Sarah Har­ris opens up about her re­la­tion­ship with her body, be­ing a mum and mak­ing her men­tal health a pri­or­ity


Good Health (Australia) - - Content -

‘I feel like I’m “on” so much of the week be­cause of be­ing on TV that by the end of the week I’m spent’

Dressed down, makeup free, and strug­gling af­ter a sleep­less night cour­tesy of her teething tod­dler, Stu­dio 10 co-host Sarah Har­ris is in low-main­te­nance mum-mode. Bal­anc­ing a highly de­mand­ing gig in the no­to­ri­ously cut-throat world of morn­ing TV, all the while rais­ing two young boys un­der the age of three, it’s un­der­stand­able that the pop­u­lar per­son­al­ity has lit­tle time for BS. When Good Health & Well­be­ing catches up with the funny straight-talker, she can­didly chats about the new­found love for her body’s “bumps and lumps” and the “epiphany” that’s changed her life.

“When you’re work­ing a full-time job, rais­ing kids and try­ing to be a good wife, there’s not a lot of time spent on nour­ish­ing the soul!” laughs the 37-year-old. “I feel like I’m ‘on’ so much of the week be­cause of be­ing on TV – talk­ing, in­ter­view­ing, and so on – that by the end of the week I’m spent. So, my week­end ther­apy is just not talk­ing and veg­ging out.

“I think ‘me-time’ is so im­por­tant, and I don’t mean go­ing for mas­sages or fa­cials, be­cause that’s bloody ex­pen­sive and not re­al­is­tic. I’m so much hap­pier out of makeup, bra off, and at home on the couch. That’s nour­ish­ing the soul for me!”

A reg­u­lar on Ten’s morn­ing show since it launched in 2013 – in ad­di­tion to reg­u­lar spots on The Sun­day Project, and host­ing Ten’s Shark Tank – her week­days be­gin with a 5am wake-up call

be­fore head­ing into the stu­dio to prep for the daily three-and-a-half-hour show.

“By the time I come off, I feel like

I’ve done a bit of a marathon!” she says. “I try to sched­ule the gym straight af­ter­wards, as I find it gives me the en­ergy to cope with the af­ter­noon shift of tak­ing care of the boys. But these days I feel like ex­er­cise is more for my brain than my bum; it’s about get­ting men­tal strength and clar­ity.”

Ad­mit­ting that she’s pre­vi­ously strug­gled with an “un­easy” re­la­tion­ship with her body, ob­ses­sively calo­rie count­ing in her 20s and re­ly­ing on cig­a­rettes for sus­te­nance, these days the pre­sen­ter has a whole new take on body im­age.

“I look back to that time – I was as thin as a whip­pet, but prob­a­bly wasn’t all that healthy and all that strong,” says the Syd­ney-based star. “Back then I had a com­pletely dif­fer­ent re­la­tion­ship with food. I used to look at the scales and get a sense of my self-worth from the num­bers they showed.

“I think once you get older – es­pe­cially af­ter kids – you start to look at your body in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent way. My body isn’t just for wear­ing clothes; it has grown and birthed two strong and healthy boys, and that’s so much more im­por­tant.”

This shift in the way she views her body – from clotheshorse to “life-giv­ing” in­stru­ment – has been a lib­er­at­ing per­spec­tive change.

“I’m go­ing on hol­i­day soon and or­di­nar­ily I might have wor­ried about how I looked in my cossie, but now

I’m just ex­cited about get­ting onto the beach and play­ing and swim­ming with my boys,” she says, smiling. “It’s a much health­ier frame of mind. Sim­i­larly with my diet – through the week I’ll eat pretty healthily and then on the week­end I might pig out a bit and or­der Uber

Eats on a Fri­day night, or grab a burger and chips. I’m not mil­i­tant with my eat­ing. I sub­scribe to the 80-20 rule – 80 per­cent of the time I eat pretty well.”

Mind over mat­ter

As with her body – curves and all – the jour­nal­ist has a healthy at­ti­tude to main­tain­ing men­tal equi­lib­rium and makes sure to book a reg­u­lar ses­sion with her psy­chi­a­trist.

“I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant,” she says.

“I call it my ‘checkup from the neck up.’ You need that touch­stone, some­one to talk things out with so you can main­tain a good per­spec­tive on life. I pop along for my 45-minute chat, we de­con­struct the world, I pay my money and leave feel­ing so much lighter. I find it amaz­ing that women are happy to spend $400 on a cut and colour, but they won’t go to a ther­a­pist to talk out their feel­ings and work out the kinks in their brains. It’s such an amaz­ing in­vest­ment.”

