Family: In A House Or A Home?

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Are you in a house or a home?

If you asked me this 20 years ago, I would say, I am in a loving home. A home is where the heart is and if your loved one, partner, or spouse is with you and you’re living in harmony, then, it is a home. It can be a small one-bedroom flat or an 8-room mansion; what makes a home is the people living in it. It was a home, 20 years ago, but now, I don’t even know what to call it.

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Are You In A House Or A Home During Quarantine?

There is this trend going around on TikTok where people show off their houses. The challenged was to show off the coolest parts of their house, a part where no one else had. One girl was saying that everybody was showing off their houses but none of them had a full on cockpit as their balcony. Cool, right? Some people just show off their pets which are usually pretty cute. Another take on this challenge is where people show you how they live their daily lives at home during quarantine and it usually is just the same thing over and over.

Eventually, the challenge started to become rich kids flaunting their bedrooms. One girl had a bedroom with two floors and a spiral staircase with a floor to ceiling library that she could access from her staircase. It looked elegant and well designed. Anyone watching that video would be in awe of her room. It was basically a two story house for a bedroom, a luxury that not everyone could have and not everyone would appreciate.

If I were to be stuck in quarantine, having a house and a room like that would be perfect. There would be so many things to do and I would end up being productive. Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of having a big house. Some people, like me, are stuck in an old dingy apartment in a sketchy part of town where your alarm are crying babies, police sirens, and shouting matches.

For some people, like celebrities, it is so easy for them to say that we should all stay home and be productive there. Some people do not have that option because some people unfortunately have to risk their lives to go to work. Some people do stay home but staying home affects them mentally because if there is one thing that I have learned and realized is that even though I was praying to every god I knew so I could be alone, being stuck in isolation with just your thoughts took a huge toll on me and my mental state. So, like I always say, check up on your friends and family even the strong ones because they can be weak too and you may not realize it.

But one of the biggest things that hit me during this pandemic is that everyone says that we should stay home so we could be safe from the virus but no one ever thought about the people who do not have homes or the people who stay in a house where they are abused physically, verbally, emotionally, sexually, and mentally. In some countries, rape cases have gone up by at least 25% and that is just the cases that are reported.

Sometimes, a house will never feel like a home no matter how expensive it is. A pretend happy home life will fall apart during this quarantine because this pandemic reveals the truth about everyone aand everything. Being a home means that you feel loved, you feel safe, and you feel cared for that is why we say to people we love that they feel like home.

Having a beautiful house may be a luxury but having a home is a privilege which is why we should always be thankful for having a home no matter how big or small, elegant or not because this may be the one thing that other people are craving for during this pandemic. More than a vaccine, more than a cure, some people might just be looking for a home, that is something we should never take for granted.

Psychologist’s Corner: Tips In Surviving A New Neighborhood

Moving to a new neighborhood can be scary and fun all at the same time. You will feel awkward at first, especially when you still have no one to talk to from one of your neighbors. At the same time, you will also have this hesitation on how to deal with the other people living in your area since you still have no idea about their backgrounds or stories. On the other hand, it can also be fun because of the excitement that you feel inside of you. Somehow, you feel giddy and excited to get to know new people and bond with them.

According to a BetterHelp psychologist I talked to recently, all these conflicting feelings are only typical of someone who is taking a new milestone in his life.

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Now that you have moved into a new place, you need to prepare yourself in meeting a new community. We understand how extra challenging it can be to connect with some people who are still not familiar to you. Because of this, we are going to share some of the tips to remember when it comes to surviving a new neighborhood. Keep in mind that the list above may or may not work. As such, it is still crucial on your part to make an effort to do what is right based on your guts. Here is the list:

Put On A Happy Face

As you move into a new house, make sure that people can see you as a happy person. In so doing, it can send a signal to them that you are friendly and approachable. As much as possible, smile when you are outside your house or when you attend community events. Once you do this right, people will start coming up to you and eventually introduce themselves. However, you need to understand that there is a getting to know stage before you can get close with someone, which is why you must not quickly get disappointed if it takes time to bond with a new neighbor even if you continuously bring in positive vibes to everyone.

“If you try, even when it’s difficult, to smile when you are not feeling good, there is a change it might improve your affect and change the way you are feeling.” –Karen Kleiman MSW, LCSW

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Respect Boundaries

As already emphasized in the paragraph above, you also need to consider the fact that you will not get instantly close to your neighbors. Give these people time to get to know you and your family. Do not rush the process so that they will not get hesitant in dealing with you. Remember to respect any boundary that you may have between each other. Failure to do this thing can lead to some problems in the future. For example, if you recently meet the family living next to your house, do not be too mushy when talking to them. Avoid feeling too close since you are still in the process of discovering the truths about each other, Avoid acting too proud as it can drive them away.

