KLAFFSTORIES – Spring

Simple Solutions at Home Relieve the Stresses of Today’s Complex Lives

By Kerie Boshka, KLAFFS Tile & Stone, Norwalk

Thoughts – and a Few Tricks – to Create Serenity

Little stressful moments shouldn’t ruin someone’s day. That’s great in theory, but you try telling that to a woman who just missed her alarm and is furious with her husband for asking her to iron his shirt while he watches her tear apart the last piece of bread with peanut butter attempting to throw together her kids’ school lunches. There is not a doubt in this man’s mind that the empty jar of jelly he’s debating handing over will soon become a weapon. This is the same woman who is five minutes away from buckling everyone up only to look down at a yellow fuel light. Trust me, little stresses don’t just ruin someone’s day. Left unmanaged, they can ruin lives!

 

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Kerie, the queen of little-mismanaged-stressful-moments – and the woman whose life (at one point) I just gave you a peek at. I may look as though I have my act together, but little stresses are the absolute death of me!

I became a twenty-one-year-old single mother the day my son, Kaden, was born. He’s now a college senior, with two sisters and an amazing “new” dad. But it’s no secret that both of us were extremely fortunate that my parents jumped in to provide care for their little grandson while I worked full time to, not only make a living but grow into adulthood. My stressors took their toll on, not only my sense of serenity, but that of my entire family.

I don’t want to even go into the period when my son wouldn’t wear his shoes and lost countless pairs that I couldn’t afford to replace. My solution to a kid who often came home without shoes was effective, but not very pleasant for any of us. Until he got used to keeping up with his shoes, I refused to let him take them off. He had to wear them at all times (save while sleeping or bathing, of course.)

No, my immediate responses to little stresses are seldom sympathizing. Like many others I’ve met, I can lose the ability to be rational when I’m running late or I can’t find what I need. My struggles in this regard not only affected my family, but everyone around me.

I got to a point where I had to figure out how to make changes and find constructive solutions—for everyone’s sake. I finally recognized that my home makes it—or breaks it—for me. Chaos is the number one catalyst that brings out my nonproductive stress reactions. I had to find ways to create a calm and orderly environment to find sanity.

Of course, when we have kids, pets, a spouse, a job, laundry, bills and weeds, creating a calm and orderly environment can seem like an impossible dream. But it can be done. Over time, I’ve learned a few painless (for the most part) tricks that help me avoid those pesky little start-of-the-day stresses I shared with you at the beginning of this article.

Even if you deal with completely different stresses, I hope that my successes and works in progress will help you come up with your own ways to transform your negative reactions to positive actions.

  • I no longer allow myself to view the snooze button as my friend. That snooze button is tricky. You think she’s kind, but she’s the equivalent of a drug dealer! Partaking in her offer of just a few more minutes of sleep does not make getting out of bed any easier. Just say no! It may be hard at first, but so is the chaos of running late. It’s one of those things that gets easier with practice. Trust me.
  • Clear plastic shoe boxes have changed my life. They are cheap, they are stackable, they keep my closet neat and pretty, and I can see what’s inside. I’ve even gone so far as to label them so I know what is missing (especially helpful as the mother of a teenage girl). GENIUS! I can find my shoes in seconds. Granted, you do have to bring the shoes home and put them away when you take them off. But again, this too is one of those things that gets easier with time.
  • If your family doesn’t have nut or gluten allergies, and they like somewhat sweet food, I’m about to make your day. Remember that un-spreadable peanut butter and the torn bread? And the empty jelly jar? The answer to stress-free lunch making is honey, people. Yes, honey. Mix peanut butter with honey and forget the jelly. Don’t use a tiny container either. It’s not like peanut butter is going bad any time soon. You can use the same batch for at least a week, or, in my case, two. And don’t be stingy with the honey. For lack of a more appropriate description, you want to blend it to the consistency of Elmer’s Glue. You don’t want it too thick; that defeats the purpose. You don’t want it too runny either, or the kids are coming home sticky. Here’s the key: Before you go to spread it over bread, throw it in the microwave for 15-30 seconds. It’s warm, it’s creamy, and it pours over the bread with ease. Don’t worry. It will firm up a bit in the lunchbox so it’s not going to run all over the kids’ hands when they pick it up. Voila, FASTEST SANDWICH EVER!
  • Repeat after me, “Half a tank is an empty tank.” One more time, “Half a tank is an empty tank.” This is your new mantra. Live by it! Never see a low fuel light again!!
  • As far as the last-minute ironing, I’m still looking for solutions. Right now, the answer is the dry cleaner, which gets a bit pricey. I would hand the task over to my husband (and he would actually do this to help me out), but I’m the one who wants his shirts pressed properly, not him, so I feel it’s only fair I shoulder the responsibility. My ears are open if you have any suggestions. I would love to hear from you! For now, it’s a deep breath and a smile.

Yes, life is chaotic, busy and stressful. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Coping better is all about simple solutions. Identify what’s dragging you down, and make a conscience effort to change it. Sometimes a simple thing like warm peanut butter and honey can change your life forever.

One rule I’ve adopted – and that my kids probably are tired of hearing, “You’re not allowed to complain about a problem you haven’t tried to fix.” My solutions may work for some, and they aren’t going to work for others. We all have different needs. Our homes are as unique as the personalities living in them. No two are alike.

But the truth is, our home should be our sanctuary. It’s where we start our day, and it’s where we end it. I now work in the stone and tile department at KLAFFS Norwalk showroom and spend my days helping our customers add beautiful and functional touches to their rooms. But what I’m talking about here goes beyond how our homes look. It’s that how we feel influences how our homes feel. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that making a few simple, positive, life-altering changes can make home a place to find relief from stress, rather than to cause it.

Editor’s Note: In addition to applying her technical knowledge and creative eye to helping KLAFFS customers make the right stone and tile choices for their homes, Kerie Boshka is a motivational speaker and author.

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