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Former Lawmaker Harvey Weisenberg Reflects on Advocating For Son, Those With Disabilities in Autobiography ‘For the Love of a Child’

Ricky, Ellen, and Harvey enjoying a concert at Long Beach. It is something the family enjoyed all summer, as Ricky responded to the music.

Born December 31, 1933, Harvey Weisenberg was a police officer, special education teacher, elementary school assistant principal, restaurant owner, coach, lifeguard, and an accomplished politician.

He served for 13 years on the Long Beach City Council and 25 years as a New York State assemblyman, during which time he was responsible for more than 337 bills signed into law. For more than 50 years, he was a devoted husband to his recently deceased wife, Ellen, and a loving father to their now 60-year-old son, Ricky, who is challenged with cerebral palsy. Weisenberg’s recently published autobiography, For the Love of a Child, My City & My Mission by Square One Publishers, is a love story that encompasses extraordinary accounts and heartfelt sentiment about Weisenberg’s own remarkable personal and professional life.

“I am one of the happiest people I know,” he writes in the book. “I didn’t always win. I got into fights within my own party’s leadership—still do—and I’ve been double-crossed more than once … But I never stopped trying, and I’m glad I didn’t.”

Weisenberg is a down-to-earth, warm-hearted, brilliant man. He says, though that his greatest achievement is meeting the love of his life, Ellen, and her son, Ricky.

They met one magical summer when he was a lifeguard. She was accompanied by her children — son Ricky and two daughters, Julie and Vickie. Though her outer beauty did not go unnoticed, Weisenberg says he was immediately drawn to Ellen’s kind, caring and patient nature, especially with Ricky.

“The love that she was giving this child,” he recalls. “It just touched me. I honestly believe that God gave me an angel, a saint and a mission. Ricky is the angel, my wife was the saint, and my mission is doing everything I can to help people — and that’s the God’s honest truth.”

The family enjoyed “simple things in life — the beach, concerts outside, summer on the boardwalk,” he says.

Weisenberg was fascinated by Ricky’s effect on others.

“I got to know him,” he says. “He has intelligence. He can’t speak or cry, but his presence was surely felt by all. Some would bless him, others would turn away.”

Weisenberg saw firsthand not only how things could go wrong — Ricky was abused while institutionalized — but also how they could go right, as many caregivers showed Ricky love and support and care in spite of not being appropriately compensated for their work.

“They do the tasks no one else wants to do,” Weisenberg says. He became the “voice of people who did not have a voice.”

The Weisenbergs also established the Weisenberg Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports and advocates for people with special needs, their families and caregivers.

Never intimidated by politics, Weisenberg used his professional position and passion to rally for the cause.

Adam’s Law requires safety restraints in taxicabs and delivery vehicles to be clearly visible, properly maintained and easily accessible for passengers.

Louis’ Law requires that life-saving defibrillators be available in schools.

Jonathan’s Law requires residential care facilities to notify and inform parents and legal guardians of children and adults receiving services of incidents involving their loved ones.

Leandra’s Law declares that adults who drive drunk with minors will be charged with a felony. Violators face up to four years in prison and DWI offenders who kill minors who are passengers could face up to 25 years in prison.

In 2013, Weisenberg fought Gov. Andrew Cuomo to restore $90 million of previously eliminated funds to the state budget to support the disabled population.

In 2018, he secured $45 million in funding in the state budget for direct support professionals who care for developmentally disabled individuals. The average salary for these workers increased from $9 per hour to $14 an hour.

Weisenberg says it is critical to forever create awareness.

“The real heroes are the families that came forward to bring these issues to the forefront,” he asserts.  

Piecing The Puzzle: Support is Key for Parents of Children Facing an Autism Diagnosis

One in 68 children has been diagnosed with autism, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s data for 2012, the last year for which figures are available.

No parent wants to hear that something may not be right with their child, that the child may not ever speak or could forever be challenged with interacting appropriately with their peers. No parent wants their child to be singled out as “different.” Facing an autism diagnosis is not easy. But there is help, treatment and support. And with those things come hope and opportunities for success.

