Eight Secrets to Beating the Winter Blues

1. Have friends in far flung places – It might seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes speaking to friends who live in warmer climes conjures up feelings akin to actually being there (plus it’s good to keep in touch should you find yourself with spare holiday to use up before the end of the financial year..)

2. Make homemade soup – It may not have a reputation as being the most exciting type of food, but homemade soup that is bursting to the brim with healthy vegetables is the best body, mind and soul food there is, except, that is, for…..

3. Eat chocolate (in all its glorious forms, but especially Dairy Milk Dime Bar Crunch and dark chocolate Liebniz biscuits) like it’s going out of fashion – Scientists the world over agree that chocolate makes us happy. Not only that, dark chocolate is even good for us. I rest my case, your honour.

4. Exercise regularly – yes it’s a royal pain in the backside having to go for a run when you’d rather be in the pub tucking into a roast and some mulled wine, but you know you’ll feel better once those endorphins have kicked in (not to mention less guilty when you do eventually get to the pub…)

5. Wear slipper socks  – There’s nothing nicer than getting in from a long day at the office, kicking off your shoes and transferring your tootsies into a nice toasty pair of slipper socks before you settle onto the sofa for the evening (hot water bottle and hot chocolate optional extras).

6. Have a massage – In the winter time our skin takes a bashing from the cold wind and plummeting temperatures, so why not stimulate it with some warming hands and essential oils? With all the cheap deals floating around on sites like Groupon these days, it’s a justifiable indulgence…

7. Buy some Radox ‘Uplifting’ pink grapefruit and basil shower gel – Once you’ve tried it your morning showers will never be the same again. Trust me.

8. Plan a January get away – The best way to cope with January is, well, to not be here for most of it. So why not book a break somewhere hot to ride out the most miserable month of the year? It’s not like anyone’s doing any work in the office anyway…

The Power of Touch

Everyone has a ‘thing’ that helps them to achieve ultimate relaxation. For some it might be listening to music, for others reading a book or meditating. Whilst I do love all those past times, my ‘thing’ would have to be, absolutely and unequivocally, massage. Why? Because not only does the feeling of another person’s fingers connecting with your skin feel toe-curlingly sensual, it’s also recognition that you need – and more importantly deserve – time out from your normal routine. It’s decadent, extravagant and too expensive (for most of us mere mortals) to be a regular occurrence, which makes it all the more enjoyable. As an ardent traveller it also takes me back to exotic places I’ve visited like Bali, conjuring up the many sights, sounds and smells I experienced there.

Today I had my first massage in a depressingly long time at the Tantalizing Spa in Pimlico. I’d bought it as a Wowcher deal last month for a paltry £14, so in truth I didn’t have the highest of hopes for its quality. How wrong I was. The spa doesn’t look much from the outside but the room I was led into was cosy and beautifully decorated. The massage table was so comfortable it felt like lying on a cloud. And the massage itself was just…Wow. This lady clearly knew her stuff, as an hour later her finger tips had melted my rubbish day away and left me feeling fantastic. I floated out of the salon and down the road to the tube station without once feeling the need to check my phone or my watch. I also noticed that my walking pace had slowed compared to normal, which for me is a sure sign relaxation has set in.

But the real treat came as I was heading for the door and my masseuse offered me a second massage for half the normal price if I came back within a month. With such positive benefits to both mind and body, it would have been rude to turn her down…