We spent an afternoon making a Christmas wreath with luxury hotel brand Belmond and florist to British royalty, Simon Lycett for the Belmond Festive invitations ‘advent calendar’ of live workshops for the holidays. It reminded us of how just taking the time to make something with your hands can help with mindfulness and wellbeing.
Today, we made a Christmas wreath from scratch for the first time. With the guidance of florist and Belmond Good Living ambassador Simon Lycett on Instagram live, we twined together various leaves and foliage to create our very own festive door adornment.
Frankly, it was a delightful experience. Why? Because we found great joy in stepping out of our usual routine for an hour. With many of us having worked from home over the last few months of the pandemic, we understand just how it affects our work-life balance. When we work at an office, we tend to take breaks, structure our day differently, venture outside and often we have a commute to recover from a day’s stresses before arriving home. But in the WFH era, we barely have time to untangle our thoughts as there is no clear borderline or demarcation of what is work-time and home-life. Oftentimes we have to juggle both at once. Moreover, many of us have busy home environments, so it’s hard to find space to be absolutely free of distraction.
Research has shown that making something with your hands can be directly linked to wellbeing and happiness. The concentration required to take on tactile tasks can actually help to centre the mind, stimulate creativity and help us appreciate being in the moment. It is documented that those who spend as little as 30 minutes a week on making something with their hands will see a significant improvement to mood and self-esteem.
Being hands-on helps us gain more self-awareness. As such activities are often creative, it evokes thoughts and feelings and helps us open our minds to possibilities. As we create, we often find out (in our wreath-making example, for certain) that things don’t always work out quite as we thought it would. That makes us learn about resilience and how to make the most of situations. In turn, this helps us value the decisions we choose to make and grow our confidence. And it’s no secret that certain types of creative tasks can even put us in a meditative state as we focus on being strictly in the moment.
Savvy travel providers around the world have long honed in on this. It is why yoga is such a hit, not just as a physical exercise, but as a tactile and mindful exercise of forming and holding a pose. It is also why experiential and transformative travel, where guests actually get involved in activities and experiences that enriches their lives – often in a hands-on way – have risen in popularity in recent years. Belmond ought to know, they have been in the experiential travel game forever. Some might say it was them that coined the phrase.
At Belmond, the coming weeks bring a series of some fantastic ‘Belmond Festive Invitations’ activities. Incidentally, most encourage us to create something with our hands. In their eyes, they see it as accessing celebratory traditions during this challenging time, helping us ‘savour the moments that really matter and make promises for brighter tomorrows.’ But we think what they’re doing goes much further to stimulate mindfulness and positive mental health.
So today, it was wreath-making. On the 24th November at 5pm GMT / 12pm EST we switch to baking some Thanksgiving cookies with the Executive Chef at Belmond Charleston Place. Closer to Christmas, on the 17th December at 6pm GMT / 1pm EST, luxury event designer Fiona Leahy will teach us to make our own Christmas crackers. And on the 22nd December at 5pm GMT and 1pm EST we celebrate it all with a Christmas-song sing-along- with internationally acclaimed singer and pianist, Joe Stilgoe. We urge you to join along with this series of Belmond Festive Invitations. More than just some old-fashioned fun, it’ll do wonders for your mindfulness … we promise!
Watch live and follow their feed on Instragram, @belmond