Weather pre­sen­ter Re­nee Wright on over­com­ing health chal­lenges and pri­ori­tis­ing her well­be­ing

A BELOVED FACE ON OUR TV SCREENS, RE­NEE WRIGHT HAS OVER­COME HER OWN HEALTH CHAL­LENGES WHILE LOOK­ING AFTER A YOUNG FAM­ILY AND PRI­ORI­TIS­ING HER WELL­BE­ING. SHE SHARES HOW SHE KEEPS EV­ERY­THING (MOSTLY) IN BAL­ANCE

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On the day One News weather pre­sen­ter Re­nee Wright meets with Good Health and Well­be­ing for lunch, she greets ev­ery­one with a bear hug and quickly apol­o­gises for be­ing in her “em­bar­rass­ing” gym gear. Her morn­ing has been the usual rush of get­ting the fam­ily or­gan­ised and out the door on time, and re­cently there’s been the added worry of a son in a thigh-high cast fol­low­ing a ski­ing in­ci­dent. Life’s busy to say the least, but de­spite the hec­tic pace, Re­nee’s re­laxed and down-to-earth ap­proach means she’s learnt to take things as they come.

“With three small chil­dren, there’s al­ways a curve­ball in there some­where,” she laughs. “They all need help get­ting or­gan­ised be­fore school and we have our good morn­ings and our not-so-great ones. Some­times I’m yelling like a fish wife! But we al­ways have a good chat on the way and most days ev­ery­one heads off with smiles.”

With a sched­ule that in­cludes weather pre­sent­ing for the week­end news bul­letins and tele­vi­sion voice-over work one day a week, Re­nee is happy with her bal­ance of ca­reer and fam­ily life. At home, the daily hus­tle re­volves around keep­ing Leo, 6, Giselle, 5, and twoyear-old Ara­bella on track with their routines, and with hus­band Char­lie out the door by 5am and not back un­til the evening, Re­nee is in sole charge of meal, bath and bed­times. It can be a wild ride, but she says stay­ing ac­tive and mak­ing her well­be­ing more of a pri­or­ity are some of the keys to keep­ing the plates spin­ning.

“We’re all try­ing to do our best and some­times you feel like it’s a good day, and other times it’s more like ‘Thank god for to­mor­row, so I can try again,’” says Re­nee, 37. “I think you have to be kind to your­self. You can beat your­self up with worry and ev­ery­thing else, but it re­ally doesn’t help in any way. It’s im­por­tant to tap in to what makes you feel more re­laxed, whether it’s a fit­ness class or go­ing for a walk, and to make sure you do some­thing for your­self each day. You can’t lose your­self in that mind­set of ‘I’m a mum’ as this is all-con­sum­ing, there’s no let up, and you will get worn down.”

Build­ing strength

While boot camps were once her go-to, Re­nee has found a new ex­er­cise favourite – re­sis­tance train­ing and stretches at re­former Pi­lates class.

“I was los­ing mo­ti­va­tion to throw my­self around [at boot camp],” she says. “It just started to feel re­ally hec­tic, and I was want­ing some quiet time. With Pi­lates, it’s about be­ing aware of your body. The move­ments are slow

‘We’re all try­ing to do our best and some­times you feel like it’s a good day’

‘It’s im­por­tant to tap in to what makes you feel more re­laxed’

but I find it so chal­leng­ing phys­i­cally. I think you have to give it at least three tries be­fore you even start to think it’s vaguely okay. In your first class you think, what have I signed up for?! When I first started I would get headachy and shaky. You’re work­ing lots of lit­tle mus­cles that you wouldn’t nor­mally use, and I feel stronger.”

She aims for at least three re­former classes a week, along­side a group per­sonal train­ing ses­sion with two girl­friends. “I still see a boot camp in­struc­tor each week and that so­cial as­pect is a key part of it – we have a good goss, even while we’re pun­ish­ing our­selves,” laughs the for­mer ra­dio pro­ducer. “A big plus of Pi­lates is that you get a good stretch at the end. It’s per­fect be­cause I get a lot of back is­sues from car­ry­ing the kids and

I have hip prob­lems from child­birth… what that does to your body is just a whole new world!”

Re­nee has also used al­ter­na­tive ther­a­pies for heal­ing, when she was bat­tling TMJ, a painful con­di­tion that in­volves dis­lo­ca­tion and in­flam­ma­tion of the jaw bone. “It came on dur­ing a par­tic­u­larly stress­ful time in my life, and my sur­geon sug­gested I try dry needling be­fore look­ing at other treat­ments,” she says.

