4 Calming Strategies for a Stressed Household: The Mysterious Effect of Aliens and Princesses

April 21, 2016

Our stressed out household came about as the result of a BIG Decision. We're uprooting our lives and moving to the coast! It’s a frightening and stressful place to be. The kind of place that keeps you up at night. No, I haven’t been sleeping well. As Twenty-One Pilots sings, “I’ve been thinking too much… help me… I’ve been thinking too much.” Anxiety isn’t a friendly bedfellow. Add stress to tired and you get one seriously worked up woman. And it’s not just me. Everyone in the house has their own little dose of discomfort.

But, it’s in those moments that God throws you a little TLC. It’s mysterious. Beautiful. Needed.

Here are 4 ways we found peace amid the storm:


Thursdays are my days off and consequently, they’re the days I try to tackle everything. Appointments. Laundry. House cleaning. Writing. Lunch with Rachel (if I’m lucky). It’s all errands and elbow grease, lunch with Rachel aside. That’s totally me-time.

On this particular Thursday, Abby had a doctor’s appointment - her rising 6th grader check-up. Yes, it meant shots. My first impression was a “Oh, great! As if telling her we were moving wasn’t enough drama for a week, now she’s getting shots to boot!” Younger Abby didn’t take shots well. I remembered the kicking fits, the endless tears, the red-faced, quivering lip that seemed to ask me, “Why would you do this to your own daughter?”

Still. Any excuse to spend time together was a welcomed one, as far as I was concerned. We needed it!

At eleven years old, Abby’s a beautiful young lady now. She received her shots gracefully. We had breakfast at Panera. She angled for a day off of school.

I gave in.

#2 LET GO OF OBLIGATIONS (if possible). Everyone needs a break. A stressed household needs time.

We made it home in time for our next appointment, arranged by Joe. While a team of painters erased eleven years of smudges and dirt with a color called Sand Dollar, Abby and I cuddled on the couch.

I let go of all those nagging things I could be doing to just be.

#3 DO SOMETHING FUN. Aliens and Princesses might help!

We watched E.T. and The Princess Bride. We researched middle schools in Wilmington. Abby even started a list, noting the school’s online ratings, clubs, sports, and crime records (she was beautifully thorough). She starred the ones she liked best. We searched for houses.

Later, after softball, Abby revealed her plan for packing. “Invite three friends over. Get boxes. Start an assembly line.”

Not a bad idea.


All our burdens and worries remained, but somehow they didn’t feel as heavy anymore. They were moving aside to make way for hopes and plans.

It was a great day. A day of peace amid the chaos.

"Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." New Living Translation (NLT)

MSG - "Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace."

Matthew 11:28-30