Her warmth and positivity make her a popular face on our screens, but behind the scenes, newsreader Amanda Gillies knows all about soldiering on through difficult times.
In the past few years, serious health challenges including endometriosis and an auto immune disease have seen her change her approach to wellness, prompted a major diet overhaul, and made her more aware of managing her stress levels. And not only is she feeling better for it, she's also picked up some valuable lessons along the way.
"As a reporter you become very ambitious," she says of her younger days as a successful foreign correspondent. "I wanted everything, and being a female in the industry, you want to make your mark. But then you grow up, you settle down, you become kinder and more gentle. I think I've softened a lot, and you start prioritising what's important - and you realise that's where family, friends and your health comes in."
With her hectic schedule on Three's The AM Show, coping with the early wake-up calls has been another health learning curve.
"People say you get used to the hours," she says, "but I don't think you ever get used to them. They are brutal! In this job, the nanna nap is crucial. Once I'm home I can sleep for up to three hours."
And when the alarm is going at 3.30 am, it helps that she has a tight-knit group of workmates waiting for her at the studio. "I feel very safe in the environment that we have. We've got each other's backs, so there's that safety net there."
These days, gentle wellness is the name of the game for Amanda. She prefers brisk walks to sweating it out at the gym, and journaling has become her latest go-to for a happiness boost.
"That all came about at a time when I was feeling grumpy with the post-holiday blues," she laughs. "I heard a radio interview with a doctor that said to keep a gratitude diary, and I was driving along thinking, 'what am I grateful for?' It was one of those moments like, 'pull your head in, life is okay'".
She's been spreading the word about her diary on the show to keep herself accountable to the daily practice, and it's a new health ritual she knows she will stick with. "Every day it gives you a moment where you stop and think, 'this is cool.' It's something that just puts a smile on your face."
To find out more about Amanda's health challenges and the lifestyle changes she's made to manage them, see the April issue of Good Health Choices.
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