Writer and director Oisin Kearney: I try to get as much sleep as is socially acceptable

Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: Warrenpoint scriptwriter, film-maker and theatre director Oisin Kearney

Co Down native Oisin Kearney is writer, film-maker and director
Gail Bell

Up and at it – what is your morning routine?

Each day is different – I could be up at the crack of dawn for rehearsals or filming, or I could be treating myself to a lie-in. Either way, coffee is key in the morning, not just because it’s a great way to wake up, but also because of the process: boiling the kettle, whizzing the beans, letting the coffee percolate – it's all a gentle way to start the day and prepare myself to be productive. Depending on my schedule, breakfast is usually a solitary affair, but sometimes my partner and myself enjoy food in a local café.


What might you eat in a typical working day for...Breakfast?

For Breakfast, I like to be decadent. I have crunchy nut corn flakes or a croissant. Don’t judge me. I’ve been trying a lot of vegan food lately and I’m a full convert to oat milk, though cutting out cheese entirely is a challenge.


I’ve reconciled myself to just making an effort to eat less dairy and meat. So, for lunch, I’ll usually have a lovely bagel with tomato, onion and hummus, or a delicious tomatoey pasta dish.

Evening meal?

In the evening, it’s veggie fajitas or mushroom pie, vegan lasagne, or butternut squash and sweet potato curry. Something comforting. And maybe once or twice a week, I’ll go off the wagon and order a takeaway. But, life is a fine balance.


Is nutrition important to you?

Nutrition is important to me, but I’m in no way a fanatic. I try my best to eat responsibly, buying products locally, those with less single-use plastics, buying from ethical companies and those that do not discriminate. My vegetable intake is good, but I really should eat more fruit. I frequently buy a banana, only for it to blacken into a wizened witch’s finger, which I toss into the freezer to use in a smoothie next year.


Best meal ever?

Anything Italian. Or Japanese.


Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Chocolate. I love chocolate. I love chocolate biscuits and brownies. I think life would be much poorer if there was no chocolate.


Have you ever been on a diet? If so, how did it go?

I haven’t been on a diet, but I am trying to eat more responsibly. I once fasted for 24 hours to raise money for Trócaire and found it really hard. It did, however, make me really appreciate food and how lucky we are to have easy access to it.


Do you take health supplements?

I sometimes take Vitamin B12, as I hear it’s all the rage (with the kids).


How do you relax?

Lights off. Scented candles. Essential oils. And a film on the projector. Or, if I want to feel intellectual, I’ll read a couple of pages of a book before I fall asleep.


Teetotal or tipple?

Tipple. Hot whiskey in the winter. Saison in the summer.


Stairs or lift?

I like to mix it up.


Do you have a daily exercise regime?

Hmm… yes? I walk as much as possible along the Lagan towpath and I go for the odd run in Lagan Meadows. I really should go to the gym, but I find it incredibly boring and soulless. I know this will come back to haunt me in later life.


Best tip for everyday fitness?

Drink water. As much water, as often as possible. When I don’t feel good, it’s usually because I haven’t drunk enough water.


On a scale of one to 10, how fit do you think you are and how fit would you like to be?

I’m probably at a seven, if I’m honest. I can get this to a nine when I’m in the mood to exercise – but I’m happy as I am.


Have you tried, or would you try, alternative therapy?

I’ve tried homeopathic and herbal remedies. I used to be critical of anything outside of conventional medicine, but my view now is that anything is worth trying if it can help you and make you feel better.


Were school sports happy times or do you have a memory you would rather forget?

I loved playing football at school lunchtimes, but I wasn’t a fan of sports day. One time, I created my own sport: somersault down a hill. I broke my wrist.


Did you ever have a health epiphany which made you change your lifestyle?

I used to smoke a bit and, in the last couple of years, I’ve decided I want to try to prevent getting lung cancer as much as possible. But I won't chastise myself for having the occasional social cigarette.


Best health/lifestyle advice you were ever given and would pass on to others?

Do one thing for your career, one thing for yourself, and one thing for someone else.


Who inspires you or who would you try to emulate in terms of fitness/attitude to life?

My parents have the best attitude to life. They’re making the most of their retirement by travelling, spending time with their grandchildren, and not worrying. They love each other and their family and the West Wing. And they laugh all the time.


What time do you normally get to bed and do you get enough sleep?

I get to bed around midnight and make sure to unwind with a film or a book before sleep. I used to subscribe to 'You can sleep when you’re dead' theory, but really, it’s so good for your mental and physical health – so I try to get as much sleep as is socially acceptable.


Would you say you have a healthy attitude towards your own mortality?

We could all die at any moment and therefore we should be happy to be alive. It may sound grim, but I think it helps you to remember not to take life too seriously. We’re on borrowed time, so maybe we should live in a way that makes us happy and not how others expect us to live.

My Left Nut, a coming-of-age comedy drama written by Oisin Kearney and Michael Patrick and produced by Kay Mellor is available to view on on BBC iPlayer from Sunday, March 1.

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