Happy 30th Birthday, ADA!

HealthStar proudly supports the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on its 30th Anniversary. This important civil rights law works to ensure all people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. On July 26th, the ADA officially turns 30! Celebrate with us by visiting: www.adaanniversary.org/ 

How has the ADA changed your life? Share your stories with #ADA30 and #ThanksToTheADA. Everyone can join in the celebration! Many changes have been instituted since the ADA was “born,” but the goal of equality in access and representation can’t rest yet. Want to know more? Visit https://www.ada.gov/ for more information about who and what the ADA represents. You’ll also find resources to help businesses with compliance, as well as resources for individuals who want to know more about covered rights under the act.

Join HealthStar in saying #ThanksToTheADA for working toward a more inclusive community! At HealthStar, we know that we are stronger when we embrace and celebrate the things that make us unique. Above all else, HealthStar appreciates and values the differences in all members of the community. We’re 24ECC strong – we have 24 “official” ways to share the “HealthStar Way” with our co-workers, caregivers, and Clients! If you or a loved one are in need of personal care, check us out. We’d love to show you how our 24ECCs can help us understand and attend to all of your unique needs!

What HealthStar did on our "COVID Staycation"

Hello there – long time, no blog! During the last… well several weeks, the phrase “change is the only constant” has proven true time and again. We’ve experienced shortages of food, supplies, and probably patience, on a scale that Millenials and Gen X’ers, as well as any younger whipper-snappers, have never imagined. Looking out over a sea of masked shoppers, I feel so far away from the “normal” of 2019. Those days were far from perfect, but I mostly knew what to expect, and despite watching the weather to decide what I should wear, I didn’t need to watch the news to decide whether I should leave the house.

Change is the only constant in life
Heraclitus of Ephesus (500 BC)

Fast forward to today – in the midst of Minnesota beginning its transition back to normalcy, the tragic death of George Floyd brings, in its turbulent wake, a collective expression of both outrage and grief. The recent unrest has led to historical and modern reflection surrounding issues of race and injustice on both national and individual levels, inviting us to learn and grow, and plain and simple, to do better.

So, what are each of us learning now? What have you seen, heard or felt that has changed you or created a long-term impact in your own life?  In true blog fashion, I will be sharing with you some of my own personal growth moments, and I’ll share about how other HealthStar-ians have been engaging in this uncertain, heavy and unprecedented period of change.

Mask Makers Unite (around the sewing machine)

Starting with the “small stuff” – I have seen my mom and a TON of other people like her go above and beyond in response to the community’s need for protective face coverings of all kinds. Quilters, dressmakers, and home-based crafters alike have come out of the woodwork to save us all from airborne particulate. With so much confusion initially about when or when not to wear a mask, I’m glad that we seem to have finally settled on wearing what you can, as often as you can in public. Or at least, for the moment, that’s what I think we’re doing. It’s like butter – one minute it’s good for you, and the next, you should really be eating margarine. (please don’t eat margarine.)

Luckily, I have a few masks at home from my mom (thanks, ma!). HealthStar staff don’t all have moms who quilt, so our offices have been pulling together to purchase and distribute PPE, starting in areas with the most risk. And we can’t forget the most fun changes – HealthStar policies have been updated and re-published (thanks, Susan!), offices have been disinfected over and over again, and hand sanitizer has become the new “fragrance” worn by all of our staff. Eau de Purell, it’s all the rage.

Compassion and Community

Along with the masks and the ever-present scent of household cleaning products, the last few months have brought a roller-coaster of emotion. During COVID shutdown, loneliness and isolation threatened us all. But then, bright colored cut-out hearts popped up in windows and storefronts, boosting spirits for passers-by. The hearts represented solidarity, even when we were all hunkering down, alone, in our sanitized bunkers. In time, the weather improved, and people started gardening and hanging out together outside. Once again, family and friends gathered together. We smiled at each other and laughed at the same time again! People returned to offices and restaurants. I had to fill the gas tank. Ah, life.

Coming back together in the office hasn’t been a full “back to normal,” though. It’s a strange feeling now that we always have the “social distance” in mind – 6 feet away feels like a brick wall in this office, where our “work family” has grown about as close to genetic family as you can get. My signature move, the hallway high five, now seems reckless and risky. We’re all playing a bit of Russian roulette with our health, just to be present and keep the HealthStar wheels turning.

Into the Spotlight

Despite the COVID-induced changes, life felt generally tolerable again, if only for a moment, right before George Floyd’s murder. Soul-searching, gut-wrenching days followed after his death. Shock, horror, anger, and sadness rolled over Minnesota and the entire country. Powerless doesn’t begin to describe how I felt. The stages of grief washed over us all while together we watched the city burn. For many of us, this marks the most active period of civil unrest we’ve experienced. For me, it has been a period of self-examination. I’ve lived in Minnesota my whole life; what have I been missing?

History books and sociologists might call it social inequality. Today, we see and feel it as communities overflowing with both conflict and compassion. Minnesota, the “nice” state, has come into the spotlight as the nearly war-torn epicenter of a conversation that has been simmering for generations.

Minnesota Nice?

I personally feel ashamed that our state, My State, fell into the same unacceptable pattern of behavior that we’ve all seen in the news across history. I’m embarrassed that the country and the world are looking at Minnesota because of yet another inexcusable act. As a nation, we watched the actions of four Minneapolis police officers, and as a nation, we witnessed the tragic, unjustified death of George Floyd. These events have pushed Minnesota to the forefront of a larger collective conversation about racial justice.

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

Maya Angelou

For many of us, Minnesota has been a safe and meaningful community that we are proud to call home. Sadly, that same security and comfort are not shared by everyone. As a community, our responsibility is to create peace and justice for all, and to help all Minnesota residents gain the same sense of pride that we know can be achieved in our home state. 

Hopefully, this will be a wake-up call for many. Our “nice” state can, together, examine this deeper awareness of the inequality, intolerance, and prejudice that remain evident today. Today is the day that we all begin to participate in making our community and state a more equal and just home. How? We’ll have to figure that out together.

