5 Winter Self-Care Ideas

There are lots of things to moan about in the winter – who really likes the dark evenings and stepping in a huge puddle? However, there are also lots of things to love about the winter too. Like the lighter mornings, the crisp, clean feel to the air, and the atmosphere of celebration around the holidays.

The cold weather and the dark can take their toll on your mood if you’re not careful – as can the holidays, which are often difficult times for people, for all sorts of reasons. For these reasons, it is really important to take care of yourself in the colder months. Self-care can be a solution to a bad day or, even better, a preventative measure, carried out little and often to help keep those low days at bay.

Here are 5 simple self-care ideas for you to try out this winter:

  1. Put on clean bed sheets. (Bonus points if they have a wintery pattern, are fleecy, or accompany your change to the ‘winter duvet’.)
    There’s nothing quite like climbing into your bed at the end of the day when the sheets are brand new and super comfortable. If you’re having trouble sleeping, make sure your room is at the right temperature for you and perhaps try a sleep spray or a hot milky drink as well.

    white bed comforter
    Photo by Jaymantri on Pexels.com
  2. Bake a treat for someone.
    Baking on its own is often therapeutic, but why not add on the additional joy of taking what you’ve made and sharing it with someone. Maybe your co-workers would like a Monday pick-me-up, or an elderly neighbour would really appreciate the gesture? If you’re not a confident baker and want to start off with something more simple, the packet mixes you can get from supermarkets that just involve adding water or eggs are brilliant. They are also great for baking with young children!
  3. Wrap up warm and go for a walk.

    a thick scarf and a hand holding a hot drink
    I love to grab my collapsible coffee cup, put on a thick scarf, and go for a long walk.

    This is one of my favourite activities, despite the cold weather. When it’s a dry but cold day, I love to wrap up in my cosiest jumper, a thick scarf and a woolly hat, and head out for a walk. If I’m going by myself, I’ll often take a book to stop off somewhere and have a read, or I’ll listen to a podcast whilst I walk. If it’s me and my fiance walking, we’ll often play Pokemon Go on our route, or just enjoy the time to talk with no distractions. My reusable cup filled with coffee often joins us on the walk too! This activity is great for your mind, as well as getting your legs moving and incorporating a little bit of exercise into your self-care routine.

  4. Read a book in bed.
    Simple, classic, and a perfect activity for a wet and rainy day. Grab a hot drink, curl up in your duvet and appreciate having the time to do nothing except read your favourite book. For winter reads I particularly love horrors, thrillers, historical fiction and crime novels.
  5. Have a totally indulgent hot bath or shower.
    bath-blur-brush-275765.jpg
    I know that I’ve said before that self-care is about more than just hot bubble baths, however sometimes that is exactly what you need. Treat yourself to a warming and relaxing bath to escape the cold weather and relax. If baths aren’t your thing, just allow yourself the indulgence of not worrying too much about the hot water bill for a few minutes and whack the heat up on your shower. Choose a luxuriously scented shower gel, sing as loud as you like and feel the tension melt away.

 

What do you love most about the colder months?

Hopefully, if the cold weather has got you feeling blue, there are a couple of ideas here that can help you take care of yourself. (If you think you’re low feelings are more serious, or that you may be suffering from SAD or similar, I urge you to seek advice from a professional.)

Happy winter!

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Buddy Box Lite and contents

Buddy Box Review

Last month, when I was feeling down, I ordered myself a Buddy Box from The Blurt Foundation as a pick-me-up. I totally forgot about it and had a lovely surprise when I picked up this mystery parcel from the delivery office. If you saw my ‘How I’m Dealing With Stress’ post, you’ll know I had been having a bit of a rough time, and my Buddy Box just made my day.

I have followed and loved The Blurt Foundation for a few years and I think they do a great job. Their aim is to increase awareness and understanding of depression, as well as providing support and resources to those suffering from depression. It’s a fantastic cause, and one very close to my heart, and I would really recommend giving them a follow on Twitter or checking out their website.

buddy box

Their Buddy Boxes are subscription boxes that you can order for yourself or someone else as a sort of care package. As Blurt explain:

Packed full of thoughtful, mood-lifting treats, the BuddyBox comforts, delights and gives you that warm, ‘I’ve been cared for’ feeling inside. In other words – it’s a hug in a box.”

