“Self-care” – 4. & 5. On sweat, my favourite yoga videos, and eating less pizza

Here’s the third post in my “self-care” series, after I wrote last week that although the term “self-care” wasn’t in my childhood or teenage vocabulary, it’s become something I’ve learned is crucial, from listening to wonderful podcasts and reading great blogs on “lifestyle design”, mental health issues, and figuring out how to live and breathe in today’s changing and demanding world.

For the next week or so, I’m going to share some of the best things I do to give myself a little space, even when I’m so busy or anxious I feel like I barely have time to pause. Today, food and exercise (SIGH).

  1. Reducing carb and sugar intake, aka, limiting my Franco Manca visits
food-salad-healthy-lunch

(Credit: Pexels.com)

There are more arguments around this than people on the planet, but basically, through trial and error and diets and periods of eating rubbish I’ve found that I feel better and healthier if I generally avoid carbs with my food about 90% of the time. Everyone has to do what works for them.

I’m still fatter than I want to be and I still have a serious sweet tooth (and bread tooth, and cheese and gin) but even leaving behind all the crap about Atkins and paleo and cutting out food groups and ascribing morality to certain foods – top tip, don’t do it – I know that I feel better if I don’t eat pasta, bread, potatoes or rice, or any of their friends.

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“Self-care” – 2. & 3. Going the hell to sleep

In another post in my “self-care” series, after I wrote last week that although the term “self-care” wasn’t in my childhood or teenage vocabulary, it’s become something I’ve learned is crucial, from listening to wonderful podcasts and reading great blogs on “lifestyle design”, mental health issues, and figuring out how to live and breathe in today’s changing and demanding world.

For the next week or so, I’m going to share some of the best things I do to give myself a little space, even when I’m so busy or anxious I feel like I barely have time to pause. Today, sleep.

2. Using a relaxing sheet spray before bed

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And, breathe (Molton Brown)

One of the single biggest things I’ve started doing to really wind down. Spraying my bed sheets and pillows with a gorgeous-smelling, relaxing spray is such a simple thing but feels so indulgent. Plus, the smell really helps me chill out, like I’m at an expensive spa or something. I spray it when everything is done, when I can finally get into bed, when all is quiet.

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5 reasons to listen to Greg Holden

I’m not sure if everyone has already heard of Greg Holden and I’m just super-late to the party, or if he is indeed as underrated as he appeared to me when he popped up on my Spotify playlist, but it matters not, because he is ABSOLUTELY excellent.

His Hold On Tight song – a Mumford-and-Sons-esque, folk-inspired triumph about not taking your life for granted, above – has come through my headphones every morning this week, instantly sending what feels like molten happiness through my commute-weary veins. On Monday, after an emotional weekend and a really early start, it was like auditory nectar. I love it. 

It’s ironic, also, that one of my favourite songs of his is called Go Chase The Sun, during what must be THE wettest and most dismal June in the UK on record. SIGH.

And in case that wasn’t enough, here’s five more reasons why you should definitely check Greg Holden out.

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You have to stay here: One yurt, some mountains, great food…and nine dogs

It feels like a lifetime ago now (what with the glorious British weather doing its best to rain its way through June) but late May saw my boyfriend and I escape to the south of Spain.

After some time near Málaga and Marbella, we spent a couple of days in the Álora Yurts, a collection of Mongolian-style, hippie-chic yurts in the mountains an hour or so north, run by a British couple. Enter fantastic hospitality, glorious scenery, fabulous food – and oh yeah, nine lovely dogs

Getting slightly lost (our fault!) in the meandering but beautiful county lanes around the Álora Yurts – just over an hour’s drive from Málaga ‒ before being greeted by a welcoming Yorkshireman and a cavalcade of barking but friendly dogs, we knew we were somewhere special.

From start to finish, the hospitality could not have been better. The welcome was warm and genuine, with husband-and-wife team Sara and Darren inviting us to share in their beautiful Andalucian retreat, with down-to-earth company and gloriously relaxed surroundings.

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“Self-care” – 1. Meditation on a train

Yesterday I wrote that although the term “self-care” wasn’t in my childhood or teenage vocabulary, it’s become something I’ve learned is crucial, from listening to wonderful podcasts and reading great blogs on “lifestyle design”, mental health issues, and figuring out how to live and breathe in today’s changing world.

For the next week or so, I’m going to share some of the best things I do to give myself a little space, even when I’m so busy or anxious I barely have time to pause. Today, meditation.

Meditation through the Headspace app

Sometimes it feels like everyone knows about this app – sometimes seen as THE meditation app for your phone, featuring guided meditation packages from former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe. There is a free 10-day introductory version, but you can pay annually for the full-on package, with 30-day routines, quick-fire “SOS” guides, and generally everything you need to maintain a daily meditation practice. No sitting in the lotus position going “om” required.

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“Self-care”: 6 ways I chill the hell out

“Self-care” is one of those words I only see on lifestyle blogs and podcasts.

Don’t get me wrong: I live for these blogs and podcasts; I couldn’t give a flying toss whether it makes me a cliché, I bloody love them – reading and listening to awesome women who are carving out a life they love is what gets me up in the morning (well, that, and the need to catch my train).

But “self-care”? There wasn’t a lot of that sort of touchy-feely stuff in my house. Yes, I got a lot of hugs from my dad and tough, determined love from my mum, but my mother ‒ British, northern baby boomer generation woman that she is ‒ would not have the first clue what I meant if I said “self-care”. She’d be like, “What? You mean, doesn’t everyone just bloody carry on and get on with it?”

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