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Dive in with Gilly McArthur

Have you met The Zest Life’s Lake District Swimming Leader Gilly McArthur? It’s time to dive in with her!

In this guest post Gilly talks about her love of spring as well as the challenges it brings, and shares her invaluable advice for getting the most out of cold water swimming…



Top 10 Winter Self Care Tips

The festive period can be a stressful, heavy time of year for many. So read on for Laura’s top tips for keeping the season light and bright.

One of my favourite winter past times is lighting the fire and taking the time to meditate or listening to a relaxation clip all wrapped up in a cosy blanket. I really have learnt to love the shorter Winter days where the energy of nature is just so still and peaceful. I love to marinade in that feeling and remember that these months too shall pass.



The Joy of the Winter Months


I was chatting with a friend the other day about the shift that we all take into Winter. She commented on how it had taken longer this year to get there, to that place of acceptance and joy of the Winter months.

I was relieved to hear this as I too have found this year’s winter transition a struggle.

I think the incredibly mild October we had was partly to blame and the last retreat we did mid-November was so warm and I remember thinking I wished I’d packed shorts! But thank goodness as we move into December it has now turned cold. 



5 Ways To Reduce Your Digital Distractions


Let’s face it, we all spend too much time on our phones. They beg for attention with notifications and pop-ups. All it takes is for your hand to drift towards your phone, and then minutes (or even hours!) later. you find that you’ve been doom scrolling through Tik Tok or, Instagram.

Research shows that excessive mobile phone use can have negative effects on our mental health. It can affect your sleeping habits, your social life, and lower your self-esteem. It’s time we all set boundaries!



The Importance of Rest


I don’t know about you, but the pressure that this time of year brings starts to fill me with dread. Why is there this need to book exciting events with the children, plan family outings, parties with colleagues, shopping days out with friends, hair appointments… the list goes on. It literally makes me want to run away and hide. Do you feel the same?

It’s almost as if our success and happiness is based on how busy we are and the navigation of the festive season seems to be the ultimate symbol of how well we are coping at life. (more…)


Benefits of giving up alcohol – and tips on how to do it

giving-up-alcohol With Macmillan’s annual Sober for October campaign in full swing, more people than usual are teetotal at this time of year, so what better time to reflect on the benefits of not drinking alcohol?

Taking the decision to stop drinking might seem like a huge lifestyle change, but with so many positives for the body and mind, is it something you should seriously consider?

Research shows that quitting alcohol will dramatically boost your physical and mental health and wellbeing. But if you enjoy the occasional glass of wine or beer, all is not lost.



Dyb, dyb, dyb!

In today’s society I feel there is a huge pressure to be perfect, and not just perfect at one thing, but perfect in every aspect of life. Even if your life isn’t flawless there is this idea that one has to portray the fact that it is.

When you get asked the question “How are you?”, how often do you reply with an “I’m fine, life is great”, when inside you are feeling overwhelmed and that things might not be as bright as you would like. Do we respond in that way for fear of how people might react to our slightly less than positive, perfect response?



My most asked questions on wild swimming

Wild swimming is one of the most freeing experiences you can do. Not only is it a great workout, but it’s easy to allow yourself to just be absorbed by the nature surrounding you, clearing your mind of the hustle of everyday life.

However, wild swimming can set alarm bells off for many people. You may have questions about what happens when you go, or how you might feel.

Here are some FAQs I get from people either new to wild swimming or people who have never tried it.



Embracing the simplicity of being human

So, this month sees the celebration of Simplicity Day. Theirs seems to be a day for everything these days but this is one that really struck a chord with me.

Since the lockdown when everything was much simpler, life has sped up. I don’t know about you but it almost feels like it is back to how it was pre pandemic. It’s hard to remember what it was like all those months ago when we had to go so slow and we actually had time to stop smell the roses as they say.




Wild Swimming Safety Tips for Beginners

Wild swimming is the most wonderful experience. There is something invigorating about feeling the cold, natural waters of rivers, lakes, and seas against your skin.

As well as providing an immediate sense of relaxation, it also has many benefits, such as soothing aching muscles, releasing endorphins, and relieving stress. If you keep at it, your body starts to adapt to the cold and at this point, cold water immersion is clinically proven to relieve depression, boost your immune system, tone your muscles, and even increase your libido.

While I love the sense of freedom wild swimming provides, it’s important to remember that it can be dangerous. So, here are my top 10 tips for staying safe in the water this summer.