Laura Whitmore on wild wellness trends, new year’s resolutions and what she does to ‘get happy’
Plenty of wild exercise trends exist out there (goat yoga?), but Laura Whitmore is a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to self-care. Yoga, walks with her dog, and lots of 'Love Island' always get her through.
We’re now well into 2022 at this point, what does a new year represent to you?
Everyone has those new year’s resolutions and I don’t really believe in them. Sometimes we think that, you know, midnight hits and suddenly ‘Oh, it’s a new me, it’s a new everything’. And I’m not necessarily about that. Sometimes it’s about maintaining things from the year before.
I do think it can be nice for some people to have, I guess, a time when they can be like ‘Oh, I’m going to give up cigarettes’. If they need that kick up the bum, it’s a good representation of change. I don’t necessarily do resolutions but I do feel it’s a nice reflection. Looking at the year gone by; stuff that you liked, stuff that you didn’t like, things that you want to maintain, things that you’ve started and want to continue doing. So it’s not necessarily a completely new you – I quite like the old me! But it’s a time of reflection.
Goal setting is a real new year buzzword… anything you have your sights set on achieving this year?
Not to plug, but I wrote a book and in it I talk about goals and I don’t necessarily like having goals but I like having a purpose. So it’s not about reaching a goal but about what my overall purpose is if that makes sense. Why am I doing this? I may not get to what I think I’m going to get to but do I have the right intentions. The work that I do, does it make me happy? Do I feel that I’m making a difference? Why am I doing it? Goals can often make you feel disappointed but focusing on purpose means that even if I don’t get the goal I want but I feel I’ve had the right intention, then I’ve succeeded.
The word purpose is much more important to me than goal-setting. I know it sounds really cheesy, but it is about the journey. On the journey, halfway there you may realise that your goals have changed, but the journey is really important so I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on those buzzwords.
New year is always associated with resolutions and change, but what will you be bringing with you/keeping the same in 2022?
I’ve had such an appreciation for nature over the past two years. During lockdown when you could only leave the house to walk the dog, I realised how important that was. Then you get busy again and sometimes you can lose the importance of just going out the door for a walk with the dog. I’m trying to kind of reset myself and remember the importance of just being present in nature – going for a walk and enjoying the cold air. That was one of the positives that came out of lockdown and the year that was, and it’s something that I’m going to try and continue on into 2022. And you need your jacket!
Everyone got *really* into walking during lockdown – is there anything else you like to do when you need some downtime?
I love yoga, I’ve always loved yoga and I used to go to a yoga studio where I’d do hot yoga quite a lot. But obviously hot yoga studios aren’t the best place if you’re trying to avoid spreading Covid so I started doing quite a lot of yoga at home and you know, it was lovely.
I realised there are so many things you can do at home and it doesn’t have to be expensive – you don’t have to pay for studio time. I started doing online classes that you can just look up and do. Even just 10/15 minutes of it in the morning can really set up your day. Do it beside the bed – roll out of bed, do a little bit of exercise and don’t worry about the commute time! That’s been something that I’ve tried to continue even as places start to reopen again. Obviously, it’s nice to support the studios too, but sometimes you don’t have the time to, so yeah doing things at home has been nice.
Lots of people watch Love Island as a way to switch off, what series/movie do you turn to to do the same?
I still kind of get lost in Love Island! I guess I’ve been such a fan of it for so many years and you do become so invested in other people’s relationships. And also with that show, it’s very different to other shows I’ve done, you only have to host once a week so you only have to do the After Sun show on a Sunday. This year it was difficult because obviously with the pandemic I had to fly and then come back and isolate. Which secretly was great because I had five days to watch a lot of television. What else am I going to do?! And because it’s on every night, sometimes I’d forget that I actually work on it because I get so lost watching it.
It is important to watch the news and know what’s going on in the world but you also have to switch off for your own mental health, and I think Love Island was a great show for that. Selling Sunset as well – I’m a massive fan, I watched the new series in two days. I think it’s really important to have shows like that where you can just switch off for a bit.
What’s the craziest wellness trend you’ve tried and would you recommend it?
There are some mad ones out there that I haven’t tried. Wasn’t there something about a goat on your back doing yoga?! I don’t think I’ve done anything too extreme. I actually don’t follow trends that much because there’s always going to be something new and it’s important to find what works for you and then continue doing it. It’s the same with the new year mentality – if something works for you, bring it with you. You don’t have to change.
You’ve just launched your new collection with Dare 2b, what initially drew you to working with them?
Dare 2b approached me – we’ve had a few collections together now and it’s been a really lovely partnership – and I guess they kind of share my ethos when it comes to what an activewear range should be about. For me, I think physical exercise and physical health is really tightly linked to mental health as well.
With the collection, I wanted it to be very me. I feel exercise is not just about looking a certain way, it’s about how you feel and I think a lot of their clothes represent feeling good, being comfortable. They kind of had that same mindset as me. It was a really nice organic collaboration. It worked really well!
