5 Health and Fashion Influencers Reveal: My Journey to a More Mindful Xmas This Year

5 beloved health and fashion influencers presented to the Savant's global community earlier this year, reveal their most precious festive season lifestyle tips: how to avoid the consumption trap this Christmas, and rather than following the mindless 'present game'; how to sit back and just be present in the moment... 

Curated by Hanna-Amanda Pant / Meri Frig / Johanna Raudsepp

1. Divya Alter, Ayurvedic Chef and Co-Owner of the Manhattan Restaurant 'Divya's Kitchen'

Image: Divya Alter  /  Photography:    William and Susan Brinson

Image: Divya Alter / Photography:  William and Susan Brinson

Good food is an essential component of every holiday, but celebrations are not just about eating and drinking. They are about getting together as a family and/or community to express our respect and gratitude, to feel connected, and much more. That’s why holidays can be a very emotionally healing experience. Think about how you can facilitate that in your Christmas celebration this year.

Here are a few Ayurvedic tips on how to add a healthy twist to your meals during Christmas (and any holiday), so that you don’t have feel sluggish the next day or worry about gaining those unwanted 'holiday pounds'. 

  • Schedule your dinner during the earlier evening hours. As the evening progresses, our digestive fire weakens, which increases the chances for us to feel heavy and sluggish.
  •  Serve a digestive tea at the end of the meal—ginger tea, chai, rooibos tea are a few options.
  •  Praise the cooks!
  • Avoid indulging in leftovers the next day. As convenient and tempting leftovers are, they are also much harder to digest and can cause digestive reactions, heaviness, congestion, weight gain.

2. Rosa Nenonen, Founder of 'Pilots Helsinki', Positive Psychology Academy

Image: Rosa Nenonen /  Photography: Kaapo Kamu

Image: Rosa Nenonen / Photography: Kaapo Kamu

Although Christmas is the time to unwind, many feel the opposite way. Just when everything should be oh-so-lovely and perfect, it rarely feels that way. When the gingerbreads are burning in the oven or setting up the Christmas tree fails, just take a deep breath. According to scientific research, we are the happiest when we are present. Oftentimes, when we stop for a moment, we start to worry about the past or the future. Bring your thoughts kindly to the present moment: enjoy the tastes and smells of Christmas. The best gift you can give yourself is to turn off your phone and quit social media for a few days.

3. Kristi Pärn, Head Designer at Ellen Richard

Image: Kristi Pärn / Photography: Oliver Moosus

Image: Kristi Pärn / Photography: Oliver Moosus

I would recommend being relaxed about Christmas and keeping away from all the shopping-fuss. If you can, then definitely try to leave the city before the holidays and take time off with your family. I’ve consciously done that for many years – it’s incredibly enjoyable. With presents, my family has a tradition of making the gift ourselves, or gifting a good book or a theatre ticket. You should definitely try to do the preparations and gift wrapping early, not leave it to the very last minute. You can also be creative when wrapping presents, and use the things you already have at home. For example, I’ve wrapped presents in linen fabric, put a fir twig from the garden on top, and the result is just gorgeous – simple and sweet.

For me, Christmas is about spending quality time with my family. It’s a time spent with good company, delicious home-made food, and enjoying the warmth of the fireplace. No unnecessary fussing about or spending money. That’s how I’ve been mindful on Christmas for many years now.

4. Cecilia Portnoj, Holistic Health Coach at Lagom Health

Image: Cecilia Portnoj

Image: Cecilia Portnoj

Try to let go of all stress and external expectations. Even though Xmas plays a different role in our lives, the fuzz around it is inevitable – in the end, it is just one single day of the year. My advice is to eat (and drink) mindfully by slowing down and fully engaging all the senses. By mindfully enjoying the treats, we will not only enjoy them more fully, but we will also less likely overindulge. After all, there’s no need to rush at this time of year.

If you eat too many gingerbreads or have too much mulled wine, don't feel guilty. The trick is to give a gift from you to you: self-compassion. It is about treating yourself with the kindness, understanding and forgiveness that you would treat a good friend. The most important is to eat food that both your body and mind appreciate and feel satisfied with. 

5. Daniela Christiansson, Eco-Conscious Model / Ambassador and Host of Green Fashion Week

Image: Daniela Christiansson

Image: Daniela Christiansson

I could tell a lot about Swedish traditions and how much I love this period of the year. My heart fills with joy when I am finally coming home to my parents house. I am overwhelmed by the Christmas mood that is in their house, and it is one of the best feelings! What truly matters is to spend quality time with your loved ones. The best Christmas gift you can get and offer [is the time] you spend together with your friends and family. And it can start weeks before, by doing and enjoying the Christmas preparations together with your loved ones. 

Traditions are things that last, therefore, they should be valued and passed on throughout generations. Without traditions and dedicating time to your loved ones, what would Christmas mean? I love to envision and pick the perfect gifts for them, but would that 'present game' be enjoyable without the value and the atmosphere of Christmas? I definitely prefer the little moments and the Christmas atmosphere over the shopping concept.