A Somatic Approach to Holiday Stress

The holiday season can be a time of stress and overstimulation for many people. From running to catch a plane (in order to sit in an uncomfortable position for five hours) to, meet up with family members who might send us into a Red Light Reflex, to carrying heavy bags of groceries (or presents!) in from your car. Perhaps the stress of holiday preparation sends us into a Green Light Reflex as we rush from task to task. And even if that isn’t our exact experience, we all know someone for whom that rings closer to true than not.

But the holidays don’t have to cause us to unconsciously respond both emotionally and physically from our “default mode,” whether that is to “get things done now!” (Green Light), or avoid that which we don’t want to deal with (Red Light). The holiday season can and should be a time where we release the tightness and stiff uprightness that our jobs or other day-to-day obligations demand. Somatics can help us through the season so we can be more present to ourselves and those around us.

When you pandiculate, you create new neural pathways of awareness, sensation, and motor control in your brain. It is from these pathways of thought, feeling and action that we live and respond to ourselves and those around us.

Try this in your daily Somatics practice:

Ask yourself, “what can I let go of that I don’t need to be doing this movement?” By practicing this you will discover which areas let go to aid in the movement and which areas contract to “do” the movement.

The Flower can be done on the floor, in a chair, or even while sitting on an airplane.

The Flower can be done on the floor, in a chair, or even while sitting on an airplane.

  • If you tend to rush and do everything for everyone, try adding the Back Lift to your daily practice. Move in and out of the movement with two full breath cycles, yawning as you do so. Take a full resting breath in between each repetition.
     
  • If you feel emotionally stressed, make the Flower a movement you do on the floor, in a chair, or even sitting on the airplane. Again, use two breaths to move in and out of the movement for a more spacious experience.
     
  • The Washrag is an excellent movement for “wringing out your whole self” and finding soft length and relaxation. Make your Soma Scan at the end of your practice longer.

Sense yourself in the present and take that inner awareness into your holidays and know that everyone you meet is moving towards a similar desire to feel good, both inside and out during this wonderful time of year.