I Can’t Breathe

Identifying inequity is obviously not enough, because we’ve been down this road before. It feels like we have reached a crossroads as a nation. More and more groups are standing up and echoing the mantra, “I can’t breathe.” The truth is, for generations, our nation’s black community, as well as many other minority groups, have been struggling for breath. Some of us in “the majority” have been the knee on the neck. Some of us, though not as deliberately harmful, have been the “new officer,” too afraid to take action to stop what we know is wrong. And some of us have been standing in the wings, wishing that we could better understand the conflict, and passively hoping for a change that we just don’t know how to bring about ourselves.

Silence Speaks

The silence historically shared by our nation’s white majority is a great hurdle to overcome. The problem with silence is that, in the face of repeated unjustified acts by authority figures, silence sounds at best like tolerance, and at worst like agreement. We’ve all seen the openly brutal acts of law enforcement officers. What we can’t see is the history of invisible prejudice, the longstanding social and economic boundaries, and the silent consent of the many, which allows those in power to continue the pattern of behavior set in motion by our forefathers in a time that was so different from today. We can’t see the white privilege that keeps us quietly separated. We might be living in the same state, but Minnesota looks a lot different when we try to see it through George Floyd’s eyes.

Right now, we all have an opportunity to correct the silence. It’s time to step through the fear of “saying the wrong thing.” It’s time to examine our own thoughts, experiences, and history. Time to consider the meaning behind white privilege and racial inequality. It’s time for the majority to start a conversation and then listen instead of trying to find the right words ourselves. It’s time to stop worrying about saying the wrong thing, because silence is worse. Instead, together we can agree that we will no longer tolerate the status quo, and we can start to change by learning why the wrong thing to say might be wrong in the first place.

Where do we go from here?

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

My positivity deserted me when George Floyd was killed. I had already neglected the blog for a while because of all the changes during COVID, and then while the city burned and protesters grieved, I couldn’t post because I just didn’t have the energy to say anything worth saying. That silence, too, speaks volumes. When the awkward extrovert goes quiet, we all know something is very wrong. My heart just wasn’t up to writing. To call it a great sadness is an understatement. Humanity is sometimes so ugly and terrible that I wish to be anything else.

But my hopelessness and helplessness are slowly lifting. Why? It started with a text message from a co-worker, after she attended a peaceful protest with her family. Then, an email from our Inver Grove Heights office shared photos of staff members helping with the cleanup in Minneapolis. Those bright and beautiful blaze orange Sagrado Corazón shirts, worn by the amazing IGH staff, looked like the sun peeking up over a dark horizon! More recently, HS offices in St. Paul, IGH, and Corporate assembled and delivered supply packages to help community members in Minneapolis who, due to the recent destruction, have lost access to most basic household items.

We’re doing something. Maybe these small acts don’t fix the issue at the heart of this longstanding imbalance. The long history of inequality and generations of misunderstanding and misinformation will take more than just a few people coming together to rebuild. But we’re doing what we can do today, and this was enough to restore a little of my positive outlook. Together, we can do something. We can start the wheels in motion.

24ECCs Swooping In

HealthStar loves to rally behind a cause, especially when that means we get to shop! But we’re doing more than just buying and distributing necessities. The 24ECC program also continues to offer a common language for understanding and compassion. The ECCs teach us how to learn about each other without judging, and we take that knowledge with us into the community. Each employee here has a unique background of his or her own, and HealthStar’s 24ECC program is an opportunity for us to come together and learn from each other.

Kristel Kubis, RN at our Cloquet Office, makes the news!

Our 24ECC program brings us together to create a greater sense of community throughout our offices. The ECC meetings are a safe space to talk about different experiences and about how to overcome our own hidden judgments and prejudices. We are very lucky to have this language, as cheesy as it may sound.

Plenty of places talk about tolerance and acceptance. Tolerance and acceptance are not enough. At HealthStar, we seek out and celebrate our differences, because we know they make us better together than we could ever be as individuals. Opening a conversation and actively listening to people from different walks of life makes us a stronger agency and helps us grow a healthier community. Conversation is a small way to start, but at HealthStar, we know that small steps today can lead to big changes tomorrow!

Let’s Talk!

HealthStar staff each have an opportunity to enrich the community where we serve and live, just by sharing these 24ECCs. With a common language, and an open mind, we can start to unravel some of the tangled history that has both built up and torn this country down. Moving past silence into open conversation will help us expose the things that we continue to get wrong, and working together, we can rebuild a united and 24ECC-friendly community!

As much as we use the 24ECCs to build up our team, we also put the 24ECCs to great use in learning about our Clients. HealthStar looks to the community, and to Cultural leadership as well as Elders, for direction in developing programs and practices that can support the needs of multiple generations of home-based care recipients. As an agency, we serve many communities, and with the 24ECC program, we bring attentiveness, respect, and a genuine desire to learn about each of those communities from the members themselves.

Learning about You

Cultural and community-based knowledge help HealthStar to value and better understand people from all walks of life, but health care is also a very individualized service, which is designed one Client at a time. We can teach staff about what is special or unique about a certain culture, but we can’t teach them what’s special and unique about you without your help. To really create the best plan for you, and achieve your best outcome, HealthStar needs to know what makes you tick.

What’s important to you in a caregiver? How can we meet your needs the way that you need most? What makes you the most comfortable, and how can we add that to our routine? How will you measure success? Whether your caregiver is a family member or is trained and provided by HealthStar, our goal is the same: support health, independence and community involvement in the way that works best for each Client. All of our service lines rest on the foundations of dignity as well as accountability – when we can’t sleep, it’s because we are thinking about how we can do better for you tomorrow.

We might not be able to “fix” everything, but we know how to start small and grow from there. Let us help you find a starting point to meet your healthcare needs! We’d be honored to join in your wellness journey, creating a plan that’s designed to achieve your unique goals and give you the best outcome for your specific situation.

Do you or a family member need home-based care with a special appreciation for individuality and/or cultural tradition? Contact HealthStar today, we’d love to learn more about your situation and how we can best meet your needs together!

Clean Hands are Just the Beginning

Here’s something basic that we’ve been doing all our lives, but some of us might still not be “doing it right.” Basic hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of most illnesses. That’s right, from the common cold to influenza to the most current COVID-19, all germs cower at the sight of soap suds and running water. Here’s the CDC-recommended handwashing technique to strike fear into the hearts of all those tricky germs.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

But What About all that Hand Sanitizer?