Experts offer these suggestions on how to face a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder:

FORGET THE LABEL

What matters most is the child, their progress, their quality of life, and the family’s, too.

“The label is needed just to get the appropriate services for the child,” says Lisa Carbone, Suffolk County assistant coordinator of special education. “Beyond that, it’s about working with individual children and providing services and helping them according to their needs.”

Parents need to reach out to professionals.

“The earlier you get your child services the more effective the therapy is,” says Carbone.

Early intervention may include speech therapy, physical therapy, and other types of services. The county is the first point of contact for having a child evaluated following referrals from parents or a pediatrician, foster care, etc., she explains. They assist in coordinating services for diagnosed children from birth to preschool age; thereafter, children are transitioned to services coordinated through their respective school districts.

Parents need to maintain an open line of communication, ask questions, and return messages. They should work with professionals to understand a child’s needs and how those needs can best be met consistently, being mindful that those needs may change over time.

“When parents and educators [and doctors] work together to develop an IEP [Individualized Education Plan] that accurately identifies and targets a child’s needs at each stage of his/her development, a program can be designed to maximize progress,” says Marti White, a retired school psychologist.

BE THE ADVOCATE

Parents of children on the spectrum should be their child’s advocate and teacher as well as their parent.

“The children that do the best are the ones whose parents just sit and play with them,” says Angela J. Castillo, a behavioral analyst with the Developmental Disabilities Institute, Inc. in Huntington. “It is also important for the parent to carry over and generalize skills learned during sessions, as well as to help guide them when problem behaviors occur outside of sessions. It’s OK to push your child to be the best they can be! It works!”

Edie Brannigan’s son, Mikey, was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old. The diagnosis sent the East Northport family into a whirlwind of rigorous daily educational services, endless questions, and fear for their son’s future.

Fast-forward 20 years. Mikey Brannigan is a professional runner. He travels all over the world racing. He shook the hand of President Obama and received a hug from the First Lady.

“He has a full, rich, amazing life and he is showing my husband [Kevin] and myself the world,” Brannigan shares, adding that son’s running shoes are aimed at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. “Mikey thinks he can do it, and I believe him. He really is a powerful example to many people with autism in their lives,” she says.  

SEEK SUPPORT

Having a child with autism can be both physically and emotionally draining. Parents should give themselves even a few minutes per day to put their own lives in perspective, gain strength, move forward — and breathe.

“You just have to keep talking, keep sharing, keep asking for support, even if that’s just someone to listen and not try to give a solution,” Brannigan says. “I am grateful today for the gift of autism. It has changed us all.  Somehow, we got through the bad times intact as a family. Life is so good.”

WHERE TO FIND HELP

Nassau County Health Department
Early Intervention 516-227-8661

Suffolk County Health Department
Division of Services for Children with Special Needs
631-853-3130

Stony Brook Neurosciences Institute
Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders
631-632-3070

Marion K. Solomon & Associates, Inc.
Special Needs Services Provider
516-731-5588

What Fresh Hell: Laughing In The Face Of Motherhood, The Funny and Informative New Parenting Podcast

Amy Wilson, left, and Margaret Ables, right, are the hosts of the podcast What Fresh Hell: Laughing In The Face of Motherhood. Photo by Jennifer Lee Photography.

Listen up, moms!

Amy Wilson and Margaret Ables are two super accomplished women and mothers who are challenging their fellow moms to find both joy and humor in parenting, through their witty and insightful podcast What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood. The podcast, which runs every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m., is quickly approaching its 100th episode with almost one million downloads.

Wilson and Ables are no strangers to entertaining. Wilson wrote parenting blog-turned bestselling-book When Did I Get Like This, toured the country with her solo show, Mother Load, and was a series regular on several television sitcoms. Ables began her career in standup comedy, wrote for PBS Kids and MTV, and was a senior writer for Nickelodeon’s Nick Mom. She also wrote the blog, Short, Fat Dictator.

