson: When professionals are assessing for PTSD, theyre looking for a pattern of four different types of symptom, and theyre also looking for these reactions or symptoms to be highly distressing or long-lasting.

People can have intrusive reactions, such as thoughts or emotional reactions to reminders about something that they experienced, nightmares, or flashbacks, [which occur] when a person feels like they are back in the moment of the traumatic stressor.

Its been confirmed in the latest diagnostic manuals that a common reaction to traumatic events is [] negative changes in mood or thoughts, such as being unable to recall events, negative changes in beliefs or expectations, or self-blame.

They may have a lessening of interest in things, have fewer positive feelings, or not want to do things they used to want to do. In fact, what can look like a negative, cranky personality oftentimes is the result of unhealed long-term exposure to stress.

Avoidance is another common response to traumatic stress, where a person avoids anything that will remind them of something that was traumatic for them. They may not want to talk about it or think about it, or avoid contact with people who remind them of it. They could, as a result, become very isolated.

While its natural to want to avoid things that were hard for a person, a very rigid or pervasive pattern of avoidance is characteristic of those with PTSD.

Ive seen veterans, for instance, who dont seem to meet all the criteria for PTSD because theyre just so avoidant of things. They dont have intrusive thoughts or feelings because theyve restricted their life to such a degree that nothing will remind them of the things they experienced.

The last type of symptoms that you see with PTSD are what we call alterations in arousal or reactivity, and this is where people show irritability or aggressiveness. They might get involved in risky or destructive behavior, they might have a sense of being jittery or keyed up all the time. They may have a heightened startle reaction or have difficulty concentrating or sleeping.

Many of these reactions are things we commonly see when someone has a hard time. But the reactions move toward a clinical diagnosis of PTSD when there are many of them and they are accompanied by high distress or they persist for a prolonged period of time.

Dr. Patricia Watson

PTSD is on the far end of the spectrum of what experts call the stress continuum in high-stress occupations such as serving in the military, fire and emergency medical services, and law enforcement. Dr. Watson also explained how people working in the healthcare profession might fit into this continuum.

Dr. Watson: When we talk about the healthcare situation right now, we talk about a continuum of stress, where people can experience different zones of stress reactions. PTSD would be on the far end of the four-zone spectrum, in what we would call the red zone.

Leading up to that red zone, it is actually quite common for people to be in the yellow or orange zones. In the green zone, you are doing fine, you are in control. Once you start to get into the yellow zone, it means you have stress in your life.

Many of us find ourselves in the yellow zone quite frequently. This can manifest as feeling irritable, down in the dumps, less motivated, not as focused, or maybe your body isnt feeling quite right.

People move into the orange zone when they have exposure to a traumatic stress or loss, or if they have what is called moral injury. This is caused by many types of situations, such as when people feel they have made mistakes, have had to do things that conflict with their values or ideals, or have seen others doing things [that] conflict with their values.

Dr. Patricia Watson

Orange zone stress is also caused by a cumulation of stress over long periods of time. Typically, a person will become fatigued, and they dont feel as in control of their reactions.

But they are still not in the red zone category, where PTSD occurs, until they have many symptoms that cause a lot of distress or last for a long time.

We think a continuum model such as this can help people talk about their stress and also reduce stigma because it lets people know that it is common to cycle in and out of zones of stress.

The goal is to get people back toward the orange and yellow zones with good self-care and coworker support and formal mental health treatment, if indicated, because we know that there are treatments that work for PTSD.

They dont have to take that long. Some are just five sessions, where a person can learn strategies to deal with their symptoms, feel less distressed, and function better.

Dr. Watson also explained to MNT that she predicts that the incidence of PTSD is likely to rise, as healthcare professionals were often already working in pressured and challenging situations and the pandemic has only worsened these conditions.

However, she also pointed to a shared sense of reality around the world as having a protective effect.

In times when access to professional help might be limited, she and her colleagues have developed a framework of potential self-care and coworker support actions called stress first aid.

Theres no one strategy thats going to be effective for everyone, she acknowledged. People are going to have to find their own patterns of responding that work best for them, and their strategies may be different from day to day.

Dr. Watson talked about five elements that can form the basis of the stress first aid model. These evidence-informed elements are commonly associated with better recovery from a variety of adverse events. They are: safety, calming, self-efficacy, social connectedness, and hope.

Some people may be able to benefit from more of these elements than others, she added. A person doesnt have to have access to all of them. One of our co-authors, Stevan Hobfoll, refers to these elements as making up a persons resource caravan, which can help them get through difficult times in their lives.

This caravan will be unique to each individual and vary according to circumstances. But the research that this framework was based on indicates that those who have more of those resources tend to do better through a variety of adverse circumstances.

Each person will have to creatively adapt in whatever ways are most helpful for them, she said.

It will be important to keep asking oneself, What do I need today? If Im a person who really thrives on social support, but Im not able to get it in my usual way, how can I at least get some of it? Maybe theres a hotline. Maybe I can reach out and talk to somebody for 5 minutes. Maybe I can text a friend and just say something like, I need to vent or I need to send you 10 emojis to express how much frustration Im feeling. I dont need you to fix it, but Im going to do this regularly just to get out some of my stress and frustration.

For clinical teams working under challenging conditions, she suggests finding new ways to build resilience and support.

She recounted one particular example:

In one of the hospitals, they had a dedicated whiteboard. If somebody was feeling okay that day, they would write their name on the board. If another person on the team had the need to vent or had the need to talk to somebody, they could find one of the colleagues from the whiteboard. This type of strategy is particularly important because many professionals are worried about burdening each other. These are important conversations for teams to have.

All of us are going to be stressed. None of us are going to be okay. In a sense, how do we support each other? Lets figure some small things out. Lets figure out ways to focus on praising each other, having gratitude for each other, being polite and respectful to each other right now because we all need that right now.

Dr. Patricia Watson

Those who find themselves in the red zone of the stress continuum for extended periods should strongly consider seeking professional help when it is possible, Dr. Watson explained, as there are effective treatments for PTSD symptoms.

These treatments can also help prevent other negative effects of PTSD, such as feeling the need to self-medicate with alcohol, having difficulty sleeping or functioning, having conflict in relationships, and experiencing reduced quality of life, she noted.

Treatment can help a person regain lost ground and rehabilitate them in the same way that physical therapy is helpful after a physical injury, she noted.

Dr. Watson also suggested that this pandemic might eventually prompt a reconfirming of values and priorities, as well as long-term changes in peoples lives as a result of their experiences.

In the United Kingdom, the charity Help for Heroes has plenty of experience supporting veterans recovering from active military duty.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the charity used this knowledge to put together resources specifically for staff working in the U.K. National Health Service (NHS).

MNT spoke to psychologist Dr. Sarah Jones, head of psychological well-being at the charity, about the parallels between the experiences of people serving in the military and those in the healthcare sector during the current crisis.

Dr. Jones: There are quite a few parallels. Thats partly what drove us to produce the field guide and make it available online.

The parallels that we were recognizing from our experience of having supported veterans with their mental health for many years are the exposure to trauma and to difficult circumstances, particularly repeated exposure.

If we look at PTSD, that often arises from experiences that are significantly traumatic for a person to feel that there is a risk to their life or the life of somebody else close to them or around them.

During this pandemic with the level of exposure that our healthcare professionals will be having to patients in distress, [given] the level of patients who are critically ill, and [considering] the number of people who are, sadly, dying as a result of this illness we liken that to being on the battlefield or being in combat, where there is a risk to life and a risk of permanent injury or impact as a result of trauma.

There are other circumstantial pieces that are cumulative in that experience as well: things like working very long hours in highly stressful situations and having repeated exposure.

Having less time to debrief with colleagues or [] compartmentalize that experience and perhaps spending longer time away from family and friends doesnt allow for a de-stressing element, where you might normally allow yourself to contextualize your experiences and manage the difficulty of that situation.

Dr. Sarah Jones

These are the kinds of parallels that were seeing that are often experienced by military personnel, particularly, that we are now seeing our NHS colleagues going through.

The Field Guide to Self-Care is available on the Help for Heroes website.

