The Art of Self-Care by Kate Duggan

Show yourself some extra kindness this autumn

Many of us have been inspired to exercise more this year. Exercise can boost your mood and ease anxiety, as well as help to keep you healthy. But as the days grow shorter and colder, it’s all too easy to let those good habits slip.

If you need some extra motivation to keep up (or increase) your activity level, why not try:

  • Exercising with a friend or family member.
  • Giving a different kind of exercise a go, such as martial arts or an online dance class.
  • Downloading the Couch to 5K app by Public Health England (I recommend choosing Sarah Millican as your personal trainer).
  • Treating yourself to some new fitness togs. While you don’t need expensive gym gear, it’s important to at least be comfortable while you work out, and you’ll need decent trainers for outdoor high-impact work.
  • Setting yourself achievable goals, eg. being able to jog/swim/cycle/row/walk a certain distance, gaining the next martial arts’ belt, or just perfecting a new dance routine! Ideally, set small goals that you can reach within the next few weeks, as well as a more ambitious long-term target if you fancy pushing yourself.
  • Write down why you’re doing this and stick your note somewhere prominent, like the fridge. Keep it simple, such as “I’m going to exercise three times a week to keep myself mentally and physically healthy” or “I’m going to swim every week because I know I feel calmer afterwards” or “I’m going to do Pilates twice a week to keep my body flexible and to enjoy better sleep”.

Know someone who could do with a helping hand to unwind? Meditation app Headspace has launched a series of new gift cards with Boots. Each one gives the recipient a six-month subscription to guided meditations, mindfulness exercises, videos and calming music. There are four themed meditation collections to choose from: Mind, Health, Sleep and Focus. (They all give full access to Headspace and are £30 at www.boots.com.)

A good hair day can put a real spring in your step. My new favourite hair product is Percy & Reed’s Smoothed, Sealed & Sensational Volumising No Oil Oil (£15, www.percyandreed.com). A couple of drops smoothed through damp hair helps to reduce frizz, boost shine and add volume. Your hair will look healthier and bouncier with minimum effort. If you’re worried about using an oil, don’t be. This one is non-greasy so it won’t turn your hair into an oil slick. As an added benefit, it helps to nourish hair and protect it from heat-related damage. (I do love a multi-tasker!)

Cha Vøhtz’s Age Defy+ Pure Luxe Body Oil is designed to lock in moisture to leave skin feeling softer, smoother and more radiant. More importantly, it smells and feels lovely. As the name implies, this is a luxury product. It’s packed with natural active ingredients, including neroli, pomegranate oil and safflower. And at £25 for 50ml, it’s not cheap. But, if you fancy a treat for your skin and your senses, the oil is available from www.greenpeople.co.uk.