There is a debate as to whether home is a physical place or a feeling. Dorothy captures this desire to fill the void of feeling distant, whether it be mentally or physically, when she recites, “There’s no place like home” (Fleming, 1939, 1:39:01). Home is the feeling of warmth, understanding, and inner peace. How do we capture the essence of home when we are far from it? Whether it be a vacation, work trip or a new residence, feeling at home is essential.
What is a part of your home?
Think to yourself, aside from the physical structure, what else is a part of your home? Loved ones, beloved pets, specific scents, articles of clothing, and certain foods cultivate feelings of familiarity. When moving to a different city, visiting a foreign country or when physically distant from the ones I love, I turn to my phone. It houses resources, enabling me to bring my support system wherever I go. From calling my parents to ordering my favorite foods to my door, my phone is a portal. I can look at photos of my miniature schnauzer when I miss her cuddles, video chat with my best friends, and make to-do lists to feel a sense of structure over my time.
Home can be anywhere, but it requires skills and resources to capture that feeling. Counseling provides clients with the coping skills to be patient and find inner peace. Our lives and the world around us are ever-changing. With teletherapy, you too can be a couple of clicks away from feeling at home.
Fleming, V. (Director). (1939). The Wizard of Oz [Film]. Metro Goldwyn Mayer.
In a world that constantly tries to make you feel like you’re not enough, resting can be a very brave thing.
A few weeks ago, I visited Montana to spend time with my family and friends. As I sat in the cabin on vacation, I was uncomfortably aware of the texts and emails popping up on my phone and going unanswered (first lesson: turn off your email notifications when you’re on vacation).
As our worlds become more and more virtual, the ability to take work with us wherever we go becomes more and more possible. We go on vacation, but why not bring the laptop and work while we’re there? We can be productive anywhere these days, even in a secluded cabin.
There seems to be an unspoken expectation to remain accessible. Always. I mean, who doesn’t have a smartphone these days?
The email notifications pop up. The text messages roll in.
Usually, they’re not all that urgent. And, usually, we attend to them as if they are.
As I pushed away the inner urge to pick up my phone and laptop during the trip (and failed a few times and succeeded a few times), I had several realizations:
Resting can feel awkward and foreign.
Not being readily available to others can feel uncomfortable.
Being present with people in real-time is good for our souls.
Most things can wait.
Yet, we live in a society that hasn’t normalized or encouraged rest and pausing.
And so, even when we find ourselves in remote locations surrounded by peaceful nature, it can feel strange to unplug – like we’re breaking some unwritten rule and wasting our week away in the land of unproductivity.
Here is a case for pausing and why it’s more important than rushing to respond to that text:
1. Your nervous system gets a break.
In 6 Ways to Give your Nervous System a Break, Crystal Hoshaw writes, “The nervous system truly craves space and silence. Every activity is a little stimulating. Truly giving our nerves a break means we’re feeding them the minimum amount of stimulation possible and maximizing rest and rejuvenation.”
2. You get to connect with yourself.
When we pause, we create space for reflection and tuning into how we feel. This leads to less knee-jerk reactions and more thoughtful responses.
3. You get to connect with so many other things:
nature, your meal, your breath, your family.
You take some of your power back.
Taking time to pause helps rewrite the story that says you have to be available to everyone all the time. That’s not true, not healthy and extremely draining.
You give yourself an opportunity to find meaning in more than achieving.
I won’t pretend unplugging is easy. Here are a few small ideas that still have the power to add up to big shifts:
A walk around your neighborhood or in nature without your phone
Putting your phone on airplane mode as you begin or end your day
Taking five minutes to close your eyes and breathe. Even one minute!
Making a conscious decision to respond to non urgent emails and texts at one designated time each day vs scattered throughout the day.
All of these acts allow us to become more intentional with our energy, more grounded in our bodies, and, frankly, more relieved.
You are more than what you do.
I felt that as I listened to the rushing river and the chirping birds. As I stared at the magnificent mountains. As I sipped a cup of tea and tuned into the conversations that were happening right in front of me.
Love is such a special feeling we experience with others, especially with a parent towards their child. There are many ways to show your child you love them without just saying it. Each child receives love differently, depending on what they are most comfortable with. Test these out and see what works the best for your kiddo, and, of course, feel the love!
1. Spend One-on-One Time Together
It’s so valuable to spend one-on-one time with each of your children, even if it’s 30 minutes every week. Pick the same day and time each week if possible so it’s a “date” your child looks forward to every week. Allow your child to pick the activity they enjoy. Devote all your focus on them and the activity they chose. This time should just be you and your child, nothing else.
2. Listen and Reflect Feelings
Your child shares aspects that are important to them with you. Make sure they feel acknowledged and prioritized when they share those aspects. Put down your phone when they are talking and make eye contact while appearing interested. Reflect any feelings you are noticing in them or in yourself. Reflecting allows for you to understand your child and for your child to feel understood and connected by you.
3. Hug Them
Physical touch is a critical part in fostering a loving and trusting relationship with your child. Hug them, cuddle with them, high-five them, hold their hand, sit or lay with them on the couch. Be near them and show them you are physically there for them.
4. Create a Routine Together
Having your child assist in building their routine allows for esteem building and creates trust together. It also allows having a set schedule to provide safety and consistency for your child’s life, especially during the school semester when tasks feel more hectic.
5. Share Strengths
When you notice a strength in your child, tell them. Tell them everyday. You are showing your belief in them, which allows for them to grow into that and believe in themselves as well.
6. Family Meetings
Having a family meeting to discuss topics that effect everyone, should include everyone’s voice. Allow your child to brainstorm on where to go for dinner or what changes need to be made at home to assist the family in working together. This acknowledges you care about their voice and value their opinion. This assists with feelings of belonging and security.
7. Be Patient
Having kids can be extremely challenging and stressful. Some days you just want to scream and run away. Breathe. Take care of yourself and figure out what helps you feel calm and regulated. You are the example at the house to show how to handle big feelings.
8. Laugh Out Loud
Laughter can feel like the best medicine. Be silly with your child and allow for good times to roll together. Laughing can bring you both even closer towards one another.
9. Acknowledge When You’re Wrong
We are certain to make mistakes, we are only human. How we are able to recover and how we handle our mistakes is what makes the difference rather than the act itself. Do not be afraid to admit you were wrong to your child. This shows them that it is okay to admit when you have done something you should not have or misspoken.
10. Surprise them
Establishing that routine is crucial to consistent growth but an unexpected surprise shows your child you’re thinking of them, even when they aren’t around. This can be as small as bringing their favorite snack when being picked up from school, putting a sweet note in their lunchbox, or bringing home something from the store that reminded you of them.