Let's face it, this last year has been a difficult time for everyone, and all of us could do with a break and set some time aside to rest and relax.
Mindfulness is a fairly straightforward concept. It is about allowing yourself to enjoy the present moment without letting your thoughts and feelings wander into areas of stress or worry. Holidays have always been a great way to achieve mindfulness naturally. They take you away from your daily stresses and neverending to-do lists and allow you to stop and take stock of life and relax for a while.
Camping is the perfect mindful holiday. You can truly get away from it all and enjoy the simple things in life. As things slowly start to get back to normal, take a little time for yourself and start planning your next camping holiday. Think about how you can turn it into a mindful experience that truly allows you to feel rested.
What is mindful camping?
For many, camping is already a mindful experience because it is the best way to get back to nature and start enjoying and appreciating the simple things in life. Camping is naturally a slower pace of life which is a crucial aspect of being mindful. We rarely get the time to grab a coffee and sit in the garden early in the mornings because we have to rush off to work. Camping allows you to be up early enough to sit still and appreciate the beautiful world around you.
Cooking, eating, sitting, and even doing the washing up can be turned into mindful activities if you make sure you are present in the moment and not think about all the things you need.
Making your next camping trip a mindful experience
Luckily, it is pretty easy to ensure your next camping trip is a fantastic mindful and relaxing experience. Here are a few tips to help you plan out your restful camping holiday.
Choose your location
Location is key to any camping holiday. There are some great options to choose the exact type of camping holiday you want. For a conscious experience, you may want to avoid the busier areas and opt for a campsite that allows you to explore nature and slow down and enjoy life. However, it is important to remember that everybody's mindful experience is different. For example, if you have a young family, you may want a bustling, family-friendly campsite with plenty of safe activities to keep the kids occupied whilst you sit in the sun with a good book.
The perfect mindful holiday would be one where you can find space for yourself without too many other people around. Pick a location that reflects the atmosphere you enjoy. Some people find the sight and sound of the sea relaxing or prefer the still waters of a nearby lake. Others enjoy being sheltered in wooded areas or nestled among mountains.
Take some time to think about the type of atmosphere you would enjoy the most and the activities and facilities that would most allow you to relax and enjoy your camping holiday.
Spend plenty of time walking
Walking and hiking are the ultimate in mindful activities, especially if you head out into nature and explore the beautiful countryside and scenery that's on offer. Luckily, camping and walking go hand in hand, and you can experience this everywhere.
Whilst walking, make sure you take plenty of time to stop and take in your surroundings. Experience the sights, sounds and feelings you experience and try and keep your thoughts in the present. This is harder than it seems, as our minds have a habit of wandering back to our worries and stresses. Every time you find yourself worrying, bring your thoughts back to your beautiful surroundings and take a moment to appreciate them before continuing your walk.
Enjoy the moment
The key aspect of all mindfulness techniques is about being present in your current moment. This means taking the time to fully enjoy your current activity.
Throughout the day, while on your camping holiday, take a few moments to stop and take stock of where you are, what you are doing and how you feel. These few moments are valuable to remind yourself of where you are, and they allow your mind to take a break and truly relax for a few minutes.
Plan lots of relaxing activities
Being mindful whilst camping doesn't mean you don't do anything. You can be as busy or quiet as you like. The key is to ensure you fill your camping holiday time with activities that you find the most fun and relaxing.
Laughing is an excellent antidote for stress. So, play a game, participate in a new sport or activity with your family or even just sit around the campfire and tell funny stories.
Choose a camping holiday that you know will help you relax - hiking, swimming, sitting on a beach, fishing or exploring the local area with a drop of wine tasting thrown in - the choices are endless, and they are all yours to make. If you want to try a new exciting experience every day, then do it. If you would prefer to take a stack of books to the beach, do that. The key to a mindful camping holiday is doing what you want to help you stay focused on yourself and what you are doing.
Switch off your tech
Technology is a huge aspect of what keeps us busy, stressed and distracted from what is going on around us. Phones, TVs, computers, and even our watches are constantly beeping, vibrating and reminding us of what we should be doing, what we need to be doing, and with social media everywhere, what everyone else is doing too!
You don't have to turn off your technology for your entire holiday but try and take a break from checking your Facebook and emails. If possible, turn your phone off and avoid the TV and radio for a couple of hours each day. Your mind will thank you for the break, and you could even be surprised at what is going on around you that you would normally miss out on because you are focused on your phone.
Don't be afraid to do nothing
Doing nothing is almost an inconceivable thought these days. Our days are filled with work, chores and driving from place to place, and our evenings seem very similar! Many of us only feel like we stop when we are asleep.
Grab a towel and head to the beach (with sunscreen, of course). Lay on the sand and listen to the waves and the people around you. Experience the breeze and all the smells without worrying about what you could be doing. If lazing on the beach isn't your first choice, then find a garden chair, a bench by a lake, in a wood or even just outside your caravan or tent. The key is not to worry too much about the perfect environment. To just stop and allow yourself to relax without any feelings of guilt or worry. There is plenty of time for getting things done later. If you take some time, you will be more relaxed, refreshed and productive.
It isn't too early to start planning your next camping trip. Take a look at our superb selection of independent campsites. We have campsites in France, Spain, Germany and, of course, the UK. If none of these destinations takes your fancy, then you can take a look at the fantastic places to visit all over Europe.
Peter is our content writer and SEO specialist, helping keep our content current and monitoring website traffic.
His content covers all four corners of the globe, across topics like activities, advice, food, culture and history.