Roxie Nafousi is a breath of fresh air in the wellness world. Having suffered from depression on and off for six years, she eventually made the decision to open up about her issues and help others. Now one of the UK’s most renowned emotional health advisors, Roxie is also an ambassador for the Mental Health Foundation and a qualified yoga teacher. One of her central beliefs is that when we’re in a positive mental space, we can work on strengthening the mind and unlocking our inner power – a philosophy that feels pretty timely, right now. Here, she tells us what an average day-in-the-life looks like, and how she keeps her mental health in check…
I start my day on a positive note. The minute I wake up, I say a manifesting mantra and then make myself a cup of strong coffee. I also listen to ten minutes of positive affirmations while doing my skin care and make-up – I find this a powerful way to set myself up for a great day.
My breakfast packs a healthy dose of nutrition. I make myself an alkalising tonic (with apple cider vinegar, ginger, cayenne pepper, stevia and iced water) and smoothie bowl every morning. Smoothies are a great way to get in lots of greens and healthy fats, and I often add in superfood powders, too. My favourites are baobab, spirulina and ashwagandha.
I buy organic food where I can. I’m lucky to have an amazing grocery store down the road, which sells organic fruit and vegetables and is completely plastic free. Every week, without fail, I buy unsweetened almond milk, avocados, bananas, soya yoghurt and tofu. I’ve recently been getting fruit and veg boxes from Nature’s Choice, too, and have also been walking down to The Oystermen in Covent Garden, where they sell incredible fish, vegetables and rosé.
I gave up meat four weeks ago. This was a huge shift for me as I’ve eaten meat every day for my entire life – there was a point where I’d have chicken twice a day. I can’t believe the difference this has made to my energy levels. Even though I’ve always led a very clean diet, cutting back on meat has made me feel less bloated and so much better. I won’t say I’ll never eat meat again, but reckon I will stick to a 90% plant based diet.
There isn’t a diet I haven’t tried. I spent the whole of my 20s going through constant cycles of bingeing and restricting. I now have a much healthier relationship with food – I don’t believe in cheat days as these never end well, and by eating more nutritious foods, I never need to feel guilty for fuelling my body. I don’t eat processed food and never eat refined sugar.
Since being on lockdown, I’ve become more relaxed. Prior to the pandemic, I’d been on a huge post-pregnancy weight loss journey, which, I admit, had become borderline obsessive. Since lockdown, my attitude towards food has become much more relaxed – I’m not counting calories or worrying about trying to lose weight. At the moment, I feel so grateful for my body and food and don’t want to deprive myself. I’m making a conscious effort to enjoy the ritual of cooking a delicious meal and making it like an active meditation, while eating mindfully and savouring my meal.
I’m enjoying having more time to cook. I love making an effort to make a variety of different recipes. I start cooking at 6pm when my toddler, Wolfie, goes to sleep, and eat at 6:30pm on the dot every evening. My favourite dinners at the moment include miso tofu and vegetable stir fry; roast aubergine with kale and tahini; and tofu and mushrooms with a vegan pesto. If I’ve had a long day, I’ll have M&S gluten-free vegan ‘chicken’ nuggets from their Plant Kitchen range, which I love with a dollop of truffle mayo. I also love a simple baked salmon with asparagus and steamed spinach.
I can’t wait to entertain again. As soon as I can have friends over for dinner, I’ll make a beetroot and walnut salad to start, followed by balsamic Portobello mushrooms served with cooked peppers, avocado, pine nuts and sundried tomatoes.
My guilty pleasure is chips. If I’m out for dinner and there are fries on the menu, I’ll order them without a second thought. If they come with a side of peppercorn sauce, even better. Beast in Marylebone does the best truffle fries with peppercorn sauce, and I also love Cocotte for their avocado and chicken salads.
I like to treat myself on the weekend. I try to avoid alcohol during the week, but always treat myself to a glass or two of rosé on both Saturday and Sunday, and I’ll always do some baking, too, although I always bake without refined sugar. Current staples include carrot cake, banana bread, cacao muffins or a cheesecake. I also love an Aperol Spritz – my boyfriend makes a mean one.
I’m a big believer in supplements. I feel they are so important for our overall health and wellbeing. Every day, I take Symprove Probiotics, a vitamin B complex, zinc, magnesium and vitamin D.
Exercise gives me energy and mental clarity. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays I either do a yoga class or one of The Sculpt Society’s workouts around 7am – I love an early workout. I have a subscription to The Sculpt Society’s app and find the classes, a mixture of dance cardio and toning, so uplifting. On Wednesdays at 8am, I do an amazing Power Yoga Flow on my Instagram Live with Chris Magee, who is head of yoga at Psycle. On Saturday mornings, I tend to do a Louisa Drake Method session and on Sundays, I’ll do an IG Live workout with Marnie Alton. I also do 45-minutes of yin yoga every evening – this helps me unwind from the day and have a good stretch.
I used to struggle with yoga. I initially started practicing yoga when I was 21 for back problems, but only did it because I had to. I refused to lie down for savasana and hated holding poses and focusing on my breath. I’m now addicted to the mental strength it gives me – no workout gives me more physical strength and tone than yoga does. My yoga mat is my safe space, my place to use my breath and release tension.
I sleep for around six hours a night. For years, I suffered from terrible insomnia, but now have more of a routine – I’ll always go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on weekends. If you don’t do this, you’re essentially forcing your body into a state of jet lag. I always put my phone away an hour before bed and if I have a lot on my mind, I like to journal.
Self-care is so important. Pre-lockdown, I loved a deep tissue massage or acupuncture with Renata Nunest, lymphatic drainage with Flavia Morellato or a facial with Glow by Charbec or Dr Rabia Malik. I also love a good blow dry. Things are a little different at the moment, but I always make sure I switch off from my emails in the evenings and take an hour to watch Normal People, take time with my skincare routine, or read a good trashy fiction book. Self-care is vital for self-love and stress management.