Winter Wellness

Darien Library Health & Wellness Series

In the New Year, why not resolve to get organized, healthy, and active?

Darien Library is a destination for reliable information on health-related topics. This January and February, we present Winter Wellness, a series of lectures, expert panels, workshops, film screenings, and fitness activities designed to help you achieve an even better version of you. The schedule offers sessions on organization, stress management, active aging, healthy eating, brain fitness, and more.

Please join us for this exciting and enriching series.

Lectures, Expert Panels & Workshops
Meet the Author Events
Get Active at the Library
Health & Wellness Film Screenings


Lectures, Expert Panels, & Workshops

Get Organized! Panel Discussion

Thursday, January 5 at 7 PM
The entire month of January has been proclaimed a holiday in the organizing world, called “National Get Organized Month” by the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). It is time to clean out those closets, deal with those stacks of paperwork, and organize those photographs! Organizing will help you live in the present, decrease feelings of being overwhelmed, and increase your quality of life. A panel of organizers from the group F.O.C.U.S. will share their expertise on topics ranging from clothing to paperwork.

Presented by Cara Brook of S.O.S. LLC, Janet Barnes of Connecticut Closet and Shelf, Jen Burke of JKB Organizing, and Susan Lovallo, CPA, CPO of Clutter Solutions, LLC. The panel will be moderated by Matt Baier of Matt Baier Organizing, LLC.

Secrets to Active Aging

Monday, January 9 at 10 AM
We’re told that exercise is important as we age, but what kinds of exercise? How much exercise do we need? Why is balance exercise so important? This program discusses why physical activity is critical to healthy aging and how we can incorporate it into our daily lives, no matter what our fitness level. This program is geared towards adults age 50 and over. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes and shoes if they wish to practice simple exercises to improve balance.

Presented by Julienne Camhi, Certified Personal Trainer and Health Fitness Specialist at Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County.

Combat Stress in Chaotic Times: Reduce the 7 Symptoms of Stress

Wednesday, January 11 at 7 PM
According to the American Psychology Association, stress is taking a toll on people, contributing to health problems, poor relationships, and lost productivity at work. Heart disease, type-II diabetes, cancer, respiratory disorders, and health issues associated with being overweight and obesity are categorized as chronic diseases. Many of these illnesses can be traced back to a root cause: stress.

Presented by Dr. Robert Zembroski, a board-certified Chiropractic Neurologist at The Darien Center for Integrative Medicine.

Navigating Your Hospital Stay

Tuesday, January 17 at 10 AM
For most of us, a visit to the hospital is like travelling to a foreign country. We do not speak the medical “language” and we are expected to answer intimate questions from complete strangers. We worry about medication errors and healthcare-associated infections, but are not sure how to prevent them. We are awake when we should be sleeping, and sleeping when we should be awake. This program provides valuable information about what to ask before you go into the hospital, how to reduce your risk of infection or medication errors, how to get a good night's sleep, and important steps for planning your discharge and follow-up care.

Presented by Sue Worland, RN, Hospital Liaison and Intake Coordinator with Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County.

Reversing Chronic Disease

Thursday, January 19 at 7 PM
Often, individuals believe that once a diagnosis is made and a medication given, there will always be the need to continue that medication. Yet chronic disease can be reversed, often with straightforward modifications to the way we live. Understanding the driving forces behind disease allows us to be able to target our efforts. Dr. Roca will discuss the underlying processes that create illness and key changes you can make to begin the process of reversing chronic illness including hormone balance, reducing inflammation, increasing stress resilience, and enhancing detoxification.

Presented by Dr. Henri Roca, Medical Director at Greenwich Hospital’s Integrative Medicine Program.

Ask the Doctors!

Tuesday, January 24 at 7 PM
It’s time to take the anxiety out of the word “healthcare!” Doctors4Darien, a team of four esteemed community physicians, will discuss new research findings and information related to our bodies and our health. The panel will also focus on preventative healthcare from head to toe – literally! From dental care to foot care and everything in between, this is your chance to learn new and better paths to well-being.

Presented by Dr. Maryann Lehmann, D.D.S., Dentist; Dr. Brian P. McKay, D.C., Chiropractor; Dr. Brian S. Sheets, D.O., Ob/Gyn; and Dr. Josephine Velazques, D.P.M., Podiatrist.

Eating Right to Feel Great

Tuesday, February 7 at 7 PM
With all the choices we have in supermarkets today, food shopping can be overwhelming. What should we be eating? And how much? Local or organic? Our panel of nutrition experts will help address these food issues and more, including overeating, portion-size awareness, making healthful food choices for your family, the benefits of plant-based living, and how to be a budget organic. Healthy snacks will be provided by Whole Foods Market.

Presented by Tracy Gwodz, Holistic Health Counselor and owner of simplynourish; Maura Maier, Healthy Eating Specialist at Whole Foods Market; and Francine G. Blinten, Certified Clinical Nutritionist.


New Year, New You; Resolve to Keep Those New Year Resolutions!

Thursday, February 9 from 10 AM to 12 noon

You’re invited to a health and wellness fair sponsored by The Community Fund of Darien’s Human Services Planning Council and the Darien Community Association, to be held at the DCA, 274 Middlesex Road. Darien Library will be among dozens of groups, agencies, and companies that will be on hand to provide resources and demonstrations of techniques for stress relief, career counseling, health checks and more. Self-care is not selfish!

Ask the Pediatricians: A Panel Discussion

Wednesday, February 15 at 7 PM

When it comes to our children, we're always going to have a lot of questions related to their health. Luckily, our panel of pediatric sub-specialists are here to answer your questions about raising healthy, happy, and energetic kids.