We had the advantage of being able to use existing material and educational courses that we have offered our veterans over a number of years, Dr. Jones explained about the resource.

We created this short field guide particularly with our NHS colleagues in mind. We wanted it to be easily accessible, which is why we created it with free access on our website.

The guide has three components, which form the foundations of cognitive behavioral therapy. This is the psychological theory that underpins a lot of the information we create and have used in courses in the past. The focus of the field guide centers around body, emotion, and mind, she continued.

This structure is designed to allow those using [the guide] to become aware of what they are experiencing and develop coping strategies, and to give them some techniques and tools to take way with them, to recognize and treat the symptoms of stress and difficulty that they might be noticing within themselves.

Dr. Sarah Jones

This content is not purely theoretical, but based on the concept of coproduction, which is a philosophy very much at the heart of our charity, Dr. Jones went on to explain. We have the theoretic ideas, academically we have the research, but we work with our beneficiaries, our veterans, on what actually works best for them. We know that the material we use has come from that basis of coproduction and has a good evidence base.

Dr. Jones suggests that people use the guide however it fits best within their lives. They can dip in and spend as little as 5 minutes with it or set aside a longer period to delve deeper into its components.

For some, following the sequence of body, emotion, and mind within the exercises in each part of the guide might be the most useful approach. Or, It might be that somebody else is really focusing on what their thought processes are doing at the moment, and dipping into that section would be just right for them, Dr. Jones explains.

So theres the flexibility to access it in whichever way is best for that person at that moment in time.

The feedback, so far, has been positive.

Dr. Jones also highlighted that the field guide may be the first step on a longer journey for some, who may realize that they will need additional professional help.

For us, as a charity, it is also very much about creating awareness and destigmatizing mental health [conditions], to encourage people to access support when they need it, Dr. Jones said.

Does Dr. Jones think that PTSD is likely to become a long-term issue?

As a psychologist, Im already seeing some indicators of that in the media, in conversation with colleagues, and when talking to colleagues who are working in the NHS. Potentially, we may already be seeing higher incidence of PTSD in our NHS colleagues, she observed.

She also pointed out that PTSD is not immediate and that it will likely take months for the full impact to start to emerge.

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What can healthcare staff do to prevent PTSD during the pandemic? - Medical News Today

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May 16th, 2020 at 1:41 pm

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Alison captures the moment with her debut self-help book – Liverpool Business News

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Wirral-based transformational life worked for the NHS for 25 years before starting her own business and her debut book, A Path Travelled, has now been published. Tony McDonough reports

Domestic violence, depression, alcohol and substance abuse all formed part of Alison Blacklers daily experience inaquarter of century working for the NHS.

Now, with the UK still mostly in lockdown and millions of people cooped up at home, the Wirral-based transformational life coach fears the social fabric will be pushed to its limits.It seems timely, then, that this period of huge social disruption also sees the publication of Alisons debut self-help book.

Walk into any bookshop and there will no doubt bealarge bookcase groaning with self-help books.

But how many of those authors have dealt with the same challenging personal journeys as many of their readers the disappointments, the stumbling blocks, the setbacks? And how many have seen first-hand, in their professional careers, the tumultuous lives of others?

Alison, a regular contributor to LBN, has found that dealing with and confronting her own personal challenges has formed the cornerstone for all her work.

All that experience, all that knowledge has been brought together in her debut book,APathTravelled. Available now, the book takes all that accumulated know-how and wisdom and offers an invaluable guide to following your ownpath, as Alison describes it.

APathTravelledisabook exploring how we are shaped and influenced by the lives that we lead and then how this can play out in terms of our thinking and behaviours, both positively and negatively, said Alison.By understanding where your feelings stem from, you can learn that you can choose how to manage them and change your response to lifes obstacles.

We have phases and milestones in our lives which can reveal our true selves. In the book, I have brought together much of what I have learned and experienced inapalatable way for you.

All this seems so pertinent, now. We are in the midst of not justapublic health crisis, but one of the biggest tests of our mental strengths since the Second World War. People are anxious and scared. And many find themselves confronting their own personals demons, as well as the flesh and blood threats in the form of domestic abusers.

Born and brought up in the North East of England, Alison recognised that she lacked self-confidence and had limiting self-beliefs. She was influenced by what others thought was best for her and therefore took many years to get onto the right career, and in fact life,path. She is able to walk the reader through their own experience and help to explore often hidden limitations.

As she moved further into her adult years, she began to ask compelling questions of her life. She explains: Over 25 years ago I found myself noticing that I had to take personal responsibility for my own life and yet I did not know how.

I became aware that I was going through life, looking outside for the answers and yet missing the answers that were inside me. All the situations and people that have been in my life have been there forareason, and my book helps you to learn that this will be the same for you.

This wasagradual learning curve for me which took many years. The wealth of my journey started to unfold when I realised that I couldnt free myself from my baggage without understanding its purpose and reason and thereby change my thinking.

Alison worked in the NHS for 24 years and during that time, her roles included supporting people who had suffered domestic abuse and drugs and alcohol addictions. She also gained extensive experience in public health, managing projects for young people, and latterly asalead for safeguarding.

During her career she has trained asacounsellor and CBT therapist,aMaster NLP Practitioner andaClean Language Coach. By 2010ayearning forachange in direction saw Alison leave her role with the NHS to establish her own business, 2minds. During the last 10 years, she has worked one-to-one with many individual clients, delivered leadership and team programmes for large corporates such as BMW, Sainsburys, as well as other SMB. She also enjoys her work in prisons and schools across the UK.

APathTravelled, my first published book is designed to fast track your thinking and behaviours so you can have happiness and fulfilment. It is written foraBritish audience as much of this market is American and can be harder for us to digest.

I hope to enlighten and inspire you, so that you realise that everything does happen forareason and that reason is personal growth.

Alisons desire is for people to findaway to be the best version of themselves, free from limitations and to follow their own dreams. Click here to order a copy of A Path Travelled

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Alison captures the moment with her debut self-help book - Liverpool Business News

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May 16th, 2020 at 1:41 pm

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Club News, May 16, 2020 | – The Union of Grass Valley

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EDITORS NOTE: While some clubs have informed The Union of meeting cancellations due to COVID-19 concerns, we did not hear from them all. Please call ahead to confirm future meeting times and/or cancellations. We encourage club members to inform us of any future cancellations.

The Union publishes Club News each Saturday. To share the latest from your western Nevada County club or organization, email Unfortunately only a small fraction of club submissions are published in the print version of The Union due to space constraints. To see the complete list of clubs, visit, scroll down to the bottom and click on announcements.

Nevada County Travel Club

Hello fellow travelers. Well, these are certainly difficult times. I personally have had two of my trips cancelled so I sympathize with those of you who are also missing out on a much anticipated adventure. The following trips are still available for the fall: Greece, Autumn in Vermont, Philadelphia/Amish Country, England, Scotland, Wales, Great Trains & Grand Canyon and Treasures of the East Coast (a cruise). Not sure about traveling this year? We have four new trips planned for 2021 and members are already signing up for the following adventures: French Riviera, Southern Charm, Highlights of the Amalfi Coast, and the Danube River cruise. For more information on our club, call Judi Foy, public relations, at 530-432-3393

Gold Country Community Services

We continue to provide meals to seniors in our community. For those aged 60 and over, take-home meals are available at our Congregate Caf (Nevada City Senior Apartments, 478 Old Tunnel Rd., Grass Valley) each Tuesday. Meals on Wheels also delivers the same day to homebound seniors. To sign up for these vital programs, phone 530-273-4961. For further details, visit

The Nevada County Amateur Radio Club

We normally hold monthly meetings at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Salvation Army facility at 10725 Alta Street in Grass Valley. But due to the coronavirus there will be no monthly face-to-face meetings until further notice. However, non-ham members as well as persons interested in becoming ham radio operators or learning more about ham radio can go to our clubs website at for the latest information on when future club face-to-face meetings will take place and when testing will be available for people wanting to become ham radio operators.

Gold Country Kiwanis

As with all Nevada County, Gold Country Kiwanis is staying-at-home to keep everyone safe. Our upcoming events of Childrens Festival, generally held in July at Pioneer Park and our Back to School Shopping event at Kmart, set for August, are cancelled this year. GC Kiwanis has been keeping in touch with each other via social media and email and cant wait to get back together to continue serving the children in our community. Please stay safe.

