Sustainable Solutions for Healthy Homes

Empowering Transformations for Healthier Homes and Families through Strategic Inspired Healing


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Handy Tools for Back to School Stress

first day of schoolcropped-sshhlogo.pngWith Back to School season we will have plenty of ways to practice our Stress Management Tools. There are big stresses like taking tests or giving presentations and everyday stress like catching the school bus or running to get to class before the bell. The trick is to let the body calm back down after it is done with the running or performing or heightened state of alertness that we need in the moment.

We often think of trauma as something huge and catastrophic and stress as something we deal with on a regular day. The real difference though, is that a trauma can be any stressful situation that goes unresolved. So learning how to manage stress is an important tool that we can learn for ourselves and then practice with our kids.

Our bodies are amazing and we can do some pretty cool things when we call on that stress-response (like that mom who pulled the car off of her baby), but when we stay in that elevated state of stress-response for too long, then it becomes traumatic.

Sometimes too much happens at once and then we need to seek help to resolve the trauma and release it. It is best on those kind of days to seek help early and often.

But today we’ll talk more about some quick and easy things to try at home.

I recently completed my Certified Family Trauma Professional training program and it was a great way to add to my toolbox of techniques that I can use with my clients and their families (and my kids). One of the main messages in the training was to honor the ways in which families have already learned to cope with stress and trauma and then help them develop strategies to try new tools that they might like even better.

 

What are Triggers?

Everyone gets triggered by something. I feel like this word is getting a little bit too much use by the kids these days and we can lose sight of how important it can be when someone has a traumatic memory triggered.

A “trigger” just refers to something totally normal that is happening in the present that takes on a much larger meaning and can make you have a really strong reaction.

  • Do spiders make your skin crawl?
  • Are you afraid of heights?
  • Do you hate being called on in class?
  • Are you afraid of getting hit with the baseball so you avoid gym class?

Sometimes we remember what happened and we know why we are triggered. One night, we spun our car across the highway in a really bad rain storm and now when it is raining really hard I get a little more nervous driving. If the car hydroplanes I can go into a full panic. I might be in a bad mood all night if I don’t stop and bring myself back into the present. Sometimes we are triggered by something and we don’t have a memory to help us to make sense of why it bothers us so much.

Sometimes the stories are so many generations old and the trigger was storied in our DNA and we have no memory of why it bothers us so much.

In those moments though, we need ways to calm down and bring ourselves back into the present.

Try these Three Steps to get started:

First, start keeping a list of the things that bother you:

What are some things that trigger you? Maybe you get sweaty palms or start to feel nervous when you are late for an appointment or when you have to fill out paperwork. Many people get this way if they feel singled-out or have to speak in front of a group. Keep a journal and write down what types of things bother you.

Second, start making an inventory of things that help:

What works for you when you need to calm down?

Do you like walking it off? Do you take a few deep breaths and count to ten.

If you start to keep an inventory of ones that you like you can practice it with small stressful moments and then be really good at it when the bigger stressful moments hit you.

And, as moms, the more we practice, the more we can model it for our kids so they learn to calm themselves down when stressful things happen in their life.

Third, practice some new techniques and model them for your kids:

Try this handy tool:

Try this Story Hand technique when you are stressed about going somewhere new or facing something that seems too big to try.

You touch each of your five fingers one at a time and name something about the thing you are doing. If the big concert is stressing out your kid, try practicing:

  1. Hold their pinky and talk about how they love to sing.
  2. Hold their ring finger and remind them that their whole class is doing it together.
  3. Hold their middle finger and tell them to look at their teacher who will be smiling because they are so proud.
  4. Hold their pointer finger and teach them to sing “Watermelon” in case they forget the words.
  5. Hold their thumb and tell them you love them and you are always proud of them and that you will get ice cream after!
  6. Use this moment to hold their hand and connect. You can fold all the fingers in to the palm and squeeze.

Improvise as needed and depending on the kid’s personality and age. They can hold their own hand and make up their own reminders. They can wrap all the fingers of one hand around the finger that they are on and hold. When they are done with the fingers, press the thumb of one hand into the palm of the other and hold for a few seconds.  

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Grounding Techniques to Stay Present:

You can use this technique to help them ground if they are anxious and you need to bring them back to the present moment. Teach them this tool when they are young and they can easily use it in school.

  • Look around and practice saying 5 things that you notice right now. Count on your 5 fingers.
  • Tell me something that you see, hear, feel, smell and taste.
  • If there is time name 5 things that you see, 4 that you hear, 3 that you feel, 2 that you smell and 1 that you taste.
  • Another variation is to tell me a color that you see, a shape that you see etc. This works well on car trips as well.

You can use these techniques when they are a little bit nervous about something new and then they learn how to calm down when they are really anxious about something big.

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Some added benefits of these simple hand techniques:

  • Massaging the hands is a technique for reducing stress. Start to pay attention and you will probably notice that you do your own forms of self-massage of your hands and fingers. Watch your kids, they probably try this intuitively. Some kids also rub their ears to calm down. Trust your kids and learn what works for them. Then you can remind them of those tools in those really stressful moments.