 “If they push and don’t respect your boundary, then that’s a red flag. If they express disappointment, but understanding, then these are likely the people that like you for ‘you’ and not what you can do for them,” –Erika Martinez, PsyD

Host A Party

A quick way to meet new people in your neighborhood is to organize a gathering or party where everyone can come. All you have to do is to think of a theme for your housewarming activity and send invites to some people. However, you need to prepare yourself in case some of them may not come. Remember that you are still new to the community, which is why they may be hesitant to attend. If your party turns out to be a huge success, then make sure to use it as an opportunity to get close to your neighbors. In case you encounter some issues, promise yourself to try another time again.

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 “If you find yourself avoiding parties, work gatherings, or even your own friends and family, there may be a fear of judgment or underlying feelings of inadequacy.” –Dr. Marisa Alter, PsyD, a clinical psychologist

Observe The Rules

Before you came into the neighborhood, there are already existing rules and regulations that everyone must observe. Do not make the mistake of questioning their standard practices or customs so that they will not end up liking you. For example, if there is a rule that requires any resident to become a member of the homeowners association in the community, be sure to become one. Aside from this, if such membership obligates you to pay some monthly dues, do it without hesitating. Avoid asking too many questions that can make you appear annoying. Take note that the goal is to blend in and make them see that you are a fantastic individual.

There can be tons of challenges in moving to a new home. Do not look at it as a frightening situation. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to meet new people and discover how you can survive a new chapter of your life.

A Therapist’s Advice On Better Handling A Neighborhood

No one wants to live in a bad neighborhood where everything seems causing a mess, misunderstanding, and disputes. It is not healthy in both emotional and mental health. An unpleasant community relationship will only bring too much stress, anxiety, and depression to those involved individuals. There are drama and pressure from having a neighborhood that does not contribute to growth and development. However, with all those emotional and psychological effects of the situation, a bit of therapist advice (maybe from BetterHelp) might be good. Here are some of the things one can do to handle a neighborhood better.

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Be Nice To Introduce Yourself (But Don’t Overdo An Invitation)

Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC  used to say, “Your environment, both your social and natural surroundings, can greatly impact how you feel.” It would be nice to introduce yourself to the community. It will not only help you gain friends within the area, but the act also helps in diminishing future animosity. It could create an excellent communication tool for different parties. You can start by saying “hi” and showing interest in the people in the neighborhood. But be mindful never overdo an invitation. Meaning, don’t get the wrong idea of letting people feel an unhealthy closeness. You need to be kind to let them know you. But be sure to stick with your personality and don’t become what the people expect you to be.

Mind Your Own Business (Know Your Boundaries)

It is okay that you feel empathic towards your neighbors. It is a significant sign of social development. But what is not okay is you nosing around and trying to get too much involved in their lives. That is, even when you have nothing to do with their situation. There is a thin line between concern and intrusion. You can become concern all the time. You can show sympathy and care for your neighbor in a distant way. But interference is different. You need to understand that not all people in the neighborhood are happy with you knowing all things about them. Note that you have to “Bring the right people into your life.” Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D said.

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Never Gossip (Keep Your Opinion To Yourself)

As an individual, you get entitled to your opinion. You can say whatever you want because you have the right to express yourself. You may agree or disagree on certain things. However, when it comes to your neighbor’s life issues, you better keep your opinion to yourself. Always remember that a piece of unsolicited advice has no room for community or personal development. It can only cause additional damage to what is currently troubling the table. Never start or add something in a gossiping conversation because there is no assurance that everything will stay as is. Remember, “Harsh words are just as damaging whether they come from someone else or whether they come from you,” says licensed psychologist Cindy T. Graham, PhD

Stay In The Middle Of An Argument (Never Take Sides)

One significant thing that destroys neighborhood relationships is the habit of taking sides. When you listen and believe to the person who tells you a convincing first side of the story, you deprive the other one the right to explain his. With that, you become bias and judgmental towards the other. It doesn’t support community growth because you created a restriction by choosing which side you are in. Therefore, instead of contributing to fixing an issue, you fuel things up.

Don’t Step Off The Lane (Keep Your Issues On Base)

It is quite clear that you somehow know your responsibilities to your neighborhood. You care, communicate, engage, and contribute to its betterment. Therefore, you feel comfortable in its system. However, you must understand that your comfortability does not necessarily mean you need everyone’s involvement in your life. There are things that you must keep to yourself, and that includes your personal life issues. You don’t broadcast it to the community to get attention, approval, or sympathy. Keep in mind that people might not care about particular stuff. You might as well enjoy your privacy as much as you need to.