If you don’t have access to soap and water, you can also use “an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol… Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.” (https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html)

The CDC does clarify, though, that hand washing, when possible, is still considered more effective than using hand sanitizer.

20 seconds… aren’t there better options than Happy Birthday?

So, maybe your favorite song isn’t Happy Birthday… I mean, it’s a happy and generally upbeat song, but the simple tune may not be everyone’s thing. There are plenty of other songs with about 20 seconds spent on the chorus. I can’t list all the options, but my favorite choice is the chorus to “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.

During these uncertain times, when people are more concerned about health than ever before, it seems like an appropriate anthem. And if you need one more reason – the tempo is also said to be the right beat for performing CPR. The Bee Gees probably didn’t realize at the time they wrote the song that it would end up providing such a wonderful and critical public service!

Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother

You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive

Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’

And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive

Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive

Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive

Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive

Hand Washing Break

All this talk about washing hands makes me want to wash my hands. Join me in a 20 second hand-washing break?

Aaaaaaaaand we’re back.

If you remember only one thing from this post, may it be this, a quote from my 6-year old daughter about hand-washing. “I only used my left hand, so I don’t need to wash my right.”

If only that were the way things work. But please wash them both, no matter which one you use the most. 🙂

Stick Together… Separately…?

Aside from basic hygiene – there is more that we can do to keep each other healthy. If you’re able to do so safely, please watch out for your neighbors. Not everyone has an easy time of getting supplies. You might offer to pick up prescriptions or grocery items for those near you who may be in need of assistance.

If you’re in a position to help others in the greater community during the coming days and weeks, there are plenty of opportunities to pitch in. For example, food pantries are experiencing difficulty in keeping up with supplies and volunteers. Here’s one news story with details, if you’re interested and live in the metro area. If we stick together (while still being cautious), we can all get through this as a community.

All of HealthStar sends you and your family wishes for good health during this trying time. Together, we can stay healthy and keep our community strong!

Thanks, From the Heart!

You may be familiar already with HealthStar’s 24ECC program. Each month, HealthStar’s offices get together and take a deeper look at one of HealthStar’s Expressions of Company Culture. We also do an activity each month – sometimes independent, and sometimes a group activity. We like to have fun with this time, but we also take these values really seriously.

For us, this is more than just a list of 24 values. This list is what makes us different than any other place. It’s how we communicate, it’s what makes us tick. All of these values keep us together as a team and make us a strong “work family.” The 24ECCs are a great way to find the good in each person, and to see how your good and your co-worker’s good can compliment each other. This transforms differences into “variety” and disagreements into “creative problem solving.” It’s not a utopia, but we are working toward that, one ECC at a time!

Gentleness and Kindness

This February, we thought we’d share a bit about what we just completed last month. Our focus for January was on Gentleness and Kindness. Corporate had a great time coming up with the activity ideas, and once the 24ECC committee decided on the final choice, we got down to business. For our activity, each office identified a few field staff members who they felt had shown great Gentleness or Kindness, and then recognized that contribution with a thank you card and a small gift card. We do have a budget for the activity, so we were not able to send a Thank You to each staff member. That’s where the blog comes in. 🙂

HealthStar’s 24ECC Blog task for February is to extend this Thank You to EVERYONE out there working for HealthStar Clients. More than just a Thank You – this is a Thanks from the Heart. Prepare for some mushy gushy stuff.

Most of us at the Corporate Office don’t get to talk with field staff very often. There may be an occasional phone call, or someone who drops off a timecard. But we don’t really get the opportunity to get to know you all like our branch office staff do. (ok, so maybe we’re a little jealous. We do like people here, too.)

A common thread?

Even though we might not see our awesome field staff every day, there are two things that I think we know about each of our caregivers. The first thing is that you guys are balancing a lot in your lives. You each have your own challenges. You’ve got your own families, your own responsibilities, and your own goals.

Here’s the second part, which is my favorite. You’ve also each chosen to use some of your time to help allow someone more freedom and independence. By giving a helping hand in a Client’s home, you’re a part of the team that keeps the Client healthy and empowered. As part of a home care agency, you’re giving direction back to the Client and helping to make the Client’s home part of their unique journey to health and wellness. And as an individual caregiver, you show gentleness and kindness when you provide for each Client’s needs. For all of this – we thank you!

Thank You!!!

So, from ALL of us at HealthStar, First Nations, and Circle of Life in AZ and NM – THANK YOU for all that you do! You’ve opened your hearts and minds to help our agency provide the hands-on care that keeps Clients healthy, comfortable, and safe at home – and we THANK YOU!

Know someone who could benefit from HealthStar’s amazing support team? Check out your local office. We all love visitors! We’re probably just sitting around, waiting to show you some hospitality. Stop by and we’ll tell you all about the 24ECC’s and everything else that makes HealthStar so awesome! 🙂

Windows 7 “end of support” – what does it mean?

Big news this week in the land of Microsoft Windows. Microsoft has officially discontinued support for Windows 7 as of January 14th. Do you still have a computer running Windows 7? Here’s a few things that you need to know:

Can’t I just keep using what I have?

Continuing to use a computer that operates on Windows 7 can present a security risk. Up until January 14th, Windows 7 received ongoing “touch-ups” from Microsoft, including bug fixes, patches, regular updates, and other magic things. All of this ongoing maintenance meant that Windows 7 was kept safe from people trying to exploit any issues with Windows.

Now, Microsoft has officially discontinued support and ongoing maintenance, so “bad guys” can continue to use whatever bug or loophole they might find. That’s bad news for us, generally the “good guys,” or at least the “morally neutral” guys. Continuing to use Windows 7 will expose you to more threats over time, because loopholes and bugs will continue to be found and put to use by the bad guys.

So… do I have to buy a new computer?

NO. You don’t need to run out and buy a whole computer, and in fact, you may be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10. Before upgrading, you might want to do some or all of the following:

  1. check your hardware – you may be able to update some components on an older computer, such as adding RAM or upgrading the Hard Drive size, to improve performance and extend the useful life of what you’ve already got. You also will need to meet the minimum requirements for Windows 10 in order to update.
  2. back up your files – lots of people are using free backup sites, like Google Drive, box, dropbox, or OneDrive. Some paid subscriptions offer larger storage space, but most have a free option. You can also go with an external hard drive. Check out the options for yourself to choose the right backup method for you.
  3. If you’re using a laptop, make sure it’s plugged in, and when possible, plug the computer directly into a wired internet connection. Wi-Fi might take longer and sometimes fails to download, depending on your internet connection.

