12 Steps to a Healthy Christmas

As Christmas fast approaches, it’s easy to get wrapped up and overwhelmed in others things. However we all know, your health and the health of your family is the most important thing.

Our 12 steps to Christmas gives tips on how to have a healthy and happy Christmas.

Step 1: It’s good to talk

2020 has proven to be a very challenging and emotional time for us all. With 1:4 of us being affected by mental illness, the winter months can especially prove challenging.

With surveys showing anxiety remaining high, it’s important to know what help is out there.

SilverCloud is a free online course which offers support for anxiety, depression, and much more, all based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Anyone aged 16 or over can sign up.

If you or someone you know is struggling and would prefer to talk to someone, there are many helplines out there who are there to listen:

British Red Cross National Support Line - Open 10am to 6pm 7 days a week on 0808 1963651.  

CALL Mental Health Listening Line - Open 24/7. CALL can also signpost to support in local communities and a range of online information. Call 0800132737, text 'help' to 81066 or visit callhelpline.org.uk/.

Samaritans – Available 24/7. Whatever you're going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. Call for free on 116 123 or email: jo@samaritans.org

Live Fear Free Helpline – Available 24/7. Provides help and advice to anyone experiencing domestic abuse or knows someone who needs help. Call 0808 80 10 800.. Text 0786007733 or email info@livefearfreehelpline.wales

For more information on mental health and other related conditions.

Step 2: Get your flu vaccine

For some people flu (also known as influenza) can be very serious.  The flu vaccine is the best way to protect you and your family against flu.

The flu vaccine is free for everyone who is eligible to have it. To find out if you can have the flu vaccine or for further information on the flu visit NHS 111 Wales.

Step 3: Keep you and your family safe

It’s important that we continue to follow Government guidelines to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Please remember to:

  • Limit how many different people you meet
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Work from home if you can
  • Remember to wear face coverings in all indoor public places. This includes on public transport and taxis, and in places where food and drink is served, other than when you are seated to eat or drink.

For information on self-isolation, test trace and protect and more visit Coronavirus. Information available in Easy Read, BSL and other languages.

To find out what to do if you think you have symptoms, please visit the Coronavirus symptom checker.

Step 4: Stock up

It’s always wise to be prepared for a minor illness or injury. Our advice is always keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet and first aid kit at home.

If you take regular medication, make sure you have enough to see you through the Christmas period.

Step 5: Help when you need it

If you need to contact your GP or dentist, out of hours, just contact your usual GP surgery or dental practice number and follow the instructions on the messaging service.

For Pharmacies open over the Christmas period, visit 111 Wales. Alternatively call 111 (or 0845 46 47 if not available in your area). If you are Deaf or hard of hearing, visit our Contact Us section for further information.

Step 6: Carers

As a carer you need to be prepared in case you become unwell or have an emergency.  Who will be willing to cover you in an emergency? 

It’s important that you have plans in place, so we know who will care for the person you look after.  For more information on emergency care plans contact your local authority or Carers UK.  Information for carers and looking after someone is also available at the NHS 111 Wales website


Step 7: 999 is for life-threatening emergencies

The Welsh Ambulance Service works hard 24/7 to care for those in life-threatening emergencies.

If your condition is not serious, please seek advice from other healthcare providers such as your GP, Pharmacy or go online NHS 111 Wales.

Remember an ambulance is not a taxi.

Click here to read some inappropriate calls that we've received.

Step 8: Look after the health of you and your family

Eating well, exercising regularly and good hand hygiene can help keep illnesses at bay. To find out more visit our Live Well section

Step 9: Feeling unwell?

If you or a family member feel unwell, our NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker is there to help.

The symptom checkers will tell you where you should go for help or give you information on self-care if you can look after yourself at home.

Our symptom checkers include: Coronavirus/COVID-19, falls, chest pain, breathing Difficulties, Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Cold & Flu and many more.

Step 10: Hand hygiene

Good hand hygiene is extremely important. To help prevent the spread of germs and viruses, remember to wash your hands regularly.

Step 11: How are you? No really, how are YOU?

We continue to be in very uncertain times but it’s important to maintain good mental and physical health as well staying connected with friends and family. For advice on looking after yourself and your loved ones during this time visit Public Health Wales.

Step 12: Respect our staff

We understand that when someone is injured or extremely unwell, it can be a very frightening time. For us to know what help you require, we will need to ask you some questions. This short video explains what happens when you call 999.

Please respect our staff and remember our staff are there to help!

Merry Christmas

From all the team at NHS 111 Wales & the Welsh Ambulance Service have a very Merry Christmas!!