Six indoor mindfulness activities for gloomy winter days

Six indoor mindfulness activities for gloomy winter days

Sometimes, getting outdoors simply isn’t possible. Those gloomy winter days call for a cup of something warm and a gentle activity to soothe the soul.

When we think of the term ‘mindfulness’ our thoughts might go to some deep, candle-lit meditation practise – and that certainly is very mindful, but you really don’t need to worry about doing anything quite so involved. A mindful activity is anything which allows you to be present in the moment.

For example, instead of simply making your morning coffee and chugging it as quickly as possible whilst also juggling a million other little things, you might pause to take in the nutty, almost caramel aroma, or feel the warmth of the mug in your palms.

A warm drink is by no means mandatory but absolutely recommended as an accompaniment to your mindful moment. Take a slow sip and let’s get started.

Winter window scene from Canva

Watch wildlife from your window

Turn your home into your own personal hide and have a peek at the wildlife you can see from your window. Garden birds, busy squirrels or perhaps a bit of cloud-spotting? Get comfy and immerse yourself in your own surroundings. You could even make your own binoculars with this tutorial.

If you look closely enough you’ll even start noticing little tell-tale characteristics that help you distinguish your garden visitors from one another. Just like snowflakes, every individual is unique. For example, each robin has a slightly different red pattern on their breast.

Over the coming weeks and months, you could get really familiar with your wild visitors – get to know their personalities or favourite places to perch, or perhaps they always come to visit at a particular time of day?

You might even want to record your findings – this garden bird spotter sheet is a great starting point.

Garden birds spotter sheet

Garden birds spotter sheet

Watercolour painting by Canva

Create some mindful art

You don’t need to create something worthy of The Louvre. As with every mindful activity, it’s not about the finished product, but rather the process you took to get there. Remember - stop, look, breathe, create.

You could try painting a watercolour of your favourite landscape and take notice of how the colours blend across the page, or get your hands on some oven bake modelling clay and feel the smooth texture form beneath your fingertips.

If starting completely from scratch still feels too daunting, why not grab a wildlife-themed colouring book instead? We have a number of colouring sheets available to download from our Wildlife Watch website.

Homemade birdfeed

Make a suet cake for the birds

Is there anything more uplifting than a bit of baking on a quiet Sunday afternoon? Even better, baking a gift for someone else. Better still, baking a gift for garden birds!

This vegan suet cake recipe uses coconut oil, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, dried fruit (you could use dried cranberries for a festive touch), oats and cornmeal to create a filling treat for your feathered friends.

Stretching image from Canva

Have a stretch

This year many of us have been working from home at make-shift desks or struggling to find the motivation to get moving. A little 10-minute stretch break between emails will have loads of benefits for your mental and physical health. Stretching, even very gentle stretching, helps to strengthen the muscles, improves posture, helps reduce stress and boosts your energy levels.

This fun wildlife-inspired yoga sheet might be a nice place to start. Otherwise you can follow along with our very own office yogi, Jenny, with this 10-minute sun salutation practise for beginners.

10-minute sun salutation practise for beginners.

Listen to nature sounds by Canva

Listen to sounds of nature

We love the RSPB’s Birdsong Radio which lets you stream beautiful birdsong anytime, anywhere.

And did you know, listening to birdsong has been proven to improve our mental and emotional health, happiness and wellbeing? Play it in the background to create a gentle ambience, or better still, close your eyes and let the soothing sounds wash over you.

Breathe by Canva

Take a deep breath

When things all become a bit too much, bring it back to your breath. There are lots of mindful breathing tutorials out there, and a really simple but effective one is called alternative nostril breathing (traditionally referred to as Nadi Sodhana Pranayama).

  • Step 1: Close the right nostril with your thumb and breathe in through your left nostril for a count of four.
  • Step 2: Close your left nostril with your right finger so both nostrils are closed briefly.
  • Step 3: Open your right nostril and breathe out for a count of six.
  • Step 4: Breathe in through your right nostril for a count of four.
  • Step 5: Close the right nostril with your thumb so both nostrils are closed briefly.
  • Step 6: Open your left nostril and breathe out for a count of six.
  • Repeat 6-8 times or until you feel your mind calm.

Will you be giving any of these mindful suggestions a try? Make sure to share how you get on or any mindfulness tips of your own using the hashtag #GoWildWinter.

Did you know...

We run free green wellbeing sessions as part of our Myplace project.

Find out more