It’s tempting during Winter to want to stay warm and cozy indoors but getting out into the fresh air and being around nature is a great way to relieve holiday stress and practice mindfulness, something which regular readers will know I’m a big fan of for maintaining good emotional wellbeing. Here are five ideas for outdoor activities that are perfect either in the lead up to Christmas or during that no-mans-land between Christmas and New Year.
Let’s start with a walk. An after lunch stroll is a tradition for a lot of families and with good reason. It’s a wonderful way to spend time together that encourages interaction, as opposed to falling asleep in front of the box, it’s good exercise, it releases endorphins and being around nature has been proven to make us feel more peaceful and content.
Mindful tip: Choose a beautiful location – whether that be a brisk walk along the beach, a wander in your local park or a muddy adventure in the woods. Take notice of the sights and smells around you and focus on your senses to stay connected to the present moment.
I find rivers and the ocean so soothing when it comes to stress and anxiety so why not add some Christmas sparkle to the sea by finding a local festive boat trip.
Mindful tip: the movement of water can be a great visual tool for practicing breathing exercises
Looking to move up the pace? Why not find a local outdoor ice rink? The kids will love it, it’s fab exercise and really Christmasy.
Mindful tip: skating provides lots of opportunity for engaging the senses – for example the sound of the blades on the ice or the feeling of the cold surface.
Admire local Christmas lights
This one is perfect for kids and something we like to do on Christmas eve. Most local areas have a legendary street who’s residence really go to town on decorations and lights, often for charity donations.
Mindful tip: use this opportunity to really engage your children in mindful behaviour; ask them to pick their favourite coloured light or ask them if they’d like to count the different types.
Christmas markets are one my absolute favourite things in life. Nothing beats the beautiful handmade crafts, yummy treats and steaming mulled wine. Markets seem to be gaining in popularity year after year so there is bound to be one near where you live.
Mindful tip: this is the perfect venue to engage your sense of smell and taste!