JO RIDGWAY: Stop, and breathe through the craziness

CHRISTMAS seems to require frantic rushing about, stress and worry.

Tuesday, 29th November 2016, 6:06 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:43 pm
Acupuncturist Jo Ridgway gives advice on staying healthy this Christmas

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are my top tips for staying healthy and happy this Christmas.

n Balance all the doing with some being.

Chinese medicine teaches us that living in harmony with the seasons is the key to wellness.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Winter is a time to slow down, go inwards and reflect.

This doesn’t mean that all Christmas parties should be avoided but that it’s important to balance out the celebrations with some stillness.

Try some gentle yoga in the mornings, a simple meditation – just sitting still for a few minutes and watching your breath, writing in a journal or sitting next to a fire with a cup of tea.

n Look after your kidneys​.

As an acupuncturist, when I talk about your kidneys, or any other bodily organ I’m not talking about the anatomical organ but a far wider set of attributes.

The kidneys are the source of all energy in our body, like our own battery pack. So rest is vital.

The cold, dark days urge us to slow down and conserve our energy, rebuilding our strength for the spring.

Try taking a bath with Epsom salts and lavender oil and having an early night.

Even half an hour earlier, twice a week, coupled with the odd afternoon nap will give both your energy levels and immune system a boost.

n Drink bone broth​.

It is rich in nutrients and soothing on the digestive system.

It is energising liquid gold and so easy and cheap to make. Just add bones, water and simmer for as long as you can.

Drink it as it is, or use it as a base for soups and stews.

Eating seasonally means saving salads and juices for the summer. Instead, go for squashes, potatoes, root vegetables and winter greens.

Christmas is a time of excessive eating and drinking so try to balance with days of simple, nourishing, slow-cooked foods.

n Go with the flow.

Instead of trying to resist the chaos of Christmas, go with it.

In Chinese medicine the smooth, free flow of qi (energy) results in a happy, healthy mind and body.

When it stagnates, you develop pain and a weakened immune health.

So stop, breathe through the craziness, recognise the changing nature of life and inwardly repeat to yourself ‘this too shall pass’.

For more information about Jo and acupuncture, go to

Jo Ridgway is an acuncturist and busy mother-of-two from Rowlands Castle