If there’s one woman who knows how important it is to take care of yourself, it’s Sadie Frost.
The busy mum-of-four, who runs a fashion label and production company, has learned through trial and error how to manage anxiety and depression – and boost her health and wellbeing – with a combination of exercises and de-stressing techniques.
Sadie shares these in her book Nourish, co-written with friends Amber Rose and Holly Davidson, and explains: “I wanted to use my part of the book to outline how I conquered my demons. To live in the moment is vital. I used to spend so much of my life rushing around, never present, always on the phone or distracted. Even normal human functions were a strain – eating, sleeping and just living were all tasks that I found very difficult.”
She has developed her own plan, which she calls a “combination of yoga, meditation, mindfulness and good eating”, adding: “It is a daily practice of positivity, assertiveness and surrender that nurtures the mind, body and soul and it begins with the way you breathe.”
Here are six of Sadie’s techniques to help you on the path to optimal wellbeing…
1. Alternate nostril breathing
Sadie says: “Alternate nostril breathing is incredibly beneficial to your wellbeing. As your nose is directly linked to your brain, alternate nasal breathing allows both sides of the brain to function optimally, which in turn calms the mind. Its other benefits include improving sleep, balancing hormones and calming the nervous system.”
How to do it: “Inhale through the left nostril, while closing the right with your thumb. Hold the breath, covering both nostrils. Release your right nostril and exhale. Now inhale through your right nostril, again hold the breath covering both nostrils and then exhale through your left nostril. Try to do 6-10 rounds every day for 21 days and notice the difference.”
2. Standing on my head (Sirsasana)
Sadie says: “I was first introduced to yoga by my mother when I was 15 as she thought it would help with the breathing difficulties I had always had as a child. The headstand stimulates the pituitary glands to produce endorphins, which act to block pain and increase self-esteem. Beginners can start by doing a headstand against a wall.”
How to do it: “Use a mat to pad your head and forearms. Kneel on the floor. Interlock your fingers together and place your forearms on the floor, elbows at shoulder width. Roll your upper arms slightly outwards, pressing your inner wrists on to the floor.
“While inhaling, lift your knees off the floor, walking your feet closer to your elbows, heels elevated. Actively lift through the top of your thighs to form an inverted V. Firm your shoulder blades against your back and lift them towards your tailbone so the front torso stays as long as possible. This should help prevent the weight of your shoulders collapsing onto your head and neck.
“Gently lift your legs up into the air, aligning your body into a straight line. Try to hold the pose for 20 breaths, or practise staying up for a longer period each time and work towards that.”
Sadie says: “Meditation is a state of thoughtless awareness; it is effortless. The benefits from it are endless and it can be practised anywhere, any time for free. I’ve had to persevere and try all sorts of meditation before I found what was right for me. It’s worth it and nowadays I do 10-20 minutes daily – when you start it, commit to practising for 21 days to give yourself the best chance to experience the benefits.
“You will have improved digestion, better memory, a stronger immune system, you will find yourself more emotionally balanced, with lower blood pressure and a reduction in those cancer-causing free radicals.”
4. Coconut oil ‘swilling’
Sadie says: “I start my day with oil swilling, which is also called oil pulling. I swill a small spoonful of unrefined good-quality oil (I use coconut) all around my mouth, like you would with a mouthwash. Oil swilling attracts and removes bacteria, toxins and parasites that live in your mouth or lymph system, and also pulls any congestion and mucus from your throat and loosens up your sinuses.
“With the help of your saliva, all these unwanted things bind with the oil, ready to be spat out. The process also helps to re-mineralise your teeth and strengthen your gums by thoroughly cleansing the mouth area.”
5. Body brushing
Sadie says: “Body brushing has really done wonders for me; since I have been doing it it every day I have seen huge benefits. The tone of my skin has changed, muscle definition has increased, cellulite has disappeared, my metabolism has improved and literally I feel more alive.”
How to do it: “Start body brushing first thing in the morning before you have your shower. I prefer to brush in a warm shower on wet skin. I brush for 5-10 minutes and afterwards take a cold shower. Take your brush and (gently at first) brush in long strokes starting from your feet and always working upwards towards your heart.
“Once you have brushed all the way up to your shoulders, start brushing from your hands towards your shoulders with long sweeping strokes. Overlap the strokes and repeat over the same section 2-3 times. Don’t brush over any broken skin or sensitive areas.”
6. Not judging
Sadie says: “Judgement can be a very destructive trait. Either to judge yourself or to judge others will only give you inner angst and conflict.”
How to do it: “When you notice yourself being critical or having judgemental thoughts about others, try to correct yourself: what works for me is if I tell myself to mind my own business – I immediately stop. Or, if I am beating myself up and judging myself, I think ‘would I be so hard on someone I love so much, like my daughter?’ I must love myself as much as one of my loved ones and stop having negative thoughts about myself as that will only create negative situations.”
Nourish by Amber Rose, Sadie Frost and Holly Davidson, with photography by David Loftus, is published in paperback by Kyle Books, priced at £18.99. Available now.