Both moms are married and have three children each that range in age from 7-16. They own very different personalities and parenting styles. Ables is the laid back, “sure it will all work out” mom and Wilson the uber-organized, self-professed “over-thinker.” They share a 20-plus year friendship and enjoy learning and laughing together, just like their listeners, through their podcast.

Podcasts are great for multitasker moms. Fans can listen to them while making dinner or while doing errands and pickups, says Ables.

“It’s a great way to learn stuff and feel connected,” she says. “Our community in particular is really active and fun.”

In each 45-minute episode, Wilson and Ables chat about real-life issues and situations faced by moms. They tackle everything from picky eating to sleep training to how to yell less, reduce screen time or give the dreaded birds and bees talk.

“We always say that our goal is to be funny with a purpose,” says Ables. “You’re going to laugh but you’re going to take away really useful info to help you be a better parent, or maybe more importantly, realize that you’re already doing a really good job.”

Ables and Wilson get podcast topics from their own experiences and from their audience, often relayed through enthusiastic Facebook followers. Wilson takes on initial research and Ables does most of the post-production work. Producing a polished, entertaining yet informative show is priority.

“Moms’ time is valuable,” Wilson says. “We want it to be useful right out of the gate.”

With a comedic flair, the moms discuss their findings and talk about whether they have found their research useful and valid in their own experiences.

“We try to highlight the advice that in the end makes a mother’s life a little easier,” Wilson explains, citing an episode on managing a nursing baby and toddler, which highlighted a previous suggestion made by a listener. “She suggested having a basket of snacks and books when you’re nursing … 15 seconds to save you from a temper tantrum.”

In some cases, guest experts offer life-changing advice.

“We had an expert on our podcast that said when you talk to kids you must always start with empathy…say things like ‘Wow, that must be hard,’” recalls Wilson. With her own children, she says, “I was always jumping right to the problem solving.”

Implementing that expert’s strategies transformed Wilson’s relationship with her kids.

The podcast title channels a famous phrase used by the late American writer Dorothy Parker when she answered the phone; Ables says her own mother was a Parker fan.

“It’s the phrase that best summed up parenting for her,” Ables says. “It captured the horrible, terribleness of daily parenting but it has a really funny sense of humor inherent … and that’s what we are going for. Yes, parenting is challenging and sometimes quite terrible, but ultimately, it’s really kind of funny.”

To learn more, visit Whatfreshhellpodcast.com

How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

Those whose morning routines begin with a big cup of java or another caffeine-infused beverage are in good company.

Most modern-day Americans seem unable to get through a day without their proper caffeine fix. Reuters reports that a 2018 National Coffee Association survey found that 64 percent of Americans drink a cup of coffee every day, and Americans consume the most coffee overall (though Finland consumes the most coffee per capita, or per person). But being careful not to drink too much is key.

“Just like anything else in life, caffeine in moderation is OK,” says Dr. Adhi Sharma, executive vice president of Clinical and Professional Services and chief medical officer at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside. “If you are having symptoms of headaches, palpitations, tremors, that is way too much — time to cut back.”

The Food and Drug Administration recommends a maximum daily intake of 400 milligrams of caffeine. An 8-ounce cup of coffee typically has 80 to 100 milligrams. So that means those drinking five or more 8-ounce cups of coffee per day could be at risk of experiencing a caffeine overdose, which can lead to hospitalization and even death.

According to a National Institutes of Health 2017 study, Americans’ average daily intake is about 180 milligrams per day, about the amount of caffeine in up to two cups of coffee

THE GOOD NEWS

Consuming caffeine in moderation can actually benefit your health and help start a day with gusto.

“Caffeine has a stimulant property on the human nervous system and it has a relaxing property on the human vascular system,” says Dr. Sharma. “Caffeine helps you to complete tasks,” says Ankita Sagar, M.D., primary care physician at Northwell Health and director of Ambulatory Quality for Internal Medicine. “It gives you a boost of energy.”

It also makes people happy.

“My daughter says that once I take my first couple of sips of coffee, I begin to smile and my mood improves,” says Mary Forbes of East Northport. “Apparently, I am a little cranky until I get my caffeine fix.”

