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Free and low-cost ways for carers to feel cosy this season

As carers, we tend to spend a lot of time indoors. Some of us might live with the person we care for, while others might regularly travel to and from their place.

While being inside has its benefits (endless cups of tea and coffee!), there are bound to be days when we feel restless and frustrated from seeing the same four walls.

Illustration of an Autumn home

This lingering sense of cabin fever can really ramp up as the seasons change, and darker evenings, colder days and the financial pinch of life right now sets in. If this rings true, rest assured that we’re not alone in this feeling, as a recent Mobilise Moments* result revealed that nearly 70% of us experience a higher volume of negative thoughts during the winter months.

What is cosycore?

We’ve been thinking about how an internet trend called 'cosycore’ could benefit us with a gentle uplift, at what can be a tricky time of year. This low-cost, easy-to-access way of living involves embracing the autumn season through comforting activities and creating a warm indoor environment.

Think cosy fires, steaming cups of tea, and fluffy blankets — it's like a more nurturing big sister of the Danish concept of ‘Hygge.’

Could cosycore help us feel better?

Cosycore could help to shift our perspective on the winter months. Studies show that our mindset, the beliefs that shape how we see the world, is crucial for survival.

It helps us process information, set expectations, and plan for challenges.

The issue is that our beliefs can be shaped by negative experiences, which can impact our mental health.

We might dread this time of year based on past struggles, or from feeling confined at home during winter.

With a ‘cosycore’ mindset shift, we can’t magically fix all our problems, but we can start to see the colder months as something to look forward to a little more; a time to relax, nest at home and heal.

If we are finding the darker days are impacting our mood, read some support options for caring alongside depression.

Cosycore activities we could try

Illustration of gaming devices

1. Unplug with gaming

Whether we're seasoned gamers or just starting out, it's always a good time to explore a new hobby.

Video games whisk us away to different realms, offering a respite from our daily worries.

While some people can unwind to tense, action-packed games, there are moments when what we need is a relaxed experience.

Consider trying feel-good titles like The Sims, Animal Crossing, or Minecraft for a change of pace. There are also a range of free games we can get on our phones, we just need to be mindful that we are willing and able to put them down and return to the real world when we need to!

2. Take up knitting

Want to take up a cosycore hobby that's a little more old-school? Knitting is one of the most relaxing activities we can find, and it’s definitely back in trend. Sheep and Stitch is an excellent free YouTube resource for learning how to work with wool. They have videos on beginner basics like casting on and off, as well as knitting pattern tutorials for jumpers, scarves and hats.

We recommend checking out Ebay for cheap, second-hand wool and knitting needles.

3. Try scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is a fun and creative way of saving mementos and keepsakes. To get started, grab magazines, stickers, printed photos, scissors, glue and pens for doodling (or if we’re short on space, try a virtual scrapbook).

If our time is limited, simply watching an ASMR video of someone assembling a scrapbook can help to create that cosy, relaxed mood.

4. Spend five minutes journaling

Studies have found that writing down our thoughts and feelings helps us understand and process them better. Journaling also helps us be more mindful - fully engaged in what we're doing at that moment. If we’re new to journaling, we have an in-depth guide available.

Or, to kickstart a daily writing practice, try these seasonal prompts:

  • Write about your favourite autumn memories from the past

  • Describe how the changing leaves and trees' beauty in autumn make you feel.

  • Make a list of what you're grateful for this season, considering the beauty of the changing scenery and the people/experiences that bring you joy.

5. Get painting

If we fancy impressing our Mobilise Hub’s ‘crafty corner’ with a new piece of art on the wall, YouTube has plenty of beginner tutorials for learning the basics of painting with acrylics or watercolours. Many carers find art helpful for expressing frustrations, thoughts, and feelings in a positive way.

“I think art has a way of healing. My situation is very tough at times and when you sit in front of a canvas you can let go.”

Lacking inspiration or feeling intimidated by a blank canvas? A paint-by-numbers kit from Amazon could help. These kits include a pre-drawn canvas and easy instructions on which colours to use in each section.

6. Pot some indoor plants

As the leaves start falling during Autumn, it's a perfect opportunity to add some greenery and vitality to our homes. Low-maintenance plants like spider plants, succulents, and snake plants do well in cooler weather and maintain their beauty year-round.

We could also pot herbs like basil, rosemary, and parsley indoors to have fresh herbs for cooking hearty stews and soups during the colder months.

7. Bake some autumn cookies

Bread Ahead has an online baking course with workshops led by master bakers, covering everything from doughnuts to Nordic treats and Gluten-free bakes. FutureLearn is another great online resource that can help transform amateurs from ‘soggy bottoms’ to star bakers.

For a one-day project, these BBC Goodfood double ginger cookies are yummy and simple to make. The more spices, the tastier!

8. Give home brewing a go

If we like to unwind at the weekend with a fancy tipple, we could have a go at making and bottling our own brew, cider or non-alcoholic kombucha. The website Grainfather has clear, step-by-step instructions on turning our shed or kitchen into a makeshift brewery.

Illustration of an autumn drink

9. Make a DIY pumpkin spice latte

If we’re currently spending a small fortune each month on the Starbucks autumn menu, we can save the cash by making our own pumpkin spice latte at home. The recipe involves mixing pumpkin puree with warm spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) and a choice of milk. Top it with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Et voila!

