How Turia Pitt Overcame Self-Doubt by Building Positive Daily Habits
Welcome to Bedtime Stories, an interview series where we ask inspiring individuals to share their nighttime routine and sleep secrets – from the beauty products they can’t live without to the tricks they swear by when they’re too tired to function (no coffee needed). For this instalment, author, motivational speaker, and founder of RUN with Turia, Turia Pitt shares the bedtime routine that helps support her life as a mum and mentor.
As far as inspirational stories of resilience go, they don’t get much more remarkable than Turia Pitt's. Her story of survival and of overcoming adversity has touched millions of people and made her one of Australia's most significant figures.
Turia’s life as a successful engineer was upended in 2011 when she got caught in a grassfire while running an ultramarathon across the Kimberley region. She received burns to 65% of her body, lost seven fingers, had over 200 medical procedures, and spent two gruelling years in recovery. And while it would undoubtedly be an astonishing achievement to rebuild and enjoy your life after such a traumatic event, Turia has managed to do more than flip the narrative. Not only has she built a wonderful life for herself, she has helped thousands of others do the same.
As an athlete, author, humanitarian, and mum, Turia’s list of achievements since 2011 is nothing short of incredible. She has staked a claim as one of Australia's most influential figures with her pioneering work as a motivational speaker and mentor. Turia has publishing three best-selling books, coached over 40,000 people, competed in the 'Ironman World Championships', and is an ambassador for 'Interplast', a charity which provides free reconstructive surgery to people in the Asia-Pacific.
Turia's unwavering commitment to helping people become happier and more confident has resulted in her creating 'RUN with Turia', a program that's dedicated to encouraging women to become fitter, run further, and feel more confident.
As someone who goes further, has broken through barriers, and is vehemently dedicated to helping others, Turia understands the value of taking care of herself, a big part of which is tied to her bedtime routine. Her love for running and life as a mum also requires her to be well rested.
Below, Turia shares her inspiring self-love journey, the in-depth sleep routine she has developed throughout the years, and how practicing gratitude every morning helps kickstart her day.
Hi Turia! Welcome to Bedtime Stories. Can you tell us about your bedtime ritual?
OK warning, I have a pretty in-depth and lengthy sleep routine. Don’t hate me. I know it sounds annoying. But honestly, I developed it out of sheer necessity. After the fire, I found it really hard to sleep – especially in hospital – and I relied on sleeping tablets heavily. So I had to develop a routine to help me get used to sleeping without them. A sleep routine really works! Mine used to be a lot longer and involved stretching and herbal tea and all sorts of things. But now it comes down to a few steps.
This is my sleep routine in its ideal state. If I follow this, then, yes, I do get a good night’s sleep. Sometimes, though, there are other moving parts in my life (A small child! A small sick child! A partner who’s away! A project that I’m on deadline for!). At those times, I try to do as many of these steps as I can. And my non-negotiable top pick out of all of them would be tip number one.
- No screens before bed. That blue light really does affect your melatonin production (AKA the hormone that lets you sleep well!), so I avoid looking at my phone/computer in bed. If I have to, I pop them on Night Mode.
- I do all my skincare AGES before I actually go to sleep. Like at 7pm. This way, if I fall asleep when I put the kids down at 7.30pm, it’s fine by me. Sleep trumps pretty much everything.
- I get into bed with a book an hour before I actually want to go to sleep. If I read for the hour, awesome. If I read for 5 minutes, no stress!
- If I’m still not sleepy, I’ll usually pop on a guided meditation and do some deep breathing.
- If I can’t fall sleep after, say, an hour, or if I’m restless during the night, or wake up and can’t get back to sleep, I’ll go into the lounge room so I don’t keep my family awake and do something like book-keeping or more reading, which I find relaxing and unwind-y.
What sleep or beauty products do you swear by that you won’t go a night without?
What time does your alarm go off in the morning? Walk us through your morning routine.
I usually wake up to one of my kids barking like a dog. Probably around 5:30am.
We’ll stumble out to the kitchen. I make coffee. Take a collagen supplement (I love the Kynd Collagen Forte sachets). Then I’ll pop the kids down with some toys and while they’re playing/squawking at each other, I’ll take a minute to think of three things I’m grateful for. It sounds woo woo and annoying (I know!) but practicing gratitude every morning really helps shift my perspective and start my day in a good mood.
We’ll usually bundle up and get down to the beach or a park ASAP after that because the kids need to get some energy out and I need some fresh air!
If I’m running (which I try to do a few mornings a week), I set my alarm for 5am so I can sneak out before the kids and Michael wake up, make a coffee, eat a banana and then get out the door ASAP.
What are three things (besides coffee) that help when you’re too tired to function?
- Cold showers.
- Breathing. Like, deep breathing.
- Going for a run. Sounds counterintuitive but leaving the family behind and getting 30 minutes where no one is asking for anything or needs anything from me is actual heaven. The mums in my running program RUN with Turia learn this pretty quickly too! It gives you a good boost, puts you in a better mood and is the best way to turn a crappy day around.
What do you normally eat for breakfast to kickstart your day?
I’m pretty varied, but I’ll usually have a banana and a coffee (especially if I’m going for a run or a surf) and then I might have a big bowl of oats and yoghurt, or a few slices of toast and avo – something pretty decent when I get back. Sometimes I’ll have a smoothie as well (almond milk, fruit, protein powder).
You write about happiness, confidence, and overcoming self-doubt. How are you able to implement these into your life and find time for self-care?
Big question! And I could honestly write a book on all three topics (and I have hahaha). I do lots of things to take care of my confidence and self esteem (and therefore my happiness!) every day – I practise gratitude, I work on my self talk by trying to talk to myself like I’d talk to my kids or my best mate, and I actively prioritise time for myself every day – I go for a run or a surf.
But I didn’t start my self love journey by implementing all of these habits at once. I started small. I had to. In that immediate year after the fire, my self-love level was literally at zero. I’d found myself in a hospital bed with my physical abilities completely stripped away, clunky hands that I couldn’t use, and having been made redundant from my job. I was socially isolated (my friends were all off working or travelling the world), I was forced to wear a compression mask that made me stick out like a sore thumb, my boyfriend became my carer and I was completely dependent on him and my mum to do the most basic of tasks. I had zero confidence and zero pride in my appearance.
So I started small. I started by getting mum to paint my toenails while we were in hospital. And then? Wearing ‘cool’ gym clothes over the top of my compression suit. Having a shower every day. Wearing deodorant. Then I moved on to taking some steps to regain my independence and confidence. I walked around the block by myself. I bought a tricycle and did laps around the cul-de-sac of Michael’s house. I forced myself to go into Woolworths to buy milk. These steps might seem very trivial. Just like a brick by itself doesn’t mean anything. But it’s the bricks on the bricks on the bricks that build you a mansion.
So, my advice is to start small. Find one small thing that makes you feel good daily – maybe making your bed and tidying your space. Then add another brick – wear something that makes you feel good. Add another, get outside for a walk or a run. And so on and so on. But always one brick at a time.
For more from Turia, follow her Instagram @turiapitt
RUN with Turia is a flexible, fun and no BS running program for women who want to become fitter, run further and feel more confident. Join the waitlist here.