my daily health routine…since you asked for it

Posted on June 27th, 2014

Gosh, we’re really getting down to the rats and mice of my life here…but I’ve been getting too many emails from you asking how I order my wellness habits to ignore the topic much longer. I’m no expert (on anything much), but I have taken consulting of experts on this topic to pedantic levels and have a thing or two I can share with you. As always I share as an invite, not as a didactic instruction!


Jumping into my day (awkwardly) with 20-40 minutes of exercise (outdoors as often as possible).

I’m a big fan of having very regular morning movements. (Ablution entendres not really intended.) I’ve written about the benefits of having a morning routine before. It’s the one thing about 80 per cent of the health experts I’ve interviewed, from HH The Dalai Lama to Oprah’s life coach, have in common.

1. When I wake up

* I wake at 6.30am or so… naturally. I scrape my tongue (an Ayurvedic practice) and clean my teeth.

* I drink 1 litre hot water with lemon juice while I make my breakfast and lunch.

* I take my thyroxin and then I potter (listening to news radio) while I drink…and, let’s be frank, hang about until nature calls.

* I drink 100ml of kombucha. This gives me a little spark to get through until breakfast.

* I tend to ablutions and head straight out the door to do exercise.

2. Exercise and meditation


* Me, I do something every day, even on thyroidy days and days when I’ve had no sleep. I just scale it back if I’m feeling crap. The “doing it every day” bit is what counts. Deciding whether I should exercise or not is not an option; less options in the morning is very key. Studies show we have limited decision-making energy and that it’s best to “auto pilot” our mornings as much as possible so we can eliminate as many angsty choices.

* I don’t do fuss. I carry only a key – down my bra or in a small pocket in my shorts. Equipment just bogs you down and acts as a disincentive (“Where’s my water bottle?! Oh, darn, look, now I don’t have time to go for a jog”). Read more

Getting too caught up

Posted on March 19th, 2014

The other day my meditation teacher Tim introduced me to a young bloke over an impromptu lunch. I was not in the mood for meeting someone new, to be frank. I was thyroidy and scratchy and couldn’t deal with the “So, what do you do?” palaver (a conversation pivot point that always makes my eyes glaze over). But something piqued me to show up.

Image via Dangerous But Sweet Tumblr

Image via Dangerous But Sweet Tumblr

Turns out this young bloke (my goodness, I am sounding old) – Sebastian Terry – and I hung back and chatted for some time after Tim left. We’d got onto the “So, why do you do what you do?” train of chatting (a thoroughly meaty one).

Seb’s response was wonderfully naive and authentic: “To prioritise happiness”. Usually such facile answers annoy me. So do “bucket lists”, which is what Seb went on to develop. (After the death of a close friend when he was 27 he was forced to ask ‘Am I happy?’. The answer was no and so wrote a list of 100 Things – most of which are geared at helping others – that he’s systematically worked through over the past four years, relaying the experience in the book 100 Things and in a Discovery Networks documentary. So far he’s married a stranger in Vegas, helped push a man in a wheelchair for a half marathon and run with the bulls.)

But Seb was convincing. He spoke about how, since his massive success, he gets emails constantly asking him to explain the secret to his success and following. “I tell them I simply put happiness first,” he says. “But sometimes people don’t get it. They go and build a shiny website, and do a big launch, and try to do the same thing as me and expect it all to fall into place. But they’re too caught up.”

All this happened on the day I Quit Sugar For Life came out. I was stressed to buggery from some major publisher hiccups (long story) and, earlier in the day, I’d snapped at someone in an email. I’d been feeling very off kilter for weeks, actually, like I was Read more

Anxiety in your bones today? Here’s the practical fix

Posted on February 12th, 2014

I feel compelled to share when I’m anxious. Or, more to the point, I feel compelled to share when I find a pithy solution that might just help others orbiting the same tetchy vibe in the Zeitgeist.

Image via Favim

Image via Favim

And even more to the point, I know that when I do share (from on tetchy high) so many readers on this site cry out saying they’re feeling the same way. And I reckon just this sense of commonality, of knowing you’re no Robinson Crusoe in the orbit, of feeling that “you’re seen” in some way, that there’s a special synchronicity to it all, helps us all. (The reader comments that follow the posts do this for me; call this a comment-bait post, if you like!)

A lot of people are feeling anxious this week. There’s a reason for this, and a fix, which I’ll get to in a moment.

For me, my current anxiety, which is causing me to not think straight and to have a permanent flutteriness in my solar plexus, is not pegged to any particular stressor. There’s no ostensible, external reason as such. Nope, it’s an anxiety that’s in my bones. I’m anxious at a cellular level, almost independent of my head and point-a-finger-at-it circumstances.

This is a really clear distinction to make. Why? Because we can get straight on with fixing – or easing – it. The fix isn’t dependent on external ducks that we have to get lined up. We don’t have to sit in our tedious tetchy orbit waiting for the meeting with our boss to address our work frustrations, or for the week to go by before we can make a credible ultimatum to our partners, or for the noisy neighbour upstairs to sort out their renovation plans before deciding whether it’s time to move out and finally get some sleep. We can cut to the practical fix and ease our cellular pain. Now. What a bloody relief.

So why are we anxious just now?

Vata is out of whack. Which, I know, sounds a bit whacko. I’ve shared about the very grounded and ancient ayurvedic approach to wellness before which works to three types (vata, pitta, kapha). And how we all have a dominant type. And how the vata type is notoriously anxious (I’m Read more