And who doesn’t want a hug in a box?

You can subscribe to the boxes or buy a one-off box. Personally, I bought this box as a one-ff. I bought the Buddy Box Lite, which contains 3 items. The original Buddy Box contains 5. The theme of my box was ‘Become a Rhino-Snore-Us’. Sleep is something I think is really important and one of many things that make me happy! – and it contained some lovely sleep-themed items that I’ll briefly talk about below…

  1. This very cute postcard, that says ‘But first, sleep.’

    I think this is really cute and I might put it up somewhere in my bedroom.
    postcard that reads 'but first, sleep'

  2. The Blurt zine.

Blurt produce this zine that goes in every BuddyBox. It’s full of sleep tips and information.  A really helpful, quick read. This gives the BuddyBox some really beneficial substance that perhaps the products on their own would lack. I think this is a great addition to the box.

Blurt Foundation zine and cat post-it notes

3. To-Do Post-It Notes

Although I do think these have a bit of a tenuous link to the ‘sleep’ theme, I do like them. They’re very cute and I always love a new piece of stationery. Particularly novelty post-its. These are by Gemma Correll and I will definitely be checking out the rest of her stuff if I can.

4. Scentered De-Stress Balm.

This Scentered de-stress balm is a stick of lovely aromatherapy scented balm, which you rub on your pulse points (Your wrists, temples or neck.) to help you feel calmer and hopefully get some sleep. I really like the scent of this and it is really calming to smell when you’re feeling worked up or stressed.

5. Fluffy socks

I’ve saved the best until last in my opinion. Look at these socks! They are fluffy, soft and very, very comfortable. They’re also really long, reaching nearly up to my knees, which I love. These are great for the chilly evenings that are creeping in at the moment and they are my favourite thing from the Buddy Box.

 

So what did I think?

All in all, I really liked the products sent in this box. It really perked up my day receiving the box in the post and the items in it are comforting and great for self-care. My most used item so far has been the gorgeously cosy socks and I have used the de-stressing balm on occasion. Although I liked the post-it notes a lot, I do think there could have been something more relevant to the theme.

Overall, I’d say that if you’re going through a tough time, or you know someone who is, and can afford to splash out a little bit of money (it really isn’t that much actually) to get a Buddy Box sent to your door, it is definitely worth doing. And you know your money is going to a really worthwhile organisation.

Self-care all the way!

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50 Things That Make Me Happy

50 Things That Make Me Happy

Two tag posts in a row? I know, lazy blogger! But I couldn’t resist jumping straight into this wonderful post, listing 50 things that make me happy. I was very kindly tagged by Colourful Hope, whose post is here.

I think the idea of listing 50 things that make you happy is brilliant. It’s a list, so it sounds simple – but 50 is a pretty big number! (The most I’ve dared so far is 26!) Having to think of 50 individual things that make me feel happy can only be a good thing for my wellbeing. So, here goes!

50 Things That Make Happy

  1. Spending time with my cat
  2. Autumn walks with my fiance
  3. Wedding planning
  4. Reading a good book
  5. Smashing a workout
  6. Finding an outfit that looks really good
  7. Chocolate
  8. Catching up with old friends
  9. Going to the cinema
  10. Big bowls of pasta
  11. A clean and cosy house
  12. A clean car
  13. My hamster
  14. Seeing my family
  15. Having a cup of tea with my mum
  16. My job
  17. Running with my best friend
  18. Music
  19. (more specifically) Neil Diamond’s music
  20. Watching comedies (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Friends, OITNB…)
  21. Libraries
  22. A good cup of coffee
  23. Comfy blankets
  24. Learning something new
  25. Being brave and it turning out well
  26. Giving people gifts
  27. Coffee shops
  28. Looking at homeware
  29. Theatre
  30. Watching stand-up comedy
  31. Singing along to musicals
  32. Falling asleep watching a film with my fiance
  33. Setting goals and planning
  34. Listening to My Favourite Murder
  35. Long, lazy mornings with breakfast in bed
  36. A really tasty cocktail
  37. Playing board games
  38. Pizza
  39. When there are amazing vegetarian options at a restaurant
  40. Pretty book covers
  41. Recommending books to people
  42. Comfy jumpers
  43. Playing Skyrim
  44. Hot chocolate
  45. Museums
  46. Disney films
  47. Ticking off my to-do list
  48. Roald Dahl books
  49. Stationery
  50. Spending time with my friends

 

Well, that was great! It pushed me to think about everything that makes me happy and now I feel really good. I’d like to pass that good feeling on, and I tag:

Kelly at Paperback Adventures
Pigletish
Nic’s Healthy Life

The Blogger Recognition Award

I cannot tell you how much it made my day to get a notification on Twitter telling me that the very lovely Kelly over at Paperback Adventures had nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award.