Early Risers Toastmasters

We held our first Zoom meeting on Tuesday April 7. Fourteen members were able to join in. Early Risers Toastmasters usually meets every Tuesday at 6:30 a.m., upstairs at Humpty Dumptys. However, during the sheltering-in-place orders, we are meeting on Zoom. For more information call 530-273-9777 or visit, or Early Risers Toastmasters on Facebook.

Gold Country Square Dance Club

Following the guidelines set forth by our elected officials, the Goldancers Square Dance club will not be dancing for an undetermined time. We hope to be dancing again when everyone is healthy and it is safe to do so. Check our website at to determine when we are dancing again.

Grass Roots Genealogy Group

Our May meeting is cancelled, please call the number below to be placed on our email list. GRGG is an informal gathering of people interested in learning and sharing about how to do family history research. Meeting time is first Wednesday of every month from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the LDS (Mormon) church, 615 Hollow Way, Nevada City. Call Susan at 530-271-1311 for more information.

Soroptimist International of Grass Valley

We have postponed A Day for Women because of the concern for our communitys health. We will decide about rescheduling for Fall or next spring when we all have a better idea of what life will be like. After a very successful retreat, we have changed our structure from committees to hands on Project Teams. Members will be able to choose areas of interest and participate as possible in various projects to benefit the community, allowing for flexibility of time for our members. We will continue holding our meetings through technology and will plan to respond to community need as we can. If you have a passion for women and children and would like to make a difference, please let us know at Our new structure may just fit your desire for service without a huge time commitment of time.

Gold Country Fly Fishers

In accordance with the directives from state and federal agencies, all GCFF activities are suspended until further notice. The board of GCFF believes it prudent, due to public health and safety concerns of our members, for the GCFF to cancel all gatherings for at least 30 days. Gatherings include the monthly general meeting as well as face to face gatherings of the board, of committees and fishouts. Check our website at for more information about our programs. We will be posting program and meeting information when our activities resume.

Health Care for All CA

Wishing all of you a safe journey through these rough times. We held our board of directors meeting via Zoom, and when we are on the other side of this pandemic, please join us to work harder than ever to make health care a human right. Our chapter is very busy working to pass Single Payer healthcare in California and nationally. According to the study published Feb. 15, 2020 in the Lancet Health Policy Journal from Yale University, Although health care expenditure per capita is higher in the USA than in any other country, more than 37 million Americans do not have health insurance, and 41 million more have inadequate access to care. A universal system, such as that proposed in the Medicare for All Act, has the potential to transform the availability and efficiency of American health-care services. We calculate that a single-payer, universal health-care system is likely to lead to a savings in national health-care expenditure, equivalent to more than $450 billion annually. The entire system could be funded with less financial outlay than is incurred by employers and households paying for health-care premiums combined with existing government allocations. Furthermore, we estimate that ensuring health-care access for all Americans would save more than 68,000 lives every year. Help us make this happen.

The PEO Gold Country Reciprocity Bureau

Our board (GCRB) cancelled the Founders Day luncheon, which was originally scheduled for March 21 at Sierra Pines Methodist Church in Grass Valley. This precaution was taken due to the COVID-19 virus. Apologies to all, but safety and well being was the first concern. Also the officers training slated for this month was cancelled.

Newcomers Club of Nevada County

We are a very welcoming club for those new to the area, newly retired, or have lived in the area for many years and looking for something new and interesting. Our meetings are generally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month at the Alta Sierra Country Club. These meetings feature a delicious lunch and an informative and entertaining program. For more information call Ann at 530-432-9954 or visit us at and Facebook.

Sierra Nevada Canoe and Kayak Club (SNCKC)

This group of flat water kayakers and a few canoe enthusiasts meet almost every fourth Thursday at Seamans Lodge in Pioneer Park (427 Nimrod Street) in Nevada City. They meet at another location for the May picnic, self-rescue training in August, Lake Natoma potluck lunch paddle in November and holiday party in December. Meeting time is 6 or 6:30 p.m., depending on whether there is a potluck that night or not. Check out our website at for details of the current months meeting, trips list, coaches corner, and much more information. Our monthly programs entertain, educate and give members and guests the opportunity to socialize and share knowledge of places, equipment and paddle skills to enhance their water adventures. Weather permitting we have several local one-day paddles each month. From April through October we also usually have a several-day car camping paddle trip each month. There are some activities that will probably appeal to you and your boat. We welcome those who love the sport of paddling. If thats you, then please join us. For more info email us at See you on the water!

Golden Empire Sams RV Club

Is the only road your RV has recently seen, your driveway? If so, show it some love and join us for one of our camp outs. We are the Golden Empire Sams RV club, a group of RV enthusiast from the Grass Valley/Auburn area. For more information check out our website at

Pet Loss Support Group

Pets are more than companions, they are beloved members of a family. Find the support and understanding you need with others who share the loss of a loved pet. For anyone grieving the loss of a dear pet, please join us from 2 to 3 p.m. every third Tuesday of the month at Hospice of the Foothills, 11270 Rough and Ready Hwy. For more information, please call 530-272-5739.

Gra-Neva Ford Model A Club

Ah-Oooogah! That is the sound of a vintage 1928-1931 Ford Model A automobiles horn. Our club is actively touring about and having fun! If you have one of these fine vehicles, and are not one of our members, you are missing out! We are a local bunch of friendly and welcoming people, who invite you to join us at our meeting as a guest, and to possibly consider becoming a new member. We meet at 7 p.m. monthly, January through October, on the fourth Thursday of each month, at the Nevada City Elks Lodge, 518 Hwy. #49. We are currently making plans for this coming May to celebrate our 60th anniversary in Nevada County, as one of the longest-standing Model A clubs in the world! Our activities include touring on this areas beautiful back roads, parades, maintenance of our cars, and enjoying good camaraderie at all our gatherings. Membership does not require ownership of a Model A, just an interest in the automobile. For questions, or further information, call 530-274-7079, or browse our website at

Pinochle Players

Do you enjoy playing cards? We play Pinochle from noon to 4 p.m. every Tuesday and Saturday in Grass Valley. If you are interested, please call Rochelle Chapdelaine at 530-205-9452.

Nevada County Republican Women Federated (NCRWF)

Meetings are held the third Wednesday of the month September through June. Reservations are required. For more information about meetings, call Judy at 530-271-5794. Information about membership can be answered by calling 530-263-6733. For more information about NCRWF please email us at or visit the website at

Golden Empire Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers Auxiliary

We are in need of more members. The Auxiliary first started at the County Hospital in Nevada City and came to Grass Valley Convalescent Hospital with the first administrator when the County Hospital closed and Golden Empire opened its doors. The Auxiliary provides many services. Catholic services are offered every week, ceramics are made every week by both members for sale and residents, as therapy. Non-denominal chapel services are provided every week. Visitation is done by members and more visitors are always needed. Some residents are from out of the area and have no one to visit them. The Auxiliary makes favors for the food trays of those who must eat in their room and assists with the dressing and grooming for a formal ball held for the residents every April. They host an Ice Cream Social with live music every June and provide pies for the residents Thanksgiving Dinner, usually held before Thanksgiving for residents and their families. In December the Auxiliary provides homemade cookies, small gifts for the residents before Christmas and more. There are never too many people to help provide our services. The Auxiliary meets at 10:30 a.m. on the third Thursday of every month, except July and August, in the dining room of the Center. If you are interested in joining this group you can contact membership Chairman Barbara Ford at 530-273-6084 for more information and a membership application, or come to the next meeting.

Soroptimist International of the Sierra Foothills

If you want to learn more about our club and see how we help our community thrive, come join us. Our meetings are the first, second and third Thursdays of every month at Tofanellis Gold Country Bistro in Grass Valley. We want you and your talents! It would be our pleasure to have you join us in our efforts to support nonprofit organizations that improve the lives of women and children in our community. For more information visit us at, or visit our Facebook page. If you would like to feature your garden in our 2021 Garden Tour please email us at

Sierra Wine and Grape Growers Association

If you are interested in growing grapes, starting a vineyard, making wine, wine tasting or learning about wine in general, please join us for cheese and crackers at our meeting and bring a bottle of your favorite wine for all to taste. You do not have to be a grape grower or winemaker to join our group! We have interesting speakers, a summer picnic, a holiday party, and we provide a yearly scholarship to local students. For more information about SWGGA, visit Wed love to have you join us.

