Mindfulness has become something of a wellness buzzword in recent years, however it isn’t all about yoga and spiritual retreats, although that’s a part of it. Mindfulness can be achieved in a multitude of different ways and places.
Cooking on the coast
Wales has some of the most spectacular coastline in the world, but what many people don’t realise is just how bountiful it is, packed full of delicious natural, raw ingredients that form the basis of some incredible dishes. You just need to know where to look, and what to look for. So if wild foraging piques your interest why not book yourself onto a foraging and cooking course like the one on offer at Parc-Le-Breos on Gower? It’s run by classically trained chef Matt Powell, who attests that ’everything we need is around us - we’ve just forgotten that it’s there‘. Or try a Seashore Foraging Course in St Davids. Here you’ll discover how to find sea vegetables, including dulse, sea spaghetti and the famous Welsh favourite, laver. Then you’ll be shown how to prepare and cook your haul around a beach fire.
According to research, art therapy and crafts are proven to boost self-esteem, and improve mood and brain function. Aside from these benefits, it’s often just really good fun to learn a new skill and create things with our hands. Make It In Wales is a collective of around twenty Welsh designer-makers who specialise in the likes of knitting, sewing, jewellery making, paper-folding, tapestry weaving, photography, dressmaking and natural dyeing. Make It Wales runs classes and courses in venues across Mid and West Wales, including Cardigan, Lampeter and Fishguard. However, if you prefer your craft in the great outdoors, Dryad Bushcraft on Gower offers wilderness bushcraft training courses that cover everything from the basics of fire lighting and wilderness cooking, to traps and tracking.
If you’re looking to really ‘check-out’ of reality, then why not book yourself onto one of the numerous solitary and silent retreats around Wales? The Seren Centre on Gower offers you the chance to reconnect with both yourself and nature against the backdrop of a picturesque forest, wildflower meadows and the beautiful beaches of the north and south Gower coasts. Or how about something more active? The Zest Life offer yoga and wild swimming courses at Plas Cadnant, a stylish, secluded country house on the isle of Anglesey.
Take a tech detox
Digital detoxing is the new way to holiday for ultimate relaxation results. Although in an increasingly digitally connected world finding places that are truly wifi-free can prove tricky. Fortunately for seekers of digital sanctuary, Wales is blessed with numerous options, including One Cat Farm, a bijou glamping site hidden away near the coast by Aberaeron. Stay in hand-built eco-cabins surrounded by meadows, trees and a wildlife pond. It's remote enough for complete peace and quiet - apart from the usual countryside sounds! The dark skies make it perfect for sitting by a campfire, staring up at the canopy of stars above.
Find your hygge
Hygge is the Danish art of living well. A notion that fits in with the concept of mindfulness, and one which you can completely immerse yourself in at the glorious Fforest Farm in Cardigan on the west coast of Wales. Fforest even run Hygge weekend retreats. Find your Hygge at Fforest’s 500 acres - walk the river gorge and reed beds down to Cardigan or into Cilgerran and enjoy serene mornings and stunning starry skies through the roof of your Dome accommodation. Watch the sun rise and set, and listen to birdsong at dusk. Pre-order hampers of local Welsh cheeses or breakfast produce and more warming dishes to heat up in your kitchen. And simply surrender to the majesty of Welsh nature at its finest.
Exploring the outdoors is fantastic fun, but please read up on the risks and make sure you are prepared.