Creating a Light, Loving, Cheerful Atmosphere at Home (even – especially! – when you’re STRESSED)

So, I don’t know if your family ever experiences this – but – sometimes our home is a little, eh, tense.

Famiy - Carlson-18

Stress is a pretty weighty reality in most of our lives. If you know me or have read this blog very much you know that I am passionate about creating a vibrant, godly, loving home environment to the glory of God, for the joy of my family. I love being mama and being here so when I can feel the joy in our home being threatened by the weight of stress, I am grieved and ready to dig in and fight for a happy home (even though life throws a lot of junk our way!). As the “keeper” of our home, I take the “household vibe” seriously.

Recently I was feeling really “under it” where stress is concerned. Tense around my husband and children who I love. Not enjoying meal times together. Uncomfortable in my own space. Proverbs 14 says The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.” I felt myself allowing my physical/spiritual/emotional exhaustion to drive me to hostility and resentment toward those I love and am called to serve.

I began to pray about it and felt the Lord leading me to reach out to some godly friends and ask for their insight and practical ideas for dealing with stress and how to lighten the atmosphere at home. I was blown away and totally encouraged by their responses and I want to share a little bit of that here, as I trust it may benefit some of you as well:

  • “Honestly sometimes we adopt a ‘fake it till you make it’ plan and just pretend to be cheerful. I have noticed our girls react to us if things are tense for any reason and I don’t want that. So we get on the floor and play silly games or sing songs or we get outside for a walk, etc. Anything to take our mind off any worries!”
  • “…I understand completely! Something that really helps in our home is to sing scripture songs in the morning…we end up humming or singing the tune during the day.”
  • “Maybe try setting aside a specific time each week to just do something you enjoy, as a family or a couple…a game night, a walk to the park, a 10 minute dance party, a coloring fest, a $1 ice-cream cone…I know so many of these things are part of our daily lives, but I think sometimes it’s more in MY mindset. If I know in my head that this hour is our one hour of family fun time it helps to refocus my own attitude, relax, and enjoy it more.” 
  • …Sometimes I think we are just in need of a good nap. I know that we..have an agreement that if one of us feels like we are sinking, we have to tell the other person and ask for help…It is amazing how the Lord lifts my heart up through that rest time. If my husband isn’t available I try to get the kids to take a down time and rest while I do the same. It is too easy to feel like we HAVE to get everything done at once and forget that if our hearts are not right or we feel overwhelmed that it isn’t worth it. A prayer that I have begun to pray every day is, ‘Lord, show me how to order this day.'”
  • …We have been exactly like that lately! Lots of stress and tense atmosphere at times. First I have to remind myself that there is a very real enemy out there who is trying to break down every aspect of family – marriage, relationship with children, our self. Some practical things that have helped me…getting out of the house and fresh air! Some time with wise & fun friends to laugh, play board games, build relationships. And a spiritual one that has really helped lately is fasting once a week…crying sometimes is okay too.”
  • “Other than prayer of course…I love the relaxation station on Pandora. It’s a lot of piano and can keep the kids settled more. Scented candles are a staple in our home…decaf coffee…lots of comforts in our home atmosphere…I try to make it a cozy place to come home to.” 
  • “Make prayer the priority, especially during stressful times. I think it’s easy to let that slip, but during stressful seasons it’s our vehicle to God and carrying His light and easy burden. ‘Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.’ And, pray and worship together!…It’s biblical that it breaks a heavy yoke and brings a spirit of joy for a spirit of heaviness…Maybe ask God is there anything in your schedule or life He is trying to put a finger on, anything that isn’t HIM you can let go of? Or is this stress ‘of Him’ and He will give you the grace to bear up under it?”
  • I find exercise to be a natural stress reliever, just a vigorous walk could help. Also, during a time of great frustration, God convicted me of grumbling and I made a change in my behavior which made a big change in my heart…I would just thank him for thing after thing after thing and it did an amazing work in my heart.” 
  • Essential oils for soothing, comfort, stress relief
  • Comic relief! Tim Hawkins, America’s Funniest Home Videos, Awkward Family Photos, “Mom’s Night Out”
  • Have a doctor check hormone and thyroid levels. Esp. progesterone, vitamin D levels, etc.
  • Epsom salt baths and foot soaks
  • Reading something relaxing, off-topic and light 
  • Enjoy art, music, the outdoors – anything beautiful and edifying
  • Having a couple of nights of very simple, low-key dinners (smoothies? popcorn?)

When life is just “survival & brownies” (to borrow a fitting phrase from a friend of mine!) it’s especially important to be proactive and deliberate about creating a light and cheerful atmosphere in the home. Some of the things on this list we’ve already been doing and will just be especially diligent with when we’re feeling maxed. Others are new and I am excited to try! What a blessing to have godly women in my life sharing their wisdom and insight. I thought twice about asking them about this, worried a bit about judgment and condemnation, but instead I found sisters and love and promises to pray. I think it is really healthy and helpful to acknowledge that you’re stressed outta your mind … & then ask the Lord for strength and wisdom to get through it without lashing out at your family or destroying the work of your own hands.



May God give us grace to use the difficulties in our life to make us more like him! ❤

With love,


P.S. Do you have anything to add to this list? Let me know! xoxo


2 thoughts on “Creating a Light, Loving, Cheerful Atmosphere at Home (even – especially! – when you’re STRESSED)

  1. One tradition we do in my house is everyone at the dinner table says the worst part of their day and the best part of their day. We don’t sugar coat it or get mad if someone shares something someone doesn’t like. That way we all know what someone was thinking, or how we can respond in the future. One more thing, if you have an ipad, smartphone, whatever with a bible app, you or your spouse read to each other at night when you are both going to sleep. Hearing someone read God’s word before you go to sleep is always relaxing. (Plus you don’t have to get up and shut the light off)

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