From the office party to family dinners, somatic psychologist Noa Belling shares mindful ways to deal with festive season stress…

While we may be looking forward to summer holidays and the festive season, this time of year brings its own particular stresses and emotional challenges.

From the guilt of partying too hard to the anxiety of not feeling like we’re ‘enough’, this highly social time is frequently overwhelming in many different ways.

Noa Belling, the best-selling author of The Mindful Body, points out that the connection between mind and body is open and two-way.

Using simple physical techniques, we can shift our minds to better states that help us to be more emotionally resilient, present and positively connected to others.

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Here are Belling’s top tips for dealing with some stressful festive moments…

Office party stress

What can I do when I’m at a crowded office party that’s loud, busy and demanding? I’m feeling tired and overwhelmed.

Take a quick break and go for a brief mindful walk. The movement can be calming and will help you reconnect with yourself.

This works because when you drop attention down into your body and away from your thoughts of being overwhelmed you ground and centre yourself.  As you walk, think only of being in your body, take a few deep breaths and notice your feet making contact with the ground.

Let go of any thoughts about the party and the people.  Perhaps, have a bit of a stretch or briefly massage any tense areas of which you become aware in your body.  Actively let go thoughts, so that you can ease the stress and social anxiety that is perpetuated in our minds.

Dropping attention into our bodies in a supportive, nurturing kind of way can promote feel-good hormones to help you feel more comfortable. It can also free your brain to think more clearly.

When consumed by feelings like anxiety, stress or annoyance, our brains become hijacked by these feelings, limiting our access to the mature, intelligent parts of our brain. So when we return to the party we can be calmer, clearer and more ready to connect.

Relieve stress by making art

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