Lucy Durack shares her tips for maintaining work-life balance

Lucy Durack shares her tips for maintaining work-life balance
  • PublishedJune 8, 2024

Lucy Durack is one of Australia’s best-known leading ladies, with major roles including Glinda in Wicked, Sophie in The Letdown, Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical, Roxy in Sisters and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde.

Yet kindness and positivity isn’t just a trademark of her performances — it’s embedded in her various projects and family life.

Alongside several television projects in development, Lucy is also the co-founder of Hey Lemonade, an evidence-based health and wellness app that features short pep talks from inspiring Australians.

She is the host of the podcast I Love (With Lucy), and runs a glee club for primary and high-school students throughout school terms where the only rule is to have fun and be kind.

Based in Naarm/Melbourne, Lucy says she enjoys the variety of her week. Below she shares the importance of giving yourself permission to rest and creating time for playfulness.

Unwind with… is a regular column that explores the simple ways people take care of themselves.

My favourite way to unwind is…

When I am not doing theatre, I try to keep my weekends as free from work as possible so I can make the most of doing stuff with my family and rest.

I find that if I tell myself resting over the weekend allows me to then be the best version of myself at work and with my family during the week, then I’m more inclined to rest and play around a little bit.

We do a lot of movie nights as a family and that’s really restful to me. I try not to look at my phone and just enjoy.

Seeing my kids enjoy something is really relaxing for me — I love going to their swimming lessons.

To start the day I like to…

It doesn’t always happen, but I find if I do get up early, have a cup of coffee on my own, and write down five thing I’m grateful for, I feel more rested.

I’ve been doing the gratefulness exercise on and off since the ’90s when Oprah taught us to do it! Some days I won’t do it until the afternoon, but as soon as I do, I think I should have done it earlier.

My approach to organising work and family life…

I have a Google calendar for my work with Hey Lemonade, but then my family and I have a Google doc where we colour code everything.

For example, my four-year-old son is green, my eight-year-old daughter is purple, my husband is in blue. I know that my week is going well if I have a document that looks like a rainbow!

A small joy of mine is…

Lucy Durack with her husband Christopher Horsey as they smile for a selfie at the top of a tall building.
Lucy’s husband Christopher Horsey brings “a lot of dancing and music” into her family’s life.(Supplied)

My husband [Christopher Horsey] is a choreographer and brings a lot of dancing and music into our lives. He’ll come up with a song and we’ll have a dance.

My kids have great imaginations, so I try to get into their world as well, even if it’s just for five minutes to play with blocks.

To reduce burnout, I try to think of my future self…

For me, having kids helped with creating boundaries. When things get stressful or I feel overwhelmed, I’ve learnt to boil things down to what needs to be done today.

I also try to be a bit more aware of my future self. When I look ahead at my schedule, I try to recognise when there might be too many things in one day.

To switch off digitally…

A light pastel green e-bike with a basket at the back sitting against a concrete wall by the ocean.
Lucy says riding her bike to and from the office helps her to switch off and take in her surrounds.(Supplied)

Working out of a shared office space is a game changer. It’s nice to go somewhere, get my work done and then close my laptop.

I also ride my bike to and from the office a lot and that is a really nice way to switch off because you can’t be on your device, you are just listening to the sounds around you.

A go-to easy meal…

I make the same thing for lunch every day — it’s a cup of brown rice, a can of tuna, a bit of kecap manis with kewpie mayo, and then chop up celery, baby cucumber, Solanato tomatoes, jalapenos and a few cashews.

Occasionally, I’ll have avocado or capsicum and try to have different vegetables and it’s so delicious. I never get sick of it!

To unwind at the end of the day…

My husband has a dance studio, so he works quite a few evenings and so I’ll often have the kids on my own. That used to be really hectic when they were little, but now it’s often a beautiful wind-down time.

They share a room and I read to them every night — we just finished Runt by Craig Silvey, which we just adored.

I’ll lie with them until they fall asleep, which I really love, and then when my husband comes home we have dinner and chat about the day.

My advice on how to unwind…

The concept that “this too shall pass” helps me unwind and be more present and in the moment.

You’ve got to enjoy the good things while they last, and you’ve got to know that the bad things won’t be there forever.


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