Top 10 tips for a Happy & Healthy Christmas

Top 10 tips for a Happy & Healthy Christmas

So it's here again, the time of year that children eagerly await, and us adults adore or dread – probably in equal measure! At the end of the day, if you are one of the latter, it might help to remember that this festive season can be whatever you choose it to be.

It doesn't have to be highly commercialised, where you spend money you haven't got on gifts no-one really wants to receive. It can be a time for thoughtfulness. For small acts of kindness, not just big extravagant ones. For example, working in soup kitchens to help people who really are “down on their luck”, then sharing good food and good company with people you love for the rest of the festive period.

It can be a time of peaceful contemplation, of spiritual repose, of sharing and caring. In short, Christmas can be whatever you choose it to be. When I hear people “humbugging”, I often hope they get to wake up and enjoy the peace that can be achieved by looking outside of themselves, and remembering that we all have a choice of where we allow our minds to go.

Almost all of us could create enough from what we have – and most importantly – from who we are – to bring joy and a sense of abundance, whatever our circumstances. Of course there are those of us who are really struggling – who really have virtually nothing – homeless, living in bed and breakfasts, nothing to give their children and loved ones. So isn't it great there is an ultimate joy – at this time of year – in giving?

So here's my “Top 10 Tips” for that “Happy, Healthy Christmas” that we all desire.  If your Christmas often leaves you feeling frazzled and bereft of Christmas cheer – read on, and digest at your leisure, before the season's frivolities over take you!

Christmas Stress

Ok, so no matter how positive your mental attitude and approach to life, this is the time of year that might just get you gnashing your teeth and tensing your back, neck and shoulders, and taxing your ability to function productively. When the dinners only half cooked, Great Aunt Ethel brings 3 of her friends, the brussel sprouts boil over, and you step on the cat – you might like to access a little stress relief before, during or after the event!

Festive Scentsation
Create the perfect stress balm. Add 2 drops Neroli essential oil, 3 Frankincense and 4 Sweet Orange to 15ml Jojoba. Add to a small bottle – preferably with a “roll on” top, and massage into those pulse points regularly throughout the day or whenever the need arises.

Fruity Scentsation
Vaporise this aromatherapy blend throughout the space where your friends and family congregate, and you will soon notice its refreshing, uplifting action: 4 drops Mandarin, 4 Lime, 2 Frankincense and 2 Pine.

Seasonal Bath-Time Bliss
Prepare this luxurious bath-time blend to sink into once all the festivities have been provided for. You have done your bit, everyone's happy – so enjoy some time for you! Mix 80ml SLS Free Bath & Shower Gel, 3 drops Rose, 3 Jasmine, 6 Benzoin, 6 Frankincense and 20 Lavender - and relax!

Christmas Headaches

So a headache has crept up on you in the middle of everything and you haven't got time to stop! Here's a useful check list:

  • Drink ½ litre water with 2-3 drops Bach Flower Rescue Remedy
  • Stretch out your neck and back – preferably in the fresh air
  • Place 2 drops of Peppermint essential oil onto a tissue and inhale deeply
  • Place 5 drops of Neroli Light (5% dilution) and 2 drops of Lavender onto your hand and massage into your temples and the back of your neck

Christmas Relaxation

At this time of year? Yes, it can be done! Buy yourself some Neroli Light essential oil and add liberally to your Bath & Shower Gel to start the day. Keep your thoughts positive and drink a great deal of water (mostly!!) and remember to build in your family “time out”. Getting booked up - saying yes to too many invitations - can lead to very little time for you to unwind by that fire and just “be you”. Remember to say “yes please” if anyone asks if you want any help – sitting down for a while – without feeling that you have to “do everything” is a vital relaxation skill. Remember also, to vaporise those “down-time” essential oils when you do get to “wind down” – try 3 drops Patchouli, 3 Frankincense, 4 Bergamot and 4 Geranium.