I haven’t been blogging for very long and I am often only able to post once a week due to work, so I know that I’m not the most active person in the blogging community. So to know that Kelly thought my blog was worth reading and recognising like this means loads. 🙂

So here we go:

THE RULES

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you
  • Write a post to show your award
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them, and provide a link to the post you’ve created

HOW MY BLOG STARTED

Over the past 5 years or so, I’d say that I must have started and abandoned nearly 10 different blogs. I’ve tried book blogging (and for a short while, Booktubing…), mental health blogging, writing about my studies… and honestly, I think the timing was just never quite right. I’ve had a very busy few years and I never found a passion that I was inspired by enough to write about every week – nor could I think of enough content to do so!

The Self-Care Sloth started in August 2018, during my first summer holiday as a teacher, whilst I was looking for a more creative outlet and also a way to track my own progress on a self-care journey. I started my blog with a post about journalling that has since been deleted – but I haven’t looked back since!

ADVICE

I don’t feel very qualified to give advice, because I’m still so new to this world myself. But I guess the advice I would give to someone as new as me, and the steps I’m trying to take myself would be:

  1. Try to have a post in your drafts or scheduled at all times. That way, when life gets busy or you’ve run out of ideas, there’s always a post ready to go.
  2. Write about what you want to write about, not what you think will be ‘popular’. People will find it, people will read it, and it will feel great because they’re like-minded people who might come back to your blog later on.

NOMINATIONS

I’m really not part of the blogging community very much yet, so I don’t think I know 15 people! I’m going to nominate 10 people and I hope that’s okay! (and sorry if you’ve already been nominated! But you’re all fab, you write my favourite blogs, and deserve every nomination or award going!)

  1. Hello Bexa
  2. Emily Aagaard
  3. Jade Marie
  4. Adventure & Anxiety
  5. Chloe Elizabeth
  6. Pigletish
  7. My Lifelines
  8. Alternatively Speaking
  9. Ruth in Revolt
  10. Blushing Lately

 

Thanks for reading! x

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pumpkins and sunflowers in autumnal spread

How to Survive Halloween as an Anxious Person

I love Halloween! I love the spooky stuff, the abundance of pumpkin-spiced-everything and the cold creepy nights. However, as someone who suffers with an anxiety disorder, I do know that not every Halloween activity suits people with anxiety problems. If you find this time of year nerve-wracking, or want to join in with social events but get nervous doing so, here are a few ideas of how to survive Halloween as someone with an anxiety disorder:

Horror Films

Scary films are a huge part of Halloween for some people and something that I often enjoy. However, on a bad anxiety day, they aren’t ideal, and you may well think that horror films sound like an absolute nightmare! (Pun slightly intended…)

The main thing is that you always feel like you can say no. If you don’t want to watch a scary film, just say no. Any real friends won’t mind and will probably change their plans to accommodate you.

popcorn with cinema ticket

If you feel like you can watch a scary film, there are a few things you can do to prevent extra anxiety. First, watch them at home. That way you can pause the film if you need to, you’re somewhere familiar, and you can leave some lights on too. Also, avoid particular triggers if you know you have them. For example, my anxiety is often triggered by medical scenarios, so I will often avoid films that are set in hospitals or similar. Lastly, have a quick self-check before the film starts. Are you in the right mindset to watch this film? Is there anything you need to make yourself feel more comfortable?

There are also plenty of films that are more ‘comedy spooky’, rather than full-on horror. Think ‘Hocus Pocus’! (Which I’ve never actually seen and desperately want to watch this month!)

Books

If you’re desperate to consume some Halloween-y media, but can’t stomach a horror film this year – why not try a scary book instead? The bonus of books is that you can close them and walk away very easily if you need to.

