Autumn is officially upon us, winter comes ever closer, and there’s one thing on every child’s mind. Dare we mention Christmas already? While children may be looking ahead with glee, to many adults the next few weeks are manic. Which is why a winter break, to find some inner calm, makes perfect sense.
5 – 9 November is International Stress Awareness Week, with a focus this year on whether hi-tech causes ‘hi-stress’. One way you can go low-tech and no-stress, is with a winter break in the peace and calm of the forest.
Here are eight ways that taking a winter break can help you find your inner calm...
1. Nature is a natural stress-buster
Interacting with nature is fantastic for mental health and wellbeing. From long walks through the trees with your faithful canine companion, to deep breaths of crisp winter air – every minute you spend immersing yourself in nature and enjoying a break from technology helps restore much needed balance to your mind.
For a truly immersive experience, try forest bathing at Blackwood Forest. Our specially trained guides teach you techniques that not only reduce stress levels but boost to your health and immune system too. Let the peace of the forest flow through you.
2. Plenty of sunshine
During the longer, darker days of winter, we tend to cocoon ourselves indoors. While it may feel cosy to flick on the central heating, close the curtains against the weather and hunker down, we’re actually missing out on some vital vitamins and feel-good hormones.
Sunshine is where we get most of our vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones, but research suggests that sunshine also triggers the release of endorphins, which make us feel happier and more positive. Spend even a few minutes outside, enjoying the winter sunshine and you’ll soon feel a lift in your spirits.
3. Plenty of laughter
Another side effect of staying inside is that we can end up isolating ourselves from other people. We humans are social animals, and connecting with friends is important for our mental wellbeing, helping us to feel good about ourselves.
You’ve heard the saying that laughter is the best medicine. Well, not only does being with friends help us emotionally, laughter also relaxes the body, boosts the immune system, triggers the release of endorphins, and even burns calories.
Reconnect with friends on a winter break and build new memories together. An evening of good food, laughter and camaraderie is just what you need to keep the winter blues away.
4. Learn something new
Learning new things is not only a great way to distract your mind from worry, it also keeps your brain active. Join our Forest Ranger to learn forest survival skills, build shelters, forage for food and make pine needle tea. Or how about trying archery, canoeing or landscape painting? Lose yourself in the moment and suddenly the hustle and bustle is forgotten. You’ll be outside, having fun and may even end up with a new hobby to take home with you.
5. Activity for the body and mind
Cycling, hiking, climbing, gorge walking, horse riding – we have a wide range of activities you can experience on an adventure holiday, so you’re bound to find something that you’ll enjoy.
We know that activity is great for the body. You feel fitter, healthier and stronger. But did you know it also gets those all-important endorphins flowing too, giving your mind a natural boost, as well as improving your mood.
6. Healthy body, healthy mind
Healthy eating will naturally make your body feel better. Fresh fruit and vegetables boost immunity, warding off the winter colds that can make you feel low. You’ll also find your digestive system thanks you as you cut back on the comfort foods which cause feelings of bloat and sluggishness.
This is the season for fresh vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, turnips and swede – all of which sound like wonderful ingredients for a hearty winter soup. Our forest locations all source food from local suppliers, and you’ll also find plenty of farm shops nearby where you can buy fresh local produce for a delicious seasonal soup, back in your cabin.
7. Sleep your way to stress relief
When we’re stressed, one thing that often suffers is our sleep. And, if we can’t sleep, we become more stressed. But how do we break the cycle?
A full night’s sleep will noticeably improve your stress levels. On a break in the forest, within a day away from your normal routine, breathing fresh forest air and enjoying some adventures along the woodland paths, a restful night’s sleep is almost guaranteed. By the time you leave, you will be rested and renewed.
8. Time for yourself
After a long week at work, sometimes you just need to indulge yourself in a little time out. A weekend break in the forest may involve nothing more than relaxing with your partner, lying back in your personal hot tub watching the sky from the decking of your woodland cabin.
Follow long woodland walks with relaxing evenings watching movies and basking in the warmth of the wood burner. For complete relaxation, enjoy a soothing in-cabin spa treatment.
Book your forest break and find your inner calm
Before the winter is upon us, and the busy preparations of the festive season take over, make sure you factor in time to look after your wellbeing. Book your winter break now and welcome the inner calm.