A review by research scientist Astrid Nehlig validates this sentiment by reporting that one cup of coffee every four hours can help to increase mood throughout the day.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Caffeine may prevent early onset of dementia. Researchers from the University of South Florida and the University of Miami studied the memory and thinking processes of people older than 65 and found that in the two-to-four-year follow-up, those with higher blood caffeine levels avoided the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Their findings appeared in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Caffeine has medicinal benefits.

“It has been used in a class of drugs to treat asthma and as a medication in newborns who have breathing challenges.” Dr. Sharma says.

Certain caffeinated beverages, as black or green tea, have natural, immune-boosting antioxidants.

THE DOWN SIDE

Too much caffeine may have a negative impact. Caffeine affects the bladder and gastrointestinal system.

“It’s a diuretic,” says Dr. Sagar, which, by nature, means it’s going to dehydrate the body. So, when considering your daily liquid consumption, coffee, tea, etc., should not be counted as a cup of water, she advises.

People can also experience diarrhea or the sense of urgency that they have to go to the bathroom, she adds.

Thinking of quitting caffeine cold turkey? Drinking caffeine can be habit forming, notes Dr. Sagar. Heavy caffeine consumers can experience withdrawal symptoms — terrible headaches, fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating — even from skipping one day or two.

“If you are trying to cut back, do it slowly and gradually over time,” she suggests.

Caffeine may also cause “jitters.” Those sensitive to caffeine may experience heart palpitations from even one or two cups. Too much caffeine exposure can cause jitters or tremors.

“If you have insomnia or if you are an anxious person, caffeine may make you feel like you are having symptoms of anxiety, but in of itself it should not cause anxiety,” Dr. Sharma notes.

Both physicians advise checking labels for caffeine content. Energy drinks can have a much higher content than a typical cup of coffee. Too much can result in an overdose and cause harm.

“Caffeine consumption in moderation is OK by any means,” says Dr. Sagar. However, if you are having any questionable symptoms, both doctors advise seeking professional medical attention.

How does your caffeine consumption stack up?

FDA’s recommended daily maximum: 400 milligrams

  • An 8-ounce cup of coffee typically has 80-100 milligrams.
  • A 12-ounce can of soda has 30-40 milligrams.
  • An 8-ounce cup of green or black tea has 30-50 milligrams.
  • An 8-ounce energy drink has 40-250 milligrams.

Dr. Thierry Duchatellier On Healing The Heart

Dr. Thierry Duchatellier

Dr. Thierry Duchatellier, chief of cardiology at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, has been all heart since he was a child.

A self-made success, Dr. Duchatellier grew up in Haiti with a dream to heal, treat, and inspire healthy living.When his parents went into exile, Dr. Duchatellier’s grandparents, Joseph and Germaine Perrier, welcomed the then barely 1-year-old Dr. Duchatellier into their home, in which his grandfather maintained a medical practice. His uncle Joseph, who was also a physician, resided in their home; Dr. Duchatellier fondly remembers accompanying him on patient visits.

“As young as I can remember, I was involved with medicine,” he says. “It has been my passion since then…It still is.”

Dr. Duchatellier worked his way through his education. He attended medical school at Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), in the Dominican Republic, did his residency in Internal Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECM) and earned a fellowship in Cardiology and Nuclear Cardiology at AECM. He then served as assistant director of coronary care at Jamaica Hospital, joining Mercy in 2001. Dr. Duchatellier also serves as a medical liaison for nonprofit organizations Forgotten Children of Haiti (FCH) and Foundation for Hope and Health in Haiti (FHHH).

Working in cardiology enables Dr. Duchatellier to pursue his dream of helping people in a “challenging and exciting” field.

“We are discovering significant new techniques, new medication, and surgical approaches to solve issues that the patient has,” he says. “My passion is to bring people some relief and comfort in their disease state, but also present the disease and educate them on how to avoid developing heart-related medical issues.”

If a patient is diagnosed with a heart condition, Dr. Duchatellier says, “My role is to continue to educate but also treat them with compassion and help them feel better, so they can enjoy their life.”