Even if you’re not eligible for the free upgrade, you can purchase a Windows 10 license and update only the operating system on your PC. There are a few different options, but Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro will work for pretty much everyone. Pro does offer some additional encryption options, so check out both options to see what’s right for you.

Price out all of the options, because at some point, it is a better idea to buy a new computer altogether. But if you can get through a couple more years on what you’ve already paid for, that’s money that stays in your wallet for just a bit longer!

I don’t wanna do this! You can’t make me! aaaaaaaaggggggghhhh!

OK, not everyone is comfortable doing an “Operating System Upgrade.” It sounds scary and complex. But I promise, it is important, and it is not as painful as it sounds.

There is another option. If you are struggling and feeling overwhelmed with this – there are a ton of shops that will help you manage this process for not a lot of money. Check around in your area. Some places will let you drop your computer off for a couple days, and BAM, pick it up refreshed and feeling better than ever. Feeling overwhelmed, or looking for a few referrals? Reach out to your HealthStar team – they know where to find me, and I am happy to help out with a few searches! Make sure to price out a few different places, and check the reviews before you trust anyone with your equipment!

And of course, if you’re running IT for a business – check out my BEST PALS IN THE UNIVERSE, Top Dog PC. They are basically computer superheroes, and they can help you with all kinds of things. Windows stuff is pretty much sleep walking for them. (It’s not bragging when I say it, because I don’t work there. I’m just a SUPER HAPPY CUSTOMER, telling you to check them out.) Top Dog is like a candy store of IT helpers. They do it all, from basic support to firewall maintenance, phone systems, and calming down frantic and overwhelmed IT staff. Not that I would know anything about that last bit.

I’ve never been frantic.

Have more questions?

More information about Windows 7 end of support: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-7-end-of-life-support-information#why-windows-drawer-FAQ

Find out if you might qualify for a free upgrade to Windows 10: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 ( AFTER you back up your important files, choose “update now,” and then follow the prompts.)

Purchase Windows 10 if you don’t qualify for the free upgrade: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/b/windows?activetab=tab%3ashopwindows10

Man’s best friend in business IT: https://www.topdogpc.com/

More information about backing up your computer: https://www.howtogeek.com/242428/whats-the-best-way-to-back-up-my-computer/

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17127/windows-back-up-restore

The Gift of Gratitude

Hustle, Bustle, and So. Much. Stuff. This season, while we rush from one event to another, thoughts flying a mile a minute, and pockets feeling mysteriously lighter after every shopping spree, I’d like to make a suggestion. I’m sure I won’t be the first to say it, and I hope that I won’t be the last. Ready? Here it is. Don’t forget what you ALREADY HAVE, and don’t forget to check in on those who may not have so much as you.

You’ve probably heard the quote:

I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.

Helen Keller, derived from The Gulistan by Saʿdī

To me, this is a timely reminder of two things: 1. to be grateful for what you’ve got, and 2. to be mindful that there are always those who have more than you do, and there are also always those who have less. I have found that, for myself, spending time reflecting on the things that I already have in my life can really help me keep things in perspective, and can help me keep a more positive outlook.

The Mushy Stuff

Some things are universally appreciated, and others are more individual. But we all have something to appreciate. Some of us just might need a little more help getting into the appreciating mood. (looking at you, grinchy-poo)

Before we continue: I hereby accept the risk of being labeled an “oversharer.” I’ll gladly take one for the team if it helps get a few people in the holiday mood. So, in the interest of oversharing:

Here’s a few things from my warm and fuzzy “already have it” list, to help you warm up your attitude of gratitude.

I am grateful for my family, my AMAZING HealthStar co-workers (holla at you, Susan), and for the fact that I currently do not have a cold for the first time in several weeks. As for my home – we might not have all the fanciest things, but I appreciate our basic dishwasher, and I am especially grateful for the fact that my husband patched the bad spots in our roof BEFORE the snow fell.

Family, Friends, and Silent Phones

There are many of us who are missing family members or friends at this time of year. For me, thinking of those who I won’t see this holiday is also a time to be thankful for the time that we’ve had together in the past. I also try to be mindful and present during the time that I do have with my family, so that I can create lasting memories to look back on for years to come. (I am so grateful for the “silent” feature on my phone!)

The Joy of Others

Last, I am grateful for the opportunity to do something for someone who might need something more than I do this holiday season. There are so many different ways to give this season, from volunteer opportunities, to adopting a family in need, to just checking in with loved ones or neighbors who might need some support. For me, this is the true meaning of the season. Yeah, it’s mushy, but I also think it is totally true. I get far more joy from giving than I do from thinking of what I might get in return. That’s why I love working at HealthStar – it’s a whole company full of people who just want to do stuff for others. It sounds cheesy, and we’ll own that as a group, because serving others is truly the HealthStar way!

An Unexpected Gift

So what’s topping HealthStar’s gift list this year? We have a few requests from each person who reads this post. First, please accept our gratitude. We appreciate you checking in on our site, and we are so touched that you’re reading the blog! Second, please stretch out your arms – a little more… there. That’s how much we appreciate all of our staff, Clients, and all of the community members who help us do what we do. THANK YOU to all of you! Without you, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do!

Last, here are a few ways that you might spread the HealthStar holiday joy, if you’re feeling up to the task!

Do something unexpected for someone. Make someone’s day in a way that they didn’t see coming. Check in on your neighbors and friends. Make a phone call, or better yet, a video call to a relative who lives far away.

Create a handmade card – it’s not just a craft for kids! Get out your scissors, paste, and construction paper. Make an ornament or a paper snowflake. Re-connect with your inner child this holiday season and do something just for the joy of doing.

Throw a snowball at your spouse. Smile at a stranger. Walk or drive around just to look at the holiday lights! Most of all, think of all the things that you HAVE this season, and be glad that you have them. Do this before you shop, and I bet you’ll end up with more in your wallet and in your heart.

Know someone who could use some extra help this holiday season?

Whether you or a family member are struggling with general health concerns, mental health and wellness, or a serious medical condition, check in with the HealthStar team to see what we might have in our big bag of tricks. If nothing else, we’d love to share our holiday smiles!

Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy holiday season, from all of our HealthStar family!

How to Heal the Humbug in your Happy Holidays

As far as the holiday season is concerned, there seem to be two types of people. Type 1 is excited, cheerful, and can’t turn that Christmas music on soon enough. Type 2 already feels the anxiety and winter SADness creeping in. Do you love listening to White Christmas and eagerly await the holiday greetings that pop up in your mail to say “here’s my perfect family and all that we have been up to this year!” If so – you’re Type 1. If you couldn’t read that sentence without a grimace, wince, and the promise of an adult beverage, then you’re probably Type 2.

So, what happens when you’ve got a couple of cheerful Type 1’s, and a few grinchy Type 2’s, and you all work in the same office? For the answer to this hard-hitting question, we turn to Jane Bauer, Payroll Extraordinaire at HealthStar’s Corporate HQ. Jane says:

It’s not about the music, or the decorations, or even the food. It’s all about the feeling of joy that surrounds the holidays, and about sharing that joy with the people you care about!

(But the music is pretty important.)

Jane Bauer, excessive “early Christmas Music” player

Weeeeell, maybe I’m paraphrasing, but I think this is what Jane would say. And technically speaking, she’s correct. But it doesn’t stop the Type 2’s from complaining, does it, Jane?

Holiday Cheer!

At HealthStar, we have a good mix of both kinds of holiday people. But the Type 1 is easier to spot than the elusive Type 2. Type 1’s can’t help but shout it from the rooftops – they love the scents and sounds of all that is related to “the holidays.” Cinnamon spice, Bing Crosby, and some festive decor to really set things off. Garlands, sparkles, twinkly lights – nothing is too over the top.

And it is fun to look at. It’s like when mommy and daddy get dressed up for an ugly sweater and the kids ooh and aah, like “you guys look so fancy.” The kids don’t know there’s sarcasm behind those sweaters, they just see something bright and colorful, and it makes them feel special.

On the other hand…

The Type 2’s are a little less obvious. You might spot a hard eye-roll when the Holiday Music gets turned up just a little too high. Or maybe they mention they’re not that into pumpkin spice on everything. The signs can be very subtle – even as subtle as hiding in the supply closet every time someone mentions doing an office gift exchange. See some of these signs? You may have spotted an elusive Type 2 “holi-grouch” in the wild.

Sometimes, when a cheerful Type 1 encounters a curmudgeonly Type 2, the Type 1 will try to “cheer up” his neighbor by saying things like, “Can’t wait for that family get-together,” or “what are you giving your spouse/kids/other loved ones this season?” Type 1 is so innocent and full of joy, it’s a shocking surprise when Type 2 goes pale and has to breathe into a paper bag after hearing the questions.

Mental Health and Holiday Mania

If you’re a Type 2, you might be facing this holiday season like you would face any other difficult task – “I can do this. I can do this.” The family, the shopping, and the desire to be “as happy as everyone else” can all combine to create a Mental Health Minefield during the stress and chaos of these otherwise cheery months. From November until mid-January, after the fruitcake has been “disposed of,” and the holiday glitter dust has settled, Type 2’s may find their only solace in the knowledge that “this, too, shall pass.”

The Perfect Holiday?

Is there hope for a Type 2 to turn all of this holiday anxiety into a little more enjoyment? Well, before we can start healing, we have to ask ourselves what makes the holidays so stressful. More and more, it seems, we aspire to an unrealistic standard. We’re comparing ourselves to Dick and Jane, the early readers of the 1950’s. Dick and Jane played outside with their father, helped mother in the kitchen, and laughed with the neighbor kids. Dick and Jane weren’t worried about war, or food shortages, or any other “real world” problems. They were the “perfect family” Facebook of the 50’s.

So, what if we toss out today’s unrealistic expectations along with our hammer-tough fruitcake? That might help a little, right? It’s a good start, and here’s a few other tips that might help put a skip back in those holiday steps!

Start the Holiday Humbug Healing

First off – if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the stress and pressure of the holidays, you’re NOT alone. There are plenty of people who feel the same way! But don’t suffer through this alone. If you are bothered by persistent feelings of depression or anxiety, or you just don’t feel like yourself, talk to your doctor or another trusted health care contact. HealthStar Clients, of course you can always talk to HealthStar staff for some advice! You could be dealing with more than just holiday stress.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way – we can work on harnessing the joy of the holidays for all of these troublesome Type 2’s. There’s plenty of advice “on the internet” about how to ditch the crab and embrace the holiday fab. Here are my favorite three suggestions.

1: Volunteer

There are SO MANY causes during this time of year. People are hungry, cold, and lonely. Helping someone else is just about the most wholesome way to help yourself. I challenge you to feel sad after spending a day in service. You will feel GREAT knowing that you’ve made a difference to someone else.

Maybe you take a Salvation Army shift, ringing that tinkling bell outside your favorite store. Or find a homeless shelter and take a turn in the kitchen. Look around your neighborhood, too. This is a fabulous time to connect with someone in your town who doesn’t have much support. If you’re struggling to find a volunteer idea, Google is here to help! Check out this Google search to find volunteer opportunities near you. There are plenty of ideas, just pick something and get out there!

2: Give Up on the “should” and enjoy the “is.”

If you’re like me, you’re constantly thinking about the next thing, or how you could have done something better. Instead of burning yourself out on worries that don’t accomplish anything, give up on some of the “perfect-itis” and rejoice in mediocrity. It’s OK not to be the best at things! You don’t have to search all day/week for the perfect this or that.

To help remind yourself: Make a list of the things that you’re most thankful for. When you’re stressing out about something that you wish you had, or could, or should – take a look at your gratefulness list. Does the wish/could/should really matter as much as those things? If it does, then make a plan to work on it. If it doesn’t, then move on to something that does matter.

3: Scale back and say no!

Do you feel like you can’t skip a family event? Don’t want to be “the one” who doesn’t go to the office party? I’m not saying to skip the most important time with your loved ones, let’s be clear. But if you can say “no” to one thing in order to say “yes” to something restorative, then sometimes that’s a healthy choice.

