The Healing Power of Hugs: National Hugging Day on January 21

By: Jen Champion 

In a world that often prioritizes virtual connections over physical touch, National Hugging Day on January 21 is a gentle reminder of the profound impact a simple embrace can have on our well-being. Hugging is not just a universal gesture but a timeless expression of care and support that transcends cultural boundaries.

Hugging is an ancient practice deeply rooted in our human experience. It is a straightforward yet powerful gesture that our bodies can naturally and effortlessly engage in, fostering a sense of connection and understanding. 

However, it’s crucial to approach hugging with sensitivity, acknowledging that not everyone may be comfortable with this form of physical contact. 

Always seek consent and respect personal boundaries, ensuring that your intentions align with the comfort level of the person you wish to hug. Scientifically, the benefits of hugs extend beyond the emotional realm. Research indicates that even the thought of a hug can trigger hormonal responses similar to those experienced during an actual embrace. This phenomenon also applies to self-hugging, emphasizing the importance of self-compassion and care.

One of the primary advantages of hugs is their ability to reduce stress and elevate mood. The warmth and comfort provided by a hug stimulate the release of oxytocin, commonly known as the love hormone, promoting relaxation and a sense of security. 

Moreover, the physical act of hugging can ease tension in the shoulders, chest, and upper back, offering a quick and effective way to unwind.

Group hugs, in particular, create a unique sense of unity and support. The collective energy shared in a group hug fosters a feeling of belonging and strengthens social bonds. In a world increasingly dominated by digital interactions, embracing the simplicity of physical touch becomes even more significant.

As our daily lives become more fast-paced and technology-driven, personal connections often

take a backseat. The prevalence of phones and earbuds has led to decreased eye-to-eye contact and genuine friendliness. 

National Hugging Day encourages us to break through these barriers, promoting the reconnection of hearts through the timeless act of hugging. Incorporating hugs into your daily routine doesn’t have to be limited to human interactions. 

Hug your pet, use a yoga strap, or wrap yourself in a cozy shawl. Engage in self-hugging in front of a mirror, accompanied by a warm smile, or share an extended hug with a friend. These simple yet meaningful practices can contribute to a more compassionate and connected world.

This January 21, let’s celebrate National Hugging Day by embracing the healing power of hugs.

Whether with a friend, a family member, or even yourself, take a moment to share the warmth and positive energy that a hug can bring. After all, in a world that sometimes feels disconnected, a heartfelt embrace can bridge the gaps and nurture the human spirit.

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Mindfulness Tips During The Holidays


Amidst the gatherings, gift shopping, and festivities, it’s easy to lose touch with ourselves and succumb to the stress that accompanies this time of year. However, integrating mindfulness into our holiday routine can be a game-changer, offering a pathway to inner calm and presence amid the hustle and bustle.

Here are three mindfulness tips to help you navigate the holidays. 

Cultivate Present-Moment Awareness

The essence of mindfulness lies in being fully present in the here and now. Amidst the holiday rush, our minds often wander between the past (remembering past celebrations) and the future (anticipating the upcoming events). Take a pause and ground yourself in the present moment. When we anchor ourselves in the present, we can appreciate the richness of the holiday experience without being consumed by stress or worry.

Practice Gratitude Daily

The holiday season is an opportune time to cultivate gratitude. Amidst the flurry of activities, take a few moments each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for. It could be the company of loved ones, a cozy moment by the fireplace, or the simple joys that often go unnoticed. 

Gratitude shifts our focus from what’s lacking to what’s abundant in our lives, fostering a sense of contentment and appreciation. Consider keeping a gratitude journal or simply take a few minutes each morning or evening to mentally list the things you’re thankful for.

Embrace Self-Compassion

Amidst the desire to create picture-perfect holiday moments, remember to extend kindness and compassion towards yourself. 

It’s okay if everything doesn’t go according to plan or if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Be gentle with yourself. Practice self-care by carving out time for activities that recharge you—whether it’s a quiet walk, meditation, or simply reading a book. 

Allow yourself to set realistic expectations and boundaries, saying no when needed, and prioritizing your well-being amidst the holiday rush.

By integrating these mindfulness practices into your daily routine, you can navigate the holiday season with a greater sense of calm and joy. Remember, mindfulness is not about escaping the holiday fervor but rather about embracing it with a sense of presence and appreciation.

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How to Speak Mindfully: The Key to Positive Communication

By incorporating mindfulness principles into your communication, you could forge deeper connections, strengthen relationships, and nurture your mental well-being. 

From nurturing qualities like forgiveness and gratitude to enhancing your leadership skills, meaningful relationships, and community bonds – we’re here to help you unlock the full potential of mindful communication.

Discover the secrets to active listening, the magic of being present in the moment, and the profound impact these practices can have on your interactions. 

 Unlock the Power of Gratitude and Forgiveness 

Embracing these emotions isn’t just an act of kindness towards others; it’s a soulful gift you give yourself. By appreciating the beauty in your life and releasing the weight of resentments, you create a vibrant canvas of positivity.