Presented by Dr. Mitchell Lester, M.D., Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology; Dr. Sohail Kayani, M.D., Pediatric Pulmonologist; and Dr. Anthony Porto, M.D., Pediatric Gastroenterologist. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Jamie Roach Murray, M.D., General Pediatrician.

Long-Term Care Insurance: The Missing Link in Retirement Planning

Tuesday, February 28 at 7 PM
You’ve thought of everything – except for how to protect your assets should you need long-term care. Did you know that just one year in a Connecticut nursing home can cost more than $127,000? And Medicare and health insurance may only cover a fraction of these costs. Now there's a way to protect your life savings. If you’re 40 or older, long-term care insurance approved by the State’s Connecticut Partnership for Long-Term Care should be part of your retirement plan. These policies assure you of the highest quality standards. They’re affordable and provide asset protection, protect against inflation, and – most importantly – give you peace of mind through your retirement years. Come learn about how the State’s Partnership for Long-Term Care can help you plan ahead for your future needs.

Presented by Aldo Pantano, a representative from the CT Partnership for Long-Term Care, with the State Office of Policy and Management.

Meet the Author Events

Meet the Author! Nicole Straight

More Time to Eat!
Tuesday, January 17 at 7 PM
Award-winning local chef Nicole Straight has just published her second cookbook, More Time to Eat!, which aims to teach families how to streamline time spent in the kitchen, as well as make delicious meals in 15 minutes. The new cookbook is an evolution of Straight’s lengthy experience as a cooking instructor who has taught thousands of people how to bring their families back to the table and simplify the nightly 6 o’clock dinner-time dilemma. The book contains a collection of easy recipes, such as BLT Tortellini, Provencal Braised Chicken Thighs, Asian Quinoa Salad, and Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies. She teaches you how to simplify meal preparation while minimizing time spent in the kitchen for both family meals and entertaining friends. A book signing will follow the presentation. Book will be available for purchase at the event.

Nicole Straight, founder of the Time to Eat! cooking school, teaches 90-minute cooking classes at the Christopher Peacock Cabinetry Showroom in Greenwich, as well as in-home cooking classes. Her visit will include a cooking demonstration.

Meet the Author! Priscilla Warner

Learning to Breathe
Thursday, January 26 at 7 PM

For 40 years, Priscilla Warner suffered from anxiety and panic attacks so debilitating that they left her unable to breathe. So when she read about Tibetan monks who had meditated so effectively that they were able to change their brains, Warner wanted in. Learning to Breathe chronicles Warner’s mission to rewire her brain and her body in search of her own “inner monk.” She tries spiritual chanting, meditative painting, restorative yoga, immersion in a Jewish ritual bath, and quasi-hallucinogenic Ayurvedic oil treatments. Meditating in malls instead of monasteries, Warner becomes a monk in a minivan and calms down long enough to examine her colorful family history in a new light, ultimately making peace with her past. A book signing will follow the presentation. Book will be available for purchase at the event.

Priscilla Warner grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, and raised her two sons with her husband in Westchester County, New York. She coauthored the New York Times bestseller The Faith Club, and spent three years promoting the book while engaging in interfaith dialogue all across America. She has appeared on such national media outlets as the Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, and NPR, and writes for More magazine and The Huffington Post, among others.

Get Active at the Library

Yoga with Shelly

Friday mornings from 10 to 11 AM, January 6 through February 10
Connect mind with body, posture with breath, and the philosophical with the physical in this yoga series for practitioners at all levels (beginners are welcome). Each class will feature specific yoga techniques, and we will practice poses inspired by popular books. Participants are asked to bring their own yoga mats.

The class will be led by Shelly Ransom, Certified Yoga Instructor.

Registration for this series is a lottery and is open to all Darien residents, those who work in Darien full-time, and non-resident Friends of Darien Library at the Contributor Level (annual donation of $300). Register online at from Monday, December 12 to Wednesday, December 21 with your Library card. Notification via email is Thursday, December 22. For more information, contact Erin Shea, Head of Adult Programming, at or 203-669-5232.

Wii Sports: Gaming for Adults

Wednesday, January 18, 10 AM - 12 noon
Wednesday, February 1, 10 AM - 12 noon
Who says video games are for couch potatoes? We're turning our Conference Room into a sports arena with Nintendo Wii! We will show you how to play, and then you can join in on a round of golf, go bowling, have an archery contest, and even throw a Frisbee! Enjoy the rush of video game-induced endorphins.

Health & Wellness Film Screenings

FAT: What No One is Telling You

Monday, January 16 at 1:30 PM
Open abuse of fat people is our last accepted prejudice. As the number of obese Americans climbs to frightening levels, the quest for answers is becoming even more urgent. Obesity experts have a sobering awareness of the complex human puzzle that is driving this epidemic and creating so much personal pain. This program gives viewers a window into the intense human dramas of those labeled obese and the difficulty of solving weight problems. Not rated; 90 minutes (2006).

The Brain Fitness Program

Thursday, February 16 at 1:30 PM
Can you exercise your brain to get it into better shape? Dr. Michael Merzenich and more than 50 neuroscientists around the world say, "Absolutely!" They have developed a scientifically-based system of exercises to help retain mental acuity throughout a lifespan of 80+ years. Designed to drive beneficial chemical, physical, and functional changes in the brain, The Brain Fitness Program will strengthen your brain and make it perform with greater agility, speed, and comprehension. Studies have shown an average improvement of more than 10 years in auditory, memory, and cognitive function. Not rated; 60 minutes (2008).