Me and my health: Karen Collins on her lifestyle


Karen Collins is the CEO of AWARE NI

Do you exercise regularly, and if so, what?

I do – I enjoy running a couple of times a week. I originally took it on as a personal challenge about 5 years ago as I really wanted to run a 5K. We all know how good exercise is for our physical and mental health and I can honestly say that it really helps me take some time out from the hustle and bustle and I can enjoy some beautiful parks and the greenway in the Exploring my home. I am a bit competitive with myself and now I try to run further or faster!

What was the worst illness you’ve ever had?

I was fortunate enough to be in reasonably good health and have avoided anything serious so far – probably the worst thing I remembered was a gastrointestinal disease long ago and about a week in the hospital. Since I am not a good patient, I am very happy that I do not get sick too often.

How healthy is your diet?

Not as healthy as it should be … I probably go through periods of better or worse like most people. I try to limit the numbers of sweet treats, chips, and alcohol, but I think it’s important to indulge in a few goodies sometimes. I enjoy good food, but I’m not a great cook so I learn new things every day.

Any bad habits?

With a toddler and a very busy work schedule, I can sometimes skip washing my makeup off before bed.

Do you drink and smoke / if so, how much?

I don’t smoke, but I enjoy a few drinks – I’d probably have a few glasses of wine or G & T’s most weeks.

Do you take supplements?

No – I’m really bad at taking supplements on a regular basis so I don’t focus too much on them.

How do you take a break?

For me, running is my regular break to get away from everything. It gives me a lot of headroom just to relax. I treat myself to a massage every now and then and even enjoy spending an hour alone in a cafe.

How well do you sleep

I love my sleep and sleep pretty well in general – although I have a 3 year old who still likes to climb into bed next to us in the middle of the night, so that’s not great for a peaceful night’s sleep. I try to get a good 7.5 hours of sleep a night – I’m not a night owl or an early bird.

When do you usually go to bed / do you pick us up?

I usually go to bed at 11 p.m. and get up at 6.30 / 7 a.m., depending on my schedule.

Are you worried about getting old?

Yes, definitely – my birthday is in a few weeks and I completely deny my age. This is probably one of the main reasons I pay more attention to my diet and exercise than ever when I was younger. I worry about not being physically able and about getting a serious illness.

What is your favorite product to make you feel healthy?

I love my Dermalogica face washes and moisturizers – they are so nice and fresh. I’m not very knowledgeable about products, so I only have a few that I use regularly.

Critical care medics, nurses and other frontline workers will cycle from Royal Victoria and hospitals across the island of Ireland to Memorial Gardens in Dublin on September 2nd and 3rd to commemorate those who lost their lives to Covid-19 . They also aim to raise € 150,000 for those affected by the secondary challenges of the pandemic through four selected charity partners: Aware NI, Aware ROI, ALONE and Breakthrough Cancer Research. The cyclists will pass as many community hospitals as possible along the way and collect white roses along the way to represent the lives lost by the virus. A memorial event to commemorate the victims of Covid-19 will take place in front of over 7,000 roses. For more or to donate see

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