Antoinette Lattouf's call to women to stop feeling guilty about prioritising their health

Antoinette Lattouf’s call to women to stop feeling guilty about prioritising their health

Antoinette Lattouf

Antoinette Lattouf is many things – including a broadcaster, author, diversity advocate and mental health ambassador.

But key to making it all happen is prioritising her physical and mental health.

She highlights sleep, exercise and time spent with loved ones as essential for nourishing and uplifting her, and encourages other women to seek out similar such essentials.

When asked what she’d like other women to know and do when it comes to their health, she urges women to “stop feeling guilty” about spending time and, if available, money on your health.

“As daughters, partners, sisters and mothers, we are so accustomed to, if not conditioned to care for others and prioritise their needs. But this does not mean we shouldn’t look after our own physical and mental needs, because it’s essential,” she tells Women’s Agenda.

“As someone who has lived with depression and anxiety for several years, I know that if I’m not at my best, all the dominoes fall over and we collectively struggle to get back up.” 

Lattouf is a multi-award winning journalist, media commentator and was named the 2021 Emerging Leader in the Not for Profit Sector, at the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards. 

She’s also co-founder and co-chair of Media Diversity Australia, host of The Briefing podcast, and author of a new must-read book, “How to Lose Friends and Influence White People.” The book, published this year by Penguin Random House, teaches readers how to effectively champion change and racial equality.

As part of our weekly health series looking at how dynamic women of different career backgrounds maintain their physical and mental health, Lattouf shares more on her daily routine. Read her full ‘how I manage my health’ profile below. 

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POST NATAL DEPRESSION

In the morning, I… am like a sloth who doesn’t want to get out of bed. I wish I had something inspiring and spritely to share but I am not a morning person even though I have to get up at 4am when I am hosting The Briefing podcast. It takes me a while to wake up and pull the covers off and my dog is usually jumping all over me and trying to get me up. One thing I have done is ensure that I read before I go to bed every night, and I also have a gratitude diary on my bedside. I charge my phone in another room because I don’t want scrolling to book end my days. 

My exercise routine includes… I exercise four to five times a week and I absolutely love it. It helps me manage my anxiety and stress-induced insomnia and it also keeps me fit and strong. I do a mixture of pilates reformer, strength training, high intensity group exercise classes and taking my dog for walks. I do mindfulness meditation a few times a week, even if it’s just 10 minute quick hits. Oh, and ideally eight hours sleep a night. When I am travelling for work or leisure I take minibands with me and I can train in my hotel room if there isn’t a gym. I never travel without packing my joggers and workout clothes.

My favourite workout is… pilates reformer is so much harder and more intense than it looks. I literally feel taller after each class because the movements work by both strengthening and lengthening the muscles. It’s so good for core strength and also to relieve any back pain. I love it — in the mix of lots of different training styles. 

I find balance in… getting plenty of sleep, learning to say no to things, spending time with loved ones who nourish and uplift me but also accepting that I’m human and will make mistakes. One of the hardest things about being a perfectionist is the sense that there is always more to do. I am trying to set goals and keep the goal posts put rather than continuing to move them. It can be exhausting continuing to forge ahead when you’ve forgotten why you’re doing it in the first place. 

On health, I encourage women to… please stop feeling guilty about spending time and money on your health. As daughters, partners, sisters and mothers we are so accustomed to, if not conditioned to care for others and prioritise their needs. But this does not mean we shouldn’t look after our own physical and mental needs, because it’s essential.

As someone who has lived with depression and anxiety for several years, I know that if I’m not at my best, all the dominoes fall over and we collectively struggle to get back up. 

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