Melissa Hemsley's Wellbeing Tips

Our favourite self-taught chef, cookbook author, and sustainability champion shares her wellbeing tips she turns to.

I am very into textures. I had eczema when I was younger and am funny about certain fabrics. I need natural, beautiful, breathable fabrics around my face, near my cheeks, nostrils even! I make sure I have a gorgeous soft scarf when I’m out and about, a gorgeous protective lip balm to nourish and comfort, a gorgeous natural scent - little things like to help me feel good. Now we need to carry a mask, I love my Onolla™ organic cotton triple-layered, filtered face mask. Here I am wearing it while volunteering with The Felix Project who collects fresh, nutritious food that cannot be sold. They deliver this surplus food to charities and schools so they can provide healthy meals and help the most vulnerable in society and have joined forces with With Compassion a London team of volunteer chefs and have cooked 450,000 meals for vulnerable Londoners since day two of Lockdown. I love moisturisers and skincare with essential oils. The scents remind me to take lovely deep breaths and ensure I am breathing in lovely scents instead of my garlic breath from lunch! [chuckles]

Mood altering scents are important to me and give me get up and go... or slow. I have lots of essential oil rollerballs with say, juniper and grapefruit to wake me up, lavender to relax in the evening. I love burning oils and candles and often open the window in the middle of the day to freshen the environment and spritz the room with a lovely room spray. My mum also taught me to put an old satsuma in the oven while it's cooling for that revitalising, purifying, sweet citrus smell.

"The secret I guess to all of this is to take the pressure off yourself. Oh and make soup! These last two things fix everything"

Moving is key, I hold a lot of stress in my neck and shoulder and the hips – so stretching and doing some yoga helps me. I’m not talking a whole hour – the moment I realised you didn’t have to do yoga for an hour every time for it to work took the pressure off the whole doing-yoga-right-thing. If I need to stretch my body for a few minutes, or just sit and breathe and be peaceful, or roll my shoulders and give my neck some love, that’s yoga too. It’s important not to beat ourselves up about these things not being good enough, it really is.

Some days I am on the laptop for long periods and can find myself only getting up to make myself a drink so I made a promise to myself lately that when I make a cup of tea or coffee I try to make sure I don’t drink all of it while I am in front of the laptop. Even if it’s leaving to fold laundry, putting my head out the window for air, watering a plant, I am trying to create a more relaxing offline ritual and give myself five minutes.

Writing a gratitude list has become very important to me. I put pen to paper and list the things that happened that day I am grateful for; what went well that day, a friend’s voice on a message, being tired and hungry, and remembering I have a lovely soup in the freezer. It’s these simple things that always lift my spirits and writing them down sort of honors them.

My last but not least tip is to get off the phone more! I try to be offline on a Sunday and it feels so good. The secret I guess to all of this is to take the pressure off yourself. Oh and make soup! These last two things fix everything. [chuckles again]

[IMAGE] Melissa volunteering with The Felix Project who collects fresh, nutritious food that cannot be sold. They deliver this surplus food to charities and schools so they can provide healthy meals and help the most vulnerable in society. @thefelixproject  @_withcompassion have joined forces and cooked 450,000 meals for vulnerable Londoners since day two of Lockdown.

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