I have a few friends who have took up “wild swimming” during the lockdown, and nary a day goes past without some post on social media about how bracing it is and how you feel ten years younger as your brain releases oxytocin and endorphins, the feel-good chemicals. Said one evangelist: “By 9.30 in the morning I’ve done something epic. It’s such a great way to start the day.”

For this writer, achieving something “epic” by 9.30 in the morning usually amounts to having had breakfast and made it to my desk. But here’s something we could all try at home. A new study suggests that starting your day with a cold shower can help improve circulation, boost your metabolism and be good for your mental health. Some people even said they enjoyed it.

October is Black History Month, and over the next four weeks we’ll be focusing on all aspects of the experience, contribution and culture of black people, particularly in the UK, telling unheard stories and highlighting important issues. To kick you off, here’s how black abolitionists found a welcome – and an effective political base – in Yorkshire.

Whatever the temperature of Keir Starmer’s shower on Wednesday, quite a few of his audience clearly got out of bed on the wrong side. Starmer’s maiden in-person conference speech garnered strikingly different reactions depending on who you spoke to. Here’s what our politics junkie thought of the speech.

This week we also heard how to stop people buying up all the petrol, considered how the pandemic has changed holidaymaking in the UK, and offered some great tips for preventing weight gain.

Our colleagues around the world have been focusing on Nigeria’s plan to deal with former terrorists, considering what the AUKUS alliance means for New Zealand and celebrating Britney Spears’ freedom from conservatorship while realising that plenty of others are still shackled by this easily abused legal relationship.

Finally, do make time to check out The Conversation Weekly podcast. This week we look at the fallout from the German election. And if you’re looking for more audio, check out our latest selection of narrated articles.

Jonathan Este

Associate Editor, International Affairs Editor

Lars Zahner/Alamy Stock Photo

Cold showers are said to be good for you – here’s what the evidence shows

Lindsay Bottoms, University of Hertfordshire

Evidence is accumulating that a cold shower has many physical and mental health benefits.

Henry ‘Box’ Brown’s arrival in Philadelphia. Wikimedia

Remembering the Black abolitionists of slavery in Yorkshire

Emily Zobel Marshall, Leeds Beckett University

Abolition in the UK tends to focus on the work of Yorkshireman William Wilberforce but there were many Black abolitionists whose tireless work has been forgotten.

Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA-EFE

Keir Starmer’s first conference speech as Labour leader was a serious affair – here’s what you need to know

Karl Pike, Queen Mary University of London

Keir Starmer used his first in-person conference speech to set his Labour party apart from the current government.

Neil Hall/EPA

Do you really need more petrol, or toilet paper? There are better ways to take control in a crisis

Cathrine Jansson-Boyd, Anglia Ruskin University

As continued panic buying will only perpetuate any fuel shortages, it’s important to think about what can be done to curb it.

Daniel Gale/Shutterstock

How the pandemic has changed holidaymaking in Britain

Anya Chapman, Bournemouth University

Despite international travel restrictions, the pandemic hasn’t raised levels of domestic tourism. But it has changed what people do in the UK.

Make your daily dog walks a little longer. Serhii Bobyk/ Shutterstock

Ten small changes you can make today to prevent weight gain

Claire Madigan, Loughborough University; Henrietta Graham, Loughborough University

Making small changes daily can help prevent weight gain in the long run.


Featured events

The UK’s regional productivity disparities and the “levelling up” agenda

— The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Manchester, M139PL, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland — University of Manchester

Liverpool Responds: How Liverpool restarted live events

— University of Liverpool, Liverpool, Aberdeenshire, L69 7ZX, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland — University of Liverpool

Sustainable Futures External Launch

— The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Manchester, M139PL, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland — University of Manchester

2021 Research Methods e-Festival

— Online, Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland — University of Southampton

More events

Contact us here to have your event listed.

For sponsorship opportunities, email us here