Wellbeing: Vick Hope on self-care hacks and coping with the ‘Sunday scaries’
Nestled on the sofa in a camel-coloured loungewear set when she logs onto our video call from her London flat, Vick Hope is looking cosy and casual – with the exception, that is, of the huge jewel sparkling on her left ring finger every time she moves her hands.
The TV and radio presenter, who is rumoured to be engaged to DJ Calvin Harris (though neither has officially confirmed the news) is keeping schtum about whether she’ll be walking down the aisle any time soon.
“I’ll just say I’m very happy,” she says with a smile. “But yeah, just keeping my private life private… I’ve just been really making an effort to protect my energy around stuff that’s personal.”
As the host of Radio 1’s Life Hacks alongside journalist and trainee counsellor Katie Thistleton, the 33-year-old has become well versed in the world of wellbeing – which is why she’s teamed up with the NHS Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign, to talk about the ‘Sunday scaries’. New research shows that 67% of people often or always experience anxiety about the week ahead on a Sunday, with scrolling on social media, bingeing TV shows and eating comfort food among the most common coping techniques.
Vick, who was born in Newcastle to British and Nigerian parents, loves her job – but even she isn’t entirely immune. “I do Life Hacks on a Sunday, so I technically shouldn’t experience the ‘Sunday scaries’ because my working week is all over the place, but I still do,” she says.
How does she tackle those horrid end-of-the-weekend blues?
“Personally, I find just taking a bit of time to go outside, get some fresh air, maybe go for a walk [all helps],” she says – as does avoiding zoning out on her phone.
“Taking the time to cook myself a good meal or to get my body moving, maybe do some yoga. They’re just such little things and yet they can make a big difference.”
Sunday isn’t the only day Vick prioritises her health and happiness, however. Here, she shares more of her top mental health and self-care hacks…
Winding down before bed
To make sure she gets a good night’s sleep, Vick tries to minimise screen time in the evening.
“It’s easier said than done,” she admits, “but not being on my phone for the last hour before bed” is important. “I love reading – I love getting lost in the world of literature and in books,” Vick adds. “For me, it does calm my mind because those worlds, they’re gentler than watching TV or being on Instagram.”
Spending time with friends
“I’m very lucky because doing Life Hacks with Katie Thistleton, it’s like the best therapy in the world,” Vick says.
But you don’t have to be friends with a counsellor or therapist to benefit from talking through a problem with a pal, she adds: “It’s always like the biggest weight off your shoulders if you’re going through anything, just chatting to a mate about it.”
For Vick, exercise isn’t about “weight or anything like that – it’s for my mind.”
She loves the mood-boost that comes from a high energy dance class. “My favourite thing is to do a class because I feel very motivated by the people around me. It’s the endorphins, you literally feel them rushing – I feel so good.”
Enjoying guilt-free treats
Alongside healthy food and exercise, Vick isn’t afraid to indulge in the odd treat, such as “pork scratchings and red wine, which has been known to be my train snack of choice,” she reveals.
“Whenever something is good, we’re always like, ‘Oh, it’s a guilty pleasure’.
“Why do we make it negative? When something is good, it’s OK to enjoy it. You don’t have to flagellate yourself,” she adds of enjoying food and sweet treats.
Journaling during difficult times
During the first lockdown, Vick started journaling on a daily basis about the “micro and macro” events in her life. “I was having thoughts like about romantic situations I’d been in, and there was also then like, ‘and Boris Johnson has gone into hospital’,” she says, laughing. “The action of writing, it feels like you get it out of your system.”
She finds it useful to read back previous entries and recognise how far she’s come: “There’s been times when I’ve been in very dark places for various reasons, and at the time, you don’t feel like you’ll ever get through it – and the truth is you will.”
Boogieing the blues away
Vick, who took part in Strictly Come Dancing in 2018, loves to start her day with a solo disco session. “Every morning, I try and put on a banger. I just dance around my kitchen – dance like there’s no one watching,” she says, and she’d recommend it to anyone. “It just means that whatever you’re going through, it’s just this three minutes of pure unadulterated joy that no-one can take away from you.”