Holiday Stress (Take Back Your Holiday!)

Holiday Stress

My, oh my. Holiday stress is here!

I always try to finish my Christmas shopping BEFORE Thanksgiving, but since we had kids it hasn’t really happened anymore. In fact, my Christmas shopping has become such a scary thing that I dread it every year.

Well, this year I was determined to get everything under control and enjoy Christmas again. I HAVE TAKEN BACK MY CHRISTMAS!

Christmas can put a huge strain on your relationships when you are stressed, and it usually comes out most to those you hold dearest. Holiday stress can be so bad that you forget the most important person in your life: your partner.

So here are some things we have implemented this year (and some other ideas that can help you as well):

1. Buy Online.
I have done lots of purchasing online this year – more than ever before. It is amazing how much you can get done in just one hour while shopping in front of your computer. No lines, no traffic. Pajamas and hot cocoa. How could shopping get more relaxing than that? Do it with your sweetheart and it becomes fun instead of daunting. (If it becomes stressful for you, just stop and finish it later. You don’t have to do it all in one sitting.) 

2. Don’t Stress Over Gifts.
I have a mother who is very difficult to buy for. I used to spend lots of time worrying and fretting over her gift every year. I have taken things back and exchanged them before the holiday. I have lost sleep thinking about how much she would or wouldn’t like it. In fact, I used to stress over everyone’s gifts. Do you see how silly this was? Giving a gift is a gesture. It’s not the biggest decision of your life. Amazon is great for one stop shopping.

Find a nice gift.

Buy it.

Give it.

Forget about it.

Giving gifts should feel joyful, not stressful.

3. Limit Your Activities.
You DON’T have to accept every invitation that comes your way. Everyone is busy and they understand if you can’t attend some activities. (And if your friend/family member doesn’t understand that, then they are selfish and you shouldn’t care what they think anyway.) That’s my opinion, by the way.

We turned down several activities last year and were much less stressed. That gave us the determination to simplify more this year.

4. Spread Your Activities Out.
My extended family are having a Christmas breakfast the weekend before Christmas this year. Because of this and some other changes we have made, we only have to go one place on Christmas day this year and only have to help prepare one meal. (I can just feel the stress leaving my body when I think about that.) You can celebrate the joys and love of the season on any day and new traditions are just waiting to be discovered.

5. Schedule at Least One Date Night During the Season.
During all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, everyone needs a little R & R. Schedule at least one day or evening that’s just about you as a couple. DO NOT DO ANY CHRISTMAS SHOPPING. You can schedule another couple day to do that.

Find something fun to do that encourages physical contact. Go for a walk and hold hands. Take a carriage ride and snuggle up together. The possibilities are endless. Scientists have proven that physical contact lowers stress levels in our bodies, so take advantage of some reconnect time to lower your stress and enhance your relationship at the same time.

Remember, a relationship is like a bank. You have to make deposits if you want to take something out when you need it.

6. Buy Your Partner Something To Spice Up Your Relationship.
Things can get as racy as you want. Girls, if you always sleep in flannel pajamas or sweats, buy yourself something silky to sleep in. Then throw in something silky for your guy, along with some scented candles. Place it all in a nice box or basket and give it to him as an early Christmas present. (Guys can also do this for your girl.)

You would be amazed at how much a small gesture can spark something bigger in your relationship.

I actually made my husband a coupon book a few years ago and it is still his all time favorite present.

Need some more ideas? Here you go:

1. Have a candlelight picnic on your living room floor.

2. Rent a hotel room for one night that has a fireplace and hot tub.

3. Take a thermos of hot coffee or cocoa and drive around looking at Christmas lights.

4. Go see a Christmas movie together after a nice dinner. (Still a classic.)

5. Go to a nice restaurant just for dessert and coffee.

6. Take a hot bubble bath together.

For even more ideas that you can apply now and year round, visit 50 Secrets of Blissful Relationships. This affordable resource by renowned author Michael Webb is packed full of tips and ideas that you can easily integrate into your daily life.

When you read all this, it actually makes Christmas seem fun, huh?

So let’s all make this the happiest, simplest holiday season ever. Don’t allow holiday stress to come into your life this year. It’s your Christmas. Take it back!

If this article has helped you in any way, please help a girl out and click the “LIKE” button below or share it with a friend!

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by Angela Christian Pope @

Sex Makes You Smarter!