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Offer A Helping Hand (But Avoid Too Much Affection)

A neighbor’s role is not just a provider of an everyday smile. There are times that it can support a healthy competition too. But that does not mean you need to deny them a helping hand. As much as possible, you have to become an excellent service in times of these people’s needs. Besides, small acts can create a big deal in some circumstances. What is not appropriate is when you try to help but want to get something in return. Offering a helping hand doesn’t mean you are entitled to your neighbor’s affection. It doesn’t work that way. You can help but be sure to keep your distance.

If you are intelligent enough to understand your role as a neighbor, you will surely survive to handle a better community.

The Anxiety Over Living In A New Neighborhood

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Moving to a new home means having to familiarize yourself to the new neighborhood and your new neighbors. Some families love to welcome their next-door neighbors, while others just can’t stand the anticipation and anxiety of wondering what kind of neighbors they have. That is especially true if they have had a very harmonious relationship with their past neighbors. Your kids might be hesitant to play outside and call out the kids in the next home because they’re afraid they might be rejected. You and your spouse aren’t too eager to invite the couples near you – maybe they’re not like the ones they had before they moved.

“It’s ‘normal’ to experience some degree of anxiety when stressors are unfamiliar, unpredictable, or imminent.” Marla W. Deibler, PsyD said. It does not always require counseling from BetterHelp therapists. But if you need to help your family get settled into your new home and community, here are some time-efficient guidelines to ease up, relax, and successfully adapt to both.

Be Acquainted With Your Neighbors

It’s natural to wonder who your new neighbors are when you move into a new city, neighborhood, or even into a new building. Usually, you don’t make the effort of introducing yourself to these new people, and you just leave it all to chance. It’s because we are often busy settling in, arranging our things, enrolling the kids to the new school, and so on. But it is important to note that getting acquainted with your neighbors offers you and your family a safe and secure community, one wherein different kinds of people living in one place look out for each other. It’s also a wonderful way of establishing new but lasting friendships. Besides, David Klow, a licensed therapist used to say, “By building a list of people that you trust, with whom you can talk to in times of need, you allow yourself a strong sense of not being alone.”

Organize A Housewarming Party

Just a few days since you’ve moved, you probably won’t think about organizing any kind of party, but perhaps you should reconsider. After unpacking a few things and maybe arranging the living room, kitchen, and deck gather your nerves and a little enthusiasm to invite some neighbors that are within the vicinity. It’s a good way to meet new people while making way for adjusting to the different personalities, familiarizing yourself with the highlights and festivities in your community. Make it simple so that they won’t think you’re a show-off. If you want, you can even ask them to bring their chairs or glasses.

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Engage In Conversations

Despite having successfully invited your new neighbors over, most new families still don’t find it easy to loosen up and relax when they’re with them. Some are anxious and scared of rejection, while others are thinking about their privacy. So while you’re serving snacks and drinks to your new neighbors, observe their interests and their dislikes, and ease your way with by engaging in simple conversations, like where they spend their weekends, or if they have family get-togethers in the community, or where their kids go to school. Share some parts of yourself and don’t look like you’re too nosy.

Tour Around Your Community

When you’ve spent a week or two unpacking, cleaning up, and organizing your home, you should get out and free yourself from the stress. Check out your new community – the church, playground, museums, libraries, grocery stores, and hospitals. You can stop for home supplies while touring the surrounding landmarks. It’ll help you learn more about your new place and feel more comfortable with the new environment.

Help Your Kids Get Settled In

Children need help getting acquainted with a new home, especially if they have close friends in their previous neighborhood. Make it easier for them by getting them involved in community activities. Attend community meetings together so your children will have the opportunity to meet new playmates. Find people who can help you learn more about their school. If there are activities that need the kids to volunteer, let them join in. This way, they develop their social skills and increase their self-esteem. Allow them also to learn on their own when it comes to choosing their friends. Do not be too protective but just be there to guide them along the way.

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It does take a little time to settle in and feel at home in a new home and community. And it does take some patience, versatility, and effort to be acclimated to all the new things in front of you, but you need to. As explained by Nikki Martinez, Psy.D. LCPC “We only have control of ourselves and our own desire for growth and change. Part of that growth and change is deciding the type of person we allow in our lives, and the positive impact they can have on us.” Encourage your family to feel more at home every day. Gradually, you’ll realize that you successfully settled in, made new friends, and embraced the new community that you’re blessed with.

