Tag Archives: waterfall pose

An Emotional Survival Guide for Christmas

An Emotional Survival Guide for Christmas

Emotional Survival Guide to Christmas

This Emotional Survival Guide to Christmas has been written to help you navigate difficult emotions over the ‘silly season’.

Whether you are feeling anxious, stressed, lonely, sad, or suicidal even, here are my tips for getting through the next few weeks:

1. Anxious?  Put your head down towards the ground

Christmas Emotional Survival Guide

Are you freaking out in advance about family visiting?  Are you breathing 5 billion breaths a minute? Is your throat tight?  Is your chest feeling constricted?  Are you feeling like you’re going to implode?

Find a quiet space and hang the top half of your body down towards the ground.

Waterfall pose

The pose is called The Waterfall.  I’ve written an article to explain why it’s good for counteracting anxiety and how to do it (assuming that you’re not a Cirque du Soleil performer). 

Give it a go and notice how heavy the top half of your body feels as it bows to the forces of gravity (a complete opposite to how ‘spacey’ and disconnected your head feels when you’re anxious).  How your diaphragm is more relaxed. How your throat is more open.

It’s really hard to have anxious thoughts when your head is upside down.  Give it a go. I dare you!

2. Catastrophizing?  Ask yourself: “Is that really true?  Or am I exaggerating?”

45647769 - render illustration of radioactive warning sign

When we’re stressing out, it’s easy to catastrophize.  “OMG if I don’t get the meal PERFECT the Monster-in-law’s going to sit there with that smug “I knew you wouldn’t be able to pull it together” face and .. and… and…. “

We create stories in our head before they’ve even happened.  But is that really true?  Is it likely to happen? Or are you exaggerating?

Ask yourself that very simple question and see if you can stop the BS in its tracks.

3. Angry? Bash a punchbag/cushion/have a toddler tantrum on your bed

Hitting the sofa with cushions is another way to safely let out anger

I’m not kidding.  If you hold all that rage down, you risk it leaking out at inappropriate moments.  One snarky comment about the turkey can totally ruin Christmas lunch believe me.

I’ve written a guide to show you how to safely release your anger without hurting yourself (or anyone else) and without embarrassing yourself.

4. Comforting yourself with food? Put the mince pie down.  

Mince pie
Step away from the clotted cream..

Find other ways to comfort yourself.  Here’s my personal Lemon Day list of things I can do to comfort myself instead of reaching for the ice-cream.  Have a printed-out list stuck on your fridge door to stop you instantly reaching for the mince pies.

But then again, it’s Christmas … maybe a couple of mince pies isn’t too bad.  (Just stay away from the clotted cream).

5. Stressed? Earth yourself: get grounded and breathe

Earth yourself
Earth yourself

Are you running around at a million miles an hour to get everything done?  Is your house in a state of upheaval because of visitors?

STOP for a minute.

  • Take off your shoes.
  • Walk outside and focus on the sensation of the grass beneath your feet.  (Even if your lawn is less ‘deliciously springy Sir Walter’, and more ‘Bindi-Cobblers Pegs scrub’ – find somewhere pleasant to stand and focus on the sensations beneath your feet. I particularly like warm concrete in the early evening for example.)
  • Now breathe….  Go on, give me a big sigh on your out-breath.
  • Let all that stuff go for a minute…
  • Focus on what you can feel in your body.
  • It’s just you and the ground.  Everything else is irrelevant for a moment.

‘Earthing’ isn’t just for hippies.  Focusing on the physical contact with the ground will bring your awareness out of your head and down into your body. We’re grounding you.  It brings you right into the present moment and makes you feel 100% less stressed.

6. Lonely? Reach out to people you are emotionally close to


Whether you’re single or in a relationship, loneliness can strike hard at this time of year.  Reaching out to anyone is good, but reaching out to people that you have a close emotional relationship with is preferable because they understand you/get you/speak your language.

Getting help

So reach out to your close friend(s).  And if the first person on your list doesn’t pick up, leave a message and then call the next person on your friend list.  Keep going till you get a real live person. Tell them how you’re feeling and ask if they want to hang out.

Right about here is where your inner depresso may spark up and say “But they’re busy with their family.  They won’t want to see me”.  Don’t listen to him/her.  

Inner Depresso

 These people are your close friends.  They know you.  They LIKE you.  Do you think they’d want you to be all on your own feeling bad?

Call them up.  You never know, they could be feeling exactly the same way as you.

And if you really don’t want to tell a friend?  Call a helpline.  They’re not just for people who are feeling suicidal – they’re also there to help people who are struggling.  The numbers are listed below.

7. Suicidal?  Call a helpline (no matter what time of day or night)

18364958 - unhappy

This is where I’m going to be a little firm with you. Some part of you wants to live because you’re reading this message.   So I need you to reach out and tell someone how you’re feeling.

Tell your friend, a family member, your GP.  Call a helpline.  The people on the end of the phone at these helplines want to help you. They want to hear your story (no matter how boring you might think it is). They’re trained professionals.

Your life is too important.  CALL THEM.