 

  • There are pressure points in the hands that reduce stress. They can reduce feelings of nausea and headaches. You can research more for specifics, and ask a practitioner for more support and to treat specific symptoms. But it is fun to explore how you already use this inner wisdom to start to feel better in your stressful moments.

(Now you know why people wear those funny bracelets when they go on boats! Pressing on that acupressure point on the wrist is known to calm nausea.)

Stretching the hands and wrists also helps prevent carpal tunnel if they’ve spent too long writing their homework assignments.

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Have fun trying some new techniques and enjoy the return to routines. We will be back to concert and graduation season before we know it.

Contact me if you want help with deciding which tools might be best for you and your family.

Mention BACKTOSCHOOL and ask about my promotional rate for private consultations.

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Support for the New Year, New Beginnings, New Babies, New YOU.

New Year

Joelle Image

SSHHlogoAre you fresh off of your New Year’s Resolutions and looking for support that will help you to reach your goals? 

Are you ready for a new start, frustrated by feeling stuck, sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, but at the same time overwhelmed by the amount of advice and articles and information out there?

Then the Healing 101 class is the perfect place to start your healing journey. Learn about some things that you can try and practice simple techniques that you can add into your own routine and apply from the comfort of your own home. 

New Beginnings

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Last year I wrote about how I have been able to see so many changes in myself, so many pieces of myself that I didn’t even know were there. And I realize that this is why we are so scared to ask for healing. We are scared of what we will find if we begin to peel back that layer. Who would we be without our symptoms? If we change our habits and behaviors, even though it is to become healthier and happier, we wonder who we will become. If we change ourselves, how will all of our relationships shift as a result? What if we don’t like the person underneath? It can be hard to make those changes, and we can find ourselves resisting for so many reasons even though we may really want to feel better.

Read the full Post Here

If you want support on your healing journey, book a free 15 minute consultation to talk about the best way to get started.

Ready to take a step towards your new beginning? Book a private session.

New Babies

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As a mom to four energetic young kids, I know that mothering is beyond a full time job, and even when we try our best, we often feel like it is not enough. Especially if we are worrying about our baby’s health. In this time when everyone is so quickly and easily connected, we often don’t feel deeply connected and supported in the moment.  When there is so much information at our fingertips, we find ourselves sorting through too many facts and never enough answers.

When you are first home with a new baby you need to relearn how to do every little thing, like how to pick things up with your feet because your hands are full, and you have to pack like you are going on a week-long trip when you go to sit down to nurse because you might never be able to get out of that chair again.

And all too soon they get older, and the daily challenges seem to get physically easier, but more emotionally complicated. But one thing that never changes is when your kid has some weird symptom, you start to worry. I know when I was a new mom I had so many questions, but I didn’t want to bother anybody if it was nothing. But how do you know if it is nothing? So you worry.

Read the Full Post Here

Stress can be a very powerful motivator to get things done, and can help us to accomplish amazing physical feats, but if we are experiencing stress and do not feel like we are in control, or have feelings of helplessness or of not feeling heard or protected, then it can become trauma.

Trauma can make us feel unsafe in our environment or in our bodies. Our body manifests physical symptoms to let us know that there is trauma that still needs to be released. Many aspects of birth (going into the unknown, the physical challenges, the medical environment especially in emergencies) are inherently more likely to put you at risk for stress and trauma.

Birth is a spiritual as well as a physical opening and this can trigger old emotional wounds and old memories can surface. Birth and parenting a newborn can also reveal inter-generational family patterns that need to be healed. If you are experiencing nightmares, flashbacks or intrusive thoughts please reach out for help.

Talking about infant and childhood trauma is not to make us parents feel even more guilt, but to raise awareness of why our kids may be struggling with physical or behavioral/emotional challenges, so that we can help them to start to feel better. Infant and Childhood Trauma is more common than is acknowledged. And most often it is due to things that are outside of our control as parents, and are often just a fact of our culture and our environment. But there are things that we can do to reduce their exposure and minimize the effects. If we pay attention to the cues that our babies are giving us, then we can help them to heal quickly. Read the Full Post Here

Trauma can be released from the body so that you have a chance to regain your emotional and physical health and create a better bond with your baby.

Home Visits work well in the weeks/months after giving birth, but I’m also available to help you to heal from previous births or clear any childhood traumas if you are currently expecting and would like to prepare for the upcoming birth. This can be through a home visit or an Empowering Transformation Session over the phone.

New YOU

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I am often asked how I get so much done every day. And although I do like multi-tasking, the trick is to do it with joy and not get burned out in the process. I balance a lot of things, but I still have plenty of time to sing with my kids, smell the roses and even to read books and watch movies!

I am also living proof that you can heal from chronic diseases, auto-immune diseases, and all of those pains that you thought you would just have to live with. For twenty years I was in pain every day, and now I am not. This dramatic change to my life is what has given me the energy to get so many things done. 

And I want to share the secret to how I did all of this with you in my new program.

