Clare McKenna: Early morning is my ‘me time’

The Newstalk radio presenter and wellness advocator shares the best health advice she's ever been given.
Clare McKenna: Early morning is my ‘me time’

Presenter and health advocate, Clare McKenna stays fit with a combination of yoga and hiking.

Clare McKenna starts the day by meditating in bed. “I find when I do that, my day flows better, and I can handle stressful situations much easier,” she says.

The presenter and mother of two boys guards mornings for herself. “I always get up before the kids in order to have 30 minutes to myself. They are at an age where they don’t wake during the night and need to be woken for school, so I take that time for myself.

“I fall on and off the meditation wagon every now and then, but I’ve been consistent since the kids went back to school in September and have really felt the difference.”

Outside of her popular health and wellness show on Newstalk, McKenna has a passion for nutrition and has recently qualified as a health coach.

How do you keep fit?

I go to my gym for strength and Hyrox classes. I’ve found that works for me, but it’s important people find their own way of moving their body. Running is not for me, but I love hiking and yoga.

Do you have a morning routine?

As well as my meditation routine, there are times I might just sit with a hot drink, listen to relaxing music, and just scroll through my phone. If I’m really tired, I will sleep on, but that tends to lead to that feeling that I’m chasing my tail all day.

What is one thing you do every day?

Drink loads of water; it is so important to stay hydrated. That can be more of a challenge during the colder months, but trying to stay on top of it really can help your overall health.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I love to cook at home and then sit and enjoy the meal with my family. I always try to sit down and enjoy each meal. I don’t stick to any sort of meal plan or cut out any foods, but I do make a conscious effort to add in as much nutrition as I can.

Guilty pleasures?

I don’t feel guilty about any of my pleasures; treats are for any time and I’m not one to believe in waiting for the weekend. I suppose a bit of trashy TV would fit in this category.

What keeps you awake?

By the end of the day, my head is usually still processing all the spinning plates of life, but mostly I sleep well.

How do you relax?

I like to watch a series on TV and I read every night for 30 minutes before bed. Taking time in nature helps me unwind, too.

Sporting heroes?

The Irish women’s football team. They took a stand for equity in what they have access to and then qualified for the World Cup; it’s such a wonderful thing to see.

What is your favourite smell?

Le Labo Santal 33 or the fresh smell of a launderette.

When was the last time you cried?

Thinking of all the people who can’t put their children to bed safely in the world.

What is the best health advice you’ve been given?

Get to know yourself. We are all individual and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, so taking time to try new things is so important.

What traits do you least like in others?

A lack of empathy and an inability to see things from another’s perspective.

What traits do you least like about yourself?

I forget that I can’t control every situation.

Do you pray?

Not in a traditional sense, but I’m spiritual and when the chips are really down I’d throw anything out there.

What cheers you up, if you’re having a bad day?

A hug from my husband or kids.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Dawn O’Porter, Kris Jenner, and James Kavanagh: People who like good food, good fun and a good cocktail are my people.

Has climate change impacted your life?

I try to live more consciously with the decisions I make. I also try not to judge others moving at a different pace to me, although I do struggle with people who don’t bring a keep-cup and just throw their coffee cups away after 10 minutes.

What quote inspires you most and why?

Marianne Williamson: ‘We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?’

Where is your favourite place in the world?

Howth, Co Dublin — it’s where I’m from and there is just something so special about being at home.

What does nobody know about you?

I can’t seem to stop scripting things in my head. As a broadcaster, I am often writing scripts and I find myself wording how I’ll talk about it on air and have to pull myself back to the present moment.

I remind myself of Jimmy Rabitte in The Commitments planning his acceptance speeches in the bath.

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