At home: finding calm after the storm

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • October 7, 2017

It seemed like the world was stressful enough before Irma. And then she went on her rampage destroying our peace, calm and security. We learned what could happen to our homes and whether you had no damage, a little or a lot, it has left us all a bit wobbly. After all, for 10 straight days we lived in a state of fight or flight. That takes a toll.

Mark the changing of the seasons. Create a fall display with a variety of organic shapes and colors, candle and lantern. Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Mark the changing of the seasons. Create a fall display with a variety of organic shapes and colors, candle and lantern. Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Listening to endless forecasts. Each one worse that the one before it. Do we stay? Do we evacuate? Back and forth for days. It was excruciating either way. And as Floridians who know what to expect, we prepared and prepared and prepared. But there is nothing that can prepare anyone for the emotional impact that anticipated devastation can have. And it will take a while before we regain our balance.

I kept thinking about the framed embroidery scene that my favorite aunt did for me many years ago. It was a beautiful old house with trees and sunshine. The words are: To know how sweet your home can be, go away but keep the key.

We live in a world where we have very little control and our homes are our refuge from the storm. Our sanctuary from all of the noise. They are the space that nourishes our being.  And the thought of losing our space shakes us to our core.

Here we on Oct. 7. Irma is gone and cleanup is underway and will be for a good while. Many in our community are still suffering and those of us who are mostly unscathed are reaching out to try to help. No, we are not okay. But we will be. Meanwhile, we need to nourish and take care of ourselves until a little calm returns. Here are a few ideas.

Do these NOW!

·       Turn off the negative news and social media.

·       Listen to music. It has healing powers.

·       Fall is right around the corner. Take some time to create a beautiful table arrangement to mark the changing of the season.

·       Light candles. Take a hot bath. Use aromatherapy.

·       Hurricanes are dirty. Give your front door a good cleaning and think about painting it a fresh, new color. Maybe something for fall or the holidays.

·       Plant a tree in your yard to mark new life and new beginnings.

·       Open the windows. We are all waiting for that first cool day. As soon as it arrives open the windows and let all of the stale out of your home.

·       Take a yoga class. Get out and go for a long walk in a park or on a beach.

·       Buy fresh flowers and put them in every room in your house.

Small steps to restore calm and peace

This is the perfect time to make a few positive changes that have been on your list for a while. Start with one or two. Let it be fun and positive.

·       Take an inventory of your home (one room at a time).

·       Say goodbye to items that no longer serve you in a positive way or fit your space. Remove anything that is part of the past that you wish to move away from.

·       Items that have been causing stress: maybe the sofa that you dislike because the color has never worked or the bed that is uncomfortable. Replace them now or at least put them on your list.

·       Declutter your office. All the papers on your desk (or maybe on the floor) cause stress. Put them away or at least put all of them in a big file folder to be put away later.

·       Set aside a space in your home where you can find comfort and peace. Maybe a nook for reading with a comfortable chair and lamp. Or a corner where you can create a yoga space with items that provide calm and comfort.

·       Add a Himalayan salt lamp. They generate positive energy and relaxation.

·       Shop for a small fountain that you can have on your lanai or on a table. Someplace close where you can hear the sound of the water.

Uncertain times leave us fearful and feeling empty. What you want in your home may have changed. Priorities have likely shifted. Take some time to reevaluate without judgement. Then, after taking care of yourself, adjust your space to reflect those changes.

By my aunt, Anne Curtis, Newport News, Virginia.

By my aunt, Anne Curtis, Newport News, Virginia.


Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She has helped homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and to solve decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit