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Sunday 10 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C

My week in wellness A 43-year-old yoga teacher who wants to sleep better and spend less time online

This week, a reader in Dublin tries a nature sounds app to help her sleep – and orders a birthday takeaway or two.

WELCOME TO HOW I Live, a new wellness diary series on

We’re asking readers to keep a record of their mental and physical routines every day for one week – what their stress levels are like, how much activity they fit in (or don’t fit in), and how much sleep they get.

Each wellness diary is submitted by readers just like you. When reading and commenting, bear in mind that this is simply an account of a week in someone’s shoes, and their situation may not be relatable for everyone.

If you’re interested in submitting your own How I Live diary, email with your name, age, location and a few lines about your current health and wellness goals.

This week, we hear from a Dublin yoga teacher as she delivers online classes, celebrates her birthday with a takeaway or two, and tries to get a handle on her sleep routine.

Option 2A Final

Occupation: Yoga teacher
Age: 43
Location: Dublin
Who you live with: My husband and our dog

I recently qualified as a yoga teacher. Due to the pandemic I mainly teach yoga online, to clients in Ireland, the UK and Europe. I spend a lot of time on business admin and marketing so when not on the yoga mat, I am on the laptop or phone. I’ll usually do that work from the couch or lying on my bed – with a partner also working from home, desk space is not easy to come by. There is a perception that I must be super-fit and super-healthy, but I am not, and I think it would be a little boring if I was!

Daily activity levels: I am usually pretty active five or six days out of seven, and have one day where I might be completely wrecked. As a yoga teacher, I teach anything between four and eight yoga classes a week. I also take yoga classes myself, go to the gym, run and sea swim depending on the week.
Daily stress levels: These vary depending on the day. Finances usually stress me out the most, as do family issues, like not being able to visit elderly relatives due to Covid. 
Eating/drinking habits: I am a vegetarian who eats as plant-based a diet as possible, so some days I am 100% vegan. I have a large appetite though – and eating mostly plant based doesn’t mean I don’t eat junk food occasionally! 
Sleep quality: From time to time I’ll go through phases of waking up at 3 or 4am every night. At the moment my main sleep issue is quality of sleep. I often feel exhausted even when I just woke up! I use pillow sprays and a nature sounds app to fall asleep.
Self-care: I prioritise self-care as I soon see the negative effects if I don’t. I aim for about 7,000 steps a day and most of those are taken outside. I use my yogic tools too – meditation and breathwork are great I’m stressed.


Morning: I have a hospital appointment first thing, so I am up before 6.30am and eating my pre-prepared overnight oats. I slept fine but I hate waking before 7am, that half hour seems to play havoc with my energy levels. I feel fairly tired all day and develop a headache. The stress of a being in a hospital probably added to it. Even though I used to work there, going there now makes me feel anxious.

Afternoon: On my return I have a cappuccino and a homemade energy ball for elevenses. I am on the laptop for the rest of the day and have dinner around 6pm of Linda McCartney burgers before walking the dog. We just have her two weeks and she is rescue, so we are only bringing her for short walks while she gets used to her new surroundings. Eventually I can see us walking miles with her.

Evening: I have a craving for yin yoga and take an online class. It’s nice to be on the other end of the camera sometimes! I feel very relaxed afterwards.


Morning: I still have a bit of a headache from the day before, but I don’t take it anything for it, I know it’s tension. I have my usual protein smoothie bowl for breakfast, and my usual soya cappuccino and homemade energy ball for morning break.

Afternoon: I’m working at my laptop all day and just stop for lunch of banana and peanut butter on toast, which I call a ‘child’s lunch’, as it’s such a treat when you add maple syrup and cacao powder. I used to order something similar from the kids’ menu at a bagel bar so that’s where I got the idea. I get a lunchtime walk in with the dog.

Evening: For dinner at 5.30pm we have Greek style vegan pitta breads with sweet potato fries. Then I get ready for class. I teach a 7pm online corporate yoga class and then run out the door to the hairdressers for a colour and cut.

Bedtime: I don’t get home until near 11pm at which point I am hungry but it’s a bit late to eat so I grab a handful of peanuts and head to bed.


