Unplug & Hug Blog

December 23, 2017

Like most kids, my internal countdown to Christmas was palpable.

The butterflies in my stomach and the agonizing wait for Santa’s Big Day, I wore on my sleeve.

Christmas couldn’t come soon enough.

My Mom and Dad, working hand-in-hand with Santa, did an excellent job filling my Christmas list every year. So, of course, the idea of new Barbies and Barbie accessories (all I cared about, really) factored in heavily to my idea that December 25th was, hands-down, the best day of the year. To sum it up very eloquently:

‘Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas, upon which the entire kid year revolved.’ 

- Ralphie, A Christmas Story

Santa has long moved on to a new generation of chimneys.

Yet, my heightened excitement for the holidays remains. As an adult, it’s obviously not about Santa and piles of presents anymore. Heck, who can afford an epic, Santa-level haul these days?

But, looking back, I don’t think it was all about the ‘stuff’ when I was a kid either.

I think what I love and have always loved ab...

December 16, 2017

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a local diner for breakfast. We sat up at the counter, and next to us were a young man (early 20s) and his father. A charming picture, except for one thing: The entire time, the son was glued to his phone. Didn’t say a word that I could tell to his father, who ended up chatting off and on with the cook and wait staff. Then the check came, and the father took out his wallet and paid the bill.

What’s he paying for? Clearly not the pleasure of his son’s company!

First of all, yes, this brings to mind the conventional wisdom of “appreciate your loved ones because you never know how much time you’ll have with them”. But what really struck me about the whole thing was just how rude it was! This guy’s father could’ve taken him to McDonald’s drive-thru or gotten a bag of donuts at the Wawa next door.

But, no. He took him to this diner, presumably to spend time with him. But instead of appreciating the gesture, the son couldn’t be bothered to speak to him, much le...

December 2, 2017

So how many hugs do you get a day?  According to Virginia Satir, “Mother of Family Therapy”

We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.

Given the message to unplug and hug, twelve hugs a day will provide lots of opportunities for expansion.  Beyond growth, however, hugging can be a potent healer of the soul.  Hugs can be exchanged anywhere, no outlet required.  No tech device can claim that super power!

So, what’s in a hug? 

Hugging actually stimulates certain brain chemicals.  Oxytocin is what makes us social beings and allows us to feel empathy for others.  The boost in oxytocin resulting from a hug can ease feelings of loneliness and isolation, and even reduce feelings of anger.  Have you ever tried to stay mad at someone when you are hugging?  I find it virtually impossible.  Serotonin, one of the “feel good” hormones, is also released when embracing for an extended period, elevating our mood and creat...

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Annabel Olah

Wife | Mom | Teacher

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2017 | Unplug & Hug 

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