So much to do, so little time — at the holidays and in life in general.
We can feel rushed, rushed, rushed during this time of year, but a frantic pace is far from ideal when it comes to our stress levels and our health. Fortunately, there are still plenty of ways to survive — and dare we say, enjoy? — the holiday season. So take a breath (a slow, deep breath, that is) and check out these finds to gift to your most stressed-out friends and family members — or to keep for yourself to make it through.
Breadtopia Cloche Bread Baker ($49 at breadtopia.com). Winter calls for carbs — lots of carbs. A good loaf of bread can’t be rushed, and that’s why the art of bread making is an excellent task to slow things down a notch. Plus, you get to eat your hard work! Made from German clay, which reproduces the experience of hearth baking, this cloche will take them from sticky dough to crackly crust.
“52 Lists for Calm,” by Moorea Seal ($17 at mooreaseal.com). Local boutique owner, lifestyle maven and author Moorea Seal’s latest journal offers up 52 lists (one for each week of the year) to help us get through this stressful thing called life. She provides inspiration to help readers thoughtfully work through worries and doubts, including prompts such as “List the thoughts that fill your mind when you experience stress, worry and fear” and “List the things you would say to other people if you had the courage.”
Love by Luna Zodiac Crystal Sets ($24 at lovebyluna.co). A healthy way to slow down is to give meditation a try. Whether your aim is to help manage stress or promote self-awareness, a crystal set accompanies many people’s practices to help amplify certain energies and set intentions. These pouches from the L.A.-based apothecary come with four crystals curated for each of the 12 astrological signs.
Dracaena plant from Plant Shop ($9 at Plant Shop, Capitol Hill and Central District). Adding life to a home or workspace can do a lot for the body and mind. Indoor plants can help to reduce pollutants in the air, and the act of caring for and watching a plant grow over time can be a breath of fresh air for the soul. Dracaenas are a great choice for the novice indoor gardener as they are robust, low maintenance, tolerate low light, and are simply lovely (but, note, not pet friendly).
Sleep Number Relaxation Weighted Shoulder Wrap ($50 at sleepnumber.com). The world seems to be moving at a faster and faster pace, so it’s even more important to take a breath, take comfort and take some time for yourself. Think of the weighted wrap as the new weighted blanket. Weighing in at 4 pounds, the cozy shrug applies soothing pressure to the neck and shoulders to promote calmness while you have tea or read a book to unwind.
People I’ve Loved Mood Clock ($9 at Butter Home, Capitol Hill). Don’t let the clock be your enemy! Use it to take the time to check in with how you really feel. A stressed teen in your life can revolve the moving hand on this unique letterpress “clock” to point to either their current state (like “thankful” or “over it”) or something they need right now (such as “treat time”).
Puzzle Warehouse Fine Art 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzles ($12–$35). Few things in life are as satisfying as completing a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, but that satisfaction is the result of hours of patience and quiet contemplation. Methodically put together, piece-by-piece, one of the great works of art that speak to you — whether you tend to appreciate a Van Gogh or lean more towards the visual stylings of Klimt.
French Girl Sea Soak Trio ($50 at frenchgirlorganics.com). Taking a long, hot bath is such a treat — and much less expensive than shelling out for a day at the spa. Based in Seattle, French Girl Organics crafts oodles of dreamy bath and beauty products, but we have our eye on this limited edition soak set. Add a handful of the Rose Sea Soak, Menthe Sea Soak or Jasmine Serenity Bath to a full tub and sit back and relax while the organic, plant-based essential oils work their magic.
Lomography Simple Use Black + White 35mm Film Camera ($19 at shop.lomography.com). The best things come to those who wait. Put down your phone and, instead of snapping away without purpose, make the effort to really look at the world around you and find the best light and framing — you only get so many chances with film, after all. Once developed, enjoy the pleasant surprise of looking through each black and white exposure (36 in all) and seeing how they turned out.
“Enough,” by Shauna M. Ahern ($23 at booksellers). Reading is a tried and true way to relax and unwind. Get comfy and dive into relatable life lessons from Seattleite Shauna Ahern, creator of the popular blog Gluten-Free Girl. Ahern’s candid essays explore her reckoning with the rat race of life in this poignant and hilarious collection that addresses a question we all grapple with: What is enough?