“It was painful, but the re­sults were amaz­ing. It’s like it puts your body back to ‘fac­tory re­set’ and you feel bet­ter in 24 hours. They use nee­dles like acupunc­ture, and it’s thought to get to places that other treat­ments can’t reach. The ther­a­pist turns the nee­dle to re­lease pres­sure on the mus­cle, and you re­ally feel it when they hit the right spot, your mus­cle twangs and it hurts. It’s about tar­get­ing those ar­eas on the body where you carry stress.”

Life lessons

While head­ing off to work is a bane for some, the pop­u­lar pre­sen­ter says that even after more than a decade in tele­vi­sion, she still en­joys be­ing on screen. In a niche in­dus­try, hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to do the work she loves is al­ways a thrill, and the pre-cam­era rou­tine is pre­cious down­time to gather her thoughts. “I know I’m so lucky that in the week­end, I get to go and do my job, have those hours to my­self, and have some­one do my hair and makeup – that will never get old, ever!”

For this work­ing mum, the key to keep­ing things man­age­able has been learn­ing to say ‘no’ to things that don’t fit in with her life. It’s a sim­ple lit­tle word that causes angst for many of us, but it’s es­pe­cially hard if you’re prone to be­ing a peo­ple-pleaser.

“I’m a yes per­son, very much so,” ad­mits Re­nee, who was first in front of the cam­era at just 18 months old, as the star of a TV com­mer­cial. “In my 20s I was ‘yes, yes, yes’ all the time, as you’re just try­ing to please.

But as you get older, you re­alise that some things just don’t mat­ter. I think hav­ing the con­fi­dence to say no is some­thing that comes with age. Also be­ing a mum of small kids has made me learn to say no more, as you hon­estly don’t have the time. As a mum you do tend to put your­self last on the pri­or­ity list, but you still need to take some time to recharge your own bat­ter­ies.”

For Re­nee, that’s where the ex­er­cise comes in. But aside from the mus­cle­ton­ing ben­e­fits, she says it’s the men­tal strength she gains from a work­out that has the big­gest im­pact on her well­be­ing. Re­cently, when the tragic death of a dear friend and col­league came as a shock, she knew the clar­ity she would get from a work­out would help her to cope.

“When I first got the news I didn’t know what to do, so I thought, ‘I’ll just

‘I think hav­ing the con­fi­dence to say no is some­thing that comes with age’

‘As a mum, you still need to take time to recharge your own bat­ter­ies’

Re­nee’s on-the-go life on In­sta­gram

keep go­ing’. I went along to class – I might have been cry­ing on the re­former, but it was just about go­ing through those mo­tions, as I al­ways feel bet­ter af­ter­wards. Lately there has been a lot go­ing on, but I think that hav­ing phys­i­cal strength does some­thing men­tally as well. It makes you feel that you can take on the day.”

Well­be­ing essen­tials

When it comes to keep­ing en­er­gised, the Auck­land-based pre­sen­ter takes a back-to-ba­sics ap­proach. Other than magnesium tablets, sup­ple­ments aren’t a big part of her health regime, and she never got on board with the green smoothie craze. She’s not one to care­fully mon­i­tor her diet, but she knows that pro­cessed and high­sugar foods can put her in a funk.

“I end up think­ing, ‘Well I’ve had some chips, so I might as well eat all of these Skit­tles and a whole lot of choco­late now too’. My is­sue is that even if I go a lit­tle bit to the dark side, I’m 100 per cent there after that. I can’t say I’m a sweet or savoury per­son, I’m both, which is ter­ri­ble!”

But far from ag­o­nis­ing about calo­ries or diet fads, Re­nee’s sim­ply mak­ing the most of her new work­out rou­tine, and fo­cus­ing on keep­ing her­self and her young fam­ily happy and healthy.

“Ex­er­cise is such a big part of my day-to-day well­ness,” she says. “It’s those men­tal gains you get from it, and I think that’s what sur­prised me more than any­thing. The more you move, the more it helps your stress lev­els, and it just al­lows you to keep ev­ery­thing in per­spec­tive. It’s im­por­tant to take that time for our­selves.”

‘The more you move, the more it helps your stress lev­els’

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