Self-care Series: racing presenter, Gina Harding
At &Breathe, we're extremely passionate about our parental self-care mission. It's so important to make time for yourself in your parenting journey - self-care isn't selfish! After all if you're not at your best, how can you be at your best for those around you?
Gina Harding is a freelance sports broadcaster specialising in horse racing who has worked as part of the Channel 4 Racing team for the last four years in addition being one of the regular faces on Sky Sports' dedicated horse racing channel At The Races. This year she has joined the BBC 5Live team as part of their coverage of the major racing Festivals across the UK. She is the mother of 18 month old Cameron (whom she co parents with her ex husband) and lives in Hertfordshire.
&B: How do you manage to balance work and life? Is it possible?!
GH: It is possible; although for me working as a broadcaster with variable hours it is heavily reliant on family support. When I first went back to cover a few bespoke events in my role as a Channel 4 Racing Presenter when Cameron was very young, my parents used to come on the road with me to the racecourse in question so that i could breastfeed at night and still be with my son. Now Cameron is slightly older I have three days of professional childcare in place, however my mum steps in to cover all the extras whether its weekend work commitments, overnight trips or the odd night out myself. I would definitely have no work/life balance without her!
Career vs Kids
&B: How have you found that your professional and presenting life has changed since having kids?
GH: It has definitely changed in that I choose to travel less, and try to build more of a structure into my working week where possible. It has actually been a positive thing as it has encouraged me to prioritise certain jobs over others and value myself more. Being freelance the tendency before having Cameron was to say yes to everything and run myself ragged. Now I have a reason to be a little bit more selective and it makes for a much happier and surprisingly more successful working life.
&B: What have you found the hardest thing in terms of keeping yourself happy and sane since having a child?
GH: Mum guilt! It is something we all suffer from and I have found it hard at times not to get sucked in to the inevitable self doubt over whether I am doing a good enough job. There is a lot of support out there now for mums and I'm lucky to have a great circle of friends nearby with babies of similar ages, which has been the lifeline for me to avoid getting sucked in too deep.
&B: How do you like to keep fit and active?
GH: I feel very lucky that I am out in the fresh air quite regularly at work on outside broadcasts, although I do also try to fit in at least two sessions a week with my personal trainer. I know its a luxury to train with someone, however I get so much more out of just one session with a PT than I would from going to the gym 5 days a week myself. I am not good at self motivation!
&B: What's your best foodhack secret to eating healthily?
GH: It's all about the preparation. I am on the road a lot for work, so I used to be terrible at just relying on convenience or press room food on the go. It's so much easier to be healthy when you've prepared your own. I make big batches of food for Cameron now, so I think in turn my own diet has benefited from having to be more organised!
&B: What's your favourite thing to do to relax?
GH: I love to ride, as you might expect, so try to fit in a couple of mornings a week hacking out with my friend who has some lovely retired racehorses she events with. It's the ideal set up as I don't have time to look after my own horse anymore but can make good use of hers!
#1 Selfcare Tip
&B: What's your number one self-care tip for mums or dads?
GH: Minimise the time you spend on your phone. We are all guilty of sitting flicking through twitter and instagram or checking emails and stressing about work. I try to make a concerted effort to put my phone away in the evenings and definitely feel better for it.