Sex Makes You Smarter!

I knew it! I just knew it!

For years we have known that sex makes you happier due to the release of endorphins in the body. We have also been aware that sex makes you healthier due to various reactions in the body (being happier adds to that as well).

But according to a recent issue of Scientific American Mind, sex makes you smarter too! (Kelly Lambert. “A Tale of Two Rodents.” Scientific American Mind September/October 2011: 36-43.)

In recent years sex has undergone a major shift in our society. Something that was once taboo is now mainstream in a way that makes many people uncomfortable. In my opinion this change has both pros and cons. (But that’s a topic for another time.)

Back to the science. This enticing article shed some light on the sexual behaviors of rats (what other animal would you expect) and some interesting characteristics such as the fact that male rats sing during the act. Even more interesting is that they change the song during different stages of the encounter.

(Guys take note. Girls LOVE a guy who will sing to them. Ever seen a guy in ANY band who was lonely for female companionship?)

More importantly, a recent study conducted at Princeton University found that when rats were exposed to sexual encounters they “showed a higher rate of neurogenesis in the hippocampus, a brain area involved in learning, memory, and emotional processing” and they had “enhanced growth of connecting structures, or dendrites”.

(Neurogenesis is the creation of brand new neurons in the brain.)

For many years scientists have been aware of the connection between high levels of stress and stress hormones, such as cortisol, and a lower level of neurogenesis. Now, they have discovered that sex can actually make you happier, thereby increasing neurogenesis. It sort of works in a cycle.

(This is true only in the absence of acute stress, and unhealthy sexual situations can actually result in lessening the growth of neurons.)

According to Lambert, “This study suggests that sex builds more complex brains.”

more sex = less stress/more happiness = more complex brain

There have never been more reasons to be stress free, positive, and happily snuggled up with the one you love.

So let’s all go get smarter!

Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.  ~G.B. Stern

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.  ~John E. Southard

How To Stop Being Clingy

How To Stop Being Clingy

How To Stop Being Clingy?

Are you feeling like a piece of Saran Wrap snugly wrapped around your partner lately? You know you should back off and give them some breathing room, but you are so afraid they will drift away from you?

We all know that the quickest way to push people away is usually smothering them (figuratively speaking, of course).

If you want to learn how to stop being clingy, you have already taken the first step simply by realizing it.

I know that’s a cliche, but it’s true. Most people who are clingy or needy don’t even realize it. It’s not until their relationship has crumbled that they realize there was a problem (or that the problem was them).

Now, this other person obviously loves you or at least has some strong feelings for you since you are together, right?

So, this is how to stop being clingy. Oh, and by the way, this is NOT just a girl thing. You guys know how to wind up around a girl too!

First of All, Understand WHY You Are Being Clingy.

Most people who cling to those they love feel like they are not worthy of the person they are with, therefore, they believe their partner may eventually leave them for someone who is more deserving.

So at this point, you really want to examine your inner most feelings and consider if this the heart of your problem. Your self esteem affects how you feel about yourself, as well as how others perceive you as a person.

Being clingy makes you look weak.

Being clingy makes you FEEL weak.

What you want to do is (1) start feeling powerful again and (2) face the world for what it is.

We will address Number 1 in  just a minute. But first we need to talk about Number 2.

How Do You Face the World For What It Is?

I’m glad you asked. These are taken from the classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie.

First, you ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”

Second, you decide what you can do about the problem.

Third, you pick a course of action and  stick with that decision.

Fourth, you relax because you have done all that you can do.

I realize this sounds simplistic, but when you think about it…well, really, it is.

1. So, what’s the worst that can happen?

Well, in this case you could lose the relationship with the person you love, right?

Now, this would not physically maim or kill you. (Even though it might feel like it.) And you would eventually find someone else. (Although it doesn’t feel like it now.)

So, basically, life would go on (albeit in a difference manner than before).

I am not trying to be harsh, but rather stating the facts in a neutral way.

2. What can you do about it?

You can arrange things in a way that makes you optimally attractive to your mate. That means you must work on YOU. Do things that make you feel good about yourself. Find ways to boost your self esteem.

An independent person is an attractive person. Period. An independent person has their own life with their own interests. They are always evolving and developing in new, exciting ways. They have choices in life, and they are with you because they CHOOSE to be. You want your partner to see you as being with them because you have a lot to offer, but you CHOOSE to be with them. You are not with them because you NEED to be. See the difference?

