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Me and my health: Miss Northern Ireland Emma Carswell on her lifestyle

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Emma Carswell

Emma Carswell

Emma Carswell

The 21-year-old psychology student from Gilford, who is a volunteer at Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention NI, was crowned Miss Northern Ireland 2016 recently. She says walking her dog and 10-minutes of mindfulness everyday are the key to good health.

Q: Do you take regular exercise - and if so, what?

A: I enjoy swimming two to three times a week, but I have been so busy with my Miss Northern Ireland duties for the past few weeks, I haven't had the time. However, I intend to get back to the pool any day now. I also have a new Jackaranian pup (Pomeranian and Jack Russell cross) called Amber, who will be one in August, who I go out for walks with. When you have a dog there is no excuse not to exercise, as you have to take them out. I always feel better after a walk, though.

Q: What's been the worst illness you have had?

A: As far as I can remember, I had chickenpox as a child, but nothing serious. I have never even broken a bone, thanks goodness. I have been very lucky with my health.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: Quite healthy, as I try to eat well every day. I do avoid fatty foods and carbs. Fruit and vegetables are always on the menu and my favourite fruits are strawberries, bananas and grapes, but I do like the odd piece of chocolate, too. You have to treat yourself occasionally. I love Weetabix for breakfast or granola or porridge, which I put fruit in. My day starts early, around 6.30am, and I will always have breakfast. When I'm working it can be tricky to eat at the right time. Now, though, I plan my meals so I can get back into a routine.

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Q: Any bad habits?

A: Tea. I am addicted to drinking tea, which I take with milk and no sugar. I will drink five cups of tea a day. I don't like coffee - I just don't like the taste of it.

Q: Do you drink/and or smoke - and if so how much?

A: I don't smoke and I hope I never do, but I do have the odd glass of white wine or Prosecco. I don't drink that often and haven't been out partying since I won Miss Northern Ireland.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: I probably should be taking supplements, but I don't. I prefer to eat nutritious food and get all the goodness I need from my diet. Having said that, I would take something if my body was deficient in something and it was necessary.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: For me, it will be when I get back to swimming, which enables me to really relax - I could go for a nap after a swim. Hanging out with my boyfriend Jonny McCarthy, from Moira, spending time with my family and walking Amber are all the fun things that I like to do.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: Generally, I sleep very well and am an advocate of getting eight hours every night. My routine is different now and early starts can knock it out of sync.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: I think worrying about something that is inevitable is pointless, although I know many people fear getting older. I think about who will take care of me when I'm older - will I be married with children? My attitude is that you should live your life and take every opportunity you can, do things for yourself and stay positive.

Q: What is your go-to product/habit that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: An app called Headspace, which has recently been endorsed by actress Emma Watson. I use the app to practice mindfulness and meditation for 10 minutes every day. And we use it to help clients at Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention NI, the charity where I am a volunteer. It helps you relax and become more aware of what is happening in the moment, to be present with who we are. The first time I heard it I fell asleep; it helps me sleep and reduces my stress levels, so I feel more content.

  • For details of Yellow Ribbon Suicide Awareness Charity, visit yellowribbon.org/

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