Christmas is a time for celebration, sparkles, excitement and treating ourselves and our loved ones. It can also be a time of gratitude and nourishment, and a wonderful exercise in mindfulness.
Winding down at the end of the year can be a time of relaxation and repair, allowing us to get ready for a new year ahead. Christmas is the stepping stone from one year to another, so a very powerful time indeed. Nurturing yourself and your loved ones at Christmas can be a mindful intention-setting practice for your year ahead.
Nourishment not indulgence
- Eat a protein-rich breakfast to set yourself up for the day and avoid the blood sugar rollercoaster. I adore wild smoked salmon, spinach and organic eggs alongside my glass of Christmas breakfast champagne. The protein regulates your appetite and reduces the temptation to eat all the chocolates and other sugary treats on offer! Balanced blood sugar equals balanced energy levels, allowing you to stay fresh and avoid that dreaded afternoon slump.
- Be mindful of your food intake. Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean you have to eat until you’re stuffed. Enjoy each mouthful, chew slowly and make your food a sensual delight.
- Eat the rainbow. Christmas dinner is the ideal opportunity to load your plate with colourful veg. Cruciferous vegetables like Brussel’s sprouts, broccoli and red cabbage are packed with liver-supporting indole-3-carbinol to help your liver process those extra glasses of wine (and they support your hormones too!) Saying yes to an extra portion of sprouts is always a great idea at Christmas!
- Practice gratitude. Receiving and giving gifts is an experience of abundance and gratitude. Slow down and really notice and appreciate what’s happening in these moments. Give from your heart when you give, and truly receive and appreciate the gifts you are given.
- Watch your ego! Family can churn up old patterns, judgments and behaviours that no longer serve us, or are real. Breathe, connect and observe fully. Sometimes negative reactions are our own, sometimes they are from another family member. Stay true to yourself without the need to react. Breathe deeply and don’t get sucked into old family patterns (this one is easier said than done…sometimes another Campari is actually needed in these situations!!). Choose happiness over being right!
- Play and have fun. Christmas is a time to celebrate and relax. We’re often feeling stressed and overwhelmed due to society’s pressures, yet relaxing and truly nourishing yourself will feel much better! Laughter and silliness is the best medicine. Be silly, tell jokes, do jigsaw puzzles, play Charades… it’s a time to let your hair down.
- Drink mindfully. I love wine (it’s my only vice!) and it’s easy to over do it. If you’re going to drink more than usual, be sure to sip water regularly as well as selecting healthier alcoholic options such as red wine, dry white and champagne. Avoid sugary mixers and sweet flavoured spirits. Go for soda with vodka and fresh lemon and similar natural concoctions.
- Supplement to support your body. I favour milk thistle and B vitamins to support liver function when drinking excess alcohol, and vitamin C to boost immunity. A quality digestive enzyme is a perfect natural remedy if your digestion needs support, and you can’t beat mighty magnesium to calm your nerves and help you relax. An Epsom salt bath in the morning will set you up for a relaxing and nurturing Christmas day ahead.
Wishing you a wonderfully mindful, nurturing and healthy Christmas, and a fabulous year ahead full of wellness and self care.
Article by Jo Rowkins, Nutritional Therapist and founder of Awakening Health.