Rewind back to early September; I was in my daily, weekly ritual of doing life, running workshops on resilience, burnout, fatigue across multiple industry sectors, sitting in counselling sessions with individuals and couples discussing crisis management, providing therapeutic tools to support floundering mental health – some days driving to sites from Glenelg to Christies Beach to Reynella to school pick up and then back to Glenelg later in the evening for more sessions to “fit” everyone in. I was literally sprinting in life, until I noticed my tolerance levels, and capacity to deal was wavering. I was more emotional, agitated, and became jealous of my thwarted perception of other people so called “easy life”!
So, what does a therapist do when she isn’t coping? I’ll tell you: she took herself to her therapist and decided to “stop the clock” almost immediately when she looked at me from her sitting chair and kindly uttered “Lisa, its time you made some changes”.
You see it’s not easy in my line of work to say “no” when you receive phone calls, text messages, emails all in significant distress and begging for a cancellation appointment that is closer than May 2022 like most practitioners waiting lists are. The reason it isn’t easy is because why I got into this industry coming up 12 years ago – because I value humans, I know I have some skills that can support maybe a little deeper than a bestie, and I don’t like to hear or see lives suffer. But the truth is that since the global pandemic hit 18 months ago, not only did my industry sector change rapidly with the level of mental health crisis – behind the scenes my personal life and circumstances took a massive hit due to the lovely Covid-19 and also my precious Dad walking out cancer and chemotherapy treatment all completely paralysed me – not in the “I can’t move” version, but on the inside….everything hit crisis, high stress, anxiety, unknown, fear and because I am someone that has huge capacity to cope …I just kept keeping on….in fact I’m fairly sure my slogan is being manufactured on T-shirts as we speak “just keep going”…but I realised in the chair in therapy that day…I was holding my breath, and I had forgotten how to exhale for a very long time.
It was literally as if she gave me permission, an “its ok thumbs up, you’re not weak or a failure Lisa” and I got in my car from that appointment and said out loud to no one but myself:
” I am going to do it”
And EAT PRAY LOVE was born – the month of October…
Restricted to my own home soil I decided that I needed the currency of time. What a privilege hey? Well, I have learnt a lot in this short but sweet chapter and the truth is I am never going to say “I don’t have time” again, and if I hear it in the counselling room or amongst my friends even, I am going to challenge (kindly) that construct because it’s just not true.
I decided that during school hours I was going to invest in me, I was going to try and attempt new therapy experiences that challenged me, and I was going to push myself out of the comfort zone of what my mind, heart and body needed. I created some rules for myself which included I wasn’t going to fill my time with social catch up with friends, I really wanted a solo environment. One of the things I decided was to go clean on a few things, and by clean, I mean eliminate completely. For the entire month I drank 3 Litres of water a day and black coffee exclusively, did not mindlessly scroll on my phone, read or watch any information on mental health, world news, any crisis or sadness stories including on Netflix.
I barely answered my phone, in fact I let it ring out (GASP!) I cleaned my CAR…. I mean most Mum’s would understand the battle of food scraps wedged down crevices the average human can’t reach, and as a woman would I even be one if I didn’t have a few options of wardrobe changes, hair ties and bobby pins for the desperate days when the rest have gone AWOL. I limited social catch ups to almost less than 4 times the entire month – I just needed to check out. You might wonder why any of these things were important, they seem minor in the scheme of life…not really. We live in an age of mass addiction and consumption of foods, beverages, activities, habits, practices that don’t actually serve us for health and wellbeing, in fact some of the things we do are in the name of “self-care” but actually if we were to unpack are built on unhealthy factors and reasons.
I wanted to have a month of discipline, mindfulness and purpose, I chose a few things that were directly related to my physical health, and others mental and emotional and I 100% committed.
I am going to share the experiences, where I did them to support the local business’, I enjoyed them from and the cost to also give insight to the possibility and opportunity from a financial position. There is nothing worse than being sold a concept that is completely unaffordable for the average Aussie – I can tell you that the amount I spent in the month would have been close to a fifth of a 7-day health retreat in sunny Queensland. FACT.
