For many, Christmas holidays are a time of indulgence. We look forward to lazy, relaxed days. Staying in our PJ’s, watching Christmas films, eating mince pies or wrapping up to meet friends for a mulled wine at a festive Christmas market.
However, for many, this kind of indulgent holiday can actually be bad news for mental health. Here we offer an alternative Christmas break. Rather than being swept along with indulgent Christmas festivities, the Lake District offers a mindful Christmas break. One where you will start the New Year feeling energised and rejuvenated.
By mid-Christmas morning we often find ourselves surrounded by a mountain of discarded Christmas wrapping paper with a flood of entertaining to wade through before settling down to enjoy the peace of an afternoon Christmas movie. Alternatively, picture yourself surrounded by nothing but crisp, fresh mountain air. How about clocking up 1,000 steps on your Fitbit before you’ve even opened a present.
What better place than on top of Loughrigg Fell or Catbells to practise your Vrksasana (Tree Pose) or Garudasana (Eagle Pose)?
Don’t fall into the trap of losing routine whilst being off work. Without being too much of a bah humbug, try to keep up your normal routines over Christmas. This means sticking to your sleep and wake schedule, eating well and continuing to exercise as regularly as you can.
Losing yourself in an activity that you enjoy is good for your mental health. This is why it is important to make sure that you don’t drop any fave hobbies over the festive period, such as playing football, the guitar or cooking.
Regular exercise is not just good for us physically, but mentally too and so keeping up this routine is important over Christmas too. And this is so easy on a break in the Lakes. With walks and cycling straight from your doorstep, it’s an outdoor enthusiasts top choice holiday.
For a slower-pace experience of the outdoors, water and river sports, like fishing and row boating, are in abundance too. As are more adventurous outdoor sports such as rock climbing, fell and beach horse riding, caving, ghyll scrambling and mountain biking.
Many Lakelovers cottages have inclusive swimming pools, gyms and spa facilities too, which area ideal for a wellbeing Christmas break.
Extra congestion caused by holiday traffic is a major stress trigger over the Christmas period and, for some, getting away is the answer. In the lead up to Christmas, shopping online means you can avoid the stress of Christmas crowds and also helps with budgeting. Also, Christmas is a season for discounting, but do remember that just because something is discounted does not always mean that it is a bargain! Camel, Camel, Camelare a great price checker site for Amazon reductions.
Windermere and Ambleside are popular Lake District holiday locations for holidaymakers wanting to ditch the car for their break. The Bus & Boat Ticket from Windermere Lake Cruisesmeans the driver can enjoy the scenery and there isn’t the stress of finding parking.
Why not make your Lake District Christmas break the first of many. New Year is the time when many of us book holidays, giving us something to look forward to for the year ahead. A ‘12 Dates of Christmas’ gift is just that, where all you do is plan a date for each month of the year for yourself and a loved one.
The dates don’t have to cost the earth either. Think about activities like a walk and picnic, a printmaking lesson, a spa date and save bigger gifts ideas like a hot air balloon ride for those special occasions like birthdays
This gift also takes care of gift planning, which can also ease anxiety for those of us who like to have plans in place.
There are many benefits to our hyper-connected living afforded by technology. The Internet brings us closer to friends and family through video calls and instant photo sharing. We can share good news in an instant and reach out to old friends that we had lost contact with. But, with so much smart technology in our phones, watches, speakers and even cars, it can also be good to ‘disconnect to be able to reconnect’ to ensure that we’re having positive, meaningful connections.
Christmas is a great time to reach out and become involved in connecting with physical communities. Find a local Christmas Carol concert, meet up with friends to go to the Christmas markets and look up a local charity where you can enjoy meaningful connections. Disconnecting can also be about getting away, and where better than heading into the Lake District hills where WiFi signal is replaced by the chatter of birdsong.
Ease the pressure of going back to work after the Christmas break with some simple planning. Book the first couple of days as ‘catch-up’ days, where no meetings or out of office activities are planned. This way you can go through emails. After you set your ‘out of office’ for the Christmas break, write a ‘to do’ list or schedule for your first week back to work after the holiday. These tips will make returning to work less daunting.
Christmas can be a time of hyper-planning, which can be good for easing anxiety about getting things done. But, when the festive season and break form work finally arrives, it is important to be present to be able to benefit from the break and to enjoy all of your hard work planning the Christmas holiday.
Spend time in nature, be aware of your breathing and your thoughts and do not judge them. These are key practises in being mindful and a wellbeing break in the Lake District place is the ideal place to start the practise of being mindful.
Embrace the Joy of Missing Out (JOMO) – described by The New York Times as the “antithesis of FOMO” (Fear of Missing Out) – a social anxiety brought about by social media and constant need to be connected with these online communities.
Don’t document your holiday on social media or keep checking in to see what you’re missing out on. Instead, embrace leaving your phone behind for day trips. Invest in a camera to document your holiday experiences.
What you get back from taking a balanced ‘digital diet’ approach to our mobile phones and social media is time, less distraction and a more present experience of daily life.
You will find you’ll be able to enjoy simple pleasures like finishing a book much quicker without digital distractions and getting engrossed in traditional social activities such as board games.
Maintaining balance and moderation in our diet over the festive period is vital for avoiding mood swings, feelings of lethargy and irritability that overindulgence can cause.
Agood balance of fruit, vegetables, carbohydrates and Omega 3 sources, is recommended. It’s also advised that we stay within recommended daily limits of alcohol intake to avoid its depressive effects and interference with any prescribed medications. This can be difficult in social situations and so having some ‘scripts’ ready for why you’re not drinking can help, such as, ‘That sounds like a lot of fun, but I’m not feeling 100% and would prefer to get an early night.’
Mind have partnered up with Paper chase to create some superb journal games for better mental health and include digital detox bingo, which we love. The Christmas break is a great time to start a journaling habit. Swap time spent internalising work issues or mindless scrolling through social media channels for journaling.
Also, there’s nothing better than a 4-hour walk with a close friend or loved one to work through anxieties and stresses. Much like journaling, talking to someone we trust gives us a good platform for problem solving and ‘getting things off our chests’. Here’s our list of 20 of the best Walks in the Lake District, created by the Lakelovers team and our wonderful holidaymakers.
Walking is also much less strenuous than going to the gym and so it’s easier to commit to daily across the holiday season. Plus, evidence suggests that outdoor exercise has additional health and wellbeing benefits.
Hugge, pronounced hoo-gah – is defined by Visit Denmark as “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people”. It’s first origin was in 18th century writings and it translated as “wellbeing” but it more specifically refers to “high quality social interactions”.
Candles and warm drinks, a comfortable setting of cosy and soft interiors, tables set for a relaxed entertainment, nature brought indoors, appreciating simple things like a good book or film enjoyed with loved ones. Pop these Hygge elements on your Christmas wish-list and you’ll be set for a relaxed and meaningful holiday.
Book your Lake District Christmas cottage with Lakelovers.