Blog posts that provide encouragement for marriage and family success.


(*Originally posted 3/4/21 on my former web hosting platform.)

We are coming up on the one year anniversary we never wanted to see: One year since our world changed with COVID.

In many states stores are still shut down. Social distancing has become a necessary phrase. Hugs are a thing of the past. Masks are now commonplace. So many people are still stuck in their homes. Not everyone has wide open spaces away from people in which to bask in the sunlight.

These are certainly the times that try men's souls.

But there are some things we can do. Relaxation is key right now. Take time when you can to unwind and unplug. While working from home it's tempting to ignore everything and everyone else. The emails ping every time one comes in, colleagues and bosses expect work at all hours of the day and night, clients are calling all day and night. I was on a zoom call with students yesterday when my oldest dog started peeing all over the floor. What to do? Put all the students on hold while I take care of it? Wait until I'm done and let it seep all over the place? Yet another stress of working from home during this season.

And our spouses have the same things going on.

Our kids are stressed with new learning formats and new ways to submit their work. The stress of our families trickles down to us.

Perhaps like me you've been hearing a lot about self-care. It's an idea that's been around for a while. Basically, we need to take care of ourselves before we can adequately take care of anyone or anything else. And for most of us this sounds good but is rarely feasible.

The definition of "taking care of ourselves" is clearly different for every person. I like to unwind with a book while my husband unwinds by watching tv. My kids unwind by losing themselves in a video game.

No matter what we choose, a relaxing home is a must during this time. By having some relaxing elements in our home we can begin to create an atmosphere that is conducive to self care for the entire family. Here are some ideas that might help.

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* Soothing candles. More than ever I enjoy candles, especially in the evening. This Mrs. Myers one is a family favorite. But I have to admit Yankee does a good job, too!

* Himalayan salt lamps are said to provide healthy benefits to our air. Even if there aren't health benefits, they sure are pretty and that's relaxing to me!

* Diffused essential oils can also be very relaxing. Here's a diffuser my sister loves.

* Hot tea can also be relaxing. I find the act of heating the water, measuring tea, waiting for it to steep, and holding a hot tea cup very relaxing, no matter the flavor. Some teas are made to do the job, though. For this we love sleepy time tea (also available in k-cups). This is my VERY favorite way to steep a small amount of loose tea. It steeps, then you set it on your cup or mug and it releases the tea right into your cup. It's very fun!

* Some of us love baths. I find a hot soak very relaxing (couple that with some tea, a candle, and a good book and that's heaven for me!). Bath salts and bubble baths can be very relaxing. Even my son loves these salts and this is my favorite bubble bath solution.

Whatever you love, take time to do it. Your body, your mental health, and your family will thank you!