When we were children full of the magic of youth and the joy of the moment, there was always time for naps, cloud-watching, or simply to lie around and just ‘be’.
But, as adults, life brings many responsibilities, and we can often feel like there simply isnt time to kickback, explore, play, and dare we say, go on an adventure.
However, you don’t need to be five years old to recapture your youth and take fun and relaxation seriously. You just need to tap into that mindset of the eternal summer, of the lazy Sunday, and ultimately, grab some of that youthful happiness and savour it.
The upcoming Christmas break is the perfect time to do this.
In this modern world of technology, sometimes the best way to grab some stress-free me time is to temporarily escape from it, summon a little wanderlust, explore the great outdoors and reacquaint yourself with the charms of nature.
If you can’t decide where to start, here are a few tips:
Stay home and make it a haven
If you really can’t leave your home for too long, it’s important to learn to find a time and space for me time on your own patch. Whatever the season or the space you’ve got, you’ve got to make it special. If you were lucky you had that in your youth; whether that was your own bedroom, a pillow fort in the sitting room, or a treehouse in the garden.
Your garden might be your place of relaxation, surrounded by an immaculate plant collection and accompanied only by a book and a nice beverage. Go a step further and mystify the atmosphere with tiki torches, outdoor fairly lights, or even a fire pit.
You might find your haven in the form of a room within your home, or even just a chair. Make that your own bubble, and set-aside more time to ponder, read, relax and recharge.
If candles, incense, music and your favourite tipple help you to get in that zen zone, then don’t hold back. It’s your space after all.
Every cat has their favourite spot to curl up in, and spend many carefree, relaxing hours. Don’t you think it’s only fair that humans should share the same luxury?
Whether it’s kids or cats, you need only observe them for an hour to see that they know something about life that we don’t – or rather, we’ve simply forgotten.
It’s easier to remember than you think, though. Whichever route to relaxation appeals to you, the first crucial step is to allow yourself some well-deserved me time.
So, when you’re taking life a bit too seriously, it’s probably about time for an adventure.
Go for a hike
Yes, the weather isn’t great in December, so make this a spontaneous decision – when you wake up one morning and the air is crisp and bright, grab your things and go! You probably did that back in your youth, woke up and were probably so excited to get outside that even if it was raining you’d probably often forget to put on a coat!
There’s a lot to be said for being spontaneous, long walks and hikes are great escape from the stresses of life, and not just because it’s hard to get 4G in the hills.
A quality walk is the perfect way to rejuvenate the body and soul. You’ve no doubt heard this before, but hiking gets your blood flowing, lungs moving and heart pumping. All of this good stuff contributes to a happier mood, better sleep and even improved creativity and productivity.
It really is the little things that help us feel more human again. The smell of a forest, the sound of a river and the sight of hills can really help you put things into perspective.
Get the tent and go camping
Staying at home can often end up in you doing chores, surfing the web, or watching TV. It’s not that any of these things are bad, but they are known to distract from relaxation!
Camping is an excellent remedy. Recruit your friends or family for a night of two – or head off in solitude for the ultimate thinking space. Without the distractions of home and technology, time goes out the window, making it so much easier to reconnect with your loved ones, nature, and yourself.
The festive season may not lend itself to camping (brrrr – frosty mornings can be a little chilly in a tent) – so put camping gear on your Christmas list, and then as soon as the spring has sprung – get out there!
Sure, you’ll have a few minor challenges like pitching your tent or hammock, building a fire and cooking-up some campfire grub, but that’s part of the charm.
Take a frisbee, a book, or whatever fun activity you loved back in your youth that you’ve been neglecting for too long.
Or if you simply can’t deal with the midges, or don’t fancy sleeping on the ground, why not stay in a mobile home?
Jump in the car and go on a road trip
You might like the idea of the outdoors, but it’s just too cold to sleep outside, or too wet to hike. Fair enough.
Perhaps then it’s about time for a good old road trip. You know, just like in the movies.
Hitting the open road and putting miles behind you is great way to unwind. You’re removed from a lot of the stresses of modern life, but still surrounded by the safe, midge-shield that is a car, with a radio, comfy seats, and aircon/heating.
Now you can stop wherever you like. Park up for a brief bit of nature, a cultural landmark, or just a classic pub lunch. The length of the trip is up to you – stay at an Airbnb in the next county, or just loop back to your own abode. You’ll return home feeling refreshed and well-travelled.
Whether you live in an urban or rural area, try taking the path less travelled, i.e. a route you haven’t yet explored.
You might even find some hidden gems like a humble woodland or a field full of wildflowers.