Morning: Today is my birthday and I am meeting two friends for outdoor breakfast at a café at 10am. However I know I won’t last that long without food and have a protein smoothie when I wake up at 7am. At the café I have a vegan sausage and pudding butties. The café treated me to a birthday brownie which I shared with a friend.

Afternoon: My friend gifts me some cupcakes and I eat one and bring the rest home. The rest of the day I spend shopping with my friend and shocked to check on my app that we walked over 5k.

Evening: About 6.30pm, my husband and I order a Thai takeaway as my birthday meal. We split two starters of spice bag cauliflower and corn fritters, and I get a tofu green curry. We share a bottle of bubbly and have vegan chocolate donuts for dessert.


Morning: I have a smoothie bowl for breakfast at 7.30am. I have a busy day of errands and no time to go to the gym which I am disappointed about. Later on I meet a fellow yoga teacher for an outdoor coffee and a chat, and I buy an energy ball too. She has pancakes, and they look so good, I am almost eating them with my eyes.

Afternoon: A few errands later, I meet my sister for lunch. She wants to bring me out for my birthday but there are not many places to go. We opt for Burger King which we eat in our cars with the doors open, to keep our distance. Initially I just order large fries but when I realise they are still have vegan burgers on the menu, I get one too and I absolutely enjoy every mouthful. I just drink water with it, as I really don’t feel like a soft drink.

Evening: I am delivering an online yoga and wellness workshop tonight, and from setup at 7pm, it’s three hours before I finish up after 10pm. We finished the workshop having an online chat with a glass of wine, so I’ve had two glasses of red wine by the time I go to sleep at 1am. I don’t sleep well.


Morning: I wake up exhausted today. I have a quick protein smoothie for breakfast, and I’m surprised I am not hungrier.

Afternoon: My husband comes back from the shops after with a Subway Meatless Marinara for me around noon. By now I’m hungry and I devour it in seconds, followed by a protein bar. After catching up on Netflix, I am still feeling so tired that I head to bed for two hours in the afternoon.

Evening: That night my friend comes over for a birthday night in, as we can’t go out, so we order pizza and sides and eat them after 9pm. She is driving so I don’t bother having a drink. My dog managed to grab the nachos and eat them on us! My stomach is a little upset at my having eaten cheese so maybe the dog did me a favour.


Morning: I am teaching a gentle yoga class at 10am and I get a quick dog walk in beforehand. 

Afternoon: I visit my mam today and she makes me roast veg and with Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages. She has baked me a gorgeous coffee birthday cake with icing and I have two generous slices. It’s not vegan but there you go, I’m not perfect. As it’s a nice day we go for a gentle stroll in her local park. We spend the rest of the day chatting on the couch so its quite a sedentary day overall.

Evening: Crisps are my weakness but over the years I have weaned myself to one or two packets. On a Sunday as a treat I always have a crisp sandwich for tea. At least today’s is on a brown roll, so I am still getting some fibre.

Bedtime: I go to bed at 10pm to read.


Morning: I am delighted that I slept for 9 hours, waking at 8am. I am teaching a vigorous yoga class (very strong on the core muscles) at 10am so I have a big bowl of porridge beforehand. Then I walk the dog and get ready for class. 

Afternoon: For lunch at 1pm I have broccoli soup that hubby made at the weekend and tofu on toast. Another little walk with the dog completes my lunch, its cold but sunny so I enjoy it.

Evening: After working on my laptop all afternoon hubby makes us Greek style pittas and oven chips for dinner. Its all vegan apart from the garlic mayo, and I vow to get some vegan garlic mayo next time we are in the supermarket. I spend the evening watching TV and making some homemade vegan ice cream.

Bedtime: I head to bed at 10.30pm, spraying sleep body oil on myself and pillow spray on my bedding before popping on my nature sounds app.

What I’ve learned…

  • I want to make more time to run as it gives me such a mental boost. I didn’t get to the gym at all either on this particular week. If I can spend what amounts to hours flicking in and out of social media, surely I can plan my exercise a little better.
  • I’m very hard on myself in my efforts to be fully vegan, and looking at this, I can see I already make a massive effort to avoid animal products. Okay, I’m not 100% there yet, but there is no need for me to be as hard on myself as I have been. 

Read last week’s diary: A 32-year-old teacher caring for a sick baby, and trying to stress less>

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