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Celebrate the Holidays!

Finding Environmental Support
Where You Need It
by Michelle Judd

Life can be overwhelming. Outside factors threaten, bills pile up, laundry too, and all at once, even the safe confines of your home can feel like another part of a growing list of stresses. How do you find peace in the middle of chaos when you are too tired, busy, or angry to do all that needs to be done?

Find your happy place.

This is not about escapism into medication, TV, or other activities meant to numb our senses and feelings. It’s about finding one, simple space in your place that you can call your own.

Several years ago I found myself sitting in my living room, crying as I shared some personal grief with my sister over the phone. I stared into the dining room as we talked, and kept staring long after I had hung up and blown my nose for the last time.

It is hard to describe the emotional comfort I found in that small vista of my dining room.

The colors were so rich. The chairs stood at attention. The table top was miraculously clutter-free. No bags or laundry baskets hovered sheepishly around doors; nor were errant shoes clogging walkways. Instead, there flowed from the room a steady stream of impressions: it’s clean; it’s pretty; it’s calming.

This was not true of the whole house. One doorway away, the sink was filled, recycling bags overflowed, and clothes covered the floor—even so, subconsciously, I had found my “happy place.”

Whenever life threatens I go there, kept clutter-free and ready for just such a reason.

This isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do in a busy household. It is stressful to manage alone, to try and hold everything and everyone together. However, the ability to find one corner of your house that is sane, that is calm, orderly, and possibly pretty, might be all that you need to recharge and keep going.

Take a moment to stake a spot as your own. It might be in a bedroom, bathroom, or in a sunny patch in your kitchen. Wherever it is, find it today. Help your family find their happy place too. Help each other maintain these happy places together.

Life can be sane for just a moment if we know where to look for support. Sometimes people support us, and sometimes our environment does too.

Michelle Judd is a writing coach working with individuals to break through the obstacles that hold then back from pursuing their dream of writing and publishing, encouraging all to use their gifts and talents to their fullest abilities. Contact her at

Are you stressed from deployment? reunion? PCS moves? military life in general?

Check out all the great resources at

In her book Life After Deployment: Military families share reunion stories and advice, author Karen Pavlicin helps family members find positive ways to cope with challenges and disappointments during deployment and reunion.

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