This will automatically make you more attractive to them.  Trust me. It’s human nature.

With all this, you must learn to contribute as much to the relationship as you take out.

Think of a relationship as a bank. You make regular deposits so there’s always something there when you need to make a withdrawal, right?

A relationship is the same way. You put in love, caring, excitement, thoughtfulness, etc. into your relationship or “love bank” everyday. Then, when you have had a bad day or some tragedy strikes you, your partner is stocked up with love from you and ready to give some extra love back to you.

It’s the natural give and take of things in life.

But what happens if you are always taking, but never giving? Being clingy can easily put you into that warp because you need so much more from your partner than you are giving. If you want to stop being clingy, then this is a concept that you MUST grasp.

3. Pick a Plan of Action.

If you feel like you are not giving your equal part to your relationship, then there are immediate ways to make an impact starting today (and increase your own self esteem and self value at the same time).

1. Begin 30 Days of Gratitude

2. Read The Secret: The Power by Rhonda Byrne (It’s really short.)

3. Make a date for girls’/guys’ night out at least once a month.

4. Take up at least one new hobby.

5. Find a way to help others at least one time each month. (Like working at a homeless shelter or visiting a nursing home.)

6. Write down at least 10 things each day that you are grateful for.

If you do all these things, several things will happen to you:

You Will Get Your Own Life

You will be so busy that you won’t have time to be clingy. Not only will you have a new life, it will be an interesting life! Interesting people are always attractive to the opposite sex, so don’t be surprised if your partner suddenly finds you even more irresistible.

You Will Make New Friends

Having lots of friends (not acquaintances) has been shown to make people happier, extend their life span, and increase their overall quality of life. Who doesn’t want that?

You Will Feel More Thankful For EVERYTHING In Your Life

Number 2 and Number 6 in the list above are specifically listed to pump up your feelings of gratitude. Whenever you feel deep gratitude for things in your life, you automatically pull more good things to you.

Your Relationship Will Improve Because Your Life Has Improved

Any relationship is only as good as the two individuals who are participating in it. When you better yourself, you also better your relationship. Even if you need a major overhaul, it can totally be done. You just have to want to do it for yourself, not for anyone else.

4. Relax.

At this point there’s nothing else you can do except continue to improve yourself. But you should be doing that even if you are not in a relationship. That just makes good sense for your overall development and well being.

Remember above when we said we would come back to Number 1, which was feeling “strong and powerful” about yourself? Well, if you do everything list above, then you WILL feel strong and powerful. You will be in control of your life and will make no apologies about it.

And either your partner will want you, or they won’t. But at least your relationship will have a fighting chance because it will be healthier.

If your relationship has already suffered a breakup and you need a plan to get your partner back, then these plans from Michael Webb (as seen on the Oprah Winfrey Show and other media outlets) will help you repair your relationship.

How To Stop Being Clingy How To Stop Being Clingy







For further reading, check out these books from Amazon.

If you enjoyed this article, also read Clingy Signs – Why a Strong Partner Is MUCH More Attractive Than a Needy One.

If this article has helped you in any way, please help a girl out and click the “LIKE” button below or share it with a friend!

You can also click “LIKE” on the sidebar and get new posts from this site on Facebook.

Thanks a bunch!

by Angela Christian Pope @

Are You A Giver Or A Taker?

Are You A Giver Or A Taker

Are You A Giver Or A Taker?

Are you a giver or a taker in relationships? (Go ahead and decide your answer, I will wait….)

Got it? Great!

Now, for the next question. Which one SHOULD you be?

That was actually a trick question. Sorry to do that to you, but stay with me here.

The correct answer is: neither one.

You should be GIVING and TAKING. Think of it as a bank account. You put things in there on a regular basis, then you take things out when you need them. Because you are always adding to what’s in the account, there will always be something in there and the account will never be empty. Relationships work on the same basic principle.

I know this is a very simplistic way of looking at it, but it sort of pares it all down and makes it very clear at the same time.

Every relationship should have a combination of give and take ON BOTH SIDES of the relationship. When one person does most of the giving and the other person does most of the taking, it is a recipe for disaster. This type of situation usually leads to resentment because one person is not getting their emotional needs met (and possibly other needs as well).

No person wants to feel unappreciated or taken advantage of, but that’s what a constant giver feels like.  (If you are a constant giver, then you know what I mean.)