10. Pop on the kettle

Is there anything more calming than the sound of a boiling kettle? One easy way to welcome the season is by trying out herbal teas like chamomile, lavender, or rosehip. They make wonderfully soothing hot drinks. We might want to explore Pukka Herbs; they offer a tea advent calendar, which can be a great way to discover a new favourite winter tea blend.

Home ideas for achieving the cosycore feeling

1. Pile on the cosy blankets and throws

Wrap up in layers of cosy blankets and throws to stay warm and snug this season. Shops like Primark Home, TK Maxx, and The Range often offer affordable options. Or, we could hunt for some treasures at local charity shops, Vinted, or Facebook Marketplace. Look for plush, soft fabrics in colours that bring out the beauty of autumn.

2. Create a reading nook

With nearly 50% of us sharing we are looking forward to reading more over winter in our November Mobilise Moment*, we are clearly a book loving community. Find a spot with a nice view. Add a comfy chair, a lamp, and a bookshelf. Throw in a cosy blanket and a scented candle to create the perfect autumn space to get lost in a book.

Some of our favourite autumn-themed book recommendations include Wintering by Katherine May, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, or we like revisiting an old favourite series like Harry Potter by JK Rowling.

Buying new books can be pricey, but sites like World of Books offer more affordable options, especially if we can't make it to bookshops in-person. For free reads, checking out the local library or scouting for a nearby Little Free Library book box can be a great idea. We could also use Libby or Borrow Box for free digital book loans.

Hosting a book swap with friends is another fun and cost-effective way to refresh our reading collection.

3. Light a fire - or stream one

Fires really bring out that autumn feeling. The crackling sounds and flickering flames make everything cosy and remind us of warmth, gatherings, and the changing season. They just make everything feel comfortable and relaxed, turning a space into a snug and inviting spot.

For those of us unable to have a real fire, Netflix offers a lovely alternative with their Fireplace For Your Home feature. It provides the same soothing effect with crackling fire sounds and visuals, perfect for setting a cosy autumn mood, even without the actual flames.

4. Light some candles

Candles are the ultimate cosycore accessory. The scents, like cinnamon, nutmeg, or orange bring all the autumnal feels and create a lovely aroma in the home. Aldi, B&M, Lidl and Home Bargains are just great places to pick up affordable scented candles.

If using candles isn't an option, due to carer responsibilities or safety concerns, fairy lights or battery-operated candles are a fantastic alternative. They provide a gentle, warm glow that can still give that cosy feel without the open flame, making the space feel just as inviting and comforting.

5. Pop on a warming playlist

Music has this incredible ability to shape the atmosphere in our homes. To set a warm and relaxing ambiance, consider tuning into a comforting playlist.

We might explore a cosy YouTube playlist or try out Spotify's 'Autumn Acoustic' playlist for some soothing tunes while doing less than exciting tasks, like the washing up. Alternatively, crafting our own personalised playlist could be a great way to curate the perfect mix of nostalgic songs that bring warmth and comfort.

6. Enjoy an autumnal film

Cuddling up on the couch with blankets, hot chocolates, and a movie is a perfect way to spend a rainy weekend afternoon.

Some of our favourite autumn films include When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail and Fantastic Mr. Fox. We could try making our way through this cosy list from IMDB over the next few months.

7. Enjoy a hot bubble bath

Indulging in a bit of self-care can be so relaxing. Brands like L’Occitane and The Sanctuary Spa offer luxurious bath options, but we don't have to break the bank. Radox muscle soaks create thick bath bubbles and cost just a couple of pounds.

We also like Lush’s autumnal Butterball bath bombs and Westlabs Epsom Salts which are great for reviving tired muscles if we’re doing lots of lifting and carrying with our care work.

If a bath isn't an option, an autumn-scented shower gel with hints of pumpkin, spices, or deep woodsy aromas can bring that seasonal feel. Sometimes even switching out hand soap to something fragrant can be a small, daily treat to enjoy.

8. Slip on some autumnal pyjamas

The older and cosier they are, the better they tend to be! It's all about that comfort and warmth.

What if we’re not coping this autumn?

If this autumn feels particularly challenging, know that we're not alone. Sometimes this season can feel isolating, and we need to seek extra support. We have a supportive guide on what to do if we just need someone to listen, which includes options for free and low-cost therapy.

We could also consider joining local in-person groups or remote classes related to our hobby interests as a way to connect with others.

Remember: our Mobilise Hub also offers a space to connect with fellow carers in the Mobilise community. Once signed up you can also then join our Mobilise Cuppas, which are open to anyone on a Tuesday and Friday.

If we need mental health support, we could also contact the following charities and organisations. They're here to provide us with support and assistance during difficult times.

Mind Charity: Provides advice and support for mental health. Contact them at 0300 123 3393 or text 86463. Visit their website at

Age UK: Offers services and support for older adults. Contact their advice line at 0800 678 1602. Visit their website at

Silver Line: Provides a helpline for older adults. Contact them at 0800 470 8090. Visit their website at

Samaritans: Offers urgent emotional support 24/7. Contact them at 116 123 (UK) or email Visit their website at

Final word

While it is helpful to find ways to feel more positive about spending more time in our homes over winter, we still need to make sure we are getting ourselves outside. Even a short time out in fresh air can make a positive difference to our physical and mental health.

Got a cosycore suggestion? Share your tips and crafty projects over at the Mobilise hub. A free space to connect and chat with others who are also caring for loved ones.

Mobilise Moments* - A monthly check-in with carers, plus an extra question with a theme around caring. Followed up with supportive content. Sign up for our weekly emails (including carer tips of discounts and carer burnout) to join in the next Mobilise Moments.

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