Under Her Spell By Eliza Daly

Monday, November 26, 2012

Deck the Halls with Stress Balls: How to Bring Inner Peace and Joy to Your Holidays (& Giveaway!)

The following advice column is brought to you courtesy of Monica Jackson, the heroine in my debut romantic comedy, Under Her Spell.

When you punch out an innocent snowman on the way home from work, it’s time to get a grip, especially if you have a history of panic attacks. I suffered my first attack several months ago when Reed, a divorce lawyer, opened his practice next door to my new romantic event planning company, Enhance Your Romance. Reed eventually ended up being good for my stress and panic attacks. Then today, my soon-to-be divorced cousin and roomie Hope informed me that she’s spending Christmas on a two-week cruise. Who was going to play domestic elf--baking cookies, decorating, making Christmas dinner, etc.? Surprisingly, the holidays are a busier time for my company than Valentine’s Day. Everyone who has been naughty all year wants to play nice (or maybe a bit naughty) and romance their significant other. Unlike Hope, I don’t want to avoid the holidays. I love the holidays. So here are a few stress reducers I’ve come up with.

1) Tis the season for giving.
Nothing makes you feel better than bringing joy to someone else. After Hope caught her husband Kyle cheating, she donated their Egyptian cotton sheets and his Rolex to charity. Her good deeds made her feel like a new woman. The division of their assets was holding up the divorce thanks to scrooge Kyle. So to expedite things, she placed an ad in the newspaper announcing free Thanksgiving dinner at their steakhouse, and that Kyle’s snowmobile would be auctioned off, the proceeds going to Toys for Tots. Kyle is all about appearances, so when patrons praised him for his generosity he took full credit. Hope had the signed divorce papers the next day. So it doesn’t even have to be your own stuff you give away.

2) Make love, not cookies.
I once spent an hour, and a half a bag of flour, trying to roll out gingerbread cookie dough. Using a juice glass for a rolling pin probably didn’t help. That was my last cookie experience. To help reduce stress, I’m eliminating anything I don’t enjoy, and increasing what I do find pleasurable. I sometimes get so caught up in my clients’ love lives, I don’t put enough time into my own special events. So I have a special evening planned, which includes something very Reed, I mean red, and very naughty.

3) Power tool therapy.
If you’re partaking in alcoholic holiday beverages, stick with a hammer. A few years ago I caught my boyfriend with another girl under the mistletoe hanging over his bed. After grabbing our presents from under his tree, I headed home where my dad was in the garage building a manger for the church. (Yes, I lived with my parents which added to my holiday stress.) He owns a construction business so everyone always asks him to donate his services during the holidays. He was behind schedule and recruited my assistance. Pounding nails while envisioning driving a stake through my ex’s heart was more Zen than a spa day.

4) Breathe into a holiday gift bag.
When I suffered my first panic attack, my assistant and best friend Jordan had me breathe into a paper bag. I don’t recommend sucking in the aroma of an Egg McMuffin if part of your stress is due to holiday overeating. Sprinkle the inside of a gift bag with essential oils such as lavender or eucalyptus then inhale some deep, calming breaths.

5) Don’t act your age.
Watch Rudolph and Frosty. Read some of your favorite childhood holiday books. Do things that take you back to your youth when Christmas wasn’t stressful. Tear open presents like it’s your first Christmas. After I swiped the presents from my cheating boyfriend’s house, I went home and ripped through them in no time flat. It felt great. I donated the items to charity, like step one recommends.

6) Belief, trust, and a little bit of reindeer dust.
Cast a holiday inner peace spell. Stay away from negative spells, such as the Dirtbag Spell I cast on Hope’s ex. Keep things positive. Red is the color of energy and enthusiasm, and green represents healing and balance. The perfect holiday spell colors. Use ingredients such as a red silk bag filled with cloves, cinnamon, and items that symbolize joy, harmony, and good cheer. Belief is the core ingredient of a successful spell, and also a happy holiday season.

7) Fake It, Don’t Bake It or Make It: A Busy Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays.
This is the title of my next advice column on November 27th at Chick Lit Bee. Reduce your stress by simplifying your holidays. I will explain how I’m going to fake a Martha Stewart holiday season without my cousin Hope! Deep breath…

Which of Monica’s suggestions do you like best?

Two lucky readers who comment on my blog will be randomly selected to win one of two prizes, either an e-copy of Under Her Spell or a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift certificate. To be eligible to win one of these prizes, please answer the above question.

Thank you so much to RomCon for helping me celebrate the release of Under Her Spell and to everyone who stopped by today. Please check out future stops on my blog tour, ending November 27. I’ll be giving away a variety of gifts.

You can find Eliza on the web at Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads

Under Her Spell is available at Amazon, iTunes, Google, PlayKobo, eBooks and Barnes & Noble