For a traditional ghost story, I would recommend The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson and for a superb psychological thriller I love Misery by Stephen King.*

The Haunting of Hill HouseMisery

Horror Mazes or ‘Scare’ Events

There’s a ‘scare village’ event near where I live that I really want to go to this year, but I sometimes really struggle with live-action horror events. Every year, you will see this style of horror event or maze pop-up. For example, the ‘Fright Night’ events at Thorpe Park. I have done these type of mazes before, but I’ve also avoided them before, so hopefully my advice can help you if you want to go to one of them.

First, remember that the actors are not allowed to touch you. You are completely safe and are in a controlled environment. Keep telling yourself that the whole event is completely fake and the performers and organisers are there to keep you safe, if a little scared.

Calm vs Panic signs with blurred beach background

Secondly, remember that you can always get out if you need toI have, on two occasions, left scary themed events early and on both occasions, staff were really understanding and accommodating. You won’t be the only person leaving early and you can always say you feel sick or unwell if you don’t want to say that it’s anxiety. A few years ago, I was in a queue to enter the ‘Chamber of Horrors’ section of Madame Tussauds in London and I just felt like I couldn’t go in. They had a sign that informed you that this was your last chance to leave before entry (check for these points – there may be some times when you won’t be able to leave, and you need to know that) and I decided to leave. I told a member of staff, told my friend, and we went to get some food instead! No one minded and it meant that I could take time to calm down and try a different activity.

You are always allowed to leave. Sometimes just knowing that escape is possible will be enough to calm you down!

Halloween Parties

If you’ve been invited to a Halloween party, then there are two important things to know:

  1. I’m very jealous of you. I love Halloween parties and no one I know ever throws them any more!
  2. You don’t have to go.

Number 2 is really the important one there, of course. If you’ve been invited to a party, you don’t have to go. Now, if you know that you have a tendency to hermit because of your anxiety, and you will actually have fun with your friends if you drag yourself there, maybe it is good to do just that. However, if you’re really panicking, don’t force yourself to go to a big party that scares you. If you do go, make sure you can get home early if you need to. Drive yourself, walk, or don’t rely on a hard party-goer for a lift home.)

Now… love fancy dress so I love dressing up for Halloween, but I know that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and you might feel anxious about people looking at you. However, think of it this way – if everyone in the room is in costume, and you aren’t – who are people more likely to look at? If you’re not big into fancy dress but want to blend in, I’d suggest something easy and subtle like the traditional witch’s cat. Wear all black, put on some cat ears and make a tail out of black tights and scrunched up newspaper. Done! Also, this would be easy to hide during travel if you need to get public transport – just put the ears and tail in your bag until you get to the party. Similar ideas might be a witch (black dress, hat and broom) a devil (black and red clothes with devil horns and a pitchfork) or a vampire (more black clothes, pale make-up and some fake teeth.)

pumpkins and sunflowers in autumnal spread
Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

And if you’re friends really want to celebrate Halloween, but none of these activities are for you, why not suggest one of these:

  • Pumpkin carving
  • Halloween-themed baking (pumpkin traybake anyone? I have to try this one!)
  • Halloween crafts (do you have any young relatives you could do crafts with? most kids I know love Halloween and they don’t do anything too scary!)
  • A board game night with a spooky twist. (I’d recommend Plague Inc. which is a brilliant plague-themed game. You could also play Cluedo for some old-school murder mystery feels!)

And last, but by no means least, keep up your self-care. Perhaps by trying out the #SelfCareTogether challenge that Pigletish is hosting this month. Halloween is a very social holiday and you might be surrounded by triggers for your anxiety for a lot of this month – so make sure you are taking care of yourself, and having moments of calm whenever you can.

Happy Halloween!

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* Please note that Book Depository links in the post are affiliate links. They cost you no extra money, but if you buy a book through my affiliate links I earn a small commission.

How I’m Dealing With Stress

How I’m Currently Dealing With Stress

Spoiler alert – I’m not dealing with it very well!

stressed lady with laptop and planner, clutching her head
Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

I’ll apologise now to anyone who thought that this was going to be a self-help advice post about how to deal with stress or some more self-care advice. Honestly, this is just a bit of a self-indulgent post to help me get my head out on to the page, and to reflect on what my reactions to stress have been recently.

