How to stay calm over Christmas

Nutritionist and cookery writer Madeleine Shaw is a self-confessed ‘cavegirl’ whose simple approach to the healing power of food has captured the minds and kitchens of thousands! Here are her top tips for staying calm over the Christmas period.



Of course this would have to my number 1 way to keep balanced… You know how much I loooove my quiet time. But hey, it’s all for good reason! If you’re feeling skeptical and can’t help but picture yourself sitting in a dimly lit room filled with monks sporting white robes and bonging chimes – allow me to introduce you to the modern (and much more realistic!) way of blissing out.

The benefits of taking just 10 minutes to close your eyes and clear your mind are endless; from helping to improve focus, decrease stress and anxiety to even relieving pain, inflammation and improve immunity. The ‘magic’ of meditation is due to real effects inside the body, including changes to the brain, reduced stress hormones, a positive influence on the nervous system and emotional regulation.

Hey everyone! I know Christmas is an exciting time for many but it can also get pretty overwhelming and it's easy to lose your balance along the way… Anyone relate? 💁🏻 Thankfully there are small things we can do in our days leading up to the 25th that can help us to stay centred – and I just shared my top 5 hacks over on the blog! From meditation to exercise and eating nourishing 'happy foods', it's time to focus on yourself and make sure you do what serves YOU! (Blog post is in my bio) ❤️ Speaking of food… Who is joining me tonight on my live cook off?! Tonight will be all about the sea bass and sweet potato dish I love to whip up for a mood boosting dinner – so be sure to check out my Insta stories for the details! 👆🏻Have a beautiful day and I'll see you over in the kitchen later 😘 #madeleineshaw #gettheglow

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Whilst looking after your mind is crucial for keeping calm over Christmas, getting the right nutrition is also key. During those ‘blue moments’, you want to be loading up your plate with feel good foods that can actually help to boost your mood and make you feel super bright, even on the darkest December day.

Take chocolate for example: Not just a delight to the taste buds, eating chocolate has been linked to releasing endorphins and reducing the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies. All the more reason to get your bake on and whip up a batch of my hemp and banana chocolate cake, then?

Whilst a diet purely based around chocolate is tempting at this time of year – there are plenty of other foods that bring us some much needed comfort and joy. Eggs, nuts, oats, beans, lentils, cheese and fish are all on the good list for producing that serotonin in our bodies as they contain the essential amino acid tryptophan. Get creative with your cooking, enjoy the process and sit down mindfully to enjoy it and reap up those beautiful benefits!

Oh, and one last thing… When it comes to eating to feel good, you can never have too many greens.



Whenever I have a down day, nothing picks me up more than a killer work out. With exercise, I like to change things up and will only do as much as I feel like doing – as well as what I genuinely enjoy. So if you asked me to join you on a muddy intense bootcamp at 5am, then I would probably (okay, definitely!) have to decline. But a laughter filled barre class with my girlfriends? Or an empowering weight training session? A simple 15 minute yoga flow in my living room whilst Shay sleeps? Count me in!

It’s all about being kind to yourself and finding a way of moving your body that serves you. Never underestimate the power of getting out of bed (even when all you want to do is hide under the covers) and embracing the day with an endorphin boosting work out to benefit both your mind and body. Take a second now to ask yourself exactly what sort of exercise makes you feel best and perhaps make the intention to set aside some time over Christmas to incorporate it in to your days. You may just be surprised how good you feel once you have mastered that downward dog…!

|NEW RECIPE UPDATE!| So mince Pie Monday is a thing… Right?😉 This week I want to share with you an old favourite recipe with a slight tweak of adding dates and walnuts that has come out every Christmas since I started experimenting with healthy alternatives that taste just as good (dare I say, if not BETTER) than the real deal! ❤️ Of course the festive season wouldn't be the same with out mince pies, so why not give Mr Kipling a break and make your own using a selection of fresh ingredients you can easily grab from your local store. There is nothing quite like that hit of the sweet dates and creamy walnuts inside the buttery melt in the mouth pastry, which I make using spelt flour. Pair with a hot mulled wine and you have yourself the DREAM festive treat!🎄 Time to get your glow AND bake on… Link to the recipe is in my bio👆🏻😘 X #madeleineshaw #gettheglow

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‘Tis the season when our social calendars go in to overdrive; which is all well and good if it means lengthy brunches of scrambled eggs and matcha (yum!) or wind down girly dinners complete with a good bottle of red. Being around those you love, absorbing their good energy and penciling more plans in to your diary to do just that is a sure fire way to feel happy over Christmas… But you know what? It is also okay to say ‘no’ from time to time.

Those after work drinks you’d rather turn down in favour of a night with your fave podcasts and a hot bath? Or the networking event that you don’t really need to go to? It’s all good: You know your friends will survive if you are not there… Just.

You just do what you want to do, girl. No one knows what is best for you like yourself, right?



And finally – the super calming hack that never fails to lift my spirits and get me in the festive mood whilst centering my thoughts and helping me to distance myself from the everyday stresses at the same time. Whether it is painting, practicing typography, tree decorating, flower arranging or cooking – choosing to put that phone away and finding a creative task that makes you feel good is a proven way to wave goodbye to anxiety and hello to a clear mind! You will have probably seen the endless variations of ‘mindfulness’ colouring books for adults fly off the shop shelves – so the surprisingly incredible mood boosting benefits really do speak for themselves.

Remember that you really do not have to be a pro with the paintbrush or have the eye of an interior designer to get started – perfection is definitely not what we are striving for here. Simply look at it as a way of escaping from all the craziness that rises during December that you can revisit whenever you feel overwhelmed. Why not just try it and see how it goes?

And now I am going to pass the post over to you, my beautiful readers… How do you manage your mentality at this time of year? Like with diets and exercise, different things work for different people for fighting stress – so I would love to hear your top tips to zen out!


Many thanks to Madeline for letting us publish her post, please visit the original here.

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