Meet the HABIT Team: Dr. An Oskarsson
An Oskarsson is a cognitive psychologist who joined the HABIT program in Florida in 2017.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a poet, playwright, and actress. My parents weren’t too keen on that – they instead wanted me to be a physician. I guess becoming a psychologist was some sort of compromise?
What is your favorite thing about living in Florida? Where else have you lived?
I live in a beach community near Jacksonville, and I feel like I’m living in a relaxed little bubble, which I love. The beach has been our haven during the current pandemic.
We moved here from Northern California, which has beaches too. But one needs to have some serious money to live close to the beach, and the beaches there are rocky and cold!
Other places I’ve lived include Colorado, Washington, Tennessee, and Sweden.
Tell me a little bit about your family!
I am Vietnamese, my husband is Swedish, and we have two boys age 9 and 6.
Do you have a hidden talent, special talent, or favorite hobby?
My favorite hobbies include:
- Mushroom foraging
- Raising butterflies
- Wild berry picking
- Shark tooth and fossil hunting
I recently realized there is a theme to all my favorite hobbies. Can you guess it?
I love to scavenge for hard-to-find things in nature! (In case you’re wondering, it’s not easy to find the tiny eggs that butterflies lay on certain plants.) I’ve already decided that my next hobby will be mining for semi-precious stones.
What is your favorite thing about the HABIT program?
It’s the special moments that come from working with people. Sometimes when the support group just becomes so cohesive and close, it’s a beautiful thing to be a part of. Sometimes during planner training, there is that moment when you realize that the patient is definitely going to use the planner after the program is over and that it will be so incredibly helpful for them. Other times, the participants become really motivated to add wellness behaviors to their lives, and you can see how much everyone’s mood is lifted because of it. And more often than not, we help the caregivers just as much as the patient!
What aspect of your life was most affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic?
Without a doubt, the biggest change has been the time I’ve spent virtual homeschooling my two boys. It has been incredibly challenging and emotionally draining to help them navigate this new format of schooling.
This is where I do a shameless plug for how helpful using a planner can be!
At first, my 9 year-old boy was completely lost and disoriented with the virtual schooling. If he were in the actual brick and mortar school, the bell would ring and the teachers would herd them to their next class or activity. Now he is at home, and HE is responsible for logging onto each class at the correct time, several times throughout the day.
I really wanted him to be able to handle his schedule as independently as possible. So….. I’ve been training him on using his planner! Together we enter when he has to log into his classes, who the teacher is, and what the subject/topic is that day. We put homework assignments in the To Be Done section of the planner (to be checked off) as well as where the assignment can found. We also enter doctor’s appointments, so he knows when he’ll be missing class, and a reminder to let the teacher know.
Right now I’m doing most of the writing, but my hope is that he will soon appreciate the utility of using his planner, and keep up with it himself more and more as he gets older. In time, he will feel more oriented and less stressed, more independent, and confident.