Whether you know Fearne Cotton from her days on Celebrity Juice and The Xtra Factor or remember her more for her BBC Radio presenting stints, it’s safe to say that she’s one of the most popular female celebrities in the UK and is loved for her openness and empathy. With her podcast Happy Place in its ninth season and with a string of bestselling books behind her, Fearne loves to delve into the secrets behind happiness and health. Discussing everything from her struggles with anxiety and panic attacks to asking the guests on her podcast how they cope with their own difficulties, Fearne is honest and open about mental health. Here, we have a selection of her best life advice, from practising meditation and yoga, to going vegan and finding inner happiness.
Fearne Cotton on mental health, self-care and parenting
Author, radio and podcast host and TV presenter, Fearne Cotton is on the comedown from her Happy Place festival. She chats to Stacey Carter about being rubbish at self-care, why she doesn’t share everything on social media and how she’s managing self-criticism.
Fearne Cotton on her mental health
“I wanted to write a book about life, feelings and emotions. I thought I could be vague and nebular and keep that stuff to myself, and then, on the other hand, I could be honest about everything. It was terrifying because I hadn’t talked about it up until that point. It took a lot of courage, but I thought, well, what do I have to lose? These are my feelings, this is how I’ve been going about life and this is what I want to say about it.”
Fearne Cotton on self-criticism
“It’s always hanging about. Some days I’ll feel good when I wake up and I won’t really hear it and then other days it’s really loud. I’ve done this job for so long and I’ve had to take criticism about myself since the age of 15, so I’ve gotten used to outside opinions, but that does make you overly critical and sensitive. If I want to mitigate it, I talk to friends, my husband [Jesse Wood], and my manager. It’s about having that awareness and filtering out the truth from the rubbish in your head.”
Self-criticism is a hard nut to crack. Find out more about what Fearne has to say about mental wellbeing in our article on Fearne’s self-care routine.
Fearne Cotton on parenting
“Parenting in particular is harder than anything I’ve done. I love my kids and the experience is amazing, but knowing you’re raising human beings with fresh eyes on this planet and you’re guiding them through life…” she pauses. “I know a lot of other friends who feel the same. You can constantly feel like you’re doing it wrong. Which is bizarre, because as a mum you love your kids and that should be enough of a foundation, but it’s really hard.”
Fearne Cotton on money
We’ve all been there: you only popped into town for the essentials, but instead you left with two jumpers, a pair of trainers and anything else that caught your eye. It’s this mindless spending that’s causing 63 percent of us Brits to struggle with staying in control of our money, according to new research by Barclays.
To help us take control of our finances, Barclays has teamed up with podcast host and author, Fearne Cotton to design bespoke illustrations for a selection of lucky Brits, capturing their goals, interests and motivations.
Why did you want to get involved with this campaign?
“It’s an utter joy to use my love of art and design that I’ve been doing normally for work because that’s a part of my life that hasn’t really crossed over until recently. I also think it’s a really nice initiative, because we’ve got to look at sustainability and what we’re buying, so that’s why I think having a big aim or goal rather than constantly buying ‘stuff’ is a good option.”
How can the illustrations help to encourage people to save money?
“I suppose it’s just a little reminder so that every time you look at your bank card, you know what you’re working towards. Visual things are a great way to steer us in the right direction, which is why I think this works so well because you’ve got this bespoke and personalised design to help support that.”
What can people do to stick to their financial goals?
“I’m the same as everyone; sometimes I fall off the bandwagon and can’t picture the thing I’m saving up for, and then other times I’m really disciplined. I would say it’s helpful to bear in mind that the things you think are going to bring you joy or contentment probably won’t in the long run, so I think it’s better to focus on the bigger things, whether that’s improving your living conditions or being able to have wonderful experiences if you’re going away with your family, for example – I think that’s just a really nice focus to have.”
What was the first thing you properly saved up for and felt good about buying?
“I started work very young, so I was very lucky that I was able to start saving early and I specifically wanted a rose-coloured Fiat Punto. I saved every penny I made and was finally able to buy one and I was absolutely over the moon about it, I couldn’t believe it was mine! I drove it around very proudly, and it felt really amazing because I knew I’d worked hard for something which meant an improved quality of life for me, because I didn’t have to keep asking my mum and dad to drive me everywhere. I could drive myself to drama school or to a job and that was a really wonderful moment.”
How does being better at money affect our wellbeing?
“I think anything that lowers stress is good for your wellbeing. If you’re in debt or not as great with money as you could be and tend to spend it before you get it, it can be very stressful to know you’ve got bills hanging over your head, so anything you can do to make you feel more at ease with that situation can help. It’s not easy, but if you can take a look at what you’re buying and make better choices, your wellbeing will increase massively.”
Do you have any other mindful tips?
“I think there are lots of simple things you can do to be more mindful. In my 20s, I probably was a lot more conditioned to think that I had to have certain things in place to feel happiness, whether it be a status at work or things that I should be buying, and I’ve realised happiness doesn’t depend on any of them – it’s just small things every day that help. For me, getting out in the fresh air, listening to music and having a bit of me-time is essential for me to stay grounded. I love being outside, having a nice walk and not being on my phone all the time. I’ve definitely got to have large periods of time when I don’t look at Instagram and engage with it because a lot of it can be quite negative. So I think anything that allows you a space out of that world is so useful.”