Duchess Digest: A Peaceful, Easy Feeling

By Jill Brown

Women and Stress and HolidaysThe holidays mean lots of great things; peace on earth, good will to all and to all a good night. This time of year has some of the best things to offer every one of us. Great food, lots of family and comfy, cozy surroundings. It also unfortunately can mean a lot of stress.

The stress of gifts, the stress of finances, the stress of family and travel and shopping, oh my! If you are nodding your head to any of these thinking, “I can relate,” don’t worry! There are ways to keep your sanity, even around the holidays.

Here are my top three ways to beat the holiday anxiety and enjoy the spirit of which this time of year is really about:

1. Shop early and shop online. Forget what you knew about Black Friday. If you, like so many holiday shoppers out there, have waited until now to get the bulk of your shopping done, then you’ve already missed out on the “shop early” advice. But never fear, you can still shop online and save yourself time and money. I love shopping online. Between Amazon.com and Etsy.com I managed to knock out all my holiday shopping in one weekend without changing out of my pajamas. Make a list of who you’re buying for, check it twice, and be sure to purchase all at one time to make the shipping costs minimal and utilize your time most effectively. You safe gas, you save parking, you save time and more than anything, you end up saving money. If you’ve never spent any time on Etsy.com I would highly recommend the site. It’s all handmade gifts from local and national (and even global) artisans. You can literally find pretty much anything and you’re supporting small artists in every medium. I love Etsy!

2. Just Breathe. Quick breathing check-in: can you feel your diaphragm expanding at this very moment? Odds are no. Most of us breathe very shallow and fast, not getting enough oxygen to our organs and brains, which causes us to feel tired, low on energy and cloudy in the mind. It also contributes to stress and anxiety. Whether you are blatantly ignoring my number on holiday tip and fighting the crowds, or dealing with some challenging family members around holiday dinners, taking a moment to pause and breathe in deeply will instantly and naturally help you calm yourself. Try taking ten deep breathes, inhaling strong through your nose, feeling your belly expand as the air fills your lungs and then exhaling through your mouth. If you need some extra help try placing your hands gently on your belly; if you’re doing the deep breathing right you should feel your hands rise and fall with each inhale and exhale. There is a reason people say, “take a breathe.” Breathing really is everything and it’s a quick, easy and free way to bust through stress nearly instantly.

3. Remember what it’s all about. Okay, so the hokey pokey really may be what it’s all about – but during the holidays, it’s about love. Whether that is love for family, friends, clients or any special relationship in your life, the holidays are about gratitude and love. Don’t max out your credit cards to buy gifts you can’t afford. A heartfelt hand written card of gratitude or some home baked goods often mean way more (and cost tons less) than store bought generic goods. Those you love with appreciate your intention and the holidays are really, at their core, about good will to all. Share the love with heartfelt and financially responsible gestures.

–Jill Brown

Jill Brown is a Los Angeles, California-based life coach and writer. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is a member of the National Association for Conflict Resolution and the Ladies Who Launch Network. She is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to helping women become their most fabulous and unique selves. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, traveler and health nut. When she isn’t writing or working on Duchess, Jill loves spending all her free time with her Labrador – Betty. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: www.theduchessguide.com


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