Want a healthy heart? Dr. Duchatellier recommends: Keep active, exercise, and eat a balanced diet in moderation. Do appropriate screening. See your physician regularly. Don’t ignore symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, palpitations. Be cautious.  

 

Love Lessons From Long-lasting Long Island Couples

Clockwise from top left: Ann Marie and Pat Scarola, Frederick and Shirley Hughes, Regina and Dr. Jeff Finkelstein, Patricia and Al Centamore, Laura and William McLean, Thomas and Felicia Staub.

Think healthy, happy, everlasting love is an impossible dream? For these Long Island sweethearts, love has been in the air for decades and grows stronger every day. Through many a marriage milestone, these couples discovered how to make their marriages something to celebrate for a lifetime.

Thomas and Felicia Staub, of Levittown, were married April 13, 1975, five years after their first date. The Staubs say their different faiths did not initially earn them blessings by their families but their love for one another prevailed. With two children and three grandchildren, the Staubs advise always making your love a priority.

“Put each other first,” they agree. “Never go to bed angry.” To “keep the fires lit,” the Staubs have renewed their vows twice and gone on three honeymoons, says Felicia Staub.

Pat and Ann Marie Scarola, of East Northport, were married May 30, 1971. They have three children and six grandchildren. The couple attribute their successful relationship to being able to communicate with honesty and sensitivity.

Years ago, they attended a “marriage encounter,” a sort of couple’s retreat, which encouraged them to put their feelings on paper and then share them without judgement.

“We have notebooks filled with love letters,” says Pat Scarola.

It hasn’t always been easy, though.

“Some marriages are like a merry-go-round; ours was a roller coaster, but it’s been an amazing ride,” he says. “We’re probably happier today than at any other time in our marriage. We enjoy being with one another.”

Dr. Jeff and Regina Finkelstein, of Baldwin, were married September 9, 1984. They have two children. The couple owe their healthy, happy marriage to mutual respect and unwavering love.

“You chose each other to go through this crazy journey we call ‘life’,” says Regina Finkelstein. “Make an effort to treat that person with respect and understanding. Do the day-to-day stuff with a smile. Celebrate the good times!”

Al and Patricia Centamore, of Deer Park (father- and mother-in-law of the author), were married June 15, 1968. They started “going steady” when they were teenagers.

“We were very much in love,” the couple recall.

They credit their long-lasting relationship to supportive families, good friends and a strong foundation of love. While family has always been the chief focus, keeping romance alive has also remained a priority. The Centamores, who recently renewed their vows, pride themselves on their compassionate and supportive nature toward one another.

“When you have fun together, it helps you get through everything else,” says Patricia Centamore. Regarding parenting, she says, “You naturally take on different roles. It’s very important for both parents to present as united with the kids.”

William and Laura McLean, of Huntington Station, were married October 19, 1975.

“We met out in Montauk,” says Laura McClean. “He was camping, and I was staying at the Wavecrest next door.”

He was 18 and she was 17.

“It was love at first sight,” she says.

They have three sons and four grandchildren. By the time they had children, five years after they were married, their bond was super strong, with friendship, hope, common family values, and of course, love that allowed them to celebrate good times and persevere through the toughest.

“There is such a great sense of gratitude” she says. “We feel blessed.”

Frederick and Shirley Hughes, of East Northport, were married November 25, 1951.

Best friends forever, the pair boast six children, 15 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and two more on the way!

“We do everything together,” says Shirley Hughes. “We go out to dinner, shop, go to casinos and see plays in Northport…he still brings me flowers,” she adds.

“We never forget the special times — the honeymoon,” says Frederick Hughes. They have always avoided “heated arguments,” he adds. “We hug and kiss, forgive and forget.”

All these couples share the sentiment that a good marriage does not mean a perfect marriage. Marriage takes work. Treasure each experience as an adventure you share together, they advise.

Nassau Democrats Announce 2019 Candidates

Nassau County and New York State Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs at the Cradle of Aviation on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 (Photo by Tab Hauser)

Nassau Democrats held their party convention Wednesday as they aim to increase their recent gains, most notably with one candidate switching from Republican to Democrat to challenge Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino.

Besides town races, party faithful also gathered to cheer on nominees for county legislative races during the convention at the the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City. GOP Oyster Bay Town Clerk James Altadonna switching parties in a bid to unseat Republican Saladino was the most surprising candidate of the night.

“I think what people in Oyster Bay are anxious for is new, fresh, clean, transparent, honest government,” said Jay Jacobs, who chairs the Nassau and New York State Democratic committees. “That’s what Jim Altadonna brings to the table.”

The Nassau Democrats were the first of Long Island’s four major political party county committees to announce their slate of candidates.

Under New York State’s new election reform law, primaries will be moved front September to June, bumping up the calendar for potential challengers to party nominees.

Altadonna, who was previously Massapequa Park village mayor from 2001 until he assumed his current position as town clerk, said that running on the Democratic line presents to constituents an opportunity to vote for a candidate who truly has their best interests at heart.

“I think a coalition ticket gives people more of a choice,” he said. “It says, ‘Hey, I am not picking a party, I am picking qualified candidates who are there to serve the residents.’”

If elected, Altadonna said he’d propose setting term limits for elected officials of no more than 10 years, putting a halt on wasteful spending, focusing on road restoration and infrastructure, and eliminating excessive attorney fees that are paid by residents in representing town employees that are questioned by law enforcement.  

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran rallied the attendees to re-elect North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and Hempstead Supervisor Town Laura Gillen and flip the county legislature, where the GOP has an 11-8 majority.

“I think voters are looking for grassroots real people to run for office who can really represent them,” Curran said. “I think they’re sick of do nothing politicians who are not doing the right things for the right reasons, they are doing the wrong things for their own reason. People are looking for a change.”

Besides nominating the eight Democratic county legislators for re-election, the party endorsed eight challengers to Republican county legislators, but didn’t have designations for three other races. The challengers include Debra Siegel against Legis. Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence), Barbara Hafner against Legis. Vincent Muscarella (R-West Hempstead), Mal Nathan against Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), Michael Pesce against Legis. James Kennedy (R-Massapequa), Jennifer Rosenkrantz against Legis. Thomas McKevitt (R-East Meadow), Michael Maloney against Legis. Laura Schaefer (R-Westbury), Fran Avnet against Legis. John R. Ferretti Jr. (R-Levittown), and Alan Foley against Legis. Rose Marie Walker (R-Hicksville).

The Nassau County Democratic Committee held their 2019 convention at the Cradle of Aviation on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 (Photo by Tab Hauser)

Spring Awakening Brings Magic, Wonder To Stage at The Argyle Theatre

Set in Germany in 1891, The Argyle Theatre’s mesmerizing presentation of Tony Award Winning rock musical Spring Awakening is a brilliantly performed production that captures the timeless story of teenage sexual discovery and angst, and the grownups charged with their care.

Spring Awakening is based on the book and lyrics by Steven Sater, music by Duncan Sheik, and play by Frank Wedekind. The show stars Corrie Farbstein as the vulnerable Wendla whose desire to explore her sexual urges creates tragic circumstances; David Thomas Cronin as the shy, frustrated Moritz whose insecurity leads to the unthinkable; and Alex Joseph Grayson as the strong, passionate Melchoir. Together, with the rest of the incredibly talented cast, critical, real-life issues and powerful emotions — both of which are relevant to today’s youth — are brought to life on stage.

“This is one stellar cast,” said artistic director Evan Pappas. “You will remember each and every one of these characters.”

Argyle’s Spring Awakening brings back the magic and wonder of this heart-wrenching and dramatic story with the guidance of an exceptional creative team: director, Matthew Earnest; production stage manager, Ingrid Pierson; musical director, Jonathan Brenner; choreographer, Sara Brians; lighting designer, John Salutz; sound designer, Carlos Dias Jr.; set and costume designer, William Bezek.

