Self-care is something Sarah and I really try to prioritise in our lives. We both juggle young children and time with friends and family on top of trying to devote as much time as possible to Kip, so it’s all-too-easy to forget to take care of ourselves, too. But when you don’t, you quickly burn out and we’ve both learnt that a healthier, more-balanced self is more capable of being a superwoman in all other areas.
With the festive season just starting, it’s more important than ever to find some pockets of calm amongst all the organising, socialising and fever pitch of kids’ excitement, otherwise it quickly becomes a season of stress rather than joy. Everyone has their own ways to nourish their souls; here are some of mine, and some from Chloe Luxton, founder of the gorgeous Bramley natural bath and body products, whom we’re delighted to be partnering with this month on an exclusive member discount and goodie giveaway.
Reading. Whenever, wherever I can snatch 10 minutes. Books, magazines, newspapers, blogs – just quick hits of escapism. And I always read for 20-30 minutes in bed at night, to help me switch off before I go to sleep.
My tip: set your alarm 20 mins early, make a cup of tea, and read in the peace. Doing this sets me on a really positive path for the day.
Fresh air. It really lifts my soul to spend time outdoors, so I try to add 15 mins of extra fresh air to every day (not just what I’d do anyway). I get off the bus a stop early, or make myself go out for a wander at lunchtime rather than internet shopping, and I find my whole self benefits.
My tip: find a podcast you love to keep you company; mine’s The HighLow.
Nourishing food. I have a variety of go-to recipes that are quick to prepare and really boost me when I’ve overindulged, whether that’s through too much booze, sugar and rich food (usually all three!). Buddha bowls; salmon, rocket and giant couscous traybake; this Anna Jones recipe.
My tip: eat the rainbow every day – fruit and veg in a medley of colour, the more varied the better.
Getting away. I don’t know if it’s the planning that we find most exciting, but I love booking time away. It doesn’t matter if it’s a couple of nights in a shepherd’s hut or a full-blown summer holiday, it’s simply about getting away from everyday life. It’s so important to maintain a healthy life balance.
Quality sleep. I sometimes wake up at around 2am and can’t get back to sleep due to my mind whirring. I find that if I write a quick list of all my thoughts (a to-do list generally!) and pop on an eye mask I fall straight back to sleep – and it’s a much deeper sleep.
My tip: sometimes I move to the spare room bed if I’m struggling to switch off, and the change of scenery does the trick!
Face masks. Lucy in the Bramley office swears by a face mask ritual when she needs some time out. She puts it on, has a long soak in a Bramley bubble bath, then gets straight into her PJs, even if it’s early in the evening.
Her tip: do it on a night when you’ve got the place to yourself – even if you have a million things you should be doing instead – then watch a film in your pyjamas. The mental and physical re-set will make you doubly productive the day after.
Declutter or tidy. My husband will laugh when he reads this (I’m a little messy!), but I definitely find it calming when I grab 10 minutes to declutter a cupboard or slimline my sock drawer. It clears my mind.
Say yes to treats. I’ve got to mention the joy of a large glass of wine at the end of a super-busy day to really help me unwind. That, and the three After Eights I sneak in after supper!
My tip: Remember life’s all about balance.