Laura Whitmore: ‘As Women We Need To Ask for More at Work’

InVite Health

Laura Whitmore on Her Go-To Breakfast, Skincare Staple and The Secret To Sticking to Workouts

Plus how sorting her finances helped her mental health

london, england   february 02  laura whitmore attends the british vogue and tiffany  co fashion and film party at annabel's on february 2, 2020 in london, england photo by david m benettdave benettgetty images
David M. Benett

The TV and radio presenter, 36, chats to WH about finding financial wellness and the contents of her mental health toolkit, as well as the process of building a healthy relationship with alcohol and how she's making exercise more enjoyable...


Nourish

I used to be the kind of person who ate a lot on-the-go – quick dishes on set that would sustain me during filming. I’d find myself starved and munching on a bag of crisps, or accidentally skip meals entirely. But I’ve learnt - thanks to the pandemic - the joy of revolving my days around food.

I’ll breakfast on porridge that, rather than oats, made from ragi [a fine grain, originating from Africa, that is packed with protein, fibre, calcium, vitamin C and iron] which is so tasty. I’ve learned that, no matter how nutritious food may be for you, it’s so important to enjoy what’s on your plate. At home, I’m the baker, while my other half [her husband, the comedian and Love Island voiceover Iain Stirling] is really great at cooking savoury dishes. One night in lockdown we made sushi from scratch together - I relished the process.

Moderate

I believe in balance - rather than cutting things out. Although, a positive side effect of falling pregnant [she announced the birth of her baby daughter in early April] was that I had the opportunity to reset my relationship with alcohol. I definitely drank a lot during the first lockdown - I thought it would last only three weeks, and it was a novelty being home so much.

But having a glass of rose wine in the evening to distinguish night from day is a habit you can only maintain for so long. You really can’t drink every day of the week. Then, during the other lockdowns, because I was expecting, I cut out alcohol entirely. Now having a pint at the pub feels like an exciting treat.

Move

I’ve come to the conclusion that exercise has to fit around my life, or I won’t regularly be able to incorporate it into my busy schedule. That means rather than go to the gym for an hour to workout by myself, I’ll do yoga and dance classes with friends. I’ve realised that my favourite way to get active is through being sociable - also, it keeps me accountable with turning up for workouts if there's someone for me to meet. One of my favourite things is having a chat while going for a long walk, often with my dog Mick, through one of London’s lovely green parks.

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Sweat

However, running is one form of fitness I’ll happily do with or without company. I first downloaded the Couch To 5k app while training for the Hackney Half Marathon in 2015, and I started using it again during lockdown. It’s great - you start off doing lots of walking, then jogging at intervals, before the intensity is gradually increased. While my routes have been limited to my local area lately, lacing up my trainers has in the past been the perfect way for me to explore new places while travelling for work. I remember flying to Mexico City for one night to interview Daniel Craig for the Bond film, Spectre. I got up early to pound the pavements - it felt so freeing.

Log-off

Being able to measure jogging distances and count my steps is great - but my relationship with my phone has been tricky at times, and it’s been a source of stress and anxiety. The ‘ding, ding, ding’ is quite triggering, so I’ve taken steps to create space. I’ve turned off all notifications so that I only look at messages or social media when I purposely want to, and sometimes I’ll turn my phone off and put it away so I’m not tempted to reach for it. It’s helping me to be more present - I no longer mindlessly scrolling, and when I’m watching a film I now don't miss half the plot while looking up an actor on IMDb.

Save

I’ve felt worries about money in the past - but, along with the majority of my female friends, I haven’t been open about it. I’ve realised that while we’ll happily chat about embarrassing health issues or the intimate details of relationships, discussing finances has felt like a no-go area - either due to a feeling of shame if you’re struggling with cash, or fearing you might sound boastful if your bank balance is more healthy in that moment.

I’ve often lived in the now, rather than the future. But putting some money aside as a back-up has definitely improved my mental wellbeing - which I’m thankful for, because I’ve got a lot of weddings coming up this year. However, I was shocked to discover recent research showing that the average woman under 40 only has half the savings of the average male under 40, and that one in five have none whatsoever - something I believe isn’t helped by the gender pay gap. In my industry, women are not always paid their value. I’ve had to encourage friends in the past to ask for more money. It can be scary to stand up for yourself at work and say ‘I’m worth this’, but we should - because men do all the time.

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Care

I’ve realised how important for my mental health ‘me’ time is - and having a bath is one of my favourite ways to carve out that space alone. I can easily dive into a book while I soak in Body Shop bubble bath. I’ll also wind-down watching reruns of Friends and Schitt’s Creek while rejuvenating my skin with a sheet mask. Skincare has become a ritual for me, and I’m taking it more seriously as I age. I’m a fan of products by the brand Alumier MD - and I'll look out for creams containing SPF, as I'm so fair. I also take my make-up off properly - with a cleanse, tone and moisturise - rather than face-planting the bed after a night out. That said, while I still like to be sociable, these days home is one of the places where I feel happiest. Having spent so much time away from it working, just being able to be in my own environment with my family is a real privilege.

Sheer Hydration Broad Spectrum SPF 40 (Untinted)
alumiermd.co.uk
US$60.00

Release

Writing my book, No One Can Change Your Life Except For You, felt very therapeutic. I was really keen to cover topics like body image and self-esteem. Women are so often pitted against each other. Back when I started working for MTV, magazines were all discussing ‘who wore it best’ - when it should be, we all wore it great. There was this dialogue of someone has to be better than the other, rather than everyone being lifted up. There is so much pressure one women in the public eye - you’ll be told that you look too fat or too thin. I accepted a long time ago that you’re never going to please everybody - and the most important person to please is yourself.

Laura has teamed up with Laybuy to launch ‘Master Your Money’, a new campaign that aims to get women speaking more openly about their financial concerns, and take control of their finances for the future. To take Laybuy’s 5-minute Financial Health Check visit: laybuy.com/uk/master-your-money


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