You can start by penning down your daily gratitudes in a journal – a simple act that can spark a transformation. As you cultivate this practice, watch your heart bloom with emotional balance and resilience, and the clouds of depressive thoughts gradually disperse. 

Remember, the key to unlocking these treasures lies in their impact on others and in the profound way they enrich your existence.

Master the Art of Self-Compassion

Learning the art of self-accountability and compassion is an ongoing, transformative process.

When disagreements arise, remember the power of compassion in your interactions. Even when your opinions differ, take a moment to understand their feelings, beliefs, and perspectives while valuing your own.

Also, remember that compassion starts within. So, before reaching out to others, explore your internal dialogue. How you treat yourself shapes your outlook, influencing your connections with the world.

Now, embark on a journey of understanding for others and yourself. 

Remember to Apologize 

With so many human interactions, misunderstandings are bound to happen. What doesn’t affect you deeply might touch someone else’s heart profoundly. But just because something seems harmless to you doesn’t mean it feels the same way to others.

Apologies are the bridges that mend the connections you cherish. So, if you’ve inadvertently stirred up waves or stepped on toes, be ready to apologize. It’s not about who’s right or wrong; it’s about nurturing the seas of communication, ensuring they remain calm, respectful, and open.

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Behind The Chemistry of Friendships

Have you ever wondered why you’ve clicked so well with someone right away? Or what drew you to your current friendships? 

The chemistry behind friendships gives you a window into why you may surround yourself with the people in your life.

Forming Bonds

Believe it or not, strong connections can form through close proximity, shared life stages, or shared interests. Being close to someone who shares the same taste in music, shares your same humor, or has gone through similar experiences can all set the foundation for friendship. 

Creating Chemistry

If you’ve felt an unexplainable pull from the friends in your life, there may be a scientific reason. Social scientists have considered the “mere-exposure effect” as a factor. When you have the chance to constantly be around another person, whether through school, work or in your community, you can grow familiar with their presence. 

Good Impressions

It’s no secret that some friendships begin in an instant. That’s why science indicates that you can be “in sync” with those you tend to see similarities with. During the first impression of a person, it’s not unusual to get a sense of who they are. In fact, findings suggested that a decision to start a friendship can begin as early as just meeting a person. 


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A Guide to Worrying Less

Do you feel like you’re constantly worrying, and it’s taking a toll on your life? 

The good news is that you’re not alone. Worrying is a natural part of life, and it’s completely normal. 

But with that said, there are techniques that can help you better manage it. 

Living a worry-free life can bring numerous advantages, from mental clarity to a healthier lifestyle. In this blog post, we’ll explore how you can do that! 

1. Take a Step Back and Assess the Situation

When you start to worry, it can be easy to get caught up in the details and lose sight of the bigger picture. Take a few moments to pause and assess the situation objectively. 

Ask yourself: Is this event as bad as it seems? Is there anything I can do to address the problem? Is worrying helping or just making things worse?

Challenging these assumptions that you have about worrying can help to keep your worries in check.

2. Practice Mindfulness and Quiet the Mind

When we are worried, thinking clearly and making decisions can be difficult. So, taking a few moments each day to focus on your breathing and being mindful of the present moment can effectively reduce anxiety and worry. 

You can learn to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings when you practice relaxation techniques. This can help you to recognize when you start to worry too much and take steps to manage your anxiety more effectively.

 3. Accept the Possibility of the Worst Outcome 

Instead of trying to combat or ignore your worries, acknowledge them. 

Remind yourself that the thing you fear might happen.

But you have the strength and courage to handle it if it does.  

Accepting the possibility of what you fear doesn’t mean that it will happen. It does mean that you’re preparing yourself for whatever happens. 

You’ve got this! 

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The Power of Establishing Boundaries to Prevent Burnout


Do you ever feel mentally and/or physically exhausted after a long day at work? 

If so, you may be experiencing burnout.

It’s not always easy to pinpoint which activity or general feeling may be causing your burnout. 

You may feel like your to-do list is unreasonable, or you may be pushing yourself past your limits. 

But the good news is these feelings are preventable and don’t have to last forever. 

By learning how to set boundaries, you can appropriately manage your needs and, in turn, prevent burnout.


Declining opportunities you don’t feel comfortable accepting is a form of boundary setting. 

It all comes down to communicating your needs. 

If your coworkers, friends or family don’t know how you feel, they may not know how to support you. When in doubt, honesty is the best policy. 

Ask For Help When You Need It

If there is something you need help with, don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Not all tasks are meant to be done completely independently. 

And not all tasks can easily be figured out solo.

Accepting that you don’t know everything can help you better respect your time and honour your boundaries.

It’s easy to assume that your peers may not be able to help your event. But they may pleasantly surprise you.

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International Day of Transgender Visibility

By: Tanya Kramer – LPC

The day to honor the Transgender Community was started in 2009 by Rachel Crandall, a US-based transgendered activist. 

Since 2009, this movement has grown with the help of social media to recognize and honor the transgender community all around the world.  

President Joe Biden officially proclaimed March 31, 2021, to be the International Transgender Day of Visibility in the United States. 

