Cold, dark, miserable, rainy: that’s the British winter that we all ‘enjoy’. Trudging out every morning to pour hot water onto our car windscreen in the freezing weather.
Waking up at 6am knowing that the sky will still be pitch black for another couple of hours at least. And don’t get us started on going back to work in January…
These are just a few reasons why many people choose to get away over the Christmas period or the early months of the new year, and head to hotter climes.
It’s a cliché about celebrating Christmas on the beach in Australia, but some people actually go – and love it. New Year and Christmas abroad is a fantastic experience for all ages. If you have children the school holidays allow a natural window for travel, with the opportunity to embrace a different culture and make new holiday friends while still enjoying presents and time with the family.
You could enjoy fireworks on the beach in Thailand, surfing in Hawaii, or a festival in Brazil – Guardian writers shared memorable new year experiences in this interesting piece. Larger numbers of friends and family could share a holiday home for a week in Europe, perhaps using the services of portugalproperty.com.
As well as the joy of a break in warm weather there may also be health benefits to escaping the cold. It’s estimated that SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) affects 2 million people in the UK, and around 12 million in Northern Europe.
The disorder is sometimes known as ‘winter depression’, and the symptoms are similar; a crushing, overwhelming lethargy thought to be linked to the short and often unpleasant winter days.
The remaining 50+ million people in the UK will probably be exposed to some other common illnesses and ailments from the winter conditions; cases of colds, dry skin rise, arthritis and joint problems worsen for older people, and even the number of heart attacks increase. The NHS is well aware of health risks at this time and has published a series of tips to help.
In addition, accidents and slips are more likely at winter, on the icy road or on perilous pavements. Public services often grind to a halt – the annual ritual of listening to the local radio for school closures, or checking online for train cancellations, is a depressing occasion that many will have experienced.
January, in particular, can be a truly dispiriting time of the year. The third Monday of the month is now known by many as ‘Blue Monday’, and is the day when many of us will feel at our lowest point for the entire year. All the fun of Christmas has gone, but there are still months to wait for sunnier weather and summer barbecues. New Year’s resolutions have gone out of the window and we feel fat and frumpy in the freezing weather.
So what better time to head off and escape the drudgery of life? A week or two on a hot beach with a cocktail will not eliminate those problems – they’ll still be there on your return – but at least you’ll have a spring in your step when you return.