We are right in the middle of the festival season in India. This means we are juggling multiple tasks such as last-minute shopping, cooking festive meals, finalizing travel plans or meeting office deadlines before going on leave. While we do all this, we also have to navigate heavy traffic on the roads and teeming crowds in the market and public places. Preparing for and celebrating festivals can be quite chaotic and overwhelm us, impacting our mental and emotional wellbeing. At times like these, it's important to remember that you're not alone and that there are plenty of ways to feel more tranquil during this busy period.
(Also read: Breathing exercises to beat travel stress this festive season)
Talking to HT Lifestyle, Prakriti Poddar, Mental Health Expert and Global Head for Mental Health and Wellbeing, RoundGlass, says that you can optimize your joy and wellbeing during this time of the year by practising simple wellbeing techniques that can help you stay centred and find calm amid chaos. Here she lists wellbeing practices that can help us cope with festival-related stress:
1. Focus on your breath:
Give yourself a few slow breaths to regulate your nervous system and offer yourself kindness. Breath control is probably the most effective way to control our stress and regulate our response to it. A great way to start is by practising the 4-7-8 breathing technique:
- Breathe in for four seconds.
- Hold that breath for seven seconds.
- Release that breath as you slowly count to eight.
- Repeat as much as you need to.
Calming your breath by taking long deep inhales and exhales can help you be more grounded in your body and connect to your best flow and performance.
2. Recognise and accept your emotions:
Strong emotions can descend on us like a storm, making it difficult to think clearly. Acknowledging our emotions will help us regulate them. It’s important to recognize how your body reacts when experiencing stress. Identifying your triggers will help you cope with stress better.
3. Tackle one thing at a time:
Focusing on one thing at a time relieves mental pressure and fosters a greater capability to complete tasks effectively. For a few days, dedicate yourself to only doing one thing at a time and see how it impacts your stress levels.
4. Check-in with yourself:
The chaos of the festival season may leave you feeling low and drained. Ask yourself what do I need right now? What can I do for myself? A glass of water, calling a friend, or spending two minutes alone in the bathroom? Give yourself a few slow breaths to regulate your nervous system and offer yourself kindness. Allowing yourself some time and feelings can soften the hard edges so that you show up for your family with more generosity and more presence.
5. Take gratitude breaks
When feeling stressed, think about three things you're grateful for. This conscious process will release dopamine (the happy hormone) into your brain, which improves mood regulation. In all that you do, remember you are doing your best and that’s enough. Let go of all worries and stress, release negative emotions, and use positive thinking to stay centres and initiate positive transformations.