How to spend the bank holiday on Monday 19 September

Written by Meg Walters

On a bank holiday that will mean different things to different people, you may be wondering how to spend the day. Here are our suggestions for what to do on the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral.

On 10 September, King Charles approved a bank holiday for Monday 19 September, the day of his mother’s funeral.

It goes without saying that this bank holiday will be unlike other bank holidays – you may have been given the day off work, but the vibe on Monday is sure to be more sombre. And while the majority of us never met the Queen, we shouldn’t underestimate the feeling of collective grief that many are feeling.

“Grief can manifest itself in many different ways, including anxiety, feeling low, anger and irritation, so going slowly and being self-aware of these feelings as they come and go (which they will) can help us to let them move rather than adding tension through resistance,” says Sophie Belle Watts, breathwork coach and founder of Mind You Club.

When you are grieving or in the midst of collective grief, you might not even have specific feelings about the event that has caused the grief, which is why it’s particularly important to take it slow on a sad day. Throughout the day, try to find pockets of time when you can bring joy or peace into your day; these moments add up and can be beneficial even if they feel forced or unnatural.

Numerous businesses are planning to shut their doors on Monday, including many supermarkets, most museums and even some cafes and pubs. TV networks are also changing their schedules. In other words, this bank holiday is going to be a lot more low-key than the ones you’re used to.

So, what are we supposed to do on Monday?

“I think it’s important to highlight that honouring how you are feeling is a healthy way to experience grief,” life coach Nicola Henderson tells Stylist. “That may be allowing some time to reflect on how you are feeling and give it some space rather than suppressing it. It might involve spending some time with people that are important to you – and just celebrate being with them. It might be reconnecting with someone in your life who might need some support or someone that you’ve lost touch with.” 

Whether you’d like to spend Monday reflecting on the life of the Queen or if you’re simply looking for something fun and respectful to do with your free time, here are a few ideas.

  • Attend the state funeral procession in London or Windsor

    On Monday, millions are set to head to Westminster Abbey and Windsor to watch the funeral procession. The bollards along The Mall are set to be removed so that crowds can observe the carriage as it rides by bearing the coffin. 

    While attending the procession may be appealing to some, it may be too overwhelming for others. “If you attend the funeral procession, go mindfully, and try to be as present as you can,” Watts suggests. “There will be a lot of people all experiencing different emotions at different times (with different expressions) so by staying really present and ‘in your body’ you will be more resilient to absorbing the feelings of others and being able to therefore process your own feelings.”

    Find out more about the funeral procession

  • Tune into the funeral at home or at your local cinema

    If you’d like to watch the funeral proceedings, it will be televised on BBC One and BBC News. While you can watch the funeral at home, several cinemas around the country are also opening to screen the funeral for free on the day, including Vue, Curzon, Reel, Savoy, Arc and Picturedrome.

    “As humans, we are social creatures; connection with others is important to us, and a collective group gathering in any circumstance to watch the funeral offers an element of support that is welcome on a day of significance such as this,” says Henderson. “When grieving on any level, it’s important to have support around you. It can make a remarkable difference to be in a group setting such as a cinema with others around you.”

  • Head outside for a walk or bike ride

    Head out on a hike

    If you don’t want to spend you day off watching the funeral, you may find yourself wondering what to do – after all, many businesses will be shut.

    Try getting outside for a walk with family or friends. If you’re feeling a sense of grief, this is a great activity. “Walking or hiking can be an amazing way to really help yourself move with emotion and getting out in nature is such a positive way to connect with yourself, the world around you and even better if you’re doing this with friends and family,” says Watts. “Talk, listen and feel emotions together.”

    Or, if you’re simply wanting to enjoy your day off, walking outside is a great way to get some exercise and have some fun in a respectful way.

  • Spend the day at home with friends and family

    Stay at home with your family on Monday

    With cinemas and museums shut, Monday is a great opportunity to spend some quality time at home. 

    On one hand, it’s a nice way to honour the late Queen. “Spending time with the people important to you is a wonderful tribute to a Queen who put her country first,” Henderson says. “Having a night in with family and friends could encourage memories and favourite moments over the last 70 years of the Queen’s reign if you wanted to celebrate her life this is a very personal way to do so.”

    On the other hand, it’s also just a great way to enjoy a surprise day off.

  • Head out to the pub or a restaurant for a quiet meal

    If you really want to get out of the house, remember that many pubs and restaurants will be opening on the bank holiday. While some will be screening the funeral, others will be operating as normal.

    Be sure to give your local pub a call to find out if it’s open and how (or if) it plans to commemorate the state funeral so you know what to expect.

  • Attend a class or workshop to suit your mood

    Take a calming class on Monday

    If you’re feeling the need to spend a little time alone getting back into your body, try a meditation class, a yoga session or even a breathwork workshop.

    Watts is leading a breathwork workshop on Monday evening.

    “Breathwork is such an incredible way for people to move through emotions. It really does give you the time, space and energy to really process how you are feeling, with the trust that your body will know what you can handle coming to the surface,” she says.

    “On Monday evening at 8pm, I am hosting my monthly breathwork workshop for emotional release for my online breathwork studio — it’ll be a space for people to relax, restore and release what is going on within.” 

    Find out more about the workshop

Images: Getty

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