Digestive Problems

Another check list if you are prone to uncomfortable bloating, burping or IBS symptoms:

  • Peppermint Tea – preferably fresh – before and certainly after a rich meal can really help
  • Vaporise 3 drops each of Peppermint, Spearmint, Lime and Fennel essential oils after the meal. Or try our Digestion pure essential oil blend.
  • Eat your meal slowly and chew really thoroughly – especially if you're hosting the meal. You can tend to bolt it as you think about serving up the next course!
  • Get some Bendicks Bittermints in dark chocolate – they have a very high content of pure peppermint oil – a wonderful digestive aid
  • If you suffer from IBS, pop into a good health food shop. Buy some activated charcoal, some peppermint capsules and if it's severe – some Slippery Elm capsules. The Slippery Elm should be taken 20 minutes before you eat to line your stomach and help prevent inflammation – the charcoal and peppermint capsules afterwards to help ease digestion following your meal. Depending on the level of bloating – or recent use of antibiotics, a good strong pro-biotic may help too, taken with breakfast.

Christmas Hangover

Not a great way to start the day for anyone – let alone those who are entertaining or have masses of festive fare to prepare! Try inhaling 2 drops each of Peppermint, Spearmint and Lime essential oils from a bowl of steaming hot water. Drink fresh pineapple juice – rich in digestive supporting enzymes, have a decent breakfast – cooked – to help restore your energy, and take BioCare's “Refresh Intensive” – to help restore the balance of electrolytes and nutrients important for energy and vitality.

Sore Feet

Too much shopping, standing on your feet all day cooking, or partying the night away? Make up this soothing foot balm in advance, and ideally ask an obliging family member to massage into your feet at the end of the day! Mix 120ml Moisturising Lotion, 30 drops Lavender essential oil, 10 Lemon, 8 Tea Tree, 6 Spearmint and 2 Peppermint.

Keeping Bugs Away

It’s the time of year that you can least afford to succumb to the lurgy – so box clever and prevent those bugs from breaching your immunity. For adults, take Elagen for several days leading up to that big day (pure standardised Siberian Ginseng) am and 1g BioCare's Vitamin C Powder pm. Children do well on Sambucol – a tonic made from concentrated elderberries – at this busy time full of school plays and nights out. Vaporise anti-microbial essential oils too: Try 4 drops Pine, 4 Cedarwood, 2 Lemon and 2 Thyme. Or 4 drops Patchouli, 3 Tea Tree, 3 Lemon and 2 Plai!

The Perfect Festive Fragrance

Well OK, there's no one "perfect" festive fragrance as it's such an individual choice and will depend on your mood and inclination, however here's a few fabulous options. Add to a diffuser, oil burner or pot-pourri. 

  • 3 drops Cedarwood, 3 Frankincense, 2 Neroli and 2 Rose
  • 3 drops each of Sandalwood, Lime, Clove and Sweet Orange
  • 3 drops each of Pine, Mandarin and Myrrh
  • 2 drops Eucalyptus, 3 Benzoin, 4 Sweet Orange and 4 Lime
  • 4 Bergamot, 2 Rose, 2 Jasmine and 2 Frankincense

Calming Hyper Activity

Whether it's children or adults buzzing with over-stimulation it's important to allow a “wind down” period at the end of the day. Remember warm milky drinks and bananas are rich in tryptophan and can help induce sleepiness. Vaporise Sweet Orange, Lavender and Chamomile essential oils in bedrooms before bed, and turn off all electrical equipment – TVs, mobiles and computers – at least 30 minutes before “lights out”.  You could also have a relaxing soak in the bath with 15ml Bath & Shower Gel , 10 drops Lavender, 2 Roman Chamomile and 2 Benzoin.

Sleep Problems

Long term sleep issues can respond well to nutrient supplements such as magnesium, a good quality Vitamin B Complex, and a blood sugar balancer such as Sucroguard from BioCare. If it's just at this time of year –try and stop eating and drinking alcohol at least 2 hours before bed. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to lessen dehydration caused by alcohol and socialising/singing etc! If your stress levels have been high, massage a few drops of Neroli Light into your neck and chest and pop a few drops of Lavender oil on a tissue and place inside your pillowcase. If you're just over-stimulated, read a book, allow yourself time to wind down, write in your new diary, do some gentle stretches, and focus on all you've achieved in the day, rather than the few things you've left undone. Thinking positive is more likely to help you relax and think peaceful, restful thoughts.

Here's to a happy and healthy Christmas!!!

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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