This week, I got the chance to interview my mentor and the reason that I am a part of HABIT. Dr. Chandler is the HABIT Florida Director and one of the creators of HABIT. I can tell you that besides being an inspiring mentor, she is also a fantastic mom to three of the cutest kids that I have ever seen. Enjoy!
Miranda Morris: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Dr. Melanie Chandler: A veterinarian until my dad started telling me stories of all the gross stuff I’d have to do.
MM: What is your favorite thing about the HABIT Program?
MC: The people, their stories, and their resilience. If I wasn’t a neuropsychologist, I could probably go around interviewing people for StoryCorps or something like that. I just love to learn about people.
MM: What’s your favorite way to de-stress?
MC: Riding my bike. There is always a moment on the ride when a big sigh literally just hits me, and I can appreciate being in the moment and being outside in nature.
MM: How did you get into studying memory?
MC: My interest began watching old Nova and similar PBS shows with my dad at night as a teenager. We bonded watching these shows.
MM: Some of the healthy habits that we talk about in the program include eating well, emotional self-care and getting quality sleep. With such a busy work life and a family, how do you make sure to practice the habits of wellness?
MC: I do not do well without sleep, so it is always a priority. Having kids, and wanting to be a positive role model helps me eat well and exercise. Plus, everyone around me knows to have me eat regularly, or else I get very hangry! A veggie (or fruit if it’s breakfast) at every meal!
MM: What do you usually use the “Notes” section of your calendar for?
MC: To jot notes while I’m in meetings or phone conferences at work. I find I usually refer back to these things in that same week when I use them, so this works much better than a notepad where everything gets jumbled.
MM: How long have you been a part of HABIT?
MC: Since the beginning when it was just an idea in 2004. I wrote the first grant with the aid of my mentor, Dr. Glenn Smith, for the start-up funding to launch in 2005
HABIT beginnings: Dr. Smith and Dr. Chandler in 2006 for Minnesota Public Radio Interview
MM: How many times a day do you refer to your calendar?
MC: At least once a day on the weekend, but probably 10+ times a day during the week.
MM: What is a typical day like for you as the HABIT Director in Florida?
MC: Emails, phone calls, telling people (nicely) to do stuff – not as glamorous or fun as doing the sessions themselves. Then I go home and heard cats (and dogs) aka my children.