All songs including “Mama Who Bore Me,” “Don’t Do Sadness,” and “Totally F’d” are performed with depth, fluidity, and exciting choreography and arrangements from the pit; lighting is literally spot on; the crew seamlessly works in scene changes and remarkably creative props leaving audiences with a jaw-dropping performance.

At Argyle, you get a “whole experience,” says Pappas. Extraordinary energy, feeling immersed in someone else’s story. No matter how fictional, you’re there, taking it all in and thoroughly enjoying the ride.

Next up: The Producers!

Argyle Theatre, 34 West Main St., Babylon. argyletheater.com, 844-631-5483. Spring Awakening tickets $74-$79. Through February 24. The Producers tickets $74-$79. March 14 through April 20.

Cleanse and Repeat For a More Productive 2019

Get rid of negativity in your life. Fill that New Year’s cup with positivity instead.

“Detoxication is essential and will welcome you into a new year that will give you a healthy outlook physically and mentally,” says Dr. Evelina Grayver, director of Coronary Care at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset.

There are lots of ways to detoxify your life. Here are some tips from the experts:

ENJOY GOOD NUTRITION

A balanced, fad-free diet, free of processed sugars, is critical for detoxification and overall good health.

“Processed sugars cause mental cloudiness and physical fatigue proven to cause cortisol surges and inflammation,” says Dr. Grayver.

She suggests sticking to three meals per day and drinking lots of water.

“When you’re drinking enough, you’re supplementing the enzymes that we have to allow for appropriate digestion,” the doctor adds.

GET FIT

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity (or a combination of both), plus at least two days per week of muscle strengthening.

Great “detoxifying exercises” include jogging, spinning, swimming, dancing — “anything that involves increasing your heart rate above your baseline,” says Dr. Grayver.

Plus, exercise releases endorphins. And endorphins make you happy.

REST YOUR MIND

“Cube breathing,” says Dr. Grayver, involves inhaling through the nose, holding, and exhaling through the mouth for a count of four with each.

Concentrate on nothing else for that time while cube breathing (also called box breathing or four-square breathing)

Breathe all the way in, and exhale all the way out. It seriously works wonders.

JUICE IT UP

Detoxify through organic juicing, suggests Craig Margulies, co-owner with Rowan Shifrin of Organic Corner in Massapequa and Wantagh. Organic Corner is soon to establish the first 100 percent organic plant-based restaurant on Long Island early this year, Margulies adds.

“The real benefit of a juice cleanse is you’re putting yourself into a digestive rest, giving your body enough time to heal,” he says.

GET ADJUSTED

Having a chiropractor perform an adjustment isn’t only for those with back trouble.

“A chiropractic adjustment supports detoxification through the elimination of structural interference relating to the nervous system, allowing for efficient flow and movement,” says Dr. Alan Sherr, founder and director of Northport Wellness Center in Northport.

It’s noninvasive and effective, he adds.

STRIKE A POSE

There’s a reason people leave yoga class in a good mood.

“All yoga postures have the potential to promote detoxification,” says Kristina Klimek, certified yoga therapist and yoga instructor and owner of Garden Yoga Therapy LLC in East Northport.

Yoga helps achieve “lightness in the body, clarity in the mind, and spiritual expansion,” she adds.

DECLUTTER

A cluttered living space can impede self improvement.

“The objects you keep within your home could be affecting your mood, memories, cognitive focus, stress, and anxiety levels,” says Laura Cerrano, a certified feng shui expert and CEO of Feng Shui Manhattan. “Whatever you do not need, use or love, let it go!”

Start slow and simple, perhaps with one shelf or drawer. Consider donating instead of throwing away.

NATURAL ONE

Including real plants in your home can reduce stress and anxiety, Cerrano says.

The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing” also helps achieve calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits.

It’s like bringing home the feeling of well-being discovered on a walk in the woods or on the beach.

DETOXIFY YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

“If you’re with a toxic, borderline narcissist — leave,” says Fred L. Holtz, Ph.D., director of Psychological Services Long Island in Hicksville.

You can’t negotiate or change toxic people, but you can disengage, even if it’s from a family member, he says.

Surround yourself with positive people who inspire. Be mindful of social media influencers and don’t compare yourself to others. And keep in mind the power of forgiveness.

