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We recently chatted with The Burnt Chef Project Ambassador Nick Wood who kindly agreed to share his self care routine with our community in the run up to Christmas.

Hi Nick, thanks for talking with us today.

So, we’re here to talk about some simple tips to help our community cope with the busy Christmas season? You’ve got a particular way to start your day?

Yes, for me it’s all about how you start the day! When Covid hit, I was given time to really focus on my thoughts and think about life.

I used to feel knackered all the time, but adding this self care to the start of my day leaves me with so much more energy. 10-15 years ago was a bit wild but I have to say, I’ve calmed down. I was always quite edgy, I was confrontational but now am really calm.

I really believe the routine I’ve implemented into my daily life and the changes I’ve made have had a massive impact on me. In all honesty, in years gone by, I might have thought the term 'self-care' wasn't for me with meditation and mindfulness pretty far out of reach for me But alas, times have changed, I've changed. Putting your health and wellbeing at the top of your priorities is a game changer, you might not think it would make such a difference but I’m testament to show that it can completely change your life!

I didn’t used to enjoy life as much, I was always knackered stumbling into Christmas. Now, I feel engergised, calm and am able to manage and regulate my emotions so much better.

That's great to hear Nick, the benefits of prioritising your wellbeing is so important to long term health. So, what does your routine look like?

I get up early, enough to give me an hour to myself. Sometimes it’s tough if my day starts early, then so do I. My wife thinks I’m mad if I have to set my alarm at 4am to do this, but I make sure I do and feel better for it.

I jump on the bike for 20 minutes and really push myself to get my body moving and the endorphins going, then I alternate ten minutes of stretching or yoga - helps with those old rugby injuries! I’ve actually only just started yoga but it’s really helping with body and mind.

I then add in five minutes of breathing exercises, I’ve been doing meditation for just over a year .

I’ve stopped being so critical , I’ve really relaxed over the years which I attribute to meditation, breathing exercises and journaling has also been a big help with this - working through my thoughts and getting them all out my head really helps. It’s cathartic.

I listen to a lot of audio books and apps,The Burnt Chef Journal podcast is definitely one of my top listens and I get so many tips which help me in day to day life. I also really enjoy Inside the mind of champions, really great leadership notes in there. I struggle with reading, but I try to do ten minutes a day just to try and work on this skill and keep this side of my brain ticking over.

For full disclosure, I take Saturdays off, and Sunday I do a little bit.

What else do you do throughout the day to aid your wellbeing?

Being organised really helps, I get everything laid out the night before so I’m not rushing around. I was always rushing, forgetting things, running out the door and not focused . This morning, I was watching people in their cars and noticed how angry so many people were. The slightest inconvenience can really throw people into disarray, and that's a sure fire way to ruin your day with negative energy.

My phone is another thing, it can be such a big distraction. So now, I have it on a ring for calls, messages and whatsapp but nothing else so I can focus on what’s important and not get sidetracked.

It’s clear this has made a big impact on your own wellbeing, have other people noticed a difference?

My son has noticed it in me, he says I’m not so on edge and generally much calmer. People at work have noticed - I really would recommend it to anyone. I've created what works for me, and that won’t be for everyone but you’ve got to do what works for you. I really believe in self improvement and just want to get better day by day.

Thanks for your time Nick, some really great pointers in here!

Although Nick has quite a structured morning routine and it works for him, this might feel unachievable for some people. So, remember just start small, even a gentle walk in the morning or writing down your thoughts in a journal at the end of the day can be a great start on the journey of self care.

We’d love to hear about your routines or self care tips - get in touch with us via our social channels!

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