High Point of Flemington presented a Health Day and Awareness Day it’s clients will not soon forget. The special day of groups and education promoted a holistic approach to the treatment of mental illness and substance misuse. Special activities for the day included yoga, a healthy eating program -complete with a delicious, fresh corn salad, aroma therapy and anti-stigma messaging.
The day opened with yoga session for mental health clients. Alison Levine from Life-in-Balance Yoga studio in Flemington volunteered her time and talents. She led the mental health clients through a gentle chair yoga practice. Some clients had experience with yoga, others not. In either case, the participants found themselves utterly relaxed and at peace by the end of the hour.
Alison’s session with High Point’s Substance use clients went on for more than an hour, with clients fully engaged throughout. Most in the group used yoga mats and as the session progressed, they were able to some fairly advanced poses. The instructor was impressed with their balance . To close the session, Alison provided some tranquil music and gradually eased the participants out of their focused, meditative state.
Nutrition is of course essential to overall health. High Point’s partner Zufall Health offers SNAP Education. Kim Seppelt is the Hunterdon County educator and she came prepared with information and a quite tasty sample of corn salad seasoned with cilantro. Clients devoured both the salad and the facts about consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Kim stressed that it was not so difficult to do. She also handed out recipes that included the one for the salad she served and for a creamy corn soup.
Along with the sense of taste, the sense of smell also played a part in the Health Day. High Point counselor Becka Galarza went through the basics of aroma therapy with a room-full of clients and allowed them to experience different essential oils. She explained the different ways to use essential oils and the properties of the different oils and also provided some history about the cultures that first used them.
The aroma part of aroma therapy is often done using a diffuser, which enables the person to inhale the aroma of an essential oil. They can also be used topically or ingested. Becka reveiwed how various oils affect an individual: Lavender promotes relaxation and rejuvenation and was used by the ancient Egyptians. Orange is uplifting and purifying, and has a sweet fragrance. Tea tree, used for centuries by Australia’s aboriginal people, has a healing quality.
Substance use clients participated in a group that addressed stigma, designing cards with messaging that reflected both the derisive terms directed at people with a substance use disorder and the positive feelings they have about their treatment and steps towards recovery.
The day also featured a guest speaker who talked about recovery from substance use, sharing her experience, strength and hope with the group. Her talk included her personal history, what happened and what her life is like today. The clients were given an opportunity to ask questions or share their experience.
High Point staff created some games that reinforced recovery and wellness. These included a recovery board game and a trivia contest that was variation on Jeopardy. The responses all related to mental health and substance use treatment and recovery.
This clients were captivated by the many health-focused activities. Considering their delight with the array of special groups, the emphasis on recovery and the connection between physical and emotional health, more such days at High Point cannot be far off.