How I do it: Finding balance

By Zoe Walker

Kate Roydhouse and Suzee Premji tell us how they find balance in their busy lives.

Owner of Titirangi Osteopathic Clinic, Suzee Premji keeps her life balanced through her love of power lifting. Photo / Babiche Martens
Owner of Titirangi Osteopathic Clinic, Suzee Premji keeps her life balanced through her love of power lifting. Photo / Babiche Martens

HOW I DO IT: Suzee Premji
Born and raised in Britain, Suzee Premji moved to New Zealand in 2008. She is an osteopath at Titirangi Osteopathic Clinic and makes the most of living the Kiwi lifestyle. "Health and nutrition is automatically ingrained within my life as it is what I preach on a daily basis," explains the 29-year-old, who is also a competitive powerlifter.

Describe what your life looks like?
Extremely busy! Alongside running my clinic and treating patients on a daily basis, I am a regular gym bunny. When I am not working or training, I am cleaning or cooking.

How do you keep focused when you have so much going on?
I don't really have a philosophy that keeps me going. I thrive on being busy and active. I enjoy the thought of having my hand in many pies and experimenting with new ideas, even if they are not worth the effort. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by a great set of staff who make sure I do not overwork or work too late and encourage me to step away occasionally to take time out to go and perform more restful activities.

How do you stop feeling as though you are being pulled in several directions at once?
I think I am the one who puts myself in those situations. In the last few years, I have learned to delegate tasks. I am slowly learning to say "no", or I just go home to chill out.

What keeps you motivated?
I always want to be great at everything I do and at everything I enjoy. This is not always healthy, though, as I can sometimes greatly compromise my resting time. Food and holidays are two of the greatest motivators in my life. I am always hungry and I try to go away as much as I am allowed to.

If you start to feel tired or unmotivated what do you do?
I'll call my Mum and have a chat with her.

What do you do to switch off?
I cook, and drink wine. I socialise with my friends. If none of the above is available, I read. Going to the gym and lifting weights actually makes me switch off more than cooking and wine.

How do you incorporate exercise into your life?
Powerlifting is a key part of my life. During the week, I have dedicated training days at the gym with the rest of my team. I incorporate separate sessions within my working day, depending on what my schedule looks like.

Eating well is key. What is your approach to this?
I was brought up a vegetarian, and I still am. With the job and sport that I do, it is vital to power-eat, too. Fresh fruit and vegetables are the essentials in my diet. Carbohydrates are vital for my pre-gym workouts, mainly cereals, nuts, lentils and porridge. I make sure I eat enough protein through eggs, cottage cheese, tofu, tempe, or edamame beans. This is important once I have finished at the gym. I try to keep my alcohol intake quite low. That being said, pizza, sticky toffee puddings, croissants, chocolate gateaux and deep-fried foods never fail to make me happy. Everything in moderation!

Who are the mentors in your life who have shaped your way of thinking?
My parents are my mentors. They always guide me the best they can and I always value their opinion and help. They tell me to be patient and to not do everything all at once. I don't think I always hear that part. I have taken after my father. He is always getting up to something.

Have you always been fit, vital and healthy?
No. I was an acne-ridden teenager with puppy fat. I have always enjoyed sports, but I enjoyed eating chocolate, chips and cheese, too. I always made sure I ate all my fruit, mainly because Mum made me! That's just called being a teenager. In my first year of university we had an assignment where we had to go on a fruit and water fast for seven days. It was gruelling but, at the end of it, I looked and felt great. Fitness and nutrition became a norm and have been part of my routine from there on in.

What are your top five essentials to living life well?
1. Eat well, to have a healthy inside, to prevent illness and increase your body's immunity.
2. Be active and adventurous to look good and fit, to feel free in the mind and get rid of built-up stresses.
3. Socialise. It is always healthy to spend time with friends and family and to have a good laugh.
4. Sleep, to rest and repair.
5. Laugh. I laugh a lot, it keeps my stomach flat!

Kate Roydhouse keeps vital in alternative ways. Photo / Babiche Martens on location at Eden Gardens
Kate Roydhouse keeps vital in alternative ways. Photo / Babiche Martens on location at Eden Gardens


HOW I DO IT: Kate Roydhouse

Aucklander Kate Roydhouse has worked in fashion, PR and advertising, recently beginning a role at an advertising and production company. The 25-year-old is conscious of having balance in her life, including fostering creativity - she studied at Elam - with personal projects, recently launching the website The Stated.

Describe what your life looks like?
My full-time job is as a senior account manager at .99 advertising agency and I recently started up a website called The Stated. I try to keep some sort of art practice alive, although this is more private and for my own frame of mind than anything else.

How do you keep focused when you have so much going on?
There are two things I've recently rediscovered that are really important to keeping balanced. One is not feeling like I have to be doing something every single minute, every single day. I feel it's really important to have downtime no matter what it is. I'll go to the movies alone or for long drives around Auckland or just stay in my room and read. The other is staying active. If I go to yoga or for a walk at least twice a week, I find that it really helps to clear my head.

How do you stop from feeling as though you are being pulled in several directions at once?
It's about dealing with it and not letting the stress get the better of you.

Is routine important?
I like routine. It helps keep me balanced. But every now and then I think it's important to have a change-up. I want to keep pushing myself.

What keeps you motivated?
Newness, whether small things or big things. Feeling like I'm growing as a person. There's nothing worse than going through the motions.
If you start to feel tired or unmotivated what do you do?
Nothing for a while. It's one of those things that I always find hard to identify until it's right on top of me. But I get really itchy and fidgety when I'm unmotivated. I start thinking about things I can alter to improve my state of mind. It could be as simple as exercising more often or something bigger, like changing my living arrangement.

How do you incorporate exercise into your life?
I'm sporadic with my exercise. At times I've been really into cardio and going to the gym, then yoga and pilates, and sometimes I just love walking.

Eating well is key. What is your approach?
I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease a little while ago. Although this is an auto-immune disease, I have found certain foods are best to stay away
from, including wheat. I'm all for fresh food and raw food. I also try to drink as much water as I can during the day, a few litres if possible.

Who are the mentors in your life?
There are heaps of people who constantly help shape my thinking. Talking to people with differing views can be the most interesting conversations.

What are your essentials for living life well?
1. Try not to regret anything you do. You are who you are and you should always try and let your freak-flag fly.
2. Remember to have "me" days. It doesn't matter what form these take, just days out for yourself where you do exactly what you want.
3. Exercise and eating healthy is really important, but so is not stressing over it.
4. Drink lots and lots of water!
5. Do something you love, or really like for a while.
6. Have a hobby. It's important to have some form of intellectual engagement outside work.

- VIVA

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