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Laura Craik on why it’s okay to still press pause, post-Covid sniffles and
giving yourself the hot shoulder

I don’t know about you, but my September has been A Lot. Freedom Day might have been more than two months ago, but only now does life seem to have gone full tilt. The city is spinning off its axis, its inhabitants hanging on to their equilibrium by a thread. Were we always this busy?

Did we really used to go out three times a week yet also get our work done, keep the fridge full, pay the water bill, post Stories with painstakingly chosen music and fonts and have a deep and meaningful — or even civil — relationship with our partner?

If you’re currently feeling tense, angry, anxious, overworked, underpaid, frustrated, sleepless or hopeless, know you’re not alone. After everything we’ve been through, September’s brisk back-to-school-ness was always destined to feel more overwhelming than usual.

I have a problem with the phrase ‘self-care’ because it’s so often attached to a hefty price tag that puts its products out of the reach of those who need them most, yet self-care is important. It’s still possible to care for yourself on the cheap, whether that means making time for exercise or a massive bag of crisps that enables you to crunch through your anger (just me? Okayyy).

“September’s brisk back-to-school-ness was always destined to feel more overwhelming than usual”

I’d also recommend Ross J Barr’s Calm Patches, little circles of joy that certainly took the edge off in a way that overpriced CBD oils never managed. At £15 for 10, they’re self-care at price that’s democratic.

Cheaper still is the simple concept of switching off for a while. In the words of the incomparable Michaela Coel: ‘In a world that entices us to browse the lives of others to help us better determine how we feel about ourselves, and to, in turn, feel the need to be constantly visible — for visibility, these days, seems somehow to equate to success — do not be afraid to disappear.’

There’s no shame in disappearing for a while. Last time you pressed pause it was a government mandate. This time, it’s a personal choice. That’s okay. Do what you have to do. Sometimes, saying ‘no’ is the greatest, simplest self-care act of all.

She may have wise words: Michaela Coel

Go with the flow

Your throat feels tickly, your nose is running and you’re feeling distinctly under-par. You’re ill, but not ill-ill. Just to be on the safe side, you do your 943rd lateral flow test of the year. Negative.

Welcome to the strange, unaccustomed phenomenon of the not-Covid cold, an ailment that will have you texting ‘DW IT’S NOT COVID’ with more frequency than you could possibly have imagined. I mean, what did we expect? That being confined to our homes and masked up in public places for all that time wouldn’t have had a suppressant effect on our immune systems?

Deltoid variant

Abs? So last season. This month’s status symbol body parts are the deltoids. The whatoids? Why, they’re the large triangular shaped muscle which lies over your glenohumeral joint in three heads comprised of anterior, lateral and posterior.

How else to explain why everyone is making like Rocky and wearing racer-front vests? In black, white or a bold primary colour, the racer front vest is chic and inexpensive, for in these straitened times, any trend that can be bought for £4.99 is a bonus. Nor need you incur any extra expense at the gym as there’s a free ’n’ easy deltoid fix. Start planking, London. Nothing feels more satisfying than a good, hard plank.

Olaolu Slawn

The Lagos-born designer of skate brand Motherlan called out Boohoo for selling a T-shirt that bears a striking resemblance
to his original with a tart “u didn’t find Gucci to steal from”.

DIY IUD removal

The latest WTF TikTok trend. Do not — ever — try
this at home.