My ideal morning starts with… waking up early and having lemon water to hydrate, before a spot of meditation to help focus the mind and a little movement like yoga or walking to wake up the body. I then prepare myself a golden milk turmeric latte to help increase energy and start the day with reduced stress and inflammation. Although every day is busy and looks different, these non-negotiables help to maintain a sense of routine and allow me to put my best foot forward.
For breakfast, I love having… a homemade chia seed pudding with a handful of blueberries, a veggie-filled tofu scramble or chickpea omelette. If I’m on the go, I’ll drink a green smoothie. Having a healthy, nutrient-dense breakfast is important as it allows us to start the day optimally nourished and is a first step towards sustainable energy throughout the day. It’s especially for those with ADHD; I always recommend patients eat breakfast as this meal sets the foundation for a healthy day of eating and makes sure you’re getting the right kinds of brain nutrients early on.
Regular exercise like yoga and walking helps me… to feel grounded and reconnected to my body. It helps to lower stress and anxiety and the great thing is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. The best exercise routine is one you can remain consistent with over time. For me, that means practising yoga and taking brisk walks outside – or on the treadmill when the weather’s rotten. I also aim to strength train a few times a week.
I make specific meals to reduce stress, including… big salads packed with folate-rich leafy greens and colourful veggies that provide the body with an abundance of different vitamins and minerals. These plant foods are also an excellent source of fibre, which promotes a healthy microbiome and reduces neuroinflammation (which helps to calm the mind). It’s important to balance all of this with a healthy fat source such as a homemade EVOO salad dressing, avocado or nuts and seeds, as well as your favourite clean protein, which can include organic tofu or wild-caught fatty fish.
As a nutritional psychiatrist, I’ve got lots of pre-bed tips… and many of them, I practise myself. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, try to avoid caffeinated beverages from noon and go for calming chamomile tea in the evenings – it’s been used for centuries in Eastern medicine to promote sleepiness. I also love tart cherries and magnesium-rich foods like avocado or extra dark natural chocolate, because magnesium has also been shown to calm the nervous system. Many find it helpful to limit screen time and bright lights in the evening as well so as to not disrupt the circadian rhythm.
If there was one thing I wish more women knew about stress, it’d be… that they have the power to alleviate and manage symptoms through intentional diet and lifestyle practices. Far too often, chronic stress is considered ‘normal’ or something that we have to deal with, but I have seen time and again in my clinical practice that this doesn’t have to be the case.