Whether the mood of your home has suffered due to losses from a cross country move or any number of changes, just a bit of effort thrown into any of these four categories will yield BIG results. I would even go so far as to say they have the ability to instantly boost the morale of your home.
1. Step Up Your Food Game
Lighting candles, writing out a menu, serving food you know your kids and spouse will enjoy, setting a pretty table… These things may seem trivial, especially in the midst of crazy times, but they are so important. The table has the ability to provide comfort, instill value, create memories, provide physical and emotional nourishment, create space for conversation and laughter… It matters a lot. And when things are sad in your home, it especially matters that someone is prioritizing the table.
2. Get to Know Other People
It seems counterintuitive when your family is hurting, but getting to know other people really helps. Maybe you’re the type who is quite content to spend the afternoon with a stack of books and an iced coffee, and on some days that may be just what the doctor ordered, but the reality is there is something about getting together with other people that is good for every member of your family, regardless of personality type or social preference. Say yes to invitations when you can, keep an open mind about new opportunities and friendships and expect the Lord to lead and bless you. He will.
3. Plan Something to Look Forward To
Getting out a cute calendar (I love the Home Edit one from Target), and plotting out some fun things to do, even if they are inexpensive and seemingly inconsequential, will always give people in your home hope and hope is good, especially when things have been looking bleak. Weekly traditions like family movie night, game night, Mommy/Daddy Starbucks dates, weekly family devotions with donuts or candy…. pretty much anything that is planned in advance can be a source of hope that provides an anchor throughout the week for little ones and adults alike to want to persevere because they can see a little light at the end of the tunnel.
Spontaneity can also be extremely beneficial in healing a broken spirit. Announcing to everyone that you’re going to ditch the drudgery for the day and head out for a road trip somewhere fun is so healthy and very often provides new perspective. But, don’t underestimate the power of taking the time to plan fun that everyone can be looking forward to.
4. Go Outside
I cannot emphasize enough how personally beneficial it has been to me to have kids who play sports. It has provided opportunity after opportunity to get out of the house, around other people, outside in the sunshine. That is good and very needed when pessimistic thoughts about all we’ve lost have created a funky spiritual aroma in our home.
Remember, eventually the people in your new state are going to discover that you are just a human. The neighbors will hear you when you’re not your best self and that’s ok. Still chat with them. People will assume mean things about you sometimes, just as you have about others. That’s ok, strive to make gracious assumptions and love people genuinely.
If you get outside for a walk, you’ll lower your cortisol levels and increase your serotonin levels – that means less stress, more happiness, deeper sleep (and a cute tan). Look for ways to daily incorporate plenty of outside time wherever you can.
Why it Matters
Unlike what we’ve learned from the left over the last several decades, we believe parents exist for children, not the other way around. That means if our children are struggling with something, it’s our problem and it’s our job to do everything in our power to help. Modeling joyful contentment is important, but it’s also important to give tangibly to our children in every way we can.
Instead of allowing the loss to rule, fill your people’s minds and hearts with hope. Tell them what you see God doing in them. Tell them why you appreciate them. Throw yummy food their way. Let them meet other people. Give them something they can look forward to and get outside. When you attack the sadness in these ways, you are bringing light out of darkness and clarity out of confusion. You are literally changing the memory that would be if you were not a character in their story.
May we find joy in this unique role and may God use every bit of loss for our real and personal gain. He is more than able.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…Ephesians 3:20
For more on comforting a family after a big move, check out my post here: http://redstateramblings.com/5-tips-for-comforting-your-family-during-a-big-move/