Posted by Heather Doggett on 17 December 2018

On the First day of Christmas: Here is some sound advice to get through this month of gifts, goodwill, shopping, excessive food and alcohol consumption, stress and indigestion….

On the 2nd day of Christmas: Take a deep breath

…and prepare for the onslaught! As the busiest and arguably most stressful month of the year begins, it pays to have some coping strategies in place. To restore calm, relax all the muscles in your body and consciously slow your breathing rate by half. Close your eyes and inhale through your nose, filling your belly with air. Hold for five seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeated 20 times, this will bring your pulse rate down and fight stress.

On the 3rd day of Christmas: Feed up your immunity

To get through the Christmas festivities, bolster your immune system now. Recent research from Harvard University suggests a diet low in zinc, iron and Vitamin C can make people more prone to infections – from colds to winter vomiting bugs – so start including plenty of citrus fruits, lean red meat, lentils and beans in your daily diet from now until the end of the month.

On the 4th day of Christmas: Have a festive spring clean

The arrival of friends and family over the Christmas period often means a thorough blitz of your home is on your ‘to do’ list. Put an extra bit of umpf into your festive housework and you’ll burn off a surprising number of calories – an hour’s intense vacuuming can work off up to 300 calories – equivalent to a whole mince pie!

On the 5th day of Christmas: Hit the High Street

Thankfully, brisk walking between shops can burn up to 300 calories an hour – and carrying heavy bags will help tone up your arm muscles. Park your car at the entrance farthest away from the shops to walk even further.

On the 6th day of Christmas: Keep those cold sores at bay

Be careful who you’re kissing under the mistletoe – kissing is the most common way of passing on a cold sore! If you already have the virus, boozy nights out can hamper your immune system and make the pesky blighters more likely to reappear.

On the 7th day of Christmas: Get cracking

Make the most of all the nuts doing the rounds – especially Brazils. What makes them extra special is their extraordinarily high selenium content – just four nuts provide your total recommended intake to help fight heart disease, premature ageing and cancer.

On the 8th day of Christmas: Sip a ‘morning after’ detox juice

Hung over? Upping your fluid intake will help with the alcohol elimination process. For a detoxifying super-juice, try mixing apple, carrot and grated ginger to encourage your body to flush out toxins naturally.

On the 9th day of Christmas: Get outside

Get the whole family out and about to soak up some of that festive spirit and keep fit in the process. Try ice skating, or go for a winter bike ride or walk.

On the 10th day of Christmas: Beat stress headaches

Rushing around to get everything done can trigger tension headaches. Drink plenty of water, as dehydration makes symptoms worse. A brisk walk will also help by encouraging the brain to release natural painkilling endorphins.

On the 11th day of Christmas: Halt heartburn

This painful digestive condition is easily exacerbated by too much booze and rich food. Avoid large portions, not eating too late and limiting your alcohol intake will help.  An extra pillow in bed can also help reduce the backflow of acid.

On the 12th day of Christmas: Sleep easier

It’s tempting to get into the habit of late nights and lie-ins over the festive break, but a change to your usual bedtime routine can throw your sleeping patterns out of sync. Lessen its impact by trying to go to bed and get up at roughly the same time, as this programmes your body to sleep better.