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Time Out Everybody!

Story and image photography contributed by Mark Stein

When we were kids, our parents would, on occasion, give us a time out when we got too rambunctious.

“Go to your room,” they would say. It seemed that they wanted us to calm down, and most likely, they wanted to calm themselves down too. Can you relate to that?

My mom used to send my brother and me to our room with the threat, “Wait ’til your father gets home!” Now, that was a threat we always heeded! My dad would come home from work, and my brother and me would be quietly sitting in our room reading books or doing anything but making noise (out of fear). My dad would speak with our mom, then open the door to our room. He would then sit down with us and ask us calmly what had happened. He always reminded us to be more respectful, more responsible, and to think about how our actions affected others, especially our mom. He never laid a hand on us or ever yelled at us. He always hugged us after the talk. We hugged our mom and said, “sorry, Mom,” before we all sat down around the kitchen table for supper. As I grew older, I figured out that my mom was way ahead of her time. My brother and I, as kids, needed to unplug. We needed to reboot our personal operating systems. We needed a time out to calm ourselves down to start over. Does this sound familiar to you at all? Can you relate? The world has evolved dramatically since I was a kid, and one might think that life would have become less complicated and less stressful with all the inventions over the past 60 years.

Honestly, I feel that life in the 21st century is anything but less complex than in 1961. We have much of the same trigger-points, along with new ones to keep us on edge. Today, more than ever, we all need to unplug from our surroundings and take time out. I don’t go to my room any longer, but I do give myself time outs. I spend time outdoors, in the peace and quietness of nature.

That is where I unwind, de-stress, and ground myself with deep breaths of fresh air while listening carefully to the sounds of nature’s silence.

What’s your secret to being unplugged? Talk to your family and friends about the importance of pressing that pause button and stepping away from stressful situations.

There has never been a better time to regain perspective and work from a fresh start!

Mark Stein is a Nova Scotia writer, photographer and nature lover who believes in making a positive difference to those he meets.

His daily column, Photo Friends, combines photographs with thought-provoking messages to uplift and inspire.

He engages readers with his unique perspectives and insights, always inviting feedback and discussion.

To sign up for Photo Friends, email Mark at

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