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Lifeline  13 11 14
Diverse Voices (LGBT)  (diversevoices.org.au)  7pm to 10pm daily 1800 184 527
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
Parent Line 1300 30 1300
SANE helpline  1800 187 263
Men’s Line  1300 78 99 78
DV Connect – womensline 1800 811 811
DV connect – mensline 1800 600 636
MARS – men affected by rape and sexual assault  07 3857 1222
BRISSC Brisbane Rape and Incest helpline (female only)  9am-1pm Mon-Thur 07 3391 0004

I hope this list helps you.  Feel free to share it.

I’m working right up until Christmas Day.  Here’s a link to book online to see me.  Or you can call me on 0450 22 00 59.

If you want to find out more about my Services or the benefits of psychotherapy or counselling, feel free to have a peek around my website.

I’ll then be taking a break to recharge until 18 January 2017.  I have a network of psychologist and psychotherapist pals in Brisbane who would love to help you whilst I am away.  Give me a call to talk about finding someone to help you.


An Emotional Survival Guide for Christmas was last modified: December 13th, 2018 by Sarah Tuckett

Don’t hold your anger in – make pesto!

Let your anger out on some poor innocent greenery by making pesto the old fashioned way

Holding onto anger feels awful and it’s no good for you physiologically. The other day a foul-mouthed oaf masquerading as a concreting  contractor yelled expletives at me at 6.30am in my back yard, for a reason that was nothing to do with me. I was left shaking with anger, tears threatening to pour down my cheeks at any minute. Rather than carry this anger with me and hold that sick feeling inside me for the rest of the day, I went into my kitchen and made some pesto in a most unladylike fashion.

As I annihilated the basil leaves I screamed out expletives that would appall my mother. As I pulverised the pine nuts I yelled out the withering comments that would have left him begging to apologise. I took out my anger out on some poor unassuming greenery with a granite stick, in my own kitchen with no one else around except the cat (who ran away pretty quickly). And it felt GREAT!  I let all the remnants of that unpleasant encounter go. I didn’t let it spoil the rest of my day. (Side note –  I did make a bit of a mess).

As a somatic psychotherapist I help people release anger in a safe, confidential, therapeutic setting. Sometimes they hit a giant foam cube with a foam mallet, sometimes they stamp their feet and scream. I encourage them to let it go. You do not need to carry that anger inside you. Better to let it out in a safe, therapeutic space rather than keeping it inside you and risk it leaking out later onto someone else (usually your nearest and dearest). And best of all, when you let go of the anger there’s more room inside you for love, pleasure and joy.

But you can’t always queue up a handy therapist appointment at the precise moment of the anger, so here are my top tips for letting out it out in a safe way:

Choose your location and time

Don’t have a dummy spit in public like this lady in China .

Find a quiet, private spot so that you can let rip without scaring or offending anyone (or making a complete tool of yourself).


If you are worried about noise put on some loud music. I live in a Queenslander which has zero sound proofing so I put on loud music so that I don’t scare the daylights out of my octogenarian neighbours (pretty sure they’re deaf anyway…)

Get grounded and ‘present’ first

Letting rip whilst you’re un-grounded (not feeling like you’re connected to your body) is a BAD idea.  Doing some squats against a wall is a quick and easy way to get grounded. Do whatever you need to in order to feel connected with your body, safe, strong and present. Then…

Choose your method for expressing your anger

You want to let the anger out in a satisfying but safe way. You don’t want to hurt yourself or break something that you’d later regret. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Have a tantrum on your bed. Lie on your bed and have a dummy spit just like a toddler would. Kick your legs and flail your arms. Shout out what you wanted to say but couldn’t, or possibly just “ffffffffffff ##%@@!” Keep going until you’re exhausted.

    Having a toddler tantrum (in private) can help release anger
  2. Smack the sofa with a cushion (or the bed with a pillow). Hold the cushion with both hands, take it up over your head and then repeatedly whallop the sofa as you yell out what you need to. Or maybe just punch the shizz out of some innocent cushions.
    I wish I looked this glamorous letting anger out by hitting a cushion. I look more “Animal” from the Muppets
  3. Buy a granite mortar and pestle and annihilate some innocent vegetables. (Tip. The ceramic ones will shatter if you hit them too hard – granite is stronger).

And finally – rest…

When you feel like you’ve vented your anger, take an equal amount of time to let your nervous system settle back down. Don’t miss this step – your body needs this. An easy way to do this is a pose called the waterfall.

Waterfall pose – helps your nervous system chill out. (It’s also a great pose if you are suffering from anxiety)

Bend over and touch the floor with your fingers, bending your knees if your hamstrings are tight. Breath slowly and deeply, letting that energy you’ve built up drain out of you into the floor. Let your energy drip down into the ground like a candle melting. Breathing in through your nose and sighing out through your mouth. Using your breath is an excellent method of telling your nervous system to go back into the parasympathetic (rest and digest) state. When you’ve finished, roll up slowly, giving your blood pressure time to equalise, and then go about your day, safe in the knowledge that you’re not going to take it out on your mother in law (although it may be tempting!)

So Zen right now (and it’s nothing to do with the bowl of Ben and Jerry’s I’ve just consumed)


So remember…Get grounded, find a safe space, let rip, drop the f-bomb and then it all go. Don’t carry that shizz with you. There are more pleasant things to carry around (like a bowl of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food).


Don’t hold your anger in – make pesto! was last modified: April 1st, 2017 by Sarah Tuckett