HOW TO SPEND TWIXMAS (POST-CHRISTMAS LIMBO)
The build-up to the seasonal festivities can be stressful, so take a big breath and enjoy the slower pace of the post-Christmas week.
After the thrill of the build-up and the excitement of Christmas Day, the free time that follows can seem a little bit ‘meh’. Twixmas – from the old English word ‘betwixt’ and meaning ‘between’ – is the term given to the days between the 27th and 31st December, and it typically involves a slower pace of life. Lazy days spent in PJs, long mornings in bed followed by afternoons on the couch - it’s easy to get caught up in the lull and drift through this period of time in a cloud of confectionery wrappers. But if you really want to make the most of this relaxing, transitional week of down time, let go of expectations and spend it doing something you truly enjoy. Read a book, visit a museum, make that masterpiece. If you’re stuck for ideas, here are just a few ways that we like to spend Twixmas.
GO FOR A WALK
After a Christmas Day spent largely indoors, you might be hankering to get outside and pick up the pace. Going on a long winter walk is a great way to spend quality time with family and friends. You might consider a circular route, or a hike out for lunch and back. Either way, it’s sure to boost your mood – research shows that being active outdoors helps bust stress by increasing blood flow to the brain and upping the body’s production of ‘feel-good' neurotransmitters serotonin and endorphins. “Walking can also help you to reconnect with family,” says Sarah Campus, personal trainer and founder of LDN MUMS FITNESS. “Talking, sharing, and learning with family helps to strengthen bonds. Plus, it’s great for kids (and adults) to spend time away from devices.”
VISIT A FOOD BANK
Don’t know what to do with the Christmas Day fodder that went unopened? During the winter months, people need extra help from food banks. Indeed, food banks across The Trussell Trust’s network provide over 7,000 food parcels to people every day throughout December. “This year has been difficult for many,” says Emma Revie, chief executive officer at the Trussell Trust. “We know that the reasons people are forced to turn to food banks for help haven’t changed during the pandemic…[but] food banks are already witnessing a devastating impact this winter, in the wake of the end of the £20 uplift to Universal Credit, high gas prices and inflation.” Support others by donating food and, if you have any to spare, time volunteering with The Trussell Trust.
Craving a little creativity? Getting creative does more than feed your imagination, it also boosts your health. Whether sewing, drawing, playing an instrument, gardening or simply colouring in, science shows that repetitive creative acts can have a meditative effect that reduces anxiety, depression and stress. Plus, when you finish your masterpiece, data suggests the brain is flooded with happiness-boosting endorphins. So, let’s get drawing!
TURN SKINCARE INTO SELF-CARE
The week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is the perfect period to take time for yourself, so don’t feel guilty about indulging in ‘me-time’. “Being alone is an important part of self-development,” says Sarah. “It allows time for reflection, which is really important after having spent so much time with others.” Creating a spa-like space at home can be the perfect way to truly disconnect from work and domestic duties, so why not turn your skincare routine into a self-care ritual? Light up a scented candle and sit back with an indulgent face mask. This will work double-duty – not only will the product brighten your complexion, but taking the time to de-stress will also soothe your skin.
HAVE A CLEAR OUT
A physical declutter can lead to a mental declutter, so use this quieter time of year to go through your house and clear out the things you don’t need. Sort through storage drawers, go through your wardrobe and put aside anything you’ve not worn in a year, clear out expired items from the food cupboard. You can get the family involved, too, by asking the kids to sort through their toy cupboards. Then, donate anything that’s got some life left in it to your local charity shop or clothes bank.