The other big boon to her men­tal well­be­ing has been be­com­ing a par­ent to sons Paul, who is about to turn three, and 11-month-old Harry. Though ad­mit­ting that she de­layed moth­er­hood for years be­cause of her ca­reer, she has no re­grets about be­com­ing a mum later in life.

“I’m glad I did it this way,” says the Lo­gie-nom­i­nated jour­nal­ist. “I worked su­per hard through my 20s and 30s to be able to take the time off to have kids. Now I’m in this in­cred­i­bly for­tu­nate po­si­tion where I can jug­gle both. I can have a job that I love, but then come home to my beau­ti­ful lit­tle boys and play mum af­ter­wards.

“My hus­band and I were just say­ing the other day that we reckon hav­ing kids has been the mak­ing of us. Not just as a cou­ple, but also as peo­ple. We’re both so much more grate­ful for the lit­tle things in life. I’m so much more present and

‘I think once you get older you start to look at your body in a dif­fer­ent way’

‘We reckon hav­ing kids has been the mak­ing of us’

in the mo­ment now that I have kids and can see the world through their eyes. I think hav­ing chil­dren puts the fo­cus back on what’s im­por­tant: rais­ing well-ad­justed, happy chil­dren. All the other stuff – the house you live in, the car you drive, the job you do – doesn’t re­ally mat­ter. At the end of the day, these are lit­tle peo­ple you’re shap­ing into hu­man be­ings. If they can be good peo­ple, then I feel like my work is done.”

Bet­ter to­gether

The hus­band she talks about is IT spe­cial­ist Tom, a man she cred­its as her back­bone for bal­anc­ing work and kids.

“He’s a to­tal leg­end,” says Sarah.

“We work as a tag-team with the boys. It’s a real part­ner­ship – it has to be if you’re both work­ing. Some­times I’ll do the lion’s share, other times if I’m trav­el­ling for work, then he will.

“It’s in­ter­est­ing as you kind of fall in love with your part­ner even more – I see him be­ing such an amaz­ing dad and it adds a whole ex­tra layer to him. Say­ing that, it’s not all sun­shine and roses, let me tell you! We have squab­bles just like ev­ery cou­ple does.”

Just as par­ent­ing has added an ex­tra di­men­sion to her re­la­tion­ship with her hus­band, be­com­ing a mum also de­liv­ered a stark re­al­i­sa­tion to the bub­bly blonde that she hadn’t re­ally con­sid­ered be­fore.

“Hav­ing kids re­ally makes you aware of your own mor­tal­ity,” she says. “When you’re young, you think you’re bul­let­proof – you party all night, work hard all day, and just gen­er­ally burn the can­dle at both ends. I feel like one minute I was 28 and now I’m fast ap­proach­ing 40. You think, ‘Where did those 10 years ago?’ Time just flies and you re­alise how pre­cious it is.

“I can’t be­lieve that Paul is go­ing to be three at the end of the year. I find my­self think­ing about him go­ing off to uni and just wish­ing I could stop time. It has made me so ap­pre­cia­tive of ev­ery mo­ment. It’s quite an epiphany.”

Thanks to this im­por­tant re­al­i­sa­tion, Sarah has re­laxed into a sim­pler way of look­ing at life: tak­ing the path of least re­sis­tance and set­tling into the knowl­edge that what will be, will be.

Trust the jour­ney

“Get­ting to this point hasn’t been easy,” she con­cedes. “I’ve had heaps of knock-backs and chal­lenges along the way, but I’ve learned to just trust the uni­verse. In my early 20s I was des­per­ate to get an over­seas post­ing but, look­ing back now, if I did move to LA or wher­ever, I would have missed out on meet­ing my hus­band and I doubt I’d be able to jug­gle be­ing a mum.

I of­ten won­der about these Slid­ing Doors mo­ments. It’s like the Rolling Stones song says: ‘You can’t al­ways get what you want, but some­times you get what you need.’

“I know it may sound a bit hip­py­dippy and sim­pli­fied, but that’s how I feel. I’m all for goals and for hav­ing an idea of where you want to end up, but I think you have to go with the flow, to trust that things hap­pen for a rea­son. It’s ac­tu­ally a lovely way to live your life.”

‘If they can be good peo­ple then my work is done’

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