‘Find a happy place, find a happy place’: What’s your happy place?

I have been under some stress taking care of the kids alone (Michael is working from all over the globe and is in and out), trying to get the house ready to sell and trying to find right schools in New Jersey for my kids. (I need algebra in the sixth grade for Walsh and geometry in the eighth-grade for Rose.) So I’ve been working on stress-relief tools such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation and meditation.

You’re supposed to find a “happy place” to think about to help you relax. It makes me think of Peach in “Finding Nemo” when she’s yelling “find a happy place, find a happy place.” (See the clip above.) Here are the basic steps to this relaxation technique.

I’ve had a terrible time coming up with a “happy place” that I find truly relaxing.

I was trying to figure one out with a friend and she kept saying maybe the beach or a special place with one of your kids. As written about previously, the beach is just moving your work to a new location. I was saying that I do like bobbing in the waves off of Hilton Head and she said and then you come in and lie in the warm sun. And I say no because if you come to the shore then “they” (meaning the kids) will ask you for things. You have to stay out deep in the water where “they” can’t get to you. I wasn’t having any luck making that imagery work.

Finally she threw out that she went to a Costco the other night when she was mad and she just felt her anger melt away. This made me laugh because I actually find Target extremely relaxing. I like how the aisles are neat and orderly. I like looking at all the new stuff. I always go in the exact same order when I go in the store. I always look at the purses first, then the scarves, then the jewelry. The I go to the nightgowns and then the workout gear and then back through the kids stuff. Then I end up the seasonal stuff and then groceries and then housewares. I just meander. I could spend hours in the Target. (It’s like a casino. There are no clocks or windows so you don’t know how long you’ve been in there.) And I can just feel my body relaxing thinking about meandering through Target.

So apparently Target is my “happy place.” (As long as they don’t lose my personal data.)

So what is you “happy place?” Do you ever do any of these techniques to help you relax?

19 comments Add your comment


January 23rd, 2014
12:09 am

I think it’s meditation you’ve been working on, not mediation.


January 23rd, 2014
7:11 am

Stress is self created. You alone are making it more stressful……I think you are the kind of person who thrives on stress and drama.

Michaels got it made. Stressed out wife is clear across the country dealing with the kids, and a move. Meanwhile, he’s probably having a blast in NYC without the family. No stress there!

Good luck!


January 23rd, 2014
8:20 am

As a military wife for 25 years until my husband retired, I have experienced this many times. My husband often went on “trips” and left me alone with the kids. We all love him dearly, but the children and I had a blast when he was away! Roller skating in the house, chili cheese fries for dinner, and taking in homeless dogs were some of our activities. All of the children still talk about these. For my daughter’s 16th birthday I hired a DJ and cleared all the furniture out of the downstairs to create the setting for the best party ever. The point is our lives went on, and my husband to this day tells me thank you for taking care of the home and family so that he could concentrate on his job.

About the school issues…. it is next to impossible to simply enroll your child in a program within the school. Each district has different qualifications. Be an advocate for your children but realize that there are many paths and turns on the journey through education.

And most importantly remember the saying: If God leads you to it, He will lead you through it.


January 23rd, 2014
8:26 am

Funny that you mention a retail store as a happy place because Publix is mine! I grew up in Florida and have many fond memories of Publix. Getting cookies as a little girl, roaming the isles with my mom, running in to get last minute things for projects (on my own because I had just started driving) in high school, also visiting high school friends who were working at Publix. So now that I live in metro Atlanta and I get homesick or upset about something a quick trip to Publix usually perks me up. Also sadly the music that is piped in is the music of my generation. I only say sadly because it makes me feel old. Used to be Souxie and the Banshees were so cool, now I hear them when I’m trying to pick out a pack of chicken. So I say be happy, where you find happiness


January 23rd, 2014
8:40 am

Target is your happy place…too funny. I love how you have an exact route to look at all the stuff.
I’d say my happy place is sitting either at the beach or on a deck somewhere, sipping wine, watching the sun set and the kids play and hanging out with friends and family. That pretty much does it for me.


January 23rd, 2014
8:49 am

The beach is a happy place, but I don’t get to go very often. But, I’ve found, too, that Publix is definitely a happy place!!! I like to talk to the employees – I’ve been going to the same store for almost 17 years. I love to look and shop and plan meals. Then I like to prepare meals and store them in the freezer. A friend jokes that I’m ready for the apocolypse! But actually, I’m just ready for dinner.

Sk8ing Momma

January 23rd, 2014
9:24 am

Happy places:

1. Home ALONE ~ Pure bliss!! (I was home alone for *5* days this past October…It was better than winning the lottery!!!)
2. Beauty Bath ~ Relaxing bath with bubble bath and a good book…Ahh!
3. Barnes & Noble — Perusing the aisles and stopping to read
4. Hobby Lobby, Target, Costco — Going alone makes me happy. :)
5. Working out — A good workout (Cross Fit, Zumba, in-line skating are my fave choices) is always well worth it
6. Getting a mani & pedi


Brown Eyed Girl!

January 23rd, 2014
9:38 am

Believe it or not, my “happy place” these days is my karate studio. I am able to work out frustrations all the while accomplishing something really meaningful! More often than not, I leave the dojo with a big smile on my face!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 23rd, 2014
9:39 am

I love Publix but they do not have out here. When I visited Atlanta last summer I made a special stop to visit my Publix in Lilburn!! Publix ix relaxing. Also neat and orderly. Very nice people. very calm. Hobby Lobby is a great place to get lost thinking about projects. It will definitely take your mind off of things.