So, this was a BIG surprise for me like BIG…I’m obsessed! The only reason I put a “yoga” experience in my EPL month was because I felt like I “should” give it a go – the truth is I hate yoga – it bores me completely and I always feel like that is a very unZEN thing to admit to but it’s the truth!
But enter my friend “Ariel” it won’t surprise anyone that in my first lesson I was already picturing myself as Pink (the singer!) in concert high above the stage belting out a tune with the grace and strength of a professional. Just quietly I have zero concept of how she does what she does – it is INSANE strength, core and pure talent.
Aerial Movement is a combination of acrobatic arts, fitness, Pilates and yoga. It is the whole package, and I can promise you as a novice the muscle burn and workout are unexpected but welcomed. The cute, warehouse funk type feel at Movement Halo is a big tick just merely for its ambience and atmosphere. Their “Aerial Yoga”, offers a suspension movement system with therapeutic value ~ use of the Aerial hammocks to support the body can ease pressure, create space in the joints, decrease spinal compression and create joy in body and mind. And JOY it is….
Where: Movement Halo
Cost: $25 per lesson
Ice therapy was my first EPL booking. I had watched a documentary last year with Dutch Wim Hoff known as the “Iceman” an extreme athlete who got his nickname by breaking a number of records related to cold exposure including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes. I was intrigued
So, into the freezing chamber I went. Cryotherapy treatment exposes you to a controlled amount of cold temperature (-110c – -150c_ to reduce pain & inflammation, boost metabolism & weight loss, & enhance your body’s natural healing ability. The cold temperature causes the blood vessels to contract, to firm & tighten skin. Then dilate & swell with fresh, nutrient & enzyme rich blood that can encourage new cell growth, flush out & provide a healing boost to your body. The treatment provides intensive stimulation of immune system, provokes endorphin saturation of blood, and blocks pain of any origin.
Its cold people…like…. really cold…and 3 minutes doesn’t go quickly. BUT I loved it, and felt alive and invigorated for the entire day, almost like my entire body from the inside out had been AWOKEN.
After the first session I had several cryotherapy sessions as a back up to my infrared sauna sweat session…. the two go perfectly together!!! I HIGHLY recommend, thanks to my mate Wim.
Where: Blue Lagoon Float & Spa
Cost: 3 minutes $55
I have done this before many years ago. As an asthmatic I can confirm that the evidence of change in my lungs was almost immediate however only lasted a day or so, I am curious to know if regular and longer-term use of this therapy would support and impact in the longer term?
Salt therapy is a natural remedy that involves inhaling pharmaceutical-grade dry salt in a comfortable, controlled environment. As you sit back and relax, a special medical device called a halogenerator disperses microscopic salt particles into the room. You’ll inhale these tiny particles deep into your airways and lungs and they will also land on your skin.
What conditions can salt therapy help?
- Symptoms of skin, respiratory and lifestyle conditions, including:
- Asthma, Eczema & Psoriasis
- Hay Fever & Sinusitis
- Sleep & Snoring
- Stress, Anxiety & Fatigue
Where: Blue Lagoon Float & Spa
Cost: 30 minutes $30
I have shared across socials that I took up piano lessons several years ago as my first step outside of the mum trenches. I have always loved music, it literally does something to my soul and I landed into an incredible local music school where I have been challenged, pushed out of my comfort zone and gifted many opportunities to be on stage and a part of things I never would have known about. During my EPL my music teacher asked if I would perform at Elder Hall with one of their Junior Choir groups – I said YES because that was my rule for the month. I didn’t get caught up with the finer details or the nerves and I just went for it and what an absolute thrill. Too often as we age we believe that things are behind us, above or below us as if there is an age limit on starting something new or beginning again which is a social construct that I believe is a silent but powerful undercurrent in our culture. We are never to old, late, past it, over it or not capable of doing something we have always wanted….in fairness I started lessons the same week as my then 4 year old son…so we saved on music books!