Home Improvement Ideas: The 2014 West Palm Beach Fall Home Show

The 2014 West Palm Beach Fall Home Show is a gathering for individuals craving for new ideas and products they need for home decorating, landscaping, and remodeling. It is an event that provides the attendees with a multitude of visual experiences and interactive demonstrations that can revitalize the creativity for their home improvement.

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Featured Events In The Show

Attendees on the event can witness different designs and collaborations of home remodeling. It includes a kitchen showcase, hot tub blowout sale, outdoor living showcase, and photo gallery. Individuals also enjoy exhibitor directory where they get the chance to meet the talented persons behind the designs of the showrooms.

Reasons To Attend

Save Time And Effort – Attendees can meet a wide variety of companies in the gathering. It can save them time in looking for the available home improvement experts.

Compare And Get Discounts – The number of different services and products can help an individual in finding what suits their budget range. They can also get discounts on selected items thus saving more money for other purchases.

New Ideas and Resources – The unique products in the events can spark some new ideas that can help an individual in their home improvement plan. It is also an excellent way to know where to get project products and services.

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Expert Advice – Professionals and experts in the field of home improvement are present in the event. Individuals can ask more about their home remodeling needs.

Social Exchange – The event creates a friendly environment for everyone. It supports an exchange of insights and ideas from other individuals with the same enthusiasm for home improvement.

The individuals who want to enhance the functionality, comfort, appeal, and value of their home appears to have an advantage. And that’s because of attending the West Palm Beach Fall Home Show.

Principles In Building A Better Neighborhood

Keeping a good neighborhood is a big deal for us, our family, and individuals who live in it. Therefore, we are responsible for keeping it safe, clean, and protected at all cost. There are thousands of neighborhoods, and some of them are entirely nice and beautiful. And even those old neighborhoods tend to be appealing as well. That’s the reason why we don’t leave anything about it to slow pace of change. As part of the community, we want it to grow and develop into something that generations will surely thank us for doing. In building a better neighborhood, it’s our responsibility to identify the principles that determine its progress. Therefore, we need to understand the process of how to get it done.

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The Neighborhood Matters – Get Involved (Community Discussion)

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Having a safe neighborhood is one of the major priorities of every family in the society. Every household prefers a community that is away from crime, free of noise, and out of trouble and danger. However, people somehow can’t escape the neighborhood issues in some instances. There are still problems that can always make its way to any community on different occasions. Now that the economy is at distress and unemployment is skyrocketing, the concerns of the neighborhood nowadays is not a laughing matter.

There are a lot of techniques to increase the safety of the neighborhood. These simple steps include the most basic protective measures from locking the doors to a more complicated routine like creating a neighborhood watch program. Although these methods may not eliminate “all” the dangers of crime, at least it can minimize crime rates in the area.

How To Maintain The Safety Of The Neighborhood

Get To Know The People Around Your Area

The very first thing to do towards making the neighborhood safe is by getting to know the people within the community. Getting to know your next-door-neighbor can be as simple as going door to door with a batch of freshly baked pastries. Food always does the trick. This step is significant because you and your neighbors are going to be partners in watching the activities in your block.

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Learn Basic Information About The People In The Neighborhood

Don’t be afraid to ask some useful information if there are new individuals around. Know whether they have kids or relatives that live with them. It will allow you to keep a record of the usual people you see almost every day. Aside from that, it is important to be friends with your neighbors to avoid future problems as well.

Install And Find Out Who Has Video Surveillance Devices In The Area

Having a video surveillance device is a must nowadays. These technological tools help in monitoring the neighborhood. It keeps a log of everything that can be useful for the people in the community. Criminals are pathologically afraid of getting caught, and these cameras are a way of keeping them out of guard.

Invite The Presence Of The Law Enforcement In Your Community

Police always keeps the criminals away. It is essential to have a law enforcer around the vicinity in case of any danger. Law enforcement officers still offer protective tips to help the neighborhood maintain its safety. They can even create programs that teach the whole community in ways to protect themselves from trouble or any violent attacks.

Always Keep Your Yard Clean And Presentable

A clean yard can attract positivity within the neighborhood. It can also show that the homeowners are capable of handling and taking care of their parameter. With this positive approach, people in the community might follow the same action. It is a good way of showing others that each member of the community is responsible for bringing the best out of their neighborhood.

Keep Your Vacations Short And Don’t Post It In Social Media

A home without any person around is a gold mine for some individuals with bad intentions. Inform your close friends and neighbors that you and your family are going out of town. This way, they can watch your house for you. Never post your plans for a vacation online. It will only give the criminals an idea when to rob your house.

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Keeping the neighborhood environmentally friendly is always a team effort. The community is responsible for contributing effort in everything. You should be able to encourage your neighbors to make your surrounding clean and safe as much as possible.