Help with wellness resolutions is available in Del Ray

Help with wellness resolutions is available in Del Ray
(File photo)

By Mara Benner

With the new year under way, many Alexandrians are grappling with sustaining the annual new year’s resolution. In fact, research by the University of Scranton suggests that while 45 percent of us make an annual resolution, only about 8 percent of us are successful at keeping it. Breaking a habit or incorporating new changes in our lives can be difficult, especially if we do not have the right resources. Any real change requires support and time, as much as three months, to be successful.

Luckily for Alexandrians, wellness businesses on Mount Vernon Avenue offer a unique and vibrant wealth of resources and professional support. As far back as 2008, the Del Ray community became dubbed “Well Ray,” a nod to its mind, body and spirit offerings. The services include but are not limited to: yoga, meditation, counseling, physical fitness, physical therapy, dental care, chiropractic, acupuncture, psychotherapy, podiatry, optometry and our own neighborhood pharmacy. The services range from traditional health offerings to those services considered to be integrative or holistic in nature.

Even more importantly, the community of healers collaborates with one another, exchanges needed referrals and orchestrates community events. Megan Brown, Ph.D., and Sara Vandergoot of Del Ray’s Mind the Mat Pilates and Yoga are credited with pulling together the community years ago. They organized the Avenue’s wellness providers during one of the Del Ray Business Association’s First Thursday summer events.

“We wanted everyone to come together to show how great Alexandria is,” Brown said. “And also to inform the community on how highly qualified the wellness providers are here in Del Ray.”

The event was so successful that it became its own stand-alone event and continued with the nickname “Well Ray.” The event offers Alexandrians an opportunity to learn about different healing techniques and experience some of the services first hand. This summer, when the festival is again held, the association will be celebrating its fifth year of the annual Well Ray event. While Brown remains actively engaged in the community, others are now leading the wellness activities. Lauren Fisher, Ph.D., of Del Ray Psych and Wellness heads the wellness community and has expanded its activities to include a March Well Ray Fit Crawl as well as other opportunities to experience classes and receive discounts on certain services.

If you are struggling to meet your new year’s resolution or are seeking ways to de-stress, relax or hit the reset button, then take a moment to review the Avenue’s wellness providers to identify the best team to partner with you.

If you are interested in exploring further, the Del Ray Business Association website ( provides additional details on each of the members. Don’t forget to visit the DRBA’s calendar for upcoming wellness events and to mark your calendar for this year’s Well Ray event on June 22.

The writer is the founder of Four Directions Wellness, connecting body, mind, emotions and spirit. The organization is affiliated with the GW Center for Integrative Medicine. Benner is also a member of the Del Ray Business Association’s Well Ray community.