Grass Valley Moose Lodge #2317

We are an international organization of men and women, dedicated to caring for young and old, bringing our community closer together and celebrating life. We are for children in need from throughout the world at Mooseheart Child City and School, just west of Chicago. We provide for seniors at Moosehaven, our 72 acre retirement community in Orange Park, Florida along the St. Johns River. We provide over $90 million worth of community service activities annually throughout the USA. We have fun doing so and develop lifelong bonds. We will have birthday celebrations, and dinners on some Saturdays, as well as our monthly Monday and Wednesday, Thursday, night dinners, and our great Friday night dinner specials with karaoke after dinner. Check our website, and calendar. We also have a place for clubs and social gatherings. Come in and make new friends. Please come join us as a guest. We are located at Grass Valley Moose Lodge, 15694 Allison Rd. in Grass Valley. For more information call the lodge at 530-273-1070 or email

Nevada County Astronomers

NC Astronomers meet at 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month in the community room at Madelyn Helling library. All are welcome. For more information, visit

Gold Country Welcome Club

Did you receive a new sewing machine as a present and now you are wondering what to do with it? Perhaps our club can help with that. Our members have formed sewing groups and quilting groups to get together on a regular basis and share ideas and to work on individual projects. If this might be of interest to you, visit our website at to learn more about the possibilities that our club has to offer.

Citizens Against False Accusations

Child abuse is a very serious matter, but so are false allegations of child abuse which has the potential to destroy an innocent persons reputation and land them in prison for decades. Citizens Against False Accusations was formed to help those falsely accused of heinous crimes against children. False allegations, over the past years, have become close to an epidemic. In many cases, a false accusation of molesting is made by a child in a heated divorce or custody matter. This specific problem has gotten so out-of-hand in the country that it has been given a name; the S.A.I.D. Syndrome (Sexual Allegations in Divorce). Citizens Against False Accusations provide support and information about what best to do when a person has been falsely accused. The meeting is free to the public. For more information, call 916-216-0995 or email

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

AAUW membership is open to individuals with an associate, baccalaureate or higher degree from a qualified educational institution. For individuals interested in participating in branch interest groups and other activities, but who have not had the opportunity to complete a degree, the Nevada County Branch offers Friends of AAUW membership. For more than 75 years, the AAUW Nevada County Branch has been striving to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. For more information, visit or call 530-470-9395.

Hot Breakfast Club

The First Baptist Church is offering a free hot breakfast to Nevada Union High School students on the first Wednesday of each month throughout the academic year. Food is served from 7:15 to 8:30 a.m. along with drinks and fun. The church is located at 1866 Ridge Rd., across from NUHS. In addition to a hot breakfast, which often includes pancakes, breakfast burritos or French toast, a selection of doughnuts, cereals, coffee, tea and juice will always be available. This is drop-in event for high school students before school is sponsored by First Baptist Church in partnership with Campus Life. All are students are welcome.

Nevada County Democratic Womens Club

Join us on the first Saturday of each month for breakfast. Check-in and socializing begins at 9:30 a.m. Breakfast and meeting at 10 a.m. at Trolley Junction Restaurant at the Northern Queen Inn, 400 Railroad Ave. Nevada City. Cost is $15 for full buffet breakfast, coffee and juice. Non-members and guests always welcome. RSVP at

Family History Center

Nevada Citys Family History Center has expanded their hours. The Center will be open from noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays. The center offers free access to, Find My Past, Fold3, Geneanet, My Heritage, and Paper Trail. Volunteers are on site to assist with your research. In addition, on the third Tuesday of each month the Family History Center hosts a Family History Workshop from 10 a.m. to noon. Each month this workshop presents a topic related to genealogical research and related subjects. Parents with pre-school age children may find our Thursday hours more convenient for research and assistance. There will be activities available for children during Thursday research hours so parents can focus on research. Nevada City Family History Center is located at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 615 Hollow Way in Nevada City. The entrance is located at the back of the building where there is free parking and level access.

Gold Country Italian American Club

Do you enjoy good fellowship? Good food? Bingo? Then join us at our luncheon on the third Tuesday of the month. We meet at 11:30 a.m. the Alta Sierra Country Club. For more information, call Don at 530-271-7491.

Social Hour at the Library

The Madelyn Helling Library is now hosting a monthly Social Hour. The library loves to introduce newcomers to everything Nevada County has to offer. Just gone through a big life change and looking for new friends? Just want to get out of the house? Come to the librarys Social Hour! Each month, on the first Thursday of the month, the Social Hour program will have games, crafts, and snacks! Come meet new people and hopefully make some new friends. A future date is June 4, depending on shelter-in-place orders. Attendance is free and no registration is required! For more information, visit the Events Calendar at or call 530-265-7050.

Grass Valley Al-Anon

Is your life affected by someone elses drinking? The Grass Valley Al-anon meetings have relocated to 1721 E. Main Street, Suite 1B. Please review our meeting schedule by clicking on the link below. Newcomers are welcome to all meetings; and the Monday morning sessions are specific to people new to 12-step meetings. If you want/need support, we are here for you! For more information, visit or

Nevada Citys Evangeline Chapter 9, Order of the Eastern Star (OES)

OES is the worlds largest organization that admits both women and men to membership. The fraternal order supports friendship and fellowship among its members and philanthropy in the community, including a scholarship program along with cancer and heart research charities statewide. Locally we contribute regularly to the KARE Crisis Nursery and the Interfaith Food Ministry and just recently made and donated over 100 Port Pals given to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and the Grass Valley Dialysis Center to be provided to their cancer patients with chemo ports.

TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly)

For those interested in joining TOPS, our club meets at 10 a.m. on Friday mornings. Check-in is between 8 and 9:30 a.m. at the Salvation Army, 10725 Alta St. in Grass Valley. Everyone is welcome. Fore more information, call Sharon Rodriguez at 530-575-9325.

The Nevada-Placer Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, at place of worship, and in our communities. We work to educate families about gun violence prevention and to help create and support public policy, legislation and regulations for sensible gun laws at the state and national levels. We seek to reduce firearm injury and death by keeping weapons out of dangerous hands. Contact for more information.

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)

Our local Captain John Oldham Chapter meets the fourth Monday each month. We are a nonprofit, non-political, volunteer womens service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing Americas future through better education for children. Members can be any woman 18 years or older, regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background who can prove lineal descent from a patriot who supported the cause of independence in the Revolutionary War. Locally we promote patriotism, history, conservation and education with community projects and through chapter donations. For instance, our local Community Classroom Committee connects DAR with area schools by volunteering in classrooms, providing school supplies and helping teachers wherever there is a need. For further information on our monthly luncheon meetings or for membership, please call Emily Boling at 530 273-6140.