For example – maybe this year, you don’t have to go to every single big, wild, extended family get-together (or at least you can just drop by for a short visit), and instead you’ll plan a special night in with just your spouse and your kids. Or maybe, instead of going to the office party, you want to spend that night volunteering at a local animal shelter. As long as you’re trading out for something that’s good for you, and not just to sit at home and mope, then I’ve got your back.

Relax. You’ve got this.

So if you’re a Type 2, don’t get all worked up and wacky just yet. There’s hope for a great holiday season, if you can set aside some of your “shoulds” and make time to do something wholesome. You might even find yourself hanging up garland or humming “little drummer boy.”

No, not little drummer boy. Anything but little drummer boy.

Wrapping it all up

There’s not a lot left to say, I just wanted to work in the wrapping pun. Happy Holidays, from a Type 2 who is working toward Type 1 level enthusiasm! One note – if you really want to up your Type 1 game, take up Cross-Stitching. I have it on good authority that you could be cranking out a Christmas Stocking as quickly as one every 19-years. Again, Jane Bauer is the resident expert:

Beth, it did NOT take me 19-years.

Jane Bauer, Cross-Stitch Expert

For more information, and to see a few other articles with the same general idea, check these out:

NAMI Holiday Blues

Embracing Mediocrity

Beat Holiday Stress

Spotlight: HealthStar IT

Have you heard enough about cybersecurity this month? Well, maybe just a little more won’t hurt you… but I’ll go easy on the techo mumbo jumbo – this is a more personal piece. For October’s Spotlight, I thought I’d do something a little different. Since we’re talking cybersecurity all month, why not look at the two HealthStar employees who do the nitty gritty computer work? You know, the gals you call when something breaks. The ones you email, even though you already know you’re supposed to send a ticket to support@hhhealth.net. Yeah, I’m talking about Susan Mocchi and Beth Taylor, HealthStar’s in-house IT team. (we’re also the blog writer and designer, so prepare yourself for a lot of tooting our own horns) Susan and Beth – the HealthStar Spotlight’s on… us?

Introvert vs Socially Awkward Extrovert – how to tell the difference

Susan and I are like two sides of the same coin. The coin is basically hidden and doesn’t really want to be spent, although it has immense value. The coin wants to stay inside and not talk to anyone some days, even though the coin loves everyone around it. I’m not sure if this analogy is working at all, and at this point, I’m too afraid to ask.

Oh, yeah, and the coin speaks really fluent meme.

So, which side of the coin is introvert, and which side is just socially awkward extrovert? Let’s see if you can spot the differences:

  • Introvert will email you instead of calling you, every single time;
  • Awkward Extrovert will call you and have a goofy and twisty-turny conversation while fixing your computer.
  • Introvert enjoys spending time alone after work;
  • Awkward Extrovert can’t wait to call everyone she knows on her way home.
  • Introvert would like to conclude this meeting;
  • Awkward Extrovert doesn’t realize this isn’t a meeting at all, it was just a couple people passing in the hall, and we can all move on now.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ll let you keep guessing.

Carnivore vs Vegetarian (bet you know how to tell these apart)

This one’s easier to spot. One of us loves eating bacon and all other smoked meats, as well as steak, chicken, and various other formerly living animals, including fish. The other one will not, under any circumstances, eat any of those things. Not even if it’s just broth. But there was that one time, when she accidentally ate fish sauce.

So, you’d think this would make for a pretty difficult food-sharing relationship, right? Surprisingly, there are a lot of things that both Susan and I enjoy eating together. For example, macaroni and cheese. There could be bacon involved, but it doesn’t have to be. I mean, there should be, but we can compromise.

We sure do like cooking.

Also, we both enjoy veggie burgers, hard boiled eggs, refried beans, and dessert hummus. Yes, dessert hummus is totally a thing, and yes, it is delicious. No matter what Angel Sims, Skilled Program Manager, tells you – it is not normally gritty. THAT WAS JUST ONE TIME. Most of the time, it is wonderfully smooth and tastes like brownie batter or cookie dough, Angel.

Oh, and we also both love baked or fried Tofu. And cream cheese wontons. And veggie spring rolls. Except don’t forget to tell Susan that THERE’S FISH SAUCE IN THAT DIPPING SAUCE.

Small arms vs regular sized arms

So, neither of us is super tall, but Susan is probably the shortest person allowed to drive. I mean, she’s basically a child’s Large. But this isn’t the third thing, it’s just a bonus.

We both love to help people

The best thing about working with Susan is that she loves to help out. And I assume that the best thing about working with me is my witty sense of humor, and the fact that I set the wardrobe bar kinda low, so usually you’ll look pretty good in whatever you’re wearing, because I’m wearing something not as nice. Oh, and also, I love to help out as well.

Susan makes the shelf a little heavier for Tim. Beth handles the power tools, and Angel Sims supervises. (The peace sign means that we are doing a great job.)

We both enjoy being challenged with a new task, and we especially like it when that new task is a special project assigned by Barb Jezorski. Those are The. Best. Tasks. Ever. (Usually, they involve things like writing a funny poem, or making a silly game.) We feel best when we are useful and working on a project that will help make things easier or better for someone else.

This is why, when I have a problem, Susan will always help me. And this is also why, when Susan has a problem, after picking on her for being small, I will always help her. We make a really good team, because we are both willing to pause our own work for a minute to do something different. This doesn’t just extend to each other – we also love to help other departments, and of course, we kick butt on the IT helpdesk. Just ask a question and see how happy we are to help out!

But who are we?

Susan is a master at Photoshop, forms design, and marketing stuff. She is caring, kind, supportive, and funny. If you need someone to talk to, Susan will never send you away, even if she’s busy and you’re an extrovert who doesn’t know when the conversation has ended. She will always make time to help her co-workers, and she will drag you to lunch on those days when you think you’re too busy to leave your desk. Yes, I speak from experience.

Part of the reason that I still work here is because Susan is my backup, my team-mate, and sometimes my only pillar of strength. She reminds me that there are only so many hours in a day, and that some of those hours should be spent standing up, away from my assigned work space. On my most stressful days, Susan is often the only one who truly understands my struggle, and she is always there to help me through. She knows how to read my facial expressions, especially when I’ve made a terrible mistake (never happens).

“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.”

