‘Tis the Season, my friends – the season of twinkling lights, of hearty meals and presents under the Christmas tree, the season of kindness, love and togetherness. The most hyggelig season of the year (I’m not afraid to use the word, no matter how clichéd it may look or sound). It is the season to slow down and share the joy with those close to you.
Unfortunately, with the pressure to get things done and so little time to do them, instead of slowing down the Christmas season can seem incredibly rushed. We have little desire to work as we approach the holidays (unless your work involves writing a blog that you enjoy), yet the mind is still preoccupied with the extensive shopping lists and Christmas dinner menus. The stress levels are ever so high, just like the queues in the shops are ever so long and the traffic is ever so heavy.
If you think that it’s just impossible to relax in such a craze, I get you! I, too, feel overwhelmed because I don’t yet have my menu ready, the Christmas shopping is only half-way done and we have yet to decorate the house. It’s no easy task to balance home and work, when you have two kiddos of different ages and both you and your partner are in college. That is exactly why we should make effort to slow down and let the mind relax. There is no place for stress in a season that is meant to be fun and chilled. We need more hygge in our lives now more than ever. So here is my list of winter activities that will help you slow down, take your mind away from the mundane and have some quality fun with family and friends.
Cozy, Slow Living Winter Activities
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Decorate your house
Well, this is obvious, I know. But to help you settle in the cosy mood, start decorating your house, if you haven’t done it already. Choose an evening or a weekend and involve your family in the task. If you enjoy doing it on your own, do it on your own. Forget the rush. Just enjoy it.
If you don’t have any family and don’t like decorating on your own, this is a good opportunity to get together with friends. Just invite them to your little Christmas Decoration Party, open a bottle of wine and catch up in a fun-filled, cosy atmosphere.
Tune in to Xmas FM or find a Christmas playlist on Spotify. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, so don’t forget the music!
If you’re not in a jolly mood and want something rather chilled while still cosy, I do recommend you give a go to Daniela Andrade’s ‘The Christmas EP’. It’s not new, in fact, it was out in 2013, but hey, what does it matter? I don’t think any of the Christmas songs are new anyway.
Make a trip to the nearest Christmas market. If you don’t have one in your town, find the nearest one that does. If that fails, visit a farmer’s market. I find them really cosy and inspiring. It’s an amazing feeling to keep yourself warm with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate (bring your own reusable mug for greener life) and some lovely crepes when it’s dark and cold outside. Even if you buy nothing else, it is still a worthy experience in my opinion.
Evening walk around to see the lights
As more and more houses get decorated and the main streets of the town start twinkling with Christmas light, take a walk around the block or through the town centre to look at the lights. Don’t rush, forget about the time. Just make sure you are dressed for the weather.
Christmas time is all about being kind and helpful. A lot of people need help and are afraid to ask. Don’t shy away from lending a hand or helping in any way you want. It could be your support in a form of listening to someone or holding someone’s hand – just being there for someone else; or it could be in a form of donations if you can afford. Buy a meal for a homeless person, donate food or clothes to charity. It is in your power to make someone’s day a little brighter.
Have a take out hot drink
It always feels to me so comforting and relaxing to order a take-out Gingerbread latte with coconut milk and just walk outside in a cold fresh air among the rushing crowds without rushing myself. The coffee keeps me warm and cozy while the air keeps the mind clear. Even thinking about I feel so inspired! So next time you are walking past a coffee shop, get a take-out coffee (in a reusable travel mug, of course, to help the environment!) and make a conscious effort to slow down and just enjoy this refreshing mix of stimulating hot and cold.
Play in the snow
If you have been blessed with the snow this winter (we haven’t yet), make sure you make the most of it. Take a walk in the snow, make snow angels, have a snowball fight. Who cares if you’re 30 or 40? As George Bernard Shaw once wisely said:
Cook warming meals
Cooking seasonal, hearty meals can help you slow down and settle into this wonderful, cozy winter mood. There are plenty of recipes that could relate to winter time, but mostly various soups and stews, curries, homemade cookies, bread and spiced drinks will make you enjoy the seasonal cooking to the fullest. Forget the cold leafy salads (and I am saying this as a nutritional advisor) – your body needs warmer and denser foods in a cold season. Just make sure you keep them balanced and healthy. In the majority of cases, it’s not the food that is the problem, it’s the amount of it.
There’s nothing cozier than staying in for a board game or a movie night, wearing your warm PJs and having a cup of warm tea or a glass of wine. Light the fire, candles, fairy lights, turn on some music or a movie, and get your family or friends together for some quality fun. I would place a huge emphasis on the light – it is able to transform any cold and miserable evening into a pleasant atmosphere, cozy and relaxing.
If you are a rather solitary person then watch a movie on your own or read a book you couldn’t find the time for. It may be hard to get into the routine, but once you start you will be grateful that you did.
Yoga and Meditation
It’s not exactly relevant to Christmas and winter, but yoga and meditation give you an amazing opportunity to slow down and pay attention to your settings and your feelings. And as we get closer to holidays, and as the craze and stress peak, any one of us could do with some slowing down and self-care time. Speaking from personal experience, a yoga by a lit Christmas tree feels extra special. Equip yourself with Ipnos Soft’s Relax Melodies Seasons app (it’s free!) for that perfect holiday chill. If you have never done yoga or are not used to practicing it on your own, Yoga with Adriene channel on YouTube is a good place to start.
Whichever activities you choose, making a conscious effort to slow down and enjoy life where you are is a beautiful thing to do. It may be hard to see, but each moment of life is precious. It’s just a moment and you will never get it back. The holiday season, and winter in general, just happens once a year. It is a wonderful time (the most wonderful, I dare say) that often passes in a blur of time-lapsed days and hours. As a result there’s very little to enjoy and much less to remember.
But you can change this around today. Now. Right now. Just take a deep breath and choose to let go of all the noise inside your head, of all the tension in your body. Relax throughout, slow down and start paying attention. Right now is precious. Right now is the only time that exists. Right now can be beautiful if you decide it to be. You can enjoy right now. Enjoy right now. Live right now.