The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - BODY & SOUL -

They thrive on ne­glect. When in flower, wa­ter only ev­ery other week — stand the con­tainer in the sink and use half a cup of wa­ter, let­ting it drain through. Never let wa­ter col­lect in the grow­ing tip: this will cause new leaves to rot and kill off the plant. Place in dap­pled shade: an east or west­fac­ing win­dowsill, shaded by a blind, is ideal. Too much light means fewer flow­ers. They need day­time tem­per­a­tures of 18°C-plus, 12°C at night. Get del­e­gat­ing — right now. No one can sparkle when they’re shat­tered so share the tasks out. Even small chil­dren can help with this: mak­ing dec­o­ra­tions, stir­ring the pud, adorn­ing the tree, lay­ing the ta­ble.

Em­brace mind­ful­ness. It’s med­i­ta­tion made easy. What­ever you’re do­ing — whether it’s peel­ing pota­toes or putting up the dec­o­ra­tions, be­come aware of what you’re do­ing, how you’re feel­ing, where you are. Ev­ery so of­ten, stop and just take a few min­utes to fo­cus on your breath. You don’t have to change your breath­ing; just be aware of it.

Have fun and make some last­minute dec­o­ra­tions. Huge swags of home­made pa­per­chains are fun to make (chil­dren love them) and give your home a re­ally in­di­vid­ual look. Choose star­tling colour com­bos (fuch­sia pink, leaf green and sul­try black?) or go for glit­tery, sparkly sil­vers and golds. Check out your lo­cal craft shop. Thrifty souls will, of course, use last year’s saved pa­per and are fully en­ti­tled to look smug.

In­stead of cof­fee, which in­creases cor­ti­sol lev­els and jan­gles the adrenal glands, sip one of Pukka Herbs’ gor­geous herbal or spicy teas. Pep­per­mint and liquorice is re­fresh­ing while cin­na­mon and car­damom is re­vi­tal­is­ing and smells di­vine; avail­able from good health stores.

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