Bernard Meltzer

Most of all, even though Susan is a super-duper introvert, she tolerates me and my awkward, extroverted ways, and she never calls me out on being “too much people” for her. She is a true partner at work, letting me help her out with the fun stuff when I can, and asking me what she can do when I’m overwhelmed. Susan supported me when I asked to blog write for HS, which is something that I have come to really enjoy, and she has trusted me and backed me up on all of my wild and hare-brained IT schemes. For all of these reasons and more, I thank you, Susan, because without you, I would be totally, utterly, and hopelessly lost in a sea of endless tasks. I couldn’t do this job without you!

As for me – I’m a master at some random things, but because I am myself, I see only my flaws, and I have never been good at tooting my own horn. Some people say that I’m a good writer. I like corn on the cob, and I think that Mexican Street Corn and the stuff from the State Fair are both the BEST EVER. Some days, I share my lunch with Jane Bauer, payroll extraordinaire, and other days, Jane shares her lunch with me. I don’t take very many things too seriously. I am not a fast runner, I know a few things about computers, and I really like the Thai Chili Lime Cashews from Trader Joe’s.

That is all.

Oh, yeah, and we both love TopDog

So, in the interest of full disclosure, Susan and I don’t do everything IT-related on our own. We have a lot of backup from TopDog PC, and we are so grateful for that backup! See the post from earlier this month if you want to know more about that. We’re glad that we have backup for the super technical stuff, and for the stuff that we just can’t get to in a timely manner. Three cheers for TopDog – hip, hip, Hooray! Hip, hip, Hooray! Hip, hip, yeah ok, you know what’s coming next.

NCSAM? That’s a Mouthful!

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). This is a month of bringing awareness to the importance of staying safe in the world of technology. Cybersecurity is intimidating and confusing to a lot of people. If you’re as confused as most, hopefully some of the NCSAM information being shared this October will help give you a better level of comfort in how to #BeCyberSmart.

Cyber tip #1: If you don’t know IT, hire IT.

If you owned a business, and you weren’t sure how to keep it safe and secure, you’d probably hire someone to help with security. Why should things be any different when your personal assets are at stake? You don’t have to pay a lot to get a lot.

Check out your local community college, or get involved in adult education courses through your local school district. You can also check out some of the self-study resources at the end of this post. They are reputable sources and will get you moving in the right direction. Or, if you are a HealthStar Client, ask your HealthStar contact and we will work with you to find some resources!

Before you pay anyone to help you, check out these free and low-cost options, or ask for some guidance at a local library or college.

Cybersecurity-schmybersecurity

In the land of words that are long and difficult to type, “Cybersecurity” is at least a contender. What do you picture when you see the word Cybersecurity? If you’re like most people, it’s something wiggly, not quite in focus, and hard to put your finger on. Maybe a shape-shifting robot, or something like that.

If you want to know what I picture, I’ll tell you. I picture this little logo:

TopDog PC

This is the logo of a company called TopDog PC Services. TopDog is my best friend in the whole, wide, computer-technology world. HealthStar’s IT department would be a sad place without TopDog. Beth and Susan would be afraid to come to work, and all of the other HealthStar staff would be wondering “what happened to our previously helpful, responsive, and effective IT ladies?”

Computers wouldn’t know when to update, or what to download. Our HIPAA security team would be nervously clearing throats and biting fingernails. Antivirus software would be disconnected, and we’d be stuck using TeamViewer or LogMeIn for remote support. Mobile devices would be out in the wild with no management.

Basically, it would be chaos, doom, and despair for all.

So, naturally, to kick off NCSAM, I wanted to say a big HealthStar thank-you to Joe, Jordon, and all of the staff at TopDog PC. You guys give our itsy bitsy, teeny-weeny, HealthStar IT team the courage of a fully staffed IT DEPARTMENT. You’ve given us the background knowledge that we don’t always have, and the technical expertise that we’ve always wanted. You keep us operating, you keep us updated, and you help us find the right tools to keep ourselves safe and secure in a world of ever-evolving technology. And you do all of this with SO. MUCH. PATIENCE.

THANK YOU!

We really do love you guys.

Sincerely,
Beth Taylor and Susan Mocchi
(Two of your biggest fans)

(And also from a bunch of people who might not even realize how much you help us out – all of the office staff in Bemidji, Cass Lake, Cloquet, Duluth, Inver Grove Heights, Nett Lake, North St. Paul, Ogema, St. Paul, Waite Park, and don’t forget Gallup, NM and Casa Grande, AZ!)

Stay tuned for more NCSAM fun and information, all throughout the month of October! And check out our Facebook page for even more information about how you can #BeCyberSmart.

Resource list:

https://staysafeonline.org/ncsam/themes/ (Loads of free tech safety resources for businesses, parents, teens, kids, older adults, and everyone in-between)

https://s2me.io/ (Free self-assessment to determine your personal level of security. Includes tons of great tips to improve security.)

And, of course, https://www.topdogpc.com/ (My best buddies in the technology world. Please look them up if you need help with IT coverage for your business. They are the bee’s knees of techies. They’ll help you figure out all of your tech and compliance stuff, and they will do it at a reasonable price. They also know all about wasabi soy almonds, yum. )

Spotlight: Chasidy Myhrer, Operations Manager

There are so many things to say about Chasidy, I’m having a hard time deciding on just a few. Kindness, responsibility, flexibility, compassion, respect… and that’s just the tip of the 24ECC iceberg, folks. Chasidy is helpful, but not pushy. She’s kind, but not a pushover. She knows all about checking items off of lists, and she’s no stranger to saving money! She’s something special, and HealthStar is very lucky to have her! Chasidy, let’s celebrate your 10-year HealthStar anniversary together by sharing 3 of your special abilities – the HealthStar Spotlight’s on you!

Tenacity, with a side of Courage

I’ve mentioned before that we have a lot of variety in backgrounds at HealthStar. We cover a lot of “used to’s,” from finance to flight attendants. Chasidy is no exception. In fact, she studied photography on a scholarship as a college student, so how the heck did we get so lucky to have her on staff as one of HealthStar’s northern Operations Managers? Try to keep up while I tell you!