We have fallen into a good little pattern here. I will have to post photos of my cleaning out work. We are donating so much stuff that we don’t want to move 3000 miles. I cleared the playroom this weekend. Lilina is down to one wall of toys and that is it. Church got tons of donations and I took 7 bags of baby clothes to a women’s clinic in Tempe. I will post photos.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 23rd, 2014
9:40 am

I think we would be having more fun if not trying to clear out the whole house to be ready to show — that is stressful.


January 23rd, 2014
9:55 am

Scuba diving is my happy place. :) No kids, no talking. Being able to listen to music without being interrupted is another favorite.

Your kids do not need...

January 23rd, 2014
12:15 pm

…algebra in the 6th grade, nor geometry in the 8th grade. 8th grade for algebra and 9th grade for geometry is the correct progression for kids to have calculus in HS before leaving for college. Why the push to make them older than they are? They are obviously smart kids, yet, PLEASE, do not rush them to ‘grow up”…if they take AP courses in these subjects, what will Walsh take in the 11th and 12th grades – I do not even know what comes after calculus, if anything, except maybe in college (and probability and statistics do not count since calculus is much more difficult)…

So, IMHO, you really need to be determining your kids’ happy places…


January 23rd, 2014
12:26 pm

TWG – your life now is what I went through two years ago. I so understand the relo-crazy. Finding a house in three days, interviewing schools, etc etc. No school district is perfect just make sure they have a good options and variety of classes. There should be a good trajectory of class offerings. I’m not always crazy about our new district but they have been flexible and accessible.

My happy place is retail therapy. I do not have to purchase anything but wandering around is okay by me. Shoes are always good LOL Costco (during the week only) can be calming in a weird way. Big open aisles, finding the latest treasure, it all works. LOL

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 23rd, 2014
1:26 pm

not pushing on the math at all — they both took placement tests at their schools and that was where they were placed –

Real Life

January 23rd, 2014
4:03 pm

I have been moving all my life. My father’s military career first, followed by my career and then my husband’s career. I learned that happiness comes from within. I quit stressing at moves. And I always leave 3 boxes packed in the garage. They are labeled “advance packing boxes” and contain a few things I could actually use periodically. I have learned to deal without them and have never replaced them. But when a move comes upon us I breathe a huge sigh of relief because three boxes are already packed and that is less to do as I get the house ready to show. And that makes me happy.


January 23rd, 2014
9:35 pm

T, have you thought about consulting with an educational consultant? There’s a superb one here in Atlanta, and I can’t help but think she has a counterpart in New Jersey. It’s someone who knows the schools, their strengths, weaknesses, programs, and the “personality” of a school. If you like, I’ll check with the one here and see if she has anyone she would recommend.

On getting the house ready — yes, it IS stressful, especially with three busy kids. If I were you, I’d be cutting way back on volunteer duties and concentrating on prepping the house — by yourself, and with the kids, it’s almost a full-time job by itself. And if someone complains that you’re not ‘fulfilling your obligations” — oh, well, it’s not like you’re hanging around or trying to win a popularity contest, anyway! Sometimes, you just gotta take care of YOU.


January 23rd, 2014
10:46 pm

Target is my happy place too, especially when it’s not crowded.

Good luck on finding a good school for your children! You’re doing the right thing by making sure your children are challenged in school. Unless they are stressed and miserable because of it, there is really no downside to allowing your kids to work ahead. Despite what a previous commenter suggests, your kids won’t finish up calculus and suddenly panic because they have reached The End of All Math. When it comes to that, they can start on college level work. There is always something more to learn in math.


January 24th, 2014
10:13 am

Back home now….brrr it is cold!

SHOPPING IS NEVER MY HAPPY PLACE….haha! Even if you gave me $1000.00 to spend. I do not enjoy it.

I love to sit at the beach and read a book or go out with friends for lunch or dinner…old friends or new ones too. I have eaten dinner with perfect strangers and had a lovely time.

TWG…I have NO idea about this but wanted to mention it:

Will the students in NJ or NYC be at a comparable level in their studies as your children? I am aware that your children are bright and they may be the brightest of the bright. Other children are bright too. I hope putting them in advanced classes does not frustrate them, along with the social aspects of moving.

I say this because we had friends here in GA who moved to MN. The real estate told them she would show them houses in the BEST school districts ( as many northerners thing we southerners are backwards and behind). It ended up that her son, from Gwinnett County schools, was WAY ahead of everything the local public school had to offer since our schools are so big and can offer a lot.

I also know that when my son went to college, he never hardly studied for his HS classes. He realized that college would take a LOT more work and struggled to learn how to study and keep up with the rigor of the classes he chose. He made it through 8 years and is doing well.

Both of my kids went to UGA and also took classes at local colleges in the summer. The classes at the other colleges were very easy for them. My daughter has friends that went two years to other GA colleges and then transferred to UGA and it is a lot harder for them. I realize this is college level.

Not sure if the classes in the NE would be harder or easier than those in PHX. But I would not want me kids to be stressed nor bored either, for that matter. Just do not want your family to stress out over lots of things with the move!


January 24th, 2014
11:15 am

MJG – you could be telling my story as well. Coincidence with your friends in MN :) We found the same thing. In our experience moving from Gwinnett schools to twin cities, MN schools – our girls were more than prepared. They didn’t miss a step. In fact almost weekly something is brought up in class for my oldest that her MN peers have no knowledge of but she does.