I had to learn the hard way that the key is not in reading another book or finding another doctor, but in learning to see health in an entirely different way and then actually implementing the changes into my everyday life. There were a lot of barriers in my own way of thinking about the world that were keeping me from really trying these techniques.

So for me, the process took the courage to heal and to change on more levels than I ever expected. But I just couldn’t be my full self when I was in pain every day, so I needed to make some big changes in my life.

I was only able to do that for myself by working with an amazing group of women that offered me support, encouragement, and accountability.

So I have developed a new program that covers the important things that I want to share with you, but in a format that will hold you and support you while you grow into these changes.

In this Inspired Healing at Home class you will learn to take care of yourself and prevent burn out while finding your true purpose and living to your full potential.

More About Me: 

michelle twin momI have studied the Science of Health and Happiness for over twenty years (I have extensive training in the Biomedical Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Immunology, Environmental Health, Epidemiology etc.) and I have recently completed a three year mastery program with an internationally known spiritual teacher and healer. I have experience as a doula, an accredited La Leche League Leader and a mother of four (including twins), and I bring this Wisdom, Guidance, and Support, to my Healing work.

I incorporate into this the works of spiritual teachings from a variety of sources (both ancient and modern) and share with you how I have learned to incorporate this into the demands of a full and busy life with work and family.  (Read More)

When you learn to balance it all, all that busy-ness becomes a blessing instead of a burden.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this website or provided through our programs and/or services is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice from your physician, midwife,  or other health care or mental health professional.


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School’s Out for Summer

While the children are throwing their worksheets and crayons all around the classroom in celebration of the end of the school year, parents all around the country are pulling their hair out, stressing about what to do with their children all summer without going insane.

Try to put yourself in their shoes (or flip-flops) and think about how hard it is to make the transition from such a structured and organized schedule to having the whole day stretch before them with infinite possibilities. I feel like we spend the first few weeks adjusting to the new routine.

Even though it can seem like a challenge to keep them occupied so that they don’t start whining that they are bored, remember to appreciate the season and the quality time that you can spend together.

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Here are a few ways to keep your sanity while school’s out for summer.

Enjoy the Outdoors

For those of us who live in the colder states, I know we spent plenty of time stuck indoors watching TV and playing video games. So now that the sun is shining and we can step out the door without getting frostbite, go ahead and explore. Throw some snacks, extra clothes, towels, sunscreen and a first aid kit in the mini-van and go see what your local parks have to offer. Give the kids their own hydration packs that hold water and a snack and they’ll follow you anywhere.

Click on your State to find a new park to explore.

Whatever it is, make sure it is time that is spent together enjoying some activity.

Look for local day camps, free activities at the library, family-friendly community gatherings, festivals, parades etc.

In the Capital Region? Search here by County.

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Plan Some Backyard Fun

If you plan an evening event, you can keep them busy all day with getting ready, decorating, making food etc. One summer I asked the kids what they wanted to do, and one wanted to use hammer and nails, another wanted to paint, and the third wanted a castle themed birthday party. So we combined all three and it kept them busy for weeks!

How about planning an outdoor movie night or camping in the backyard?

These are great ways to have some fun as a family or with friends while skipping the worst part which is getting everyone packed and in the car.

I love the drive in, but once you have a car full of kids, it gets hard for everyone to see the screen and before the movie starts they’ve lost interest in sharing their small space with their siblings.

How about creating your own backyard Drive-In Movie theater? Have them make their own cardboard cars and plan their own event, and you can keep them busy all week long with craft projects before the big night.

Or Just Keep It Simple. Take walks or go for a hike, swim, catch frogs, dig in the dirt, climb trees, read in the hammock, make a sand castle. If you are feeling competitive, you can play some backyard games like badminton and Washers. If you have older kids you can have them build their own washer’s game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvx7mR4Albw This one is fancy and uses PVC, but we just nailed some coffee cans into boxes that we made with leftover wood from other projects.

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Need a Break?  It’s okay to ask for help.

Talk to some other moms about a swap. She can host a fun day at her house while you have a day to yourself to do the shopping all by yourself or even just to sit and enjoy the sound of silence.

No need to feel guilty. The kids will have a blast playing with friends, and they will also enjoy having a happier mom.

Stay Healthy all Summer

It’s not necessary to hit the gym daily and drink green smoothies at the crack of dawn to be a super-parent, but exercising and eating healthy will at least give you a fighting chance to keep up with those kids. Try trading in fast food for a healthier option and go explore the local farmer’s market and ask your local farmer for recipe ideas.

My favorite summer recipes are those that don’t need to be cooked. I love to make cold salads that last a few days and you can grab them quickly. On the run? Just throw some in a wrap! Picky kids? Make a salad bar or buffet and everyone grabs what they like best. My kids will eat anything with dip. I make “crunchies” out of the stems of kale and cabbage and cut up some carrots and Kohlrabi and send them on their way. You can cut up a bunch at once and leave it in the fridge with some water so that is stays fresh. Give them a little hummus and it is a whole food that will give them the fuel they need for your next fun activity.

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Before you know it you will be Back to School shopping and wondering where the summer went.

Before you know it you will be Back to School shopping and wondering where the summer went.