It’s the greyest month of the year and to cap it off, 2021 is starting in lockdown. However, there are some simple things we can do to keep our spirits high, from getting the holiday vibe at home (without spending a fortune), to planning ahead for things to look forward to. Here, Laura May
Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine, shares her thoughts and ideas…
For many people, winter is a very difficult time. The pageantry of the Christmas season is partially an effort to raise spirits during the coldest and darkest months, but it only proves so effective (and that’s when there aren’t debilitating restrictions in place to prevent viral transmission). This is why winter holidays are so popular. Leave the country, have a good time, and lift your spirits.
Unfortunately, the aforementioned restrictions aren’t just stopping people from getting together over the Christmas period: they’re also preventing them from getting away, and it’s unlikely that normal service will resume before spring (it might take even longer). That means no skiing trip to celebrate the waning of the winter days. Things look bleak indeed.
So, what’s the alternative? Well, this situation is pushing people everywhere to make plans to look forward to when lockdown lifts. Here are a few ideas for what to plan and why to plan it…
Stress is the major problem that needs to be addressed. You can lessen it with intense action (careering down a perilous snowy slope, perhaps), or you can help to soothe it away through pampering. This is something that spas are perfect for — and you can decide how you want to take advantage of them.
You can opt for a snappy visit, taking an afternoon to unwind before returning to your other staycation plans. Alternatively, you can make it the core of your schedule, choosing to stay for several nights so you can sample everything: heated pools, spectacular food, steam rooms, and even choice fitness classes to get you moving.
Not everyone is into skiing, so perhaps your original plan for late winter was to escape to somewhere toasty so you could soak in some much-needed sunshine. Well, if you can’t reach that sunshine, you can bring it to you… in a sense. Obviously, you can’t change the weather, but you can take action to mimic the effects of that sunshine.
Firstly, there’s the matter of the light itself. Exposure to bright light can improve your mood and make you feel like you’re escaping the gloom of winter, but you don’t need natural light for that: you can use a light panel. Designed to treat seasonal-affective disorder (SAD), therapy light panels can make you feel considerably better.
Many spas also have sunlight therapies that are designed to support wellbeing. For example, the Sun Meadow treatment room at K West Hotel and Spa, which features specially designed UV lights for light therapy treatment. Whilst the sound of birdsong and a running stream fills the room, spa goers relax under gentle lights that feel like spring sunshine, encouraging the production of Vitamin D and serotonin.
Nutritional advice is also available at the likes of Grayshott Spa – the esteemed health spa in Surrey or Lifehouse Spa and Hotel in Essex. They may recommend dietary variations for vitamin D, including plenty of herring, salmon, trout and sardines. You can also look into supplements (with the support and advice of a medical practitioner). Visiting your local pharmacy is an option, or if that isn’t viable, you can buy vitamins online at the likes of Seeking Health.
The breezy novel is a holiday staple. When you’re chilling out, you don’t want highbrow prose to puzzle over or complex story arcs to untangle. You want simple writing, easy-to-follow plots, predictable characters, fantasy settings, and occasional explosions. The usual way to acquire such novels is to grab them in airport shops, but that isn’t an option now — so look online. Check sites like Goodreads to see what people are recommending.
If you order second-hand books, you can buy a broad selection at low cost. Alternatively, if you don’t mind using an e-reader, you can just download some popular options. You’ll even find plenty of free books to try — and when you have some time to kill, there are worse things to do than give an unknown author a shot. You might just happen upon a gem.
Limit your news exposure
Lastly, it’s vital that you make an effort to keep away from the 24/7 news cycle. Back before mobile access to the Internet brought everything together, taking a holiday could fully disconnect you for a week or two, allowing you to completely focus on enjoying yourself. And while that changed a long time ago, going away could still get you out of the loop somewhat.
When you’re not really going anywhere, you can easily find yourself obsessing over the latest new stories. Don’t do that. You don’t need to avoid the news entirely (indeed, that would be a bad idea in such a turbulent time): just check the headlines once a day — Mashable has a good list of apps that can help with this. Otherwise, ignore all the news sources you’d usually check. You’ll feel much better for it.
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