Over the past month, I have not only been trying to get this blog up and running, but I’ve also started my first year as a qualified teacher and had a heck of a lot to think about! On top of a pretty hefty workload, there have been family emergencies and a fresh new batch of anxiety…

So how have I been coping? Let me see…

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Ugly crying
  • Chocolate
  • Gin
  • Lots of to-do lists
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate
  • Hot chocolate

Have you noticed a theme?

It’s not been good – let’s be honest – excessive quantities of chocolate and coffee is never the way to get through a tough week! I’m sure my anxiety is worse because of coffee and I’m feeling worse because I know I’ll be putting weight back on that I only recently battled to lose. The only positive thing on that list is my obsessive use of to-do lists to stay on top of things. I’ve been trying to take part in the #SelfCareTogether challenge but I’m honestly struggling to make any time for self-care.

So why am I writing this post? I’m not exactly an inspiration to anyone at the moment!

Maybe I just needed to get things out of my head. Perhaps I was hoping that this would publicly shame me into getting my act together. Honestly, I think I just wanted to say “Hey, we all have those weeks where we want to give up and stay in bed all day. We don’t all deal with it by drinking green tea and doing yoga, and it’s okay to feel like you’re not coping right now.” Hopefully this will resonate with someone and we can all get past these bad days and come out the other side.

Hopefully next week I’ll be feeling a bit more on top of things and I can write a post titled ‘How to deal with stress’!

How do you stay on top of things and start feeling better when things get too much?

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September Favourites

I can’t believe it’s October already! It feels like I only wrote my August favourites a week ago. I seriously don’t know where September went or how it’s all gone by so quickly, but here we are and here are a few of my favourite things of the last month…

Mustard and Burgundy blazers from New Look

Right now, I’m slowly transitioning my entire wardrobe to a solid mixture of mustard, burgundy and black & white stripes. My go-to outfit for work is now a pair of slim black trousers, a stripey top, and one of two beautiful blazers from New Look.

mustard blazer with stripey t-shirt
Spot the cat!

I absolutely love this mustard blazer – so much that I bought it in burgundy as well. (I’m really tempted to also get it in black… is that too much?) These blazers are super soft, comfy and relaxed, but just formal enough to wear for work. Absolutely perfect and have upped my style game this Autumn!
Unfortunately I can’t find this blazer on the New Look website, but there are similar still available!

The Lounges

This is a chain of restaurants, although each individual lounge is slightly different. The one near us serves the most fantastic food that my fiance and I have been enjoying nearly every weekend! Simple, relaxed and affordable – it suits us just fine. For brunch, I like their savory options, but the pancakes are pretty good too. For lunch, I recently tried their soup. This sweet potato and carrot soup was to die for, and perfect for this new autumnal weather!

Sweet Potato and Carrot soup
yum!!

But dinner time is when this restaurant shows it’s best offerings. I’d never really discovered tapas until we started visiting this lounge but I am loving it – small plates of delicious food, all accompanied by ciabatta and wine! Patatas bravas really should have made an appearance in my life much sooner!

There are loads of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options on the menu so it can cater for everyone in your group. If there’s a lounge near you, I’d really recommend trying it out.

The Great British Bake Off

Are there many people in Britain that wouldn’t put the Bake Off in their September favourites? Competitive baking, bread, cakes, Noel Fielding and Sandy Toksvig? Sign me right up! The Great British Bake Off is so comforting and enjoyable, I have to watch it every week and I’m already dreading it finishing. Current favourites are KimJoy and Jon. Who are your favourites? I’m also thinking that I should really use this inspiration to get baking…

M&Ms mixed bags

These have been my ultimate weakness this month. It’s taken me many years to get on the peanut and peanut butter bandwagon, but now I’m the head cheerleader! As a long-time fan of original and crispy M&Ms, adding peanut into the mix as well has been a game-changer. (Honestly, I take my chocolate choices very seriously.) Shake up a bag of these, share with no one, and enjoy an evening – yes please!

Blogging

Although I started this blog in August, September is the month in which I really started to explore the blogging community and plan my content more clearly. I have been enjoying the process of planning, writing and sharing my posts, getting involved in Twitter chats and finding loads of new blogs to read and take inspiration from. I’m so glad that I finally committed to this blog and so it is definitely one of my September favourites!

Another real mixture of things this month! If any of these are your favourite too, or you’d like to share some similar things with me, then do leave a comment down below. I love to hear from you all, it really makes my day! 🙂

Have a fantastic week! x

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