We all become accustomed to behavior patterns that we establish in our relationships, whether they are healthy or not. (He always does this, so she always does that.)

In essence, you are both responsible for the way things work in your relationship. It doesn’t matter if you are the dominate person or if your partner is the dominate one.

Let me give you a personal example. After our children were born, my life became wrapped up in the kids and our family life. It seemed like every minute of every day consisted of taking care of kids, cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. As they got older I added chauffeur to my resume. It didn’t help that during this time we were adding on to our house and remodeling two other homes. I felt so stretched that I literally couldn’t function anymore.

But here’s the thing. The kids didn’t mean to take up my life. They didn’t even realize they were doing it. When my husband put so many duties on me that were related to construction and remodeling, he didn’t realize it was more than I could handle.  He didn’t realize so much was being taken from me. For my part, I continued to do more than I was capable of, and I didn’t put my foot down. I allowed the situation to manifest and continue without change for a long time.

So here is how I finally handled my situation and got everything back in balance:

1) I talked to my husband about my issues and how I was feeling.

2) I set some boundaries on my time and energy.

3) I reevaluated things I was doing for the kids and decided some were not necessary and didn’t really enhance their lives. I found better ways to use my time and energy to benefit them the most.

4) I started making sure that my husband and I got our date nights on a regular basis.

5) I established a monthly girls’ night out with my friends.

6) I helped my husband understand that I needed some time alone to work without interruption (mostly on this site).

7) I stopped pushing things aside that were important to me.

Number 7 really sums up the whole thing. I remembered that I needed a life too. I was constantly putting things in (family life), but I was never taking anything out for myself.

Suddenly, it was clear what I needed to do.  For example, I started shopping for myself again. And I understood that did not make me a bad mom. I started making plans to do things that I enjoyed (like before we had kids). And you know what? Our whole family is happier for it. I am a better wife and mother. And now my husband realizes how much he was taking and demanding of me. It was never his intention.

Now, let’s look at you. It might be good to sit down and make a list of ways that you give and ways that you take. Maybe your partner could do this as well, then you can compare lists. You can learn amazing things about each other when you do this. Two people can live under the same roof but still not see things in the same light.

If You Are the Giver…..

It is imperative that you get a balance that is more equal because your relationship can only be healthy if you do. In my case I had an innocent husband and kids who didn’t mean to take so much and suck me dry. However, there are situations where the other person is aware of what they are taking and do it on purpose because they can.

This is a more serious situation and is beyond the scope of this article. I would suggest counseling to help put things into perspective for both of you if you are in this situation. Many churches and employers offer this service for free

However, the majority of people will be able to establish a healthy balance by talking to their partner and setting boundaries as I did. Sit down with your partner and tell them exactly what you need to feel like your relationship is more balanced. “I need you to spend more time with me,”  is a good thing to point out, but it would be better to say,”I would like it if you could set aside every Wednesday night to spend with me.” Don’t be afraid to get specific about what you need. You will get better results if you offer up your expectations.

If You Are the Taker…….

If you take stock and find that you are the taker in your relationship, first understand it does not automatically make you a bad guy. This is just one part of your relationship and it can be changed at your will.

Also, you may have been playing off cues from your partner and not realizing that you were stepping over the line and tipping the balance of your relationship. Like I said before, we all get accustomed to familiar patterns in our relationships and repeat them without even thinking them through.

For example, if your partner says, “I don’t mind fixing dinner,” then you may agree to that every night. But they might now want to fix dinner every night and they may either do it because they think you won’t (or they might be attempting to get an offer from you).

Being aware of the problem is half the solution. Now, the best course of action would be to sit down with your partner and ask them to list specific ways that you can “give” to their happiness and the relationship in general.

This book will help whether you are a giver or a taker (or somewhere in between):

Remember, anything can be changed when you really want to change it.

If this article has helped you in any way, please help a girl out and click the “LIKE” button below or share it with a friend!

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Thanks a bunch!

by Angela Christian Pope @

How To Get Your Husband To Help Around The House

How To Get Your Husand To Help Around The House

How To Get Your Husband To Help Around The House

How to get your husband to help around the house is probably one of the biggest questions wives face today. When society shifted and women went to work outside of the home, it is unfortunate that most of the “domestic” tasks remained their duty as well. Most men saw no problem with this. This was mostly because they had never tried to hold down an outside job plus be a maid, cook, chauffeur, nurse, and nanny at the same time.