How would you describe the new line to people?
The collection is about those pieces in your wardrobe that can be staple pieces – that you can have and build upon or mix and match – it’s all about layering up and having pieces that you can re-love and reuse for years to come.
What’s your favourite piece in the collection?
For each collection, there have been different pieces that I kind of lean towards, for this one I think it’s one of the jackets – like the Deviation Jacket. I really love the different patterns. I think sometimes with activewear we kind of lean towards wearing all black – I know I have in the past! Introducing patterns and colours in a non-threatening way is nice. I love the speckle print in this collection. There’s a hint of fashion in there but without it being too in your face either. It’s nice to introduce those few pieces that you can then mix and match with other stuff as well.
You also can’t go anywhere without a jacket! It doesn’t matter if it’s summertime, you just have to have layers at all times.
Must-have items to bring some hygge to your home?
I love a candle, you can’t beat a candle. You can go through them quite quickly as well – you’re literally burning money! It’s so expensive for just one candle. Anyone reading this, if you want to get me a present – get me a candle!
Good lighting though kind of sets the mood. So if you’re doing a bit of yoga at night time, you might want to do something that is a bit more meditative and I think lighting definitely affects mood when it comes to how you work out as well. If I’m going for a run or a walk, I much prefer doing it in the morning time when it’s nice and bright outside.
Someone who’s doing it right and why:
It’s funny because I’ll definitely do that thing that every single person does and scroll through Instagram and go ‘Oh, that person’s doing it right’. I’m a huge fan of Davina McCall, who is just so healthy and sometimes I’ll just sit there eating breakfast, watching her workout. There are loads of accounts that do that – Kate Hudson as well always seems to be working out and stuff. But I have to remind myself that Instagram is not real life. These people are not working out 24 hours a day. And so I try not to put too much pressure on myself to do what other people are doing. And I try to, if I’m comparing myself with anyone, I try to compare myself with myself. I think, ‘Ok, last week, you did this… how can you improve this week?’
I guess it’s something that I’m still working on. You know if you do stuff on television, people might just assume that you’re really confident but you’ll always have your doubts, you’ll always have your self-doubts. No one will ever doubt you as much as you doubt yourself. Especially when it comes to things like imposter syndrome.
I do a radio show once a week, and you know, I’ve got such big stars that I interview on that, and the one thing that always – well, it doesn’t even surprise me anymore, because I’ve heard it so much – but like the biggest stars I interview, they’ve all dealt with imposter syndrome. No matter who they are. And even if they’ve been in the career for decades, they’re still going ‘How did I get this job? I can’t believe I’m still doing this thing that I love’. So I think no matter who you are, you always seem to have a little bit of self-doubt or think that it’s going to be taken away from you.
And maybe it’s ok to have that to some degree, but it’s also important to enjoy what you’re doing and where you’re at as well. So I think I need to work at that, like stop doubting myself and feeling like I’m an imposter in a job that I’ve been doing successfully for a long time. It’s okay, Laura, you’re all right! I just think it’s a human trait that we all have.
Favourite track (or album) to wind down to?
I love – it’s an old album – but Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago. I find it a really, really calming album, no matter where I am if I switch it on and I like listening to it in order, like the tracklist in order of how he made it to go out. “Wolves part II” is one of my favourite songs and it definitely puts me in a really chilled zone.
It depends. Lockdown gave me a routine that I never really had before and the importance of, you know having your breakfast in the morning, and having lunch and dinner. Because I feel up until two years ago – because I was so busy and being on set and you’re eating when you can rather than eating because you should – I was just kind of eating when I could squeeze it in. I think having those routines is something that I’m trying to bring into my life as well. Like when I get up, having your breakfast rather than letting hours go by and realising that you haven’t eaten anything. I think eating a balanced diet is really important. I probably never put importance on that before. And so I think having that schedule, so even when it comes to routines at night, I definitely feel my day is more structured than it’s ever been. And I think that’s a really nice thing.
Favourite Irish wellness brands/products:
Max Benjamin candles are made in Wicklow near where I’m from. A great gift! There are so many great Irish brands out there, I’m always surprised when I go back home and see how much of a variety there is now. There’s so much talent in Ireland and I’m always happy to kind of fly the flag for them when I’m over here or even when I’m doing Love Island, to wear as many Irish brands as I can to promote them.
What do you do to “get happy” when you’re in a slump or need a boost?
I guess happy is such a broad word, there are so many different things you can do for happiness. Like for me, I do love bringing the dog for a walk. I just think sometimes my dog has such a great life. Like, you know, he’s no idea what Covid is. He’s not listening to Boris Johnson on the news, or, you know feeling this pressure. He’s just having a great old life, and sometimes when you go to the park, you just watch him run around, just to kind of enjoy that and look at him and just play. Just having that playfulness I think is really important in your life. And maybe if we could be more dog-like we’d be a lot happier!
The Laura Whitmore x Dare 2b edit consists of a 15-piece activewear collection and you can shop the full range of items here.