This day celebrates the resilience, contributions, successes and accomplishments of the transgender community. It’s also a day to recognize the important work that still needs to be done to achieve trans justice.

The International Transgender Day of Visibility celebrates places where transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals thrive. While also acknowledging the areas of continued oppression resulting in continued work for visibility and reform.

To learn more about the history of the International Transgender Day of Visibility, take some time to explore the National Today website.

To learn more about this day and access resources you can use in your local school, take some time to explore the GLSEN website:

To learn more about the Human Rights Campaign along with resources specific to transgender individuals, explore the Human Rights Campaign website:

To learn more about the resources available through Transactive Gender Project at Lewis and Clark, explore the following website:

Here are some resources to share or access yourself to continue the movement:

  • Book “Gender – A Graphic Guide” by Meg John Barker and Jules Scheele
  • Book “The Gender Creative Child” by Diane Ehrensaft, PhD
  • Book “The ABC’s of LGBT+” by Ashley Mardell
  • Book “Good Boy – My Life in Seven Dogs” by Jennifer Finney Boylan
  • Podcast “Gender Reveal” with Tuck Woodstock
  • Podcast “Gender Stories” with Alex Lantaffi
  • Youtube video interview with Micah Rajunov – who also wrote the book “Nonbinary Memoirs of Gender and Identity” along with Scott Duane

For individuals seeking Gender Affirming Medical Care, follow up with one of these resources:

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Embracing Our Emotions

Trying to fight or ignore emotions can give them even more power.

While facing and accepting them head-on can help us better understand and embrace them. 

Welcome Your Emotions 

Have you ever tried naming your emotions? 

Certain emotions can often feel a little confusing, and it can be hard to differentiate if they are positive, negative or somewhere in between.

Take note of what your body is trying to tell you.

You can do this by assessing the situation you are in and simply stating exactly what’s on your mind.

Sometimes saying exactly what’s going on in your head out loud can help make those thoughts easier to understand. 

Say Thank You

When friends come to visit us, we thank them.

Why can’t we do the same thing with our emotions?

Every emotion has something to teach us – and we can thank them for that. 

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re starting to get worried about a deadline at work.

You can thank your worry for keeping you on track and on top of your deadline.

After all, all feelings visit us for a reason! 

Listen And Learn

Emotions do so much for us. 

They can help us dig deep, stay safe, set goals and step outside our comfort zone. Taking the time to really listen to them can teach us valuable lessons. 

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National Religious Freedom Day

National Religious Freedom Day on January 16th is a time to commemorate the signing of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom drafted by Thomas Jefferson on January 16th, 1786. 

This statute became the basis for the establishment clause and led to the freedom of religion in America. It meant that people of different faiths could freely express their own religious beliefs. Giving everyone the right to believe in a religion, change their religion, or choose not to follow any religion. 

Today, we can remember and celebrate this day by recognizing the diversity in our communities and in the world. We all have a right to practice our religions but must also remember to mutually respect each other’s beliefs, even if they are different from ours. There is no one right way to experience and express religion, so this day is a reminder to respect all of the different ways that people express their beliefs, as long as they are not harming another person or group.

Religion is often an important part of people’s culture and a way that they can experience a connection to their community, family and ancestors. ​​Religion can be a key factor in the cultural identity of many people, influencing their behavior and traditions. Prayer, rituals and art are some of the ways people show their involvement in a particular religion. 

We can learn about the rich history of religions that have helped to shape humanity by reading relevant books or watching videos about these topics. 

Understanding and empathy are two key concepts to focus on National Religious Freedom Day. 

For more information, visit the resources below: 

Religious Freedom Day | Guidebook

Religious Freedom Day Resources For Educators 

Religious Freedom Day Resources For Parents

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Understanding and Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?

“Everyone is better than me.” 

“I can’t do anything right.”

“Sooner or later, my peers will realize I don’t know what I’m doing.”

The above are common thoughts associated with imposter syndrome. 

Those who experience imposter syndrome often feel like they are underqualified, inexperienced or simply not good enough. 

Remember, a thought is not a fact. 

Just because something feels true doesn’t mean it is. 

It all comes down to shifting your mindset. 

Recognize All Efforts

All of your accomplishments are a result of your hard work!

You got hired because you were the best candidate for the position.

You got a good mark on that test because you put the work in.

It’s so important to be mindful of how we think about ourselves and be our own cheerleaders. 

The next time you catch yourself experiencing some self-doubt – finish the following sentences. 

“Today, I am proud that I…”

“I can’t believe that I achieved…”

“Wow! … really paid off.”

Redefine Success

There is no set-in-stone definition of success.

Success comes in many forms and means different things to different people.

Our journey to finding success isn’t measured by what we achieve. 

It is measured by our progress. 

Instead of thinking about how much you have to do, think about how far you’ve come. 

“Success is a process for all of us, and as long as you are making consistent progress towards your goals – sincerely giving your best effort more often than not – then you are already successful and deserve to feel proud of yourself.” – Hal Elrod

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