With the colder months and darker days creeping in, it can be all too easy to feel like the joys of summer are fading fast. Here are some top tips for getting cosy and pampering yourself, so that you can enjoy this season as much as the last!
First things first, make sure you’re warm enough! Feeling chilly is never comfortable, so put the central heating on. According to the West Midlands Public Health Observatory, the ideal room temperature is between 20-24°C, and anywhere outside of these parameters is more likely to lead to illness or discomfort.
Too frugal to switch on the heating just yet? Get snuggled up in a knitted jumper or fluffy dressing gown, or buy a standalone heater so you can just heat the room you spend the most time in rather than the whole house. Microwaveable slippers like these are great for shuffling around the house in, and reusable hand warmers like these are great when out and about - simply slip them into your gloves or pockets for a toasty treat!
A lovely hot bath never fails to warm the cockles of your heart and melt away worries. For an extra therapeutic soak, add a few drops of indulgent bath oil or bubble bath, and light a few candles for a lovely ambience. You could even play some soothing music for a full spa experience.
Slough off any dead skin cells with a body scrub to create a super-smooth base (we love these coffee scrubs from Bean Body), then, once you’re out of the bath and towelled off, finish with some nourishing body butter to keep skin soft and supple.
It’s all too easy to rush through life without stopping to notice what’s happening around you or within you, but learning to be mindful can help combat this.
Mindfulness is the practice of paying more attention to your thoughts and the world around you, and being more ‘present’ in the moment, instead of worrying about the past or future. It can take a bit of practice to get the hang of, but once you have, you can enjoy better concentration, mental clarity, acceptance and compassion amongst other things.
Have some quiet time
In today’s busy world, it’s important to take some time out from your hectic schedule to get away from the stresses of life. Curling up in an armchair with a good book or magazine is a great form of escapism; taking your mind to another place.
In fact, doing anything that completely absorbs your attention is a form of mindfulness (see above), because your brain is so focused on the task at hand that there’s no capacity for worrying! Although once associated with children, colouring in has become a popular activity amongst the older generations, with adult colouring books gracing shelves everywhere from WH Smiths to Waterstones!
Whilst it may seem contradictory to say that getting active will help you relax, it is in fact, true. According to Harvard Health, “exercise reduces levels of the body's stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators.”
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to hit the gym hard - even a 20-minute stroll will help. In fact, getting out in the fresh air and being amongst nature is a great way to calm the mind and lift spirits. Alternatively, a good yoga session encourages healthy breathing patterns and stretches out the muscles, allowing your body to feel elongated and refreshed.
Keep a journal
Writing can be a very healing process. If your mind is feeling cluttered with everything you have to do, writing a list can organise your thoughts and help you feel more in control.
Humans naturally have a ‘negativity bias’, meaning we have a tendency to pay more attention to the negative than the positive (back in the caveman days, this helped keep us alive!). You can help combat this by keeping a ‘happiness journal’. Take 5 minutes in the morning to write down three goals for the day, and 5 minutes before bed to write down the three best things that have happened that day. Over time, this will train your mind to pay more attention to the good and move on from the bad.
Do you have any tips and tricks for relaxing? Let us know on social media!