Day 1: Wellbeing

The Knowledge and Evidence Specialists in the PHE Knowledge and Library Services Team have shared some of their favourite leisure activities below:

Books TV Film Radio Podcasts
Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway series

Martin Edward’s Lake District Mysteries

Librivox (free audiobook service)

Hungry by Grace Dent

Broken Greek by Pete Paphides

Quite by Claudia Winkleman

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Diary of a Somebody by Brian Bilston

Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer

BBC i-Player

Friday Night Dinner – C4

Schitt’s Creek – C4

Strictly Come Dancing – BBC

Masterchef: The Professionals – BBC

His Dark Materials – BBC

I’m a Celebrity – ITV Hub

All Creatures Great and Small – Channel 5

Private Eyes – Channel 5

Midsomer Murders – ITV Hub

Detectorists – BBC

Channel 5 films

Channel 4 films

Radio 3

Radio 4, even the Archers

Serious Jockin’ with Steve Wright on Radio 2 on Friday afternoon

Sara Cox All Request Friday on Radio 2

Sophie Ellis Bextor’s Kitchen Disco (YouTube)

FIP Radio France

Gilles Peterson Sat afternoons 6 Music

Jo Whiley on Radio 2

Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show on Radio 6

Atletico Mince

The Parapod

Chart Music

BBC Music Introducing Mixtape


Table Manners with Jessie Ware

Spinning Plates with Sophie Ellis-Bextor

The Adam Buxton Podcast

Inside Electric

WTF1 – (Who’s The Fastest F1 podcast)


From our Wellbeing Collection, we have these suggestions – if you would like to read any of these, please get in touch, and we can post them out to you:


Ford A. Mindful thoughts for walkers: footnotes on the zen path. Brighton: Leaping Hare Press; 2017.

Mindful walking can help us face the existential questions of ‘Who am I?’, ‘Where have I come from?’, What am I doing here?’ and ‘Where am I going?’ Through a series of 25 succinct meditations on walking, Adam Ford presents an enlightening guide to how mindfulness and walking can help us improve our conscious living.


O’Kane O. Ten to zen: ten minutes a day to a calmer, happier you. London: Bluebird; 2018.

Ten to Zen is a simple, effective and fuss-free guide to help you start your day in the right head-space to prepare for the challenges it may bring. Ten to Zen uses a combination of four therapeutic models – Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Psychotherapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy – in a simple, easy-to-follow programme.


Andre C, Sackville J. Mindfulness: 25 ways to live in the moment through art. [London]: Ebury Digital; 2019.

Expert practitioner Christophe Andre invites us to consider paintings while practising mindfulness techniques. With stunning simplicity and clarity, he sets out 25 lessons that could change your life – from understanding what it means to live mindfully, to useful tips for everyday situations.


Ben-Moshe R. Laughing at cancer: how to heal with love, laughter and mindfulness. Melbourne: Brolga; 2017.

‘Laughing at cancer’ is a unique book based on a series of journals following the author’s shock diagnosis of bowel cancer at 43. Brimming with humour, insight and sensitivity, it explores how we talk about and view illness and how changing your mindset can do wonders on the journey to health. Through explanations of mindful healing techniques and the power of laughter, it is both a touching memoir and powerful healing guide for anyone undergoing a significant health or life challenge, and not specifically cancer.


Burch V, Penman D. Mindfulness for health: a practical guide to relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing. London: Piatkus; 2013.

This book reveals a series of simple practices that you can incorporate into your daily life to relieve chronic pain and the suffering and stress of illness.  The eight-week programme at the heart of this book takes just 10-20 minutes per day. It is particularly effective for the biggest causes of pain – back problems, arthritis, migraine and diabetes but works equally well for cancer (and its associated chemotherapy), heart disease, fibromyalgia, celiac disease, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, IBS, labour pain and even tinnitus. You will be surprised by how quickly your suffering melts away, leaving you able to live life to the full again.


Gilbert P, Choden. Mindful compassion: using the power of mindfulness and compassion to transform our lives. London: Robinson; 2015.

In recent years, mindfulness is being used increasingly to treat common mental health problems such as depression, stress and stress-related insomnia. In this book, the authors combine the best of Compassion-Focused Therapy with the most effective mindfulness techniques. The result is an extremely effective approach to overcoming everyday emotional and psychological problems and improving one’s sense of wellbeing.


Gunatillake R. Modern mindfulness: how to be more relaxed, focused, and kind while living in a fast, digital, always-on world. [Hampshire]: Macmillan Digital Audio; 2017.

In this audio book, the author argues that to lead more mindful, calm and happy lives, switching off is the last thing we need to do. Instead he gives listeners ideas, principles, and techniques to bring awareness, composure, and kindness whatever they are doing. Filled with over sixty practical exercises, the author’s mobile mindfulness approach gives the benefits of meditation to even the busiest of lives.


Wax R. A mindfulness guide for the frazzled. UK: Penguin Life; 2016.

Ruby Wax had spent a lifetime building a successful career, home and family through ‘sheer drive’ and determination. Then, having struggled with depression all her life, she suffered a major relapse and decided the time had come to make a change. She proceeded to study mindfulness-based cognitive therapy at Oxford University (achieving a Masters for good measure) and learned how to take personal control over her mind, her mood and her life. This is a practical, honest and easy-to-follow guide that is about finding time and space for yourself in a world where the pace seldom slows. Ruby Wax shows us how to de-frazzle for good by making simple changes that give us time to breathe, reflect and live in the moment.


Williams JMG, Penman D. Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world. London: Piatkus; 2011.

This book reveals a set of simple yet powerful practices that you can incorporate into daily life to break the cycle of anxiety, stress unhappiness and exhaustion. It promotes the kind of happiness that gets into your bones and allows you to meet the worst that life throws at you with new courage.


For more resources to support your wellbeing, return to the 12 Days of Christmas homepage. 

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