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You Are Not Alone

In a time of social isolation, we are here for you...

You Are Not Alone

By Traci Marie Wagner

I have always touted myself as being one who is excellent at being alone. I will not retract that statement, but over the course of the past thirty-plus days being forced into true social isolation, I have started to think about why this is. Why am I so comfortable being alone? Is it because I'm comfortable with myself? Perhaps.

Well, I'm certainly a mixture found somewhere between an introvert and an extrovert; likely leaning more towards the introvert side. And this course of forced isolation has made me realize I may not be as introverted as I had previously proclaimed. I have since come to the conclusion that there may be a more defined reason as to why I am so comfortable being alone. Perhaps it is because I actually am never alone. I always have a companion with me. 

There's a reason we call dogs man's best friend. We can learn so many things from a dog's behavior, personality, demeanor, resiliency, and most importantly, the willingness to provide their human with unconditional love, loyalty, and companionship down to their very last breath. I started to evaluate my dog during this time. She certainly has stuck to her same routines. My presence being home during the day hasn't altered her schedule in the least. In fact, it has given me an insider view of what she has done all these years during the day while I'm gone. She sleeps all day and only wakes for cookies and to move from the bedroom to the couch; couch to the dog bed, and then in reverse. Then come evening like clockwork, she will be ready to play at the exact time I would typically be getting home from work. With realizing this, I began paying more attention to how no matter the situation, your dog always remains the same; their ability to live in the present moment is something to recognize. They don't regret the past or worry about the future. Therefore, if we can take lead from our very own furry companions and learn to appreciate and focus on what's happening in the here and now, we may actually experience a new richness of living in our current situation.

So, here we are today with our worlds altered, some tipped right upside down, others just rocked slightly off course; nonetheless, everyone's 'normal' has changed, yet our dogs don't see it any differently. In the presence of a dog, somehow, nothing else matters. A dog is just their day-to-day as the world shifts underneath them handing out pure love, sparing no expense, and asking absolutely nothing in return. There's consistency, love, and the beauty of life at its finest. Therefore, how about when we feel as though all the consistency in our lives has been lost, let us pay attention to how little of it actually has gone anywhere. Lets instead of focusing on the things that are gone, open our eyes to what is still right there in front of you. There will always be one constant that will never alter in this ever-changing world and that perhaps as it is for me, is your dog. 

How many of you during the past month have rediscovered parts of yourself you didn't even know about, or uncovered parts of yourself you hadn't seen in a long time? Many of us over the years of living high-intensity lifestyles; being on the go all the time; never slowing down has resulted in lost touch with this all-important instinctual part of who we are. What if we took closer attention to our dogs during this time, and instead of them learning from us, what if we learned from them? Like dogs, what if we started to pay attention to nonverbal cues such as body language and energy; can we then begin to learn more about ourselves?

Right now and so often in life, it is far too easy to get caught up in all the 'things'. Humans now more than ever are feeling under and overstimulated all at the same time. I am choosing to take cue from my dog to be more present, love, and live more intentionally; enjoy my decade long companionship with my best friend with a tad more awareness and clarity.

We are never alone, with a dog by your side. 

Now available for purchase, at-home training programs designed by our coaches for you to do on your own. 

For $40 you will get access to this nine-week program made by Erik Lewish plus his insider trainer tips. This training program will have you ready and running a 5k!

To purchase this nine-week program or Kim's hiking program log into your online account at: 

  • Log in to your account by going to

  • Click on “new user register” 

  • If you don't know. your member ID, enter your email address that is on file with us and you will get an email. Or - contact April and Liz at

  • Create your new account and then follow the steps.

Running, It's More Than Just Fitness

By Erik Lewish

Many people go on runs to improve their cardiorespiratory fitness, strengthen their muscles, or simply just to burn calories, but there are many mental benefits we can get from a quick run too.  The psychological benefits of running far outweigh the physical demands and these mental benefits are often overlooked or even unknown.  During this time of uncertainty, here are a few reasons to run to help support your mental health:

Stress Management:

A lot of us are feeling stress and/or anxiety right now.  Whether it be about staying healthy, job-related, or just the general nature of when things will be back to normal, there are lots of things to be stressed about right now.  Running helps by reducing the body’s natural stress hormones epinephrine and cortisol.  Just a quick 20-minute run can help us to feel calmer and more optimistic.


Not only does running decrease our stress hormones, but it also increases our feel-good hormones or endorphins.  These endorphins are responsible for the “runner’s high” that some people experience.  In fact, running has been even been shown to be an effective treatment for some individuals diagnosed with clinical depression.

More Productivity and Creativity:

With many of us working from home these days, the mid-day slump can be even more difficult to breakthrough.  A quick run can help boost energy, creativity, and overall productiveness for up to two hours afterward.  Research has shown that workers who make time for exercise are more productive and have more energy than their less active peers.

Improved sleep: Sleep is incredibly important for mental health, and during this time when our normal routines are so affected, it can also through off our sleep routines.  A quick run in the middle of the day will help to energize us and raise our body temperature and 5-6 hours afterward when our body temperature begins to dip back down, this is actually a signal for our body’s to sleep.


Sadler, Elizabeth McCloud. "The Benefits of Running." 2010.

Crunchy Broccoli Salad with a Homemade Maple Dijon Dressing

  • 4 cups chopped broccoli (I like to chop mine up really well)

  • 1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries, cherries, or golden raisins

  • 1/3 cup roasted sunflower seeds

  • 1/3 cup diced red onion

  • Optional: add ½ cup finely chopped mixed carrot and cucumber

    • Maple Dijon Dressing – combine all ingredients in a jar or blender and mix well

    • 1/3 cup olive oil

    •  1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

    • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

    • 1 tsp dijon mustard

    • Sea Salt and pepper to taste

    • In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, onions, optional carrot and cucumber, sunflower seeds, and dried fruit. Pour maple Dijon dressing over broccoli salad. Allow to marinate for at least a few hours, or overnight. Will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 days before starting to get soggy. Makes 4 servings.

The breakdown from Joni Gerken

per serving:

302 cal

24g fat

5g protein

14g carbs

4 g fiber

Broccoli is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and many others. The name cruciferous stems from the fact that most plants in this family have flowers with four petals, resembling a cross (crucifix).  Another signature aspect of this family is that they contain sulfur, which contributes to their pungent taste and strong odor when cooked.  Sulfur is the 3rd most abundant element in our bodies, behind calcium and phosphorus.  It is required for protein synthesis as a component of multiple amino acids. 

For more information on dietary counseling contact Joni Gerken at 518-359-8854. Joni is now offering online counseling. 

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