Wellness diaries: 10 strange but successful health rituals of C-suite execs

Green juice, meditation, and hitting the gym: all good ways to enhance wellness and wrestle a challenging workday into submission.

But let’s face it, they’re also a bit #beentheredonethat. 

We asked C-suite business stars to share the unusual but highly effective rituals that enhance their health so they can perform to the max.


“I enjoy a bit of Mud(wtr) [a mushroom-based coffee alternative] for breakfast. I like the taste when added to hot water, and I use a little battery-powered foamer to add excitement. It has cacao which contains theobromine, a stimulant I prefer to the caffeine in coffee. And whatever else the reishi and lion’s mane mushrooms in it do, they definitely make me cool in my daughters’ eyes. That’s a trip in itself.” – Barry Nalebuff, Cofounder, Honest Tea, Kombrewcha, and Real Made Foods; Milton Steinbach Professor at Yale School of Management

mushroom coffee mud tin

Cold therapy

“One of my favorite wellness routines is with the Wim Hof method of cold therapy mixed with breathing techniques, once used only for sports professional’s recovery. The idea of hopping into an ice-cold shower for a few minutes didn’t thrill me, but after a friend convinced me to try it, I was hooked. Cold therapy offers both physical and mental benefits like stress reduction, better sleep, and more energy throughout the day, all of which help me to be a better leader.” – John Li, Cofounder & CTO, Fig Loans, a financial lending company

Daily doodles

My wellness ritual is my daily doodle practice, inspired by techniques I learned as a fine-art student at university. I gravitate towards whatever colors best express my mood and draw the shapes or words that come to mind. It’s not supposed to be a masterpiece, but it’s a language only I can understand; it helps me connect to my inner self better.” – Sravya Attaluri, founder and CEO of design studio Hello Colour

Adult wrapping

“I heard about adult wrapping from a Japanese friend – it’s called otonamaki there, a therapeutic method to address posture and stiffness problems. You have cloth wrapped around you and hug your knees and gently rock back and forth; it mimics the sensations unborn babies feel inside the womb. Since I sit for long stretches at work, this practice helps alleviate my back and hip pain.” – Nunzio Ross, owner and head director of Majesty Coffee, a retailer of espresso machines and grinders


“The pandemic gave me some time to reflect on the overall busyness of my life and schedule, and I’ve adopted minimalism as a principle. I even decluttered my digital space and reached ‘inbox zero.’ This practice has allowed me to achieve a state of zen that’s great for balancing stress.
– Minesh Patel, attorney and CEO of The Patel Firm

Hill repeats

“I do morning hill repeats with a group of friends, up and down a short but steep hill in the neighborhood. It typically ends up being around 50 flights of stairs and makes me feel like I’ve already accomplished something before the day even starts.” – Michelle Breyer, COO, SKU, a consumer-products accelerator

ZMA supplement

“I take an interesting supplement called ZMA [zinc, magnesium, and Vitamin B6] that helps you have more efficient and deeper sleep; it also helps with recovery if you’re physically active. Oh, and it gives you really interesting dreams, too.” – Jared Cluff, cofounder and CEO, Caliber, a fitness-coaching platform

No electronics before bed

“Every night before I go to sleep, I turn off all electronics for an hour. I don’t meditate, I simply sit in silence with my thoughts or read something. My mental health has benefited from having enough time to process my thoughts on a daily basis, instead of letting them pile up and bother me.”
– Mikkel Andreassen, Head of Solution Consulting at Dixa, a customer-service platform

Walking meetings

“Nowadays I insist on having at least one walking meeting per day. We’ll go outside and enjoy the fresh air and sun, slowing our steps when someone needs to bring up a spreadsheet or file on their mobile device, quickening as we build motivation to get things done. These walking meetings help us clear our heads, get a bit of exercise, and remind ourselves that there’s more to the world than the four walls of an office.”
– Mike Nemeroff, cofounder and CEO, Rush Order Tees, a technology and custom apparel company

Instead of a retreat

“Once a week, I go on a retreat, usually for two days. It’s not at a vegan yoga retreat or anything like that. It’s a weekend! I hang out with friends, visit my parents, throw a barbecue, watch a game, or play a game. I know, anyone can do that but not enough of us do, especially entrepreneurs. Our relationships, our loved ones, are what make life worth living so it’s vital to spend time with them. Every Monday, I come back to work recharged, which makes me a better leader.” – Rick Hoskins, founder, Filter King