Luckily, today’s average man is a lot more sympathetic to our plight, and many of them are top notch at jumping in there and doing their share. However, there are still those out there who need a little motivation.

Girls, are you tired?

I was too. Like other couples we used to have the normal situation where I did most of the cooking and cleaning even though my husband and I both had jobs outside the home. So, yes, I was tired. But even more than that, I was MAD. After a while, that led to being resentful, and that was not a happy place to be.

It was bad for me, bad for him, and bad for our marriage in general.

I knew something had to change, but I didn’t know how to motivate him. He would say he was going to help me, but then there were many different ways that he would manage to get out of it. Every time he did that it made me a little more resentful. I started wondering if he even cared about me. After all, he was allowing me to work myself to death, and he didn’t seem to mind at all.

Then one day I accidentally stumbled on something that motivated him. There was somewhere he wanted to go (and he knew I didn’t want to go), so I said if he would help me do certain things around the house first I would go with him.


That did it.

He got up and asked specifically what things I wanted him to do – then he did them all! (In record time too!)

I suddenly realized I was onto something. Fast forward several years later and I now get loads of help from him on pretty much anything I am doing.

You see, it’s all about the give and take.

Men and women are different obviously. Women tend to be more able to multitask, while men tend to concentrate on one thing at a time. Nobody likes having to do things around the house over and over (like laundry), but men are able to block it out and not think about it. And you know, ladies, that we cannot not. Sometimes multitasking abilities are a curse, you know?

Since men are able to not think about it, they simply don’t think it’s as important as we do. We think about it constantly until it’s done. They listen to you say it needs to be done, then go right back to watching “How It’s Made” and the laundry never enters their mind again until you angrily slam the laundry basket down beside them.

(You see, life is much easier and simpler in their heads. Sometimes I am jealous….)

So here is my guideline for getting lots of help from your husband (or boyfriend):

1. Decide Specifically What You Need Him To Do.

“Help clean the house” is not sufficient for most men. It would be like them telling us to go rebuild the motor in the car. See what I mean? My husband used to stand in the kitchen and tell me that he didn’t know what to do even thought there was a sink full of dirty dishes in front of him. It used to drive me insane.

So you need to come up with something like: load dishwasher, sweep the porch, walk the dog, set the table for lunch, and put away clothes that are in the laundry room. Be as specific as possible.

2. Tell Them What’s In It For Them.

This will be his motivation, so make it good. Maybe you will go the the races with him tonight if he helps you today. Maybe you could explain to him that you will have more energy at bedtime if you get some help today. You know what will motivate your guy.

My husband will work himself to death for rewards. We joke about it all the time. It’s not mean or devious to set your husband up like this if you both understand what you’re doing and are both fine with the arrangement.

3. Don’t Criticize Their Work.

This is a big one. You have to be kind if you want them to help you the next time. And nobody likes to be criticized, but sometimes I think men take it worse. You want this to be a positive experience for him. He follows through on your request, he gets his reward, and in the end he feels good about the whole transaction and wants to please you again.

For example, my husband used to be really bad at vacuuming. He missed more spots than he hit. Sometimes I would wish I had just done it myself, but I bit my lip. There were times I went behind him and did parts of it again. Then one day he mentioned that he couldn’t do it to suit me because I did it over. So I told him he was right and that I would never do that again. And guess what? He suddenly got better at vacuuming. Amazing!

You are probably thinking, “But I shouldn’t have to “reward” him for things that he should be doing anyway.”

I totally agree with that. But to that I must add, “Do you want help or not?”

It is what it is. But here’s the good news. Over the years, after seeing my gratitude and willingness to help him with things in return, I no longer have to negotiate with my husband to get things done. He actually WANTS to help me. He has done enough of the work around here that he now realizes how much time and energy it takes to keep things running.

Here is a good resource from Amazon to give you more information:

The Lazy Husband: How to Get Men to Do More Parenting and Housework


Now that you know how to get your husband to help around the house, I hope you will leave some feedback. I would love to include any other ideas you have.

If this article has helped you in any way, please help a girl out and click the “LIKE” button below or share it with a friend!

You can also click “LIKE” on the sidebar and get new posts from this site on Facebook.

Thanks a bunch!

by Angela Christian Pope @