Back to School!

6 Sleep Hacks for a Smooth Transition Back to School

Staying up late, sleeping in, and much too much screen time …
Summer is winding down, and now is the time to get the kids back to a regular sleep schedule to start out the school year well.

  1. End of the Day Routine
    Our bodies thrive on routine. Start winding down at least 30 minutes before your goal bedtime. This can include setting clothes out for the next day, a warm bath with Epsom salt, a thorough hygiene routine, and story time before snuggling up under the covers.
  2. Set Bedtime
    This is helpful for both you and your children. Setting a reasonable bedtime is the key to getting appropriate and adequate sleep. Having a regular bedtime (even on the weekends) helps your body known when to wind down and when to rise. This makes both processes easier on your mind and your body.
  3. Set Wake-up Time
    Wake-up time is just as important as bedtime. Try to get up at the same time every morning, with a morning routine. First, drink some water. Then exercise or stretch. Get dressed, eat some breakfast, and brush your teeth before heading into a new day.
  4. No Screens Before Bed
    If possible, avoid screen time two hours before bedtime. This includes phones, tablets, computers, and the television. Instead, end your day by going for a walk, playing a game, reading, or engaging in a relaxing nighttime routine.
  5. Chill Out
    The best sleep space is one that is a chilly 65-75 degrees. Cool the room with a fan or A/C if possible, then get cozy with comfy jammies and blankets.
  6. Calm Environment
    The best way to get sound sleep is by having a calm environment. Create a space with sheets that makes your kiddos happy and feel soft. Get the room glowing with a salt lamp, diffuse some lavender oil, and snuggle up.

Back in the office!

Back in June, I went back into the office to return to offering in-person sessions. I am happy to report I am still there, seeing people face to face, in real life.

I clean and sanitize the office throughout the day. Hand sanitizer and disposable masks are available for your safety and comfort.

Of course, Telehealth is still available and may be the better option for some people. If you are not feeling well, please stay home, rest, and get better. 🙂

See you soon!

Not alone

There have been two times in the past four years of my life that I have been so completely scared that I have been unable to form words. In both moments, I knew that I had absolutely no control over the situation but waited clumsily for things to change.

One of these moments took place exactly four years ago. We had driven up into the mountains in search of the perfect Christmas tree. The kids frolicked in the snow as their daddy cut down the tree, and it seemed like an idyllic Montana Christmas. What we didn’t notice until we started the drive back down the mountain, was that rain had been falling and covering the snowy roads while we were Christmas tree hunting. The truck slid around on the icy, narrow road, and I began to feel a bit too close to the daunting cliff beside me. Shaken, I turned to my husband for reassurance, and saw a look of fear on his normally stoic face. After finally getting the tire chains on, and creeping our way along the slick road, we ultimately made it home in the dark.

Yay! Happy Christmas tree adventure!

The second moment of fear-induced paralysis took place just last night. My family and I were enjoying the festivities of the annual Christmas Stroll in our small, friendly town. The downtown streets were bustling, Christmas songs were playing, and lights were twinkling. And somehow, in the midst of all the activity, my 5-year-old son wandered off on his own. I am not sure how I survived the next 30 minutes, as I am convinced my heart stopped beating and my lungs stopped working. He eventually turned up, thanks to a friend finding him and calling me. I am sure I caught many curious glances as I frantically ran down the main street to get him back.

Just 20 minutes before this little guy would wander off!

In both of these situations, I was so afraid that I could not imagine what the next moment might hold. Time stood still for me, while the world around me seemed to spin out of control. I am sure if you had asked me – I would have said there was nothing anyone could have done or said to make me feel any better.

And yet, in those moments, the presence of people seemed to remind my heart to keep beating and my lungs to keep breathing. In that dark truck four years ago, on the side of a mountain, I can still remember the feel of Lydia’s tiny hands grasping mine and somehow I knew we would get home safely. Last night, I saw friends and fellow parents stop what they were doing to come alongside of me and search for a lost little boy. And I was reminded – we are never really alone. We may feel alone in our weakness, and in the utter loss of control of our circumstances. And yet, if we allow ourselves to stop for just a moment and look around us, we find that there are others there, waiting for us to let them help. It may come from the most unexpected of places, but it will come if we allow ourselves to see it.

It would be so easy to cling to the embarrassment and shame I felt wash over me last night. “What kind of a horrible mother LOSES her son on one of the busiest nights in town?” But if I stayed in those feelings, I would miss the greater lesson that came from that experience. This is something I want to remember as I sit in my comfortable chair in my counseling office, and I listen to the pain pouring from a soul ravaged by depression and grief. This is a humbling and painful reminder of why I first entered into this work. Yes, I have taken lots of classes, read lots of books, attended lots of trainings, and learned lots of incredible things. But what I really want to know is how to come alongside someone who feels totally alone, and help to remind them that we are all in this together.

Walk-Talk Therapy

I am excited to announce that I am now offering walk-talk therapy!
Together we will join two of the best tools for wellness:  walking in nature and a therapy session using research-backed modalities.

Walk + Talk therapy can help you:

  • Cope with stress and depression
  • Improve your mood
  • Reduce your tension and anxiety
  • Improve self-esteem and feelings of well being

On top of all of that, Walk + Talk therapy:

  • Strengthens the mind-body connection
  • Increases energy
  • Improves sleep

Walk + Talk therapy may be right for you if…

  • The idea of therapy is intimidating to you.
  • You’re stuck at home with a little one and aren’t crazy about the idea of hiring a babysitter.
  • You’re the type of person who has their best ideas and motivation while on a walk or a run.
  • You’re a bit of an efficiency aficionado and the idea of going to therapy while getting some steps in for the day sounds like a good one.
  • You’re into research-based methods to boost your mood.

Studies show that exercise has many benefits that contribute to wellness:

  • Decreases depression and anxiety
  • Enhances brain plasticity (this is a fancy term for your brain’s ability to learn new things)
  • Increases your ability to regulate your emotions
  • Improves sleep


I’m excited to announce the “grand opening” of Hope Restored Counseling Services, a mental health counseling practice serving the Dillon area!

My focus is on working with individuals who are “stuck” in unhealthy patterns, couples to create satisfying marriages, and families to create ease of communication and understanding among family members. I am currently working on completing my Level 1 training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, and am working on coursework for addictions counseling.

I have a special interest in working with individuals who want to incorporate Christian counseling into the treatment of their mental health.

Please give me a call at 406-213-3432 or check out this page to contact me or find out more about my practice.

I look forward to getting a chance to connect with you!