Maximising that ‘downtime’ week between Christmas and the New Year is easy with these simple tweaks that’ll have you rested, reset, rejuvenated and ready for the new decade!
Christmas… the magical time of year that brings glitter, tinsel and parties galore. For many, this festive period also means some time off from the day-to-day routine and brings with it that marvellous ‘lost week’ between Christmas and New Year, where a lot of us are off work.
Over in Sweden they really value this time, including the long nights that come with it, so much so that they’ve given it a name of its own: Mellandagarna, which literally means ‘between days’ or ‘middle days’. And they really make the most of it.
Use this time to rejuvenate
Many of us while away this ‘between time’ snuggled on the sofa watching re-runs of The King and I and eating Christmas pudding for breakfast. Though this is perfectly acceptable festive etiquette, it got us thinking: could we make more of this precious time? Could we better utilise those days for mental and physical relaxation and rejuvenation, to get prepared for the year ahead?
Our experts think so… ‘In Sweden, Mellandagarna is a big deal’ says Swedish-born David Brudö, CEO and co-founder of mental wellbeing and self-development platform, remente.com. ‘Many companies give the days between Christmas and New Year as holiday and vacation companies offer “Mellandagarna packages” so people can go away during that time.
Mellandagarna is a chance to reflect and look ahead
‘Most Swedes see Mellandagarna as a time to relax, rejuvenate, and spend quality time with family, but it’s also a good time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the year ahead.
‘In my family, we spend Mellandagarna relaxing and connecting, and not just sat in front of the TV,’ says David. ‘We spend time outdoors, whether that’s hiking, sledging, or skiing. Being outside, even when it’s bitterly cold, is the ideal way to rejuvenate and boost your wellbeing.’
As an entrepreneur, who works most of the year, David also likes to down-tools and really get into the holiday spirit.
‘Instead of focusing on mundane day-to-day tasks, I take time to reflect on the past business year and set goals for the future, while also having the time to be fully present with my family and myself. This time is certainly not lost on the Swedish and we use it to make the most of this different pace of life.’
MAKE THE MOST OF TWIXTMAS
In her new book, Calm Christmas (£12.99, Piatkus) author Beth Kempton (Instagram: @BethKempton) also espouses the benefits of savouring what she calls ‘The Hush’ or ‘Twixtmas’ as it’s also known.
‘The Hush, Twixtmas or Mellandagarna – whatever you call it – is that wonderful fleeting pause when time bends and magic hovers between the main celebrations of the season,’ explains Beth.
‘A welcome break from the headlines, deadlines and to-do lists, this is the ideal time to give ourselves space to relax.’
Follow Beth’s six-day plan to feel truly rejuvenated and get yourself off to the best start possible in 2020…
I’m a big believer in carving out time to relax during this period. Boxing Day is ideal for this. Collect all the duvets in the house, build a den, make popcorn, stick on an old movie, cook something in the slow cooker, drink mulled wine around the fire or fling open the curtains and stare at the stars. Enjoy a little bit of what you fancy. You don’t have to leave the house, just get up off the sofa!
Spend time in nature
A refreshing day in nature can work wonders. It can blow away the cobwebs, lift your spirits and keep your body active. Plus there’s something spectacular about the stripped back landscape at this time of year. Go for a short walk and drink in your surroundings. Be sure to include a field or wooded path and take a mental note of what you see. Pick up some speed to get your heart pumping.
Try a digital detox
With Christmas celebrations behind you and New Year a few days away, now’s the perfect time to switch off from the world. Going for 24 hours (or longer) without your phone can transform your state of mind. Being present in the moment and not checking emails, messages or apps can be incredibly rejuvenating. It gives you time to read a book, do a spot of yoga, or even jot down some plans for the year ahead.
Have a clear out
Clearing the decks of all those annoying little jobs that you usually put off allows you to focus on more important and enjoyable matters as you enter the New Year. It may be arduous, time consuming and even a tad frustrating, but brew a pot of herbal tea, settle yourself down, and know that you will feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment once it’s all done.
Spend Time reflecting
A little pondering goes a long way and these quiet moments at the turn of the year can be a great time to reflect. Remember to keep things constructive and positive. Depending on what sort of year you’ve had, it can be easy to wallow if you feel there have been missed opportunities or misfortune. However, looking at what you have learned can help guide you to a more hopeful New Year.
Get creative and have fun!
Today is the perfect day to get creative, whether it’s cooking, writing, drawing or crafting, allowing your mind time to do what you love will help you feel rejuvenated when you get back to the day job. Why not bring some extra creativity to a New Year gathering? Cook up a healthy feast, fashion some festive bunting or plan some fun games to play, and bring in the New Year in style.