After Chasidy decided not to pursue a full-time career in photography, she took a job at a title company, learned all about real estate, and worked on a Medical Coding Certificate on the side. (I assume that she crafted one thousand doilies per month and knitted scarves for homeless lemurs in her spare time; she’s kind of an overachiever.) After she got engaged, Chasidy moved to Bemidji and gold-starred her way into a position at a credit union and then an opioid treatment facility. The treatment facility kept Chasidy busy for a few years, but then Chasidy thought “what could I add to my not busy enough schedule?” and decided to add an AAS in Human Resources to her growing list of credentials. In a stroke of good fortune, HealthStar snapped Chasidy up while she was studying HR, and she has been “locked in” here ever since.

But wait, there’s more!

Chasidy started at HealthStar as an Administrative Assistant II in our Bagley office in 2009. I remember when Chasidy started, because we had some… let’s call them “unique challenges” in the Cass Lake office at that time, and Chasidy helped out over there quite a bit as well. (Cass Lake is amazing these days, we all love Branch Manager Michelle Colliflower!) It didn’t take long for Chasidy to make a good impression as an Admin, and from there, she started climbing the ranks. In 2010, she was snapped up as Assistant Branch Manager in Bagley, and in 2014, she relocated with the Bagley team to our current Bemidji location.

A funny thing about Chasidy – she’s amazing at work, but she also has the fabulous ability to set boundaries and maintain her home life. So when I say she was promoted to Branch Manager, at least the way I’ve heard it, it was more like HealthStar said “You should do this,” and Chasidy said, “I don’t know if I’m ready,” and then HealthStar said “Yeah, we KNOW you can do this, we’ll be here with you, and we really, really want you to… (insert puppy dog eyes and lots of pretty, pretty, pleases) so… you’ll do it, right???”

Of course, Chasidy knocked it out of the park as Branch Manager, and then HealthStar “pretty, pretty pleased” again, and Chasidy stepped up to the plate as Operations Manager for our northern offices in Bemidji and Cass Lake. So here’s the message – Chasidy, we’re following you straight to the top of the food chain here at HealthStar! We are so proud of all that you’ve accomplished while you’ve worked with us, and we thank you for all that you give to the company, day in and day out!!!

All in the Family!

Chasidy is fabulous at “putting on the shoes” of HealthStar’s Clients, partly because she grew up with a family member who received home care services. Her older sister, Kimberly, was born with Hydrocephalus and Cerebral Palsy. Kimberly continues to beat the odds of Cerebral Palsy to this day. Chasidy says, “Home Care was instilled in me long before I knew what it was.” Growing up watching home care and other various services come in and out of the family home must have been quite the experience. HealthStar is lucky to gain from Chasidy’s experiences. Because she got to see the benefits of home care first-hand, Chasidy is a great resource for what we can do to best serve HealthStar and First Nations’ clients all across northern Minnesota.

Chasidy may be a few hours from her home town of Fairhaven, MN (near St. Cloud), but she still enjoys visiting her parents and extended family often, especially during the town’s annual Old Settlers event. She’s a family gal, what can we say – it’s why we love having her in our HealthStar family! Working with Chasidy is like working with an old friend – she’s easy to talk to, she laughs easily, and she has a special way of making you feel like you’re just as important to her as her own family members. She adopts each of our Clients into her own “Chasidy Family,” and she speaks up for their needs as she would for her own relatives.

Poise – what is it?

Something that’s hard to describe, but that Chasidy has in spades, is poise.

poise [poiz]
noun

  1. a stably balanced state: EQUILIBRIUM
  2. a: easy self-possessed assurance of manner : gracious tact in coping or handling
    b: a particular way of carrying oneself : BEARING, CARRIAGE

Chasidy’s calm and patient demeanor surround her like a soothing lavender sachet. She doesn’t jump to conclusions. Her thoughts seem always collected. I ask my HealthStar co-workers – have any of you heard Chasidy speak harshly? Seen her make any rash decisions? It is very rare. When Chasidy is confronted with conflict, she takes a step back, re-focuses, and then steps in with her thoughts cool and controlled. She must get riled sometimes, but I certainly haven’t seen it.

Bonus ECC?

Poise is not technically a 24ECC. But I think it can be found in several of the characteristic ECCs, like Respect, Calm, Diplomacy, and Gentleness. Chasidy displays seemingly effortless poise – it looks like it is a very natural thing for her. She is cautious, thoughtful, and gentle with her words. In a fiery debate, Chasidy is a warm cup of tea, bringing everyone back to the table and soothing throats raw from shouting. She calmly states objectives and doesn’t assign blame.

Yeah, she really is this good.

HealthStar is very lucky to have Chasidy on our side. She represents us with a levelheadedness that is not easy to find, and she gets along with pretty much everyone. Want to see this for yourself? Stop on by the Bemidji or Cass Lake office, and you can check out the show of poise in action! I promise you won’t be disappointed. You might even make a new friend – Chasidy says she is often befriended by strangers while out running errands, and she gets told lots of stories and information by people she has just met. She has a kind smile and a caring attitude, so I’m not surprised to hear she’s developing a fan club of followers!

But what are her hobbies?

Research is a big part of preparing to write a blog post. When the post is about a person, I have a questionnaire that I send out. One of the questions is about hobbies or abilities. To be clear, when I ask about hobbies, ORGANIZING is not something that I would expect to see listed there. I suppose it is an ability… but, Chasidy, you literally said that you enjoy it. I am wondering about your mental health as I write this portion of the post, because ORGANIZING is not something that I would file under “things to enjoy.” But I digress.

To be fair, Chasidy also says that she enjoys fishing, camping, photography, and traveling. And, of course, she loves her kiddos (daughter, 5, and son, 8), and her whole family loves sports (GO BEAVERS!). Did I mention, she also has 7 chickens, 1 dog, and 2 goldfish? But personally, I just can’t quite get past that ORGANIZING part.

This section also does not count as a shared thing, because I usually only do 3 things. This is a bonus.

OK and also, I forgot all about how thrifty she is – she is the best thrift store and consignment shopper since Julie Swedberg. We miss you, Julie!

Put it all together!

Do you struggle to prioritize multiple tasks? Are you experiencing conflict, and you want to talk about it with a stranger? Maybe you just want to share a good laugh with an old friend. Stop by the Bemidji or Cass Lake office and ask for Chasidy – she’s the master of all this and more. She can explain HealthStar’s philosophy while also organizing your clutter and patiently listening to your life story. And maybe after, you guys can do some shopping together!