Changing Rooms host Natalie Bassingthwaighte opens up about her life-changing year

“I'm a better person!”

By Zara Zubeidi
When we sit down for a chat with Natalie Bassingthwaighte, we can't help but notice there's something different about the star. While the TV WEEK Logie- nominated actress has always been an open book, today there's a particular aura about her – she comes across as calm, present and focused.
Indeed, the Changing Rooms host says she's had somewhat of a transformation over the last year and now feels "better" than ever.
"In the last 12 months, I've realised what's important and what's not important for me," Nat, 43, tells TV WEEK. "Like every working mother, it's incredibly hard and I felt very overwhelmed this time last year, trying to manage everything.
"Being a control freak, I wanted to be across everything. But I worked out that the management of my home and work life needed to shift."
Taking this realisation on board, the mum-of-two made the decision to hire a personal assistant. Her close friend, Elisa Hudson, who also works as a spiritual life coach, has not only stepped in to organise Nat's busy schedule, but has introduced her to something even more life-changing: meditation.
"I used to get really anxious all the time, but I don't get anxiety anymore," Nat says. "Even my husband thinks I'm a different person. I'm so loopy and crazy, naturally my energy is quite up. But it [meditation] grounds me. I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I don't get rocked by things as much anymore."
In the past, Nat has admitted she suffers from "mum guilt" when she goes to work. But meditating every day helps her deal with it.
"I'm doing more self-care, which has made me a better parent and wife," the host says. "I think all working mums have an element of feeling guilty, but I don't feel it as much anymore.
"When I'm working, I'm working. But when I come home, I'm really present. Before, I'd come home and still be working in my head, and that's when I'd feel guilty."
Meditation has become such an integral part of Nat's daily routine that she decided to get a tattoo to symbolise her journey. Located at the nape of her neck, it reads 'Equanimity'.
"It means the calm against the storm," she explains. "Life is always going to be an incredible rollercoaster, but you've just got to ride it and find that peace by doing yoga or meditation. It'll give you that calmness in life."
It's hardly surprising Nat needed to find a way to balance her hectic work schedule and family life.
Between raising two children – she and husband Cam have a son, Hendrix, and a daughter, Harper – the actress temporarily returned to Neighbours as her iconic character, Izzy Hoyland, last February. She says she'd "never say never" to returning to the soap again.
Now, she's presenting the revamped local version of Changing Rooms on 10, and says it's been the "most fun" job she's ever had. And she hints at more exciting projects to come.
"I don't know exactly what's next, but that's the exciting thing about what I do," she says. "I have something for the second half of the year, which I can't talk about yet, but until then it depends what's around. I choose wisely now, though – it has to be something that inspires, challenges and excites me."
Changing Rooms airs Wednesday and Thursday, 7.30pm, Network 10.
To read more about Natalie and her latest series, pick up a copy of the new issue of TV WEEK. On sale now!

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