The Weekly

EXCLUSIVE: Turia Pitt reveals how you can help someone going through a tough time

''My advice would be to say something, anything.''

By Rebecca Sullivan
Turia Pitt has been through more hardship over the past few years than most people experience in a lifetime, but the 32-year-old ultramarathon runner has an astonishing resilience that's impossible not to admire.
In 2011, Turia was just 26 years old when she suffered horrific burns to 65 per cent of her body after getting caught in a grassfire while running an ultramarathon through Western Australia.
She was placed in a medically-induced coma for a month, while all the fingers on her right hand, as well as two on her left, were amputated.
After she woke up, she spent the next six months recovering in hospital. Since then, she had more than 200 surgeries and took two years to fully recover.
Now, she has chosen to use her near-death experience to fuel her next chapter.
Turia is an author, an ambassor for ReSurge International - an organisation that provides free reconstructive surgery to children in developing countries - the face of skincare brand Avene and adventure brand Kathmandu, has a new online program School of Champions, and does all this with the support of her with partner Michael Hoskin.
The couple have a son together, 22-month-old, Hakavai, and have another baby on the way.
We all go through hard times, but sometimes it can be just as challenging trying to support a loved one through the experience.
So how do we show up for our friends and family when they need it the most?
"My advice would be to say something, anything," Turia told The Australian Women's Weekly.
"Sometimes people are so afraid of saying the 'wrong thing' that they don't say anything.
"If you don't quite know what to say you could start with 'I'm so sorry. I don't know what to say, but what you're going through is hard/tough/s--t and I'm here for you'."
Turia Pitt was 26 when she was caught in a grassfire and nearly died. Instagram
So often, people ask 'How can I help?', but Turia says stop asking. Instead, start helping.
"It's great when family and friends are proactive about helping. The person has just gone through something horrible – they might not want to ask for help or know how you could help. So instead of asking 'how can I help?', be specific," Turia said.
"When you're buying groceries, pick up extra toilet paper or food and drop it over. Call them and say 'I've made an extra large pot of chicken soup, I can drop it over tomorrow afternoon. Is that OK?'
"You can be there for someone in your own way, whether it's cooking, driving someone somewhere, sending flowers, or leaving a note. You can show up in a way that works for you.
"My beautiful Nan sent me a letter and a box of chocolates every week for a whole year. I got 52 letters that year! My Mum cooked for me every day, and my brother, who's into fitness, would come into the hospital and do a training session with me. Just show up for the person in whatever way you can – it really does help."
Turia is a huge advocate of fitness and living a healthy, balanced lifestyle, not just for the physical health benefits, but for the way it makes us feel.
What does she eat in an average day? It's no surprise that she sticks to a diet of wholefoods and limits junk, sugar and alcohol.
"I rarely eat the same thing every day, but yesterday I had oats in almond milk and stewed apple with kefir at 7am after my run," Turia revealed.
"Around midday I had steak with roast veggies (potato, sweet potato, beetroot) and broccolini which I fried up with some seeds and olive tapenade. I'm still dreaming about it! I ate dinner at about 7:30pm. Last night it was a pumpkin and chickpea coconut curry and it was delicious," she said.
She also makes sure to snack throughout the day.
"Yesterday I had a banana and a double shot soy latte at about 10am and for an arvo snack I had a million crackers with a kilo of hummus," she said.
"My number one priority when it comes to nutrition in the morning is to drink water. I keep a big water bottle with me at all times."
Turia recently shared this beautiful photo of her growing pregnant belly. Instagram
Turia is the new face of Kathmandu's running gear. Supplied
As for exercise, she's certainly not spending hours in the gym every week.
"With all the travelling I do, there is really no average day or week exercise for me. So, I'll try to exercise whenever that little window of opportunity presents itself. In an ideal situation I'd love to head down to the beach in the morning for a run or a swim, and later in the day I'll try and get in a a hike or a Pilates session," she said.
"The most important thing for me is getting outdoors and exercising. Being outdoors really helps me reset, clear my mind and focus on my goals for the day. I throw on my Kathmandu trail running gear and head for a run at the beach or through the bush near home, and I always feel better."
WATCH BELOW: Turia Pitt's incredible life story. Story continues after video.
Turia's new School of Champions program is aimed at people who are feeling a little stuck and want to make a change in their lives, whether that be losing weight, switching careers or getting out of a bad relationship.
So, how does she deal with her own personal setbacks? If she's had a rough day, how does she snap out of that negative headspace we can so often find ourselves in?
"Every time I face a setback, the first thing I do is accept it," Turia said.
"I think there's this idea that we're supposed to be happy and successful and productive all the time, and if we're not, there's something wrong with us. But just as we have good times, we have bad times too. It's normal and it's part of life.
"Then I like to acknowledge it by saying out loud 'I might feel bad today. I won't always feel this way'. This is the same mantra I repeated every day for the six months I was in hospital."
Then, she decides whether she wants to sit in her sadness, or pull herself out.
"I recognise that I have a choice to make. If I want to, I can just let it be a bad day, where I give myself time and permission to just really feel crappy, put on Netflix, eat the ice cream, wear my pyjamas and be OK with that. Or, if I want to try and turn the day around, there's a whole range of strategies I can use.
"One of my go-tos is my 'Happy Bank'. It's a list I've created full of things that help me boost my happy levels on days like these. For me, it means getting outside for a surf, a run or a bushwalk. If I can't do that, I'll read a good book or watch a good movie, practice gratitude, find a way to give back or spend time with a good mate. It's cool to think you can turn a bad day into a decent one just by making a choice."
Her top tips for a good read? Marie Forleo's Everything is Figureoutable, Talking to my Country by Stan Grant and Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale.

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