Where: Pathways Music School
Cost: $40 per lesson
If you asked me my favourite season I would respond with Spring, Autumn and Winter….so this sauna experience was one I was not really looking forward to, but I was curious. And what a surprise – I am obsessed, so much so I began doing it 4 x a week.
The first few sessions I won’t lie, it was a struggle – I literally watched the seconds until I decided this was not the best option for “enjoying” this version of therapy! 70 degrees is HAWT…like really hot…. but the results began really quickly, people were commenting on my skin and how healthy and lighter it looked. Truth is I am fairly sure my face melted off – so yay for a new one!
I began to use that little hot box as a “letting go” and “forgiveness” shack…I would imagine the sweat and toxins coming out of my body as literally the physical evidence of stress being expelled and all of the “ugly” emotions, self-talk and conversations I needed to have with other humans that I won’t actually probably ever have. I loved loved loved it, I recruited my husband for a session and let me just say it is incredible couple’s therapy. We found out after that the 70-degree situation with two humans raises it to past 85 degrees, possibly that may have been helpful information before we entered because during the session I kept saying “this is hotter than Hades” but we committed and melted away
Laconiums – heated rooms were used in Ancient Rome to relieve the body & mind.
The Infrared Sauna uses dry heat to warm the body. It allows you to experience a more intense sweat at a lower temperature (well if you call 70 lower). The infrared light aids in releasing toxins from the body, assists with metabolism, relieve sore muscles & boost immune function.
Where: Blue Lagoon Float & Spa
Cost: 30 minutes $35
Hello BUNNINGS 147 visits later…. I planted an herb garden, I built (not successfully) planter boxes and filled them with beautiful, coloured plants, I watered and nutritionally fed my hedges, roses, ornamental pear trees sometimes daily, and gave my outdoor living area a mini “makeover” thanks to Kmart and Spotlight. If this is getting old, I am all about it! But seriously garden/horticultural therapy is a proven thing – hospitals set up specific space in their grounds for patients to visit and be “healed”. It improves physical health, but its therapeutic benefits extend beyond that. From relaxation and stress relief to mental and emotional wellbeing getting welcomed boosts of Vitamin D and “grounding” along the garden path.
Cost: How much is a lot?
Allied Health Therapy
I have shared this before that once a month I book into see my expert. I don’t necessarily understand it all, but it absolutely works and if I could go and retrain and re-educate; I would put my resignation in and head to China and find myself and “Master”. Acupuncture is believed to stimulate the central nervous system and stimulates the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional wellbeing. I have had countless evidence-based experiences of this working personally and improving my health much to the cynicism of medical doctors that now it forms a part of my wellbeing jigsaw puzzle on a monthly basis
Where: Dr Alex Liew , Ashford SA
I have been to Chiropractors over the years, but it has been something I have done when I can’t walk, bend or turn my neck – you know crisis point! So, I decided I wanted to include the health of my spine, correct my body’s alignment and overall physical function as part of my attention for EPL. I have caught up in the past month and now have 4-6 weekly visits booked in.
Where: Bayside Sport & Health
Dr Nathan Akmens
Cost: My health cover doesn’t include Chiro as an extra so first consult was $95 and following appts $55
Up until 2 years ago I had a 6 year gap between dental appointments – I mean …not ok…but one of my least favourite places AND truthfully so low on the ladder of importance it was never a pressing issue, however I learnt my lesson and during EPL I booked in for a “teeth clean” which is less about glistening white teeth and more about maintenance and a complete “scraping” clean of all of the stuff….was it my most fun thing ..a big fat N for NO…but I’m committed to this health care regularly moving forward twice a year
Where: Dental Studio Glenelg
Cost: I’m not sure…I have private health cover
I went camping off the grid amongst the sandhills with friends and zero amenities other than the hills and ocean. Sand dune jumping, campfires, games, fishing and the privilege of gale fore winds and rain to break us in. Let’s keep it in focus our friends all had the “gear” the campervