The Block Australia’s Shaynna Blaze on her wellbeing must-haves
THE BLOCK AUSTRALIA STAR SHAYNNA BLAZE OPENS UP TO PAUL EWART ABOUT BEING A LONG-TIME VEGETARIAN, HER AT-HOME MENTAL HEALTH RITUALS AND HOW YOGA CHANGED HER LIFE
She’s forged a career as Australia’s interiors queen. Through her roles as resident judge on The Block and presenter on Selling Houses Australia, Shaynna Blaze is a fixture on TV screens here and overseas. But outside of the media spotlight, this talented all-rounder has penned several books on interiors, and helmed an award-winning design company for the last 20-plus years, a business she started as a single mum while struggling to raise two young kids. Want to know the secret to her success? Yoga.
“I first started yoga when I was 18, and it has been a huge part of my life ever since,” the 55-year-old tells Good Health. “For 20 years, I did it every day – I’d wake up and be on my mat for a good 45 minutes to an hour, or I’d fit it in when my kids were at school. For me, it wasn’t just physical fitness, it was about my peace of mind too.
“Like my yoga, I also worked on a lot of my business stuff when my children were at school or asleep. My attitude was, ‘You’ve just got to do what you have to do!’ It didn’t always go to plan, but yoga definitely helped me cope.”
These days, she has a varied fitness routine, courtesy of her personal trainer husband, Steve.
“Yes, he comes in handy,” she says. “But we’re quite different in our approaches to fitness. He’s always done Ironman events and triathlons, which isn’t my bag. I do a lot more cardio and weights with him, which is great, especially when combined with yoga, as I feel they complement one another well. He’s not an aggressive trainer,
which is good as I probably wouldn’t listen to him.”
Shaynna has remained pretty consistent with her workout regime over the decades. “I haven’t stopped doing anything really,” she says. “For example, four years ago I did a half marathon that I never thought I’d do. Yoga takes you through all the decades of your life, and I think the older you get, the stronger you should be.”
The role of diet
Another key factor in Shaynna’s good health is diet. A vegetarian since the age of 18, she’s also cut out a lot of sugar and processed foods, though she still advocates indulging in the occasional treat.
“I’m a big snacker,” she says. “Lots of dips with carrot, celery and capsicum… I prefer cleaner foods rather than lots of sauces – beautiful salads with minimal dressing, so I can really taste the ingredients.
“Saying that, like everyone, I don’t always do the right thing. For example, I love my wine and champagne.
Being stick thin isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; you’re much better off being happy and healthy and seeing what shape your body is naturally.”
Despite being very health-conscious, maintaining balance and learning to listen to her body are skills that the mum-of-two is still trying to master.
“I travel every week and it really affects your digestive and immune system,” she bemoans. “I’m in and out of planes, not eating regularly, getting up at ridiculous hours to film, and finishing late. The last few years in particular have been really challenging for me, and my immune system has taken a hammering.
“I’ve learned – and am still learning – to be more aware of what my body is reacting to, and I try to respond appropriately. I’m taking a lot more supplements, and I get vitamin B injections when I need to. I’ve also really got into Elle Macpherson’s Super Greens powder, which is incredible.”
Creating a retreat
Shaynna’s tactics also came in handy for the gruelling travel schedule involved on her property series, Buying Blind, which sees the TV host bringing her interior-transformation skills to clueless property buyers across Australia.
Thankfully, they were in safe hands; Shaynna knows more than anyone the importance of creating a home that doubles as a sanctuary and offers places in which to recuperate.
“It’s really important that a home has little pockets you can retreat to so you can get some downtime,” she says. “Areas that are kitted out with
‘i’m still learning to be more aware of what it is that my body is reacting
plants and candles – things that help calm you. No matter the house, you need spaces that have a sense of peace and quiet to them so you can retreat.”
“Everyone has low moments, and I think making sure that you have that time for yourself really helps – we don’t honour this enough,” says Shanna. “Even if it’s only five minutes or an hour each day, it’s really how you can centre yourself.
“For me, rituals at home are a really good way to do this. Making a cup of tea but taking the time to do it – even standing by the kettle while it boils is enough time to breathe and take stock. Or lighting a candle, but instead of just lighting it and walking away, lighting it and waiting for the scent to hit you. It’s a bit like stopping to smell the roses – a few minutes out of your day can make a big difference.”
Accentuate the positive
These simple coping mechanisms really came into play when Shaynna lost her parents. Her father, Basil, died suddenly of a heart attack in 1998, and her mother, Annette, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years later, eventually succumbing to the disease in 2016.
“When my mum passed, it was a relief, because she had been sick for so long,” she says, misty-eyed. “It was a traumatic period of my life. I felt happy that she could finally move on after being trapped in her body for so long. At her funeral there was so much joy – we sang show tunes, people were laughing and clapping, it was a real celebration. Whereas my dad was completely different. It was so sudden – he went to work one day and just never came home, so it took a lot longer to get over.
“Everyone copes very differently with tragedy. Whether it’s the loss of a relationship or a loved one, you need to give yourself permission to grieve. If you have to lock yourself away and bawl your eyes out for two days, then do it. You’ll heal a lot quicker.”
The cornerstone of Shaynna’s success and attitude to life is positivity. Although she’s suffered through these tragedies, rather than wallow, the go-getter has turned sadness into strength.
“I’ve been through a lot and it either makes you shrink, or it makes you stronger,” she says. “I know that tomorrow is another day and things will get better. I’ve learned that nothing is impossible – there’ll always be something bad coming your way to try to stop you, but if you have the right attitude and look for the positive, you can do anything, you really can.”
‘i’ve been through a lot and it either makes you shrink or it makes you