“It builds toxicity in your mind to not forgive people,” including yourself, Holtz says.

Learn from mistakes and move on.

Rather than dwell on the negative, “Pause and appreciate the things and people that you do have,” advises Holtz.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

Remind yourself of past achievements. Recite positive affirmations daily. Change your perspective.

“Most things in life are really just an inconvenience,” Holtz notes. “A flat tire is not a tragedy.”

Explore “life-affirming activities,” says Holtz. Learn a new language, train for a marathon.

When you detoxify your life, your self-esteem and your self-efficacy increases, says Holtz. You can effectively change your life. If you find yourself trying these strategies with little success, seek professional support, he advises.

We all deserve to be happy.

Reflect and Plan For Success in 2019

With New Year’s resolutions, we commit to creating change in the hopes our lives will improve.

“A lot of people see the new year as an end of one segment of time and the logical, natural time to hit the reset button and go after some changes,” says Striker Corbin, a speaker and success coach at Striker Corbin Hypnosis & Success Coaching in Hauppauge. “Anytime you look to improve yourself, that’s a positive thing.”

For some, reflecting on 2018 may be more of a reminder of what went wrong rather than right. If last year’s goals didn’t come to fruition or if you’re looking to set the bar higher this time around, fear not. We’ve got tips from the experts on how to make your resolutions stick for 2019.

CHANGE IS POSSIBLE

“It is paramount to believe in yourself because it’s your thoughts plus the emotions you attach to them that determine your outcomes,” says Corbin.

Assume you can do anything you set your mind to.

“Build your business but take time to do the things that feed your soul,” says Corbin. Do what makes you happy — and relaxed — as often as you can. “Remember to get out in nature and hike, listen to music, drive, meditate, work out.”

BE REALISTIC

Set an attainable goal for which you could see results sooner than later, suggests Marc Buccellato, who co-owns On the Marc Training, a Long Island mobile fitness company, with his wife, Monique.

Be specific in your language. Aim to lose a half a pound to a pound per week vs. 50 pounds this year.

“Just a like job and getting promotions, good things take time,” and work, he says.

CONSISTENCY IS KEY

For people to stay fit and obtain their goals, it’s really about consistency.

“You want to be able to train three times per week to get results and maintain results,” says Buccellato. “Stay active on the days you are not training.”

Take a walk, ride your bike, or rake leaves.

MAKE A PLAN

If you want to save money, “break it down” says Alex Jamieson, a coach and mentor on Long Island. “Be the person who says ‘no’ to the impulse buys and who decides to cook at home rather than eat out.”

Start small. If your goal is to eat healthier, add healthier food to your grocery list. If you want to be more positive, “avoid toxic relationships and becoming overly focused on social media,” suggests Jamieson.

Will you need childcare? Can you afford to join a gym?

Discuss options with your partner or close friend. Make them aware of how important your goals are.

MONITOR YOUR PROGRESS

Utilize apps like Trello to track results — sleep hours, for example — or Google Calendar to note activities completed and missed, suggests Jamieson.

“How many days did I go outside for a walk? Have I gone to Pilates this week?”

Check in with yourself.

“How am I feeling?” Pencil in “me time” as well as quality time with friends and family.

START INSIDE

Whether it’s losing weight, exercising more, or saving money, “If a person starts working on their self-esteem or negativity, they are going to feel more deserving of setting certain resolutions and probably be more successful, too,” says Kathleen Dwyer-Blair, director and owner of Nassau Guidance and Counseling.

Practice gratitude, she suggests.

There may be underlying causes that make accomplishing resolutions challenging, says Dwyer-Blair.

“Consider, ‘Are there emotional obstacles preventing me from living the life I want?’”

A therapist can help identify the source of struggle and “help individuals work through it.”

PLAN FOR MISTAKES

“If you mess up, come from a place of curiosity,” advises Jamieson.

Was it an achievable goal?

“Successful people will make mistakes or fail, yet they see each step as an opportunity to grow their level of awareness,” reminds Corbin.