Nadia Sawalha on navigating tough times and prioritising her health and wellbeing

The actress and Loose Women panellist reveals her recipe for a good life to Liz Connor.

Actor, television presenter and cook Nadia Sawalha first broke onto screens playing the scheming Annie Palmer in Eastenders in the late Nineties.

Since then, she’s become one of the UK’s best-loved presenters thanks to her honesty and candour – she’s spoken about everything from her struggles with the menopause and losing her hair, to experiencing a heartbreaking miscarriage.

Nadia Sawalha attending the opening night of Nina Raine’s Consent (Ian West/PA)

Here, the 55-year-old mum-of-two explains how she keeps a healthy body and mind.

How do you look after your wellbeing?

“On a good day, I meditate, exercise, eat well, drink lots of water and herbal teas, and I laugh a lot. I’m kind to my husband and I’m engaged and present with my children.

“On a bad day, it’s the complete opposite – and I pay dearly for it!”

What do you regard as your biggest achievement?

“My marriage and the deeply kind, funny, thoughtful daughters we’ve brought up together.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“Be prepared to make a fool of yourself – or you will make a fool of yourself.”

How do you prioritise your health?

“I eat good home cooked food. I drink half the amount of alcohol I actually want to and I don’t smoke – even though I love smoking!

“I’ve had the same homeopath since I was aged 18. I’ll have a session every four weeks, where I share the most minute details of my physical and emotional health – from how many poos I do a week to how many times I’ve cried.

“I am an absolute believer in complementary medicine. I also go to an osteopath every couple of months as a preventative measure. I try and try to love yoga and Pilates but I just can’t.”

How would you describe yourself – and your values?

“A bloody nightmare. My values are based on the fact that I absolutely believe that we all have to work on being the kindest that we can be.

“If you surround yourself with kind people you can get through anything. That’s why I’m supporting The Big Lunch’s #ThereForMe campaign, because good neighbours are worth their weight in gold.”

What would your older self tell your younger self?

“I’d tell myself to slow down, and that those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind. For years, I thought this was a quote from Gandhi but it turns out it’s a Dr. Seuss quote.”

Do you have any regrets?

“I would love to say no, but then I would have to regret lying. I don’t dwell on regrets.”

What do you regard as your biggest challenge?

“Keeping the negative voices in my head quiet.”

What’s got you through the tough times?

“My ability to see pinholes of light even in the darkest of times. My cup is always half full.

“My philosophy in life is to get on with getting on and always see the positive.”

Nadia Sawalha is an ambassador for The Big Lunch and is supporting their #ThereForMe campaign, which is calling on all of us to go on Twitter and thank a neighbour or someone who has supported us by using the hashtag.