Read time: 8 min.
Issue 03 * 16 December 2023

Goldster’s Top 10 Holiday Health Tips for a Peaceful Christmas

Goldster’s stellar cast of experts from NHS veteran Professor Sir Muir Gray to author and academic Dr David Reilly and nutritional therapist Claudia Le Feuvre let us know their crucial tips for getting through the season with wellbeing intact!

Bethan Cole

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01 Harry Langham – Poetry Teacher

Sometimes, even at Christmas, it can feel as though we are living life on autopilot; coasting from day to day, going about our daily routines with an almost mindless disposition. Whilst this is totally natural, it can mean that we begin to take our lives for granted.

That’s where journalling comes in, allowing us to engage more mindfully with our own lived experience, and practise an attitude of gratitude towards the world around us. To get started, think about the day you had yesterday. What challenges did you face? What did you most enjoy? What did you learn? Put pen to paper and notice how it feels to get your thoughts down on the page. 

02 Professor Sir Muir Gray – Veteran NHS Expert

Top researchers have just discovered an antidote to the winter blues. It is amazing and the Latin name is ‘Pedotherapy’, we all know it quite simply as ‘walking’. It is ideal therapy both for prevention and treatment and it is best taken in a green environment - but even just walking along pavements is fine. The therapeutic effect is even greater if you walk briskly, that is, just quickly enough so that you feel your breath a little but you can still keep talking, and walking with others also increases the benefits.

Take the therapy for at least thirty minutes a day, not necessarily in one dose – every minute counts.

03 Jana Fritzsche – Nutritional Chef

Some Christmas foods are good for you so aim to incorporate more of these:

1. Turkey (Vit B3, Vit B6, rich in protein) opt for the darker meat as it’s lower in fat.

2. Cranberry sauce is a natural infection fighter and helps to protect against urinary infections. Make it yourself for a lower sugar content than shop-bought.

3. Salmon – raw or cooked: rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

4. Cinnamon: antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal.

5. Pumpkin/chestnuts/carrots – the latter have beta carotene which converts into Vit A. All three are antioxidant-rich.

6. Red Cabbage: rich in Vit C.

7. Parsnip: contains potassium which protects the heart, lungs and cardiovascular health.

04 Ross Duttson – Face Yoga Expert

My top tip is to take a little time for yourself, which is easier said than done during the festive period!

1. Find a quiet space & close your eyes.

2. Listen to your breathing.

3. Slow it down if possible.

4. Check-in with yourself to see how you’re feeling.

5. Using all of your fingertips, start gently tapping your forehead area for 10 seconds.

6. Ensure your shoulders are relaxed & down.

7. We’ll move over the whole face tapping each area for about 10 seconds...

8. Eyebrows, cheek areas, above top lip, chin & jaw.

9. Slowly open your eyes & check in with yourself again...

05 Daniel Hope – Massage Therapist

Massage for digestion can be extremely beneficial at Christmas time.

To perform this technique, you want to imagine your belly as a clock face & glide in a clockwise direction starting at the top of the hip on your right side. Apply a small amount of lotion & light pressure to begin with.

From here, glide up until you reach the ribs (still on the right side) & follow the line of the lower ribs from right to left (above the belly button.)

Glide down the left side of the abdominals & glide underneath your belly button & repeat this around 10 times.

Please consult a doctor before doing this technique if you have any health issues.

06 Hannah Joseph – Yoga Teacher

My number 1 tip for keeping healthy this Christmas is to choose a breath and posture that you can practice anywhere for as little as 3 minutes. You don’t need a yoga mat, you can practice sitting on a chair, sofa or at the edge of your bed when you wake up. 

Spinal Flexes or seated Cat Cows

Sit tall with your hands relaxed on the knees and feet on the ground. Inhale as you flex your spine forward, lifting the chin and opening the chest. Exhale as you curve the spine back, looking towards your navel. Move together with the breath and continue for 2 minutes. 

07 Claudia Le Feuvre – Nutritional Therapist

Enjoy the foods you love but consider limiting the duration to a few days. Savour, enjoy and appreciate every mouthful. This approach allows you to fully appreciate the special Christmas foods, whilst striking the balance between enjoyment and overall wellbeing over the holidays.

08 Dr David Reilly – Author, Academic, TED talk lecturer and Health Expert

Don't let your hectic mind control your life at Christmas time; it’s not up to the job. Meditation, a brief yet impactful daily practice, empowers you to master your wandering mind. Why bother? A calmer mind is the gateway to a warmer heart and, so, peace, happiness and better health.   

Devote just two minutes initially, gradually extending to 20; direct your attention to dwell, for example, on your breath, heart, body, sounds, mantra, or a nurturing state like gratitude. When it wanders, gently lead it back. As the mind quietens, enter the simple silent stillness of your inner room of deeper presence where peace can flow through you.  Then return to the world renewed.

09 Anna Campkin – Sleep Coach

Without the excited anticipation of Santa’s arrival; sleeping at Christmas should be easy right? But sometimes it’s not – how can we craft healthy sleep at Christmas?

1 – Stay in a routine, rising and sleeping at regular times.

2- Take home comforts when staying away from home to “feel safe” and relax to sleep.

3- Save sugar and alcohol for earlier in the day to be out of your system by bedtime.

4 – Exercise is key: factor in some enthusiastic party games or a good walk after your meal!

5 – Societal pressures can take over – relieve worries by gratitude journalling and setting intentions for your holiday season. 

10 Jen Shackleton - Advanced EFT and NLP Practitioner

My top tip for staying mentally healthy at Christmas is to use the Emotional Freedom Technique, a clinically proven psycho-sensory technique in which you tap on acupressure points on your face, chest and hands while focusing on something that’s bothering you. Tapping helps to shift anxiety and let go of stress as it de-sensitises the amygdala and gets you out of fight and flight. It is even more powerful when coupled with 7/11 breathing in and out through the nose and positive affirmations such as ‘I can be calm’ and ‘I am safe’.