Jewel Heart Norcal Study Group

We will now be meeting evenings from 6 to 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday. We are starting a study of The Foundation of Perfections, which is a practical guide of stages on the path to full enlightenment. The Foundation of Perfections is a Buddhist text that offers intimate access to the material through explanation, group discussions, and meditation. The group will use Gelek Rimpoches text by the same name as a guide. All are welcome Buddhist background or affiliation is not required. Meetings are held at a members house in downtown Grass Valley. For more information and location please contact Joe at 530-263-8508 or email Jewel Heart Norcal is affiliated with Jewel Heart International. For more information visit

P.E.O. Sisterhood

Since its inception in 1869, P.E.O., Philanthropic Educational Organization, has helped more than 109,000 women pursue educational goals by providing almost $345 million in grants, scholarships, awards and loans and the stewardship of Cottey College. Through membership, the P.E.O. Sisterhood has brought together nearly a half a million women in the United States and Canada who are passionate about helping women advance through education, while supporting and motivating them. What started with a bond of friendship among seven women in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, is now one of the oldest womens organizations in North America with close to 6,000 chapters. To learn more about P.E.O., visit

Kentucky Flat 4-H Club

The mission of 4-H is to engage youth in reaching their fullest potential while advancing in the field of youth development. Our club would like to invite all those interested or those who would like to learn more about 4-H to join us at our next community club meeting. Our club consist of Primary, age 5 to 8 years old, Junior, Intermediate and Senior members, age 9 to 19. We meet on the second Monday of each month at the Kentucky Flat Community Center, 13281 Newtown Rd in Nevada City. We offer a wide range of projects for our members. For more information, contact leaders Jeff Tynan and Teresa Toledo-Larios at

National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), Grass Valley Chapter 1335

All federal employees and retirees and their spouses are invited to join NARFE. It is a non-partisan, non-profit organization founded 97 years ago to protect the earned benefits of federal employees and retirees. Members meet the second Thursday each month at Margaritas restaurant on Plaza Drive in the Glenbrook Basin, except for July and August. Social time is 11:15 a.m., lunch to follow and then our speaker. A short business meeting follows. Local chapter meetings serve as an opportunity for federal employees and retirees to socialize, receive timely updates on policy actions affecting the federal community, and hear programs of general interest or of value to members. Reservations for lunch are not required. For more information on the luncheon or program, please call chapter president Larry Kinkor, 530-265-6477.

Banner Community Guild

We are dedicated to promoting, supporting and advocating for our community, regenerative farms, local economy, cultural diversity, education, the arts, and a variety of charitable causes. Membership in the Guild is open to women and men, people of color and people of diverse beliefs. We are an organization that listens intently to the myriad of voices in our community in order to nurture an organization that is inviting to all. Our motto is Neighbors helping neighbors. Monthly meetings are held at the Guild Hall at 12629 McCourtney Rd. in Grass Valley on the third Thursday of every month with a potluck at 5:30 and meeting beginning at 6 p.m. All meetings are open to the public and membership is encouraged. For membership information, rental of the Guild Hall including two large rooms and a completely equipped kitchen. For upcoming events and more, go to A Flea Market is held on the second Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vendor sites are available for $10 no reservation required. For more info about the Flea Market call 530-277-4310. Coming soon: a Tool Lending Library! Stay tuned about this and other additional developments at the Banner Guild.

SIRs (Sons in Retirement Branch 55 Grass Valley-Nevada City)

Renew old friendships and make new friends through our monthly luncheons and organized activities. Activities are base on members interest; wine testing, bocce ball, pool, bowling, golf, fishing, and many more. We invite men of ALL ages that are semi-retired or retired looking to meet new friends and participate in fun activities. We are a 501-(c) 4 nonprofit mens organization that has been established for over 60 years. We meet for lunch the third Tuesday of every month at the Grass Valley Moose Lodge (non affiliated host) located at 15694 Allison Ranch Rd. Lunch is at noon. Come early for happy hour and billiards/pool. Come alone or bring a guest. Joining is free and there are no dues. Come join us, no reservation necessary. (Cost of lunch includes main course and desert)

Come check us out! For further information if needed, Call the Big SIR at 530-271-5679. More information about SIRs can be found at

Child Loss Support Group

Anyone who has had a child die in their family is invited to contact Shari Homan, who is in the process of establishing a local chapter of The Compassionate Friends. The national nonprofit is a self help bereavement support organization for families that have experienced the death of a child. To complete the application process Homan is seeking three to four volunteers who are a parent, grandparent or adult sibling to act as a steering committee to help manage the formation of a Nevada County Chapter. If interested please contact Homan at To learn more about The Compassionate Friends, visit

The Craft Guild of Nevada County

Join crafters interested in sharing their crafts with others in selling handmade items locally. Meetings are at 6 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month except for Feb., April, June, July and December. We meet at the Earle Jameson Education Building at 112 Nevada City Hwy. Check out our blog at

Dementia Support Group

Cascades of Grass Valley, a senior living community located at 415 Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley, will be hosting a monthly support group for family and caregivers of those with dementia to help provide proven techniques to care, connection and understanding. Meetings will be held on the third Friday of each month from 2 to 3 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

Caring for a loved one with memory loss can be challenging and difficult, but with support and the care of others who are going through similar experiences, it can become easier. At Cascades of Grass Valley, we want to provide an environment that fosters engagement and connection and welcome you to join our Dementia Support Group. Take some time to rest and recharge with others who understand your journey, ask questions, share your story, give and receive support and learn care techniques from local experts on memory loss. Meetings are free and open to the public. Please call Brianna Phillips or Pepsi Pittman at 530-272-8002 to for more information or to RSVP.

American Contract Bridge League Duplicate Bridge Games

Come join the friendly folks who play duplicate bridge. We have games every week Mon., Tues. Wed. and Fri. at the Golden Empire Grange in Grass Valley (for info call Bruce at 530-477-9586 and for partnerships on Mon. email Bill Jones at Thursdays at Eskaton in Grass Valley (Harvey, 530-477-5107) and Mon. and Wed. at Lake Wildwood in Penn Valley (Jim, 530-432-5593). If you need any other information or you are interested in learning how to play bridge, you can contact Bruce Lester at 530-477-9586. For information and a class concerning the duplicate game, email Bill Jones at Our games are not only competitive and sanctioned ACBL games, but we always serve delicious coffee/tea and refreshments.

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous?

S.L.A.A., is a fellowship based on the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. This self-help fellowship is open to people of any age or sexual preference. Members include those who suffer from a compulsive need for sex, those with a desperate attachment to one person, and those who have a compulsive need to avoid sexual or emotional attachments. What all members have in common is an obsessive/compulsive pattern, either sexual or emotional (or both), in which relationships or activities have become increasingly destructive to all areas of their lives career, family, and sense of self-respect. Meetings are open to any person who believes he or she has this problem and wants to find help in recovering. More information, including Nevada County meetings, may be had by calling the phone number for the Sacramento Regional Information number 916-552-1442, or by going to the S.L.A.A.s international website: (S.L.A.A. Fellowship Wide Services).

The Tapestry Network of Nevada County

We have just celebrated our 7th anniversary in Nevada County. This Christian business networking chapter serves Nevada Countys local nonprofits while promoting each other in business. Part of our recent growth is the expansion, adding a Christian Bookstore in our downtown Grass Valley location. Their store includes Christian jewelry as well as books from local authors. The organization showcases authors as guest speakers and will have book signings along with the regular book sales of office hours Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Our monthly fundraisers normally take place on the second Thursday of each month. The Tapestry Network is open to all women in the marketplace. Details may be found on their Facebook page: The Tapestry Network of Nevada County BAM. Or email

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Club News, May 16, 2020 | - The Union of Grass Valley

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May 16th, 2020 at 1:41 pm

Posted in Self-Help

Eight Ways to Cope with Feelings of Grief During the COVID Pandemic –

Posted: at 1:41 pm

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Emotions will vary widely based on how this pandemic has affected you personally. Local therapists offer advice on how to manage feelings of grief.

Photo illustration by Amanda Lucidi

During the past couple months, Ive heard many times that the feelings of the pandemic are sort of like riding a roller coaster. Everyone is experiencing a wide range of emotionssome days youre at the peak, sometimes youre in the valley, and sometimes it feels like youre getting emotional whiplash. Were all clinging to a shaking safety bar on a very scary ride we never agreed to board, with very unclear rules and regulations.

Our emotions also vary widely, based on how this pandemic has affected us personally. Collectively, were all experiencing some type of grief or mourning for the way our lives used to be. The point isnt to throw our hands (and emotions) in the air and laugh. The point is to learn to sit on the ride and feel all the feels until the ride becomes more like a steady stroll or a calm drift. But thats easier said than done, so we reached out to local therapists for tips on how to cultivate your own emotional safety bar.

Janna Koretz, a psychologist and the founder of Azimuth Psychological, says these are the five stages of grief you may be feeling right now:

Obviously, the desirable stage is acceptance. Sort of like after a bad breakup, you just want to get to the point where seeing their name, or thinking about them, doesnt bring up such intense feelings anymore. Simply bringing awareness to what youre feeling and being able to name which stage of grief youre in will help you to process what is going on and work through it to get to the point of acceptance. Spend some time journaling, talking to a trusted friend or family member, or meditating/exercisingto really hone in on what youre feeling.

