Winter can seem never-ending, but the things that help me see it through are exercising outside in daylight (hugely important for emotional wellbeing and balancing circadian rhythms), eating a whole-food diet and hygge self-care. That Danish word means ‘cosiness for the soul’ and is about wrapping up, slowing down and looking after yourself. I’m all over it right now, so grab a blanket, a cuppa and read on for my self-care tips to get you through…
Soup up a nourishing snack
Nothing is more warming than a hot bowl of soup on a cold day, and for maximum nourishment I recommend making it yourself. One of my favourite recipes is butternut squash and ginger. Just sweat an onion, add a peeled and chopped butternut squash, a thumb-size piece of grated ginger and a pint of stock. Season and boil for 25 minutes then whiz until smooth. Or try a chunky soup which consists of all the veggies hanging about in your fridge. Sweat an onion then chop up the veg (I like to add bacon bits too) and throw it all in a pot with some stock and herbs. Boil until softened. Simple!
Turbocharge tea time
Instead of gulping down a hot mug of tea at your desk, try drinking it mindfully. Savour the taste, take in the smell, feel the warmth in your hands – and notice your mind and body calm as you do so. One of my favourite brands is Tea & Tonic which is supercharged with herbs that help the body combat stress. The Earl Grey Saving Grace wellness tea bags (£14.50, teaandtonic.co.uk) taste incredible, support the immune system and contain ashwagandha to reduce stress levels.
Try a hot-water bottle go-to
If you feel the cold a lot, suffer from poor circulation or watch sports outdoors, the Snug Bud (£54.95, snugbud.com) is your new best friend. This cross-body bag houses a two-litre hot water bottle and there’s a small pocket for keys or your phone plus a fleecy pouch to keep hands toasty. I am addicted.
Invest in super-soft loungewear
No longer just for being comfy. the latest loungewear uses the softest materials to encourage relaxation. Homebody is one brand that uses dreamy fabrics to cocoon and encourage downtime. Once you’ve worn its Relaxed V-neck tee and the Snuggle pants (£90 and £145, homebody.co.uk) anything else will feel abrasive.
Get a boost from a bath
An evening bath with my favourite Olverum bath oil is my feel-good treat of choice. However, there may be more benefits to bathing – it could help beat depression. A study by the University of Freiburg in Germany asked 45 people with depression to either exercise or take a bath twice a week in the afternoons. The bathing involved soaking in a pool at 40C for up to 30 minutes then wrapping up in blankets. After eight weeks, bathing reduced symptoms by six points on a commonly used depression scale – similar to the exercise. Researchers believed it is because raising their body temperature in the afternoon helped to reset participants’ circadian rhythms, which are thought to be disrupted when a person is depressed.
Make your mat matter
Instead of chucking out your old yoga mat, head to yogi-bare.co.uk which has created a mat recycling scheme with safersurfacing.co.uk. Old mats will be transformed into quality rubber chippings and used to create safer surfaces in local communities and play areas. Plus you will get 15 per cent off your next yoga mat purchase at Yogi Bare.
Don’t ignore that mole
Skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK but award-winning The Mole Clinic is on a mission to reduce this statistic by detecting skin cancers early. It now has more than 30 clinics nationwide and treats over 40,000 private and NHS patients a year. If you are worried about a mole do not hesitate to book in at themoleclinic.co.uk. Services start at £50.