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Womensforum contributing writer Jackie Tortorello has shared her #DearMe letter and 2017 goals with us - read on for some inspiration towards your own goals for personal growth and wellness in the new year...

Dear Me, In 2017 I'm going to stay calm. On so many different levels 2016 was pretty chaotic. From moving across the country to changing jobs three times, I lost my peace of mind more than once. Not only did this have a serious impact on my mental well-being, it prompted a host of stomach spasms, muscle twinges and tension headaches.

This year is going to be different. During 2017, I will work to not only remain calm, but rest inside my center knowing that most things are beyond my control. While there will be things like work related stress and day-to-day anxiety, I’ll work to remember to take it easy on myself and just… breathe.

This task is much easier said than done. I’ve been dealing with anxiety since as long as I can remember and after coping with the ups and downs of last year, some points I felt completely crippled. Serious stress has impacted my breathing, my state of mind and even my monthly cycle.

But as I mentioned before, this year will be different. I have learned to develop a practice of self-care and with it, a state of mind that’s moving towards calm. One major component of my self-care practice is going to yoga a few times a week. For me, practicing yoga works by integrateing physical activity into my daily life while providing a great outlet for stress. It also connects me with a community of like-minded people that are working to accomplish the same goal.

Another way I can accomplish my goal of staying calm in 2017 is by using essential oils. Essential oils have been proven to relieve stress by activating parts of the amygdala that create and process emotions. Some of the best scents to relieve anxiety are lavender, rose, bergamot, chamomile and ylang ylang.

Learning to stay calm in 2017 will allow me allow me to connect with myself on a deeper level and step into a sense of clarity. It will also allow me to preserve my peace of mind and protect parts of my body that are negatively impacted by stress.

-Jacqueline Tortorello

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