Unfortunately, there is no time limit to grief, Koretz says, and there is no logical order to the stages. It can be constant for any length of time or wax and wane over weeks, months, and years, she adds. Coming back to those trusted methods of self-management like journaling, counseling, or meditating to get to the bottom of what youre feeling is helpful. If youre feeling worried or anxious about the future, or that youre not getting over things quick enough, Lisa Lewis, psychologist and Northeastern professor, says to focus on the details of what is making you worried or anxious and pinpoint how you can take specific action. Sometimes taking action is the best antidote to feelings of grief, but she also says its simply okay to let things go or put worries to the side for now.

The nurse who is working overtime at Brigham and Womens Hospital is probably in a different stage of grief than a single person working from home with their dog, Koretz explains. Similarly, a married man who has been laid off with two kids to care for is probably experiencing something different as well. The feelings of loss for our daily lives are pretty immense. Nothing is quite the same, and thats a lot to process. Remember this when a loved one has an emotional outburst or a stranger criticizes your social distancing measures. Sometimes peoples reactions are simply a reflection of what theyre going through on the inside. Show them, and yourself, some grace.

Youve all heard this message before while getting ready to take off on in an airplane. Never has it been more accurate for daily life now. Not only do we have to put our own mask on before we help others put theirs on, but similarly, we need to take care of ourselves (physically, mentally, and spiritually) before we can fully help others as well. You cant offer people water if there is nothing left in the cup, Koretz says. Its important to remember, she adds, that taking care of others and yourself are not mutually exclusive activities.

The only way we can be there for those around us fully is by continuously self-evaluating. It becomes obvious when we need to take space when we feel burned out, exhausted, apathetic, lethargic, or irritable, Koretz says. Its important to recognize when weve hit these walls, but it becomes even more important to take preventative self-care measures to prevent hitting those walls in the first place.

A good way to prevent burning ourselves out is to look at our daily routine and recognize which activities are draining us and which are filling us back up, and make changes where necessary. Processing feelings of grief, depending on the severity, can sometimes feel like a full-time job. No matter the severity, it is draining to do that, and when life gets small, its normal to feel depleted, Lewis explains. Its a good sign when you can identify this change in energy and finding any way to conserve energy can help, she says. It might require a bit of energy to add the activity, but if it adds more than it takes away, thats a net gain!

It all comes back to the age-old adage: We have to make the most of what weve got. We still have control over some positive things in our lives, Koretz says. Focus on those. Depression is normal, especially during a time like this, but it helps to look for silver linings, brighter horizons, and happy moments and hold on to them for hope. Like all things, this too shall pass. If depression persists, though, and you cant seem to recognize happy moments anymore, Lewis recommends reaching out to talk to a family or friend, or call a support hotline. We rounded up these free mental health resources as a good place to start.

While we may not be jetting off to Caribbean islands this summer, attending concerts, or watching fireworks, we can still get creative and find things we enjoy. They may not be on the very top of our usual summer to-do list, but they can still be fun, and we may surprise ourselves with how much joy these new activities can bring us, Koretz says. Whether thats being outside, running through a sprinkler, or planting a garden, we can all take solace in being fully present. Personally, I like to have a two-minute dance party every day. Theres nothing quite like getting out of my feels and into my body. It always feels goodand I know I could use more moments like that.

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Eight Ways to Cope with Feelings of Grief During the COVID Pandemic -

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10 New Books We Recommend This Week – The New York Times

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I participated this week in a virtual Battle of the Books, hosted by my local bookstore and moderated by James Mustich, the author of 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die. The premise: Persuade the audience to vote for a book that Jim should have included on his list but didnt. The format: Five contestants get four minutes each to make the case for a book of their choosing, from how-to (a cookbook, a feng shui decorating book) to fiction (Jos Saramagos Blindness, Anton Myrers Once an Eagle) to my pick The Journals of John Cheever, which I consider his crowning achievement.

Long story short, I didnt win. The audience, unimpeachably, went for Blindness instead. But I had a great time, and the event made me realize anew how much the pleasure of reading is enhanced by this part the social part, the part after the reading, where we talk about what we love and why, and why you should love it too. Forget 1,000 books. Here are 10 you could read right now, from Lydia Millets slyly apocalyptic new novel to Lauren Sandlers immersive profile of a homeless mother to Judith Warners fraught but entertaining study of the hazards of middle school. Read them all; just make sure you save some time for Saramago, and Cheever, before you die.

Gregory Cowles Senior Editor, Books Twitter: @GregoryCowles

FIGURE IT OUT: Essays, by Wayne Koestenbaum. (Soft Skull, $16.95.) In his latest collection, the polymathic poet and essayist Wayne Koestenbaum documents flirtations with beautiful strangers, the purchase of a new pair of glasses and swimming alongside Nicole Kidman at a local pool. He also writes smitten elegies to his influences, including Adrienne Rich, Susan Sontag and Montaigne. The chief charges against Koestenbaum are frivolity, prurience and self-indulgence, our critic Parul Sehgal writes. To which hed respond, Id hazard, with a cheery: Guilty! His great and singular appeal is this fealty to his own desire and imagination. If his excesses irk, it might be useful to wonder where and how you acquired your limits in the first place figure it out, as the title enjoins.

REDHEAD BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, by Anne Tyler. (Knopf, $26.95.) Micah Mortimer is a classic Tyler protagonist: He lives in Baltimore, he knows how to cook a few things, hes set in his ways until his girlfriend faces eviction and a stranger claims to be his son. What happens next is also classic Tyler, visceral and moving. Tyler has every gift a great novelist needs: intent observation, empathy and language both direct and surprising, Amy Bloom writes in her review. She has unembarrassed goodness as well. In this time of snark, preening, sub-tweeting and the showy torment of characters, we could use more Tyler.

A CHILDRENS BIBLE, by Lydia Millet. (Norton, $25.95.) This superb novel begins as a generational comedy a pack of kids and their middle-aged parents coexist in a summer share and turns steadily darker, as climate collapse and societal breakdown encroach. But Millets light touch never falters; in this time of great upheaval, she implies, our foundational myths take on new meaning and hope. Its not a history, not a tract or a jeremiad; the truth it bears is not going to overwrite the future, Jonathan Dee writes in his review. Its a tale in which whoever or whatever comes after us might recognize, however imperfectly, a certain continuity: an exotic but still decodable shred of evidence from the lost world that is the world we are living in right now.

AND THEIR CHILDREN AFTER THEM, by Nicolas Mathieu. Translated by William Rodarmor. (Other Press, paper, $17.99.) Mathieus coming-of-age novel won Frances top literary prize, the Goncourt, in 2018, just as the Yellow Vest protests took hold. Its depictions of a community crushed by deindustrialization help explain populist rage against economic elites. As suffused with local color as this book is, parallels with left-behind swaths of America (and England, and many other places, too) stand out on every page, Thomas Chatterton Williams writes in his review. But there is also that other, mysterious appeal in which a story resonates in ways that even the most devastating sociology and journalism cannot. And that is what will keep me thinking of these unremarkable characters in this made-up town for a very long time.

HOW MUCH OF THESE HILLS IS GOLD, by C Pam Zhang. (Riverhead, $26.) Zhangs mesmerizing tale of two Chinese-American siblings crossing the West during the gold rush, with their fathers corpse in tow, unfolds in a landscape of desolation and struggle that recalls Steinbeck and Faulkner, and in a voice that is all her own. Our reviewer, Martha Southgate, calls it an aching book, full of myths of Zhangs making (including tigers that roam the Western hills) as well as joys, as well as sorrows. Its violent and surprising and musical. Like Lucy and Sam, the novel wanders down byways and takes detours and chances. By journeys end, youre enriched and enlightened by the lives you have witnessed.

THIS IS ALL I GOT: A New Mothers Search for Home, by Lauren Sandler. (Random House, $27.) In 2015, Sandler was volunteering at a homeless shelter when she met Camila, a pregnant resident who was determined to find a permanent, safe place to raise her child. This book charts her path through red tape, educational challenges, family crises and moments of joy amid unimaginable struggle. Our reviewer, Alex Kotlowitz, calls it a riveting book and a remarkable feat of reporting. It is, he adds, a testament to the bigness of the small story, to the power of intimate narratives to speak to something much larger. Sandler wisely lets Camilas story stand on its own without lecturing us. Not to sound clichd, but we walk in Camilas shoes. We come to understand what Sandler recognized early on: If Camila cant navigate the dearth of housing, how can others?

AND THEN THEY STOPPED TALKING TO ME: Making Sense of Middle School, by Judith Warner. (Crown, $27.) Part sociology, part memoir, part self-help, this entertaining guide to the education systems most notorious institution aims to explain why trauma and humiliation figure so prominently in our associations with junior high. Warner knows of what she speaks, Shannon Hale writes in her review. Not only is the book well researched, but she also gets personal with her tales of middle school woe both as a former student and as a parent. It is the caregivers of current middle schoolers who might gain the most solace and insight from this book, those who find that shepherding children through what was once called junior high brings back their own trauma in unexpectedly painful ways.

KIM JIYOUNG, BORN 1982, by Cho Nam-Joo. Translated by Jamie Chang. (Liveright, $20.) A sensation when it appeared in South Korea in 2016, this novel recounts, in the dispassionate language of a case history, the descent into madness of a young wife and mother a Korean Everywoman whose plight illuminates the effects of a sexist society. This novel is about the banality of the evil that is systemic misogyny, Euny Hong writes in her review. Perhaps the novels international exposure will force South Korea to have another reckoning with what it plans to do about its biggest elephant in the room.

ST. IVO, by Joanna Hershon. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.95.) After years of estrangement, two once-close couples reconnect during a weekend in an upstate farmhouse. Secrets simmer and the absence of a beloved daughter introduces an element of mystery to this taut, thoughtful novel. Though it moves at a harrowing pace, this is not a traditional thriller, Danya Kukafka writes in her review. The friction resides, innovatively, in the agony of interpersonal misunderstandings, the awkwardness of old friends now strangers trapped together for a period of days.

WHAT WE CARRY, by Maya Shanbhag Lang. (Dial, $27.) Langs memoir of her relationship with her mother explores female identity, generational disconnect and the power of story. What happens when a mother refuses to help a daughter? Lang asks hard questions and presents moving answers. The shined-up, mythical stories our mothers tell us about their own beginnings are meant to bolster us, perhaps; but here, in exquisitely precise prose, Lang makes an argument that honesty is whats truly empowering, Mary Beth Keane writes, reviewing the book alongside two other mother-daughter narratives. In the closing chapters, we see a relationship between mother and daughter that feels new and tentative because life changes so much every few years, bringing out unseen sides to each of them.

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10 New Books We Recommend This Week - The New York Times

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May 16th, 2020 at 1:41 pm

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McDonald’s is going to look drastically different when it opens – East Idaho News

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(CNN) When McDonalds restaurants reopen, customers should expect stickers on the floor encouraging social distancing and the closure of self-serve beverage bars. Workers wearing masks might check in with a thumbs up, or kindly ask you to move away from others.

The chain, which is preparing to reopen its locations globally as some US states loosen stay-at-home orderes, recently sent out a detailed instruction manual to franchise operators in the United States. The 59-page document, which was obtained by CNN Business, outlines the minimum sanitation and social-distancing requirements each must meet before opening its dining rooms. The contents of the manual were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Franchisees, which operate over 90% of all McDonalds world-wide, will have to pay for their own supplies, the document said.

The playbook also details how to keep the restaurants clean and make sure customers see the efforts. It spells out how to keep customers six feet away from each other, and mandate the use of some personal protective equipment.

Workers must clean and sanitize tables after each use and restrooms every 30 minutes. McDonalds recommends using a tracking sheet to document the cleanings. Employees have to wash their hands every hour. Restaurants dont have to turn on their touch-screen kiosks, but if they do, those screens and key pads have to be cleaned after every use.

The instruction manual outlines ways for restaurant operators to keep customers apart: They must close off some tables and seating areas and use floor stickers to mark out clearly recognizable paths that will keep customers six feet away from each other while waiting in line. The stickers should also help keep people six feet away from tables. The restaurants must also keep PlayPlaces closed and disable any interactive games.

Theyll also have to close self-serve beverage bars.

Thats both on recommendation from an epidemiologist, and because of how self-service bars may make customers feel.

Brand perception is another concern, the guide notes, and how this would/could play out in the minds of the customers given heightened perceptions around hygiene and safety as they see other customers not take precautions.

Instead, employees must pour drinks out for customers, preferably using fountains usually designated for the drive-thru.

The guidance also mandates the use of personal protective equipment for employees.

Workers have to wear face masks or face coverings, and all employees who handle food or service have to wear gloves.

Customers arent required to wear masks, but masks should be available to them upon request in municipalities where face coverings are required. Protective panels have to be installed at drive-thru windows and counters where orders are taken.

The playbook also gives employees guidelines on how to talk to people who might be wondering why McDonalds is opening its dining areas at all.

Workers can say, We are all in this together and this team has come together in so many amazing ways over the last few months. If someone refuses to social distance, they can try I apologize for any inconvenience, but to help keep everyone safe, wed like all our guests to maintain a safe distance of 6 feet from each other and our staff. McDonalds highly recommends workers use a thumbs up to check back in with customers who are eating at tables.

A woman was arrested last week on suspicion of shooting a fast-food worker and injuring others after they told her to leave a McDonalds restaurant in Oklahoma City, according to police.

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McDonald's is going to look drastically different when it opens - East Idaho News

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Passion for Your Startup Doesn’t Have to Mean Constant Stress – Harvard Business Review

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Executive Summary

At MIT Sloan School of Managements delta v accelerator 84 entrepreneurs participated in a first-of-its-kind, exploratory self-awareness program. By the end of the program, 88% of the participants (up from 21%) had independently established their own regular, weekly meditation or mindfulness practice; 53% of participants were more frequently utilizing a deliberate tool or technique to work through stress; and 40% were more aware of their emotions. While in previous years, accelerator participants valued their startups above all else, in this cohort, they not only valued their own well-being, but they more often offered and accepted help. They demonstrated that they didnt have to be harried and constantly stressed to show their passion for their startups.

Entrepreneurs are so passionate about what they are creating and often, so fearful of letting their team and investors down that they will do almost anything to realize their startups potential. Stories of sacrifice abound in founder blogs and startup post-mortems, with entrepreneurs forgoing sleep, friendships, family relationships, exercise, and good nutrition for their startups. This startup-above-all-else approach can lead to chronic stress, which wreaks havoc on entrepreneurs physical and mental health. A UCSF study found that entrepreneurs may already be prone to mental health conditions more than the general population, and in our personal experience, anxiety, self-doubt, depression, and loneliness are rampant among entrepreneurs.

What if compromising yourself for your startup isnt necessary for success? And further, what if its possible to teach entrepreneurs to work through the stresses of entrepreneurship more effectively, so they dont compound into chronic issues?

At MIT Sloan School of Managements delta v accelerator this past year, we took a step toward answering that question, creating a first-of-its-kind, exploratory self-awareness program to help 84 founders and their team members prioritize their individual well-being while building their businesses and measuring the results. By the end of the program, 93% of our cohort felt that self-awareness practice can help entrepreneurs create more successful businesses. More than anything, it gave our team a neutral, common language to build our relationships and culture, said a participant.

In developing the program, we knew that recommending particular self-care strategies creating a wind-down routine before bed, eating well, or taking breaks, for example would not be enough to shift the ingrained view that outsized stress and sacrifice is necessary for entrepreneurship, or to convince entrepreneurs to spend any of their extremely limited time on something other than their startups.

Instead, we (the authors) designed a test program to help accelerator participants develop greater self-awareness. We hypothesized that if entrepreneurs understood more about the mechanics of themselves their thoughts, feelings, and automatic physical and emotional responses they could make better personal choices in the face of the everyday stresses of entrepreneurship. Participants were taught a simple framework for building self-awareness:

Our framework is an expanded form of mindfulness defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn as paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. To practice the framework, participants were taught mindfulness meditation, which has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety and help regulate emotion, among many other benefits. They also learned short mindfulness practices that they could integrate into their lives. In addition, we conducted small, peer group sessions, where we discussed key choices entrepreneurs face. Participants could use these sessions to vent and get feedback and perspective in a confidential setting. The small group meetings were mandatory, and everything else was optional.

To measure the impact of this methodology on our student entrepreneurs, we surveyed them before and after the delta v program, with 60 participants responding. The results were significant.

By the end of the program, 88% of the participants had independently established their own regular, weekly meditation or mindfulness practice. Before the program, 65% had never meditated, and only 21% were regularly practicing meditation or mindfulness. We didnt require that they start their own practice. We simply presented the research-backed benefits and showed them how it was possible to integrate it into their already-packed day. They decided that it was worth their time, and that they didnt have to view it as one more thing on their to-do list. While some participants chose to meditate regularly, others chose, for example, to make their morning subway commute into a mindfulness practice, taking five minutes (from stop A to stop B, for example) to pay attention to what they were hearing, seeing, and experiencing. As thoughts or feelings arose, they would label them, and go right back to focusing on their environment.

We also found that their practice was paying off and creating behavioral change. After the program, 53% of participants were more frequently utilizing a deliberate tool or technique to work through stress, and 40% were more aware of their emotions. These entrepreneurs were making active, moment-to-moment choices to change their habitual responses to stressful situations.

Finally, participants became more aware of themselves by sharing their challenges with each other. One third of the participants, via an open-ended question, said they found particular value in the learning, camaraderie, and openness they experienced in their peer groups. I became more open to sharing inner challenges with others, one entrepreneur said. Listening to perspectives and stories of colleagues in the cohort helped me be wiser about how I can approach complicated [issues] with higher confidence.

Self-awareness isnt a magic bullet. The program didnt alleviate stress completely. In a post-program survey just a few days before Demo Day, when they would pitch their startups to more than 1,000 people, 40% of our participants were experiencing more difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep than they were at the beginning of the accelerator. Incredibly though, and in contrast with previous delta v cohorts, they were making the active choice to sleep.

The culture of delta v changed. While in previous years, members valued their startups above all else, in this cohort, they not only valued their own well-being, but they more often offered and accepted help. They demonstrated that they didnt have to be harried and constantly stressed to show their passion for their startups.

Will the startups in this delta v cohort be more or less successful than cohorts before them? We cant say, yet. As we continue the program, we will build on our data set and track our participants. But we think that the additional tools the program provided will help them in their entrepreneurial efforts now and over the long-term. Rather than a state of being, self-awareness is a habit to be practiced over and over again. The 12 weeks of the accelerator gave entrepreneurs the chance to practice what they were learning, see the consequences play out over time, and integrate their learnings into their startups. We feel confident they will continue to do so as they build their companies outside of delta v.

We believe that integrating self-awareness into the entrepreneurial ecosystem entrepreneur by entrepreneur will lead to healthier startup cultures. This benefit wont just accrue to founders, in our estimation, but will create a ripple effect and extend to their team members, their stakeholders, and their customers, resulting in healthier and more successful businesses.

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Passion for Your Startup Doesn't Have to Mean Constant Stress - Harvard Business Review

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May 16th, 2020 at 1:41 pm

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Mithun: The need to adjust our sails in uncertain times – Wadena Pioneer Journal

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Right now, we are in the midst of a powerful wind. As a community, as a nation, and as a world, we have been hit by a virus named COVID-19.

When I think of a picture to go along with this quote, the movie 'The Perfect Storm' comes to mind. Granted, it wasnt a sailboat, but a much larger boat, and yet it was faced with the challenge of staying afloat as the great storm crashed into them. Right now, as humans, we are experiencing a great storm that has disrupted our lives. This virus has changed everything about how we function; from how we shop for necessities to how we educate our children. We know we cannot direct the wind, so how do we adjust our sails? Here are some tips on things you can do in your life to help during this time.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, there is nothing easy or normal about what we are experiencing. As humans, we were born for social connection. Our ancestors lived and traveled in tribes and this served an important purpose: survival. At this time in our lives, it becomes important to figure out new ways to create social connections. Technology offers many ways to connect, ranging from a phone call to apps such as Marco Polo or Zoom where you can send videos or have live group chats. Moving away from technology and using other resources, you can mail a letter or card to someone you care about. This could be a great opportunity to teach a new generation the excitement of going to the mailbox and finding a card or letter from a loved one. There are creative ways of creating social connection while practicing social distancing.

On Easter Sunday, I heard cars honking outside, and I went to my window and saw a parade of Easter well- wishers driving down my road, honking and waving. There are ways to build connections while maintaining social distancing, it just takes some creativity.

Self-care is a term that has become mainstreamed today but is often misunderstood. Self- care is any activity we do on purpose to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although its a simple concept in theory, its something we often overlook. Good self-care is key to improving our mood and reducing anxiety. Its also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.

Self-care means examining the different components of our lives: spiritual, physical, mental, psychological, and social, and exploring areas lacking attention. Its recognizing the importance of all components and finding ways we can work to improve what we are giving to each of them. It means figuring out how to give the world the best of you instead of whats left of you. Some examples of self-care could include setting aside time in your day to take a breathing break, going for a walk outside, or taking a hot bath. Self-care is finding what works for you.

Believe it or not, there has been extensive research completed on the Science of Happiness. There is a whole movement called Positive Psychology that is devoted to this. By and large, much of the research comes back to one main skill that can be strengthened to improve overall happiness and life satisfaction. And that is gratitude.

One might be thinking: We are amid a pandemic, what is there to be thankful for? But the answer is there are many things to be grateful for, but it might be harder to find them right now. But once you get in the practice of finding these things, it becomes much easier. A great way to start or end each day is by stopping and reflecting on three good things. This activity is simple, but research shows that ending each day consistently reflecting on or writing down three good things has a positive impact on our mood for the next week and even month! This is a great dinner time activity, especially for those with younger kids. Ask everyone around the table to share three good things that happened during the day. It stimulates conversation and helps instill gratitude into our daily lives.

During this new and challenging time in our lives, we are all feeling an onslaught of emotions. We are actively engaged in grieving life as we knew it, along with significant events and in some cases, loss of life. It is important we find ways to feel and metabolize these emotions. Research has shown that a great way to do this is by using words to get these emotions from inside our head to outside of our bodies.

Journaling and talking to a trusted peer are two ways to do this. Sometimes people are intimidated by the thought of journaling ; feeling like they need to write things properly or fill up an entire page. This is not so; there are no rules in journaling! This experience is about writing what you think and feel, whether it is incomplete sentences filled with words, a poem, or even a drawing. Do what feels comfortable to you.

Given the challenge of social distancing, it may be more of a challenge to connect with a trusted peer. Again, I encourage you to explore new ways of doing this. In addition to peer support, mental health professionals continue to work during this time. Many are available via telehealth and this offers a way of receiving counseling while maintaining social distancing. This means you could be in your home and be seen by a professional.

Research has shown exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. However, people often respond negatively to the word exercise. It can feel like a chore; one more thing to knock off your list. But here is another way of looking at it: movement. Try to increase your movement a little each day.

I am reading a book about explorers of Antarctica, and they have a saying: 11 more steps. This comes from the experience of previous explorers who they discovered would have survived their adventures across Antarctica if they had just gone 11 more steps each day. Perhaps look at your life and small ways to incorporate increases in movement perhaps just 11 more steps.

With workout centers being closed, there are numerous offerings on the internet of free exercise classes that can be done at home using household items as equipment. However, if that feels overwhelming, keep it simple and focus on increasing your movement.

In closing, I encourage you to find ways to adjust your sails as we weather this storm together. It is important to remind ourselves we are all in this together, and as a society we are experiencing the same emotional roller coaster. No one has been through this before and no one has all the answers. This is a time to practice grace with each other and ourselves.

Mithun is a Behavioral Health Home Integration Specialist at Lakewood Health System in Staples.

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Mithun: The need to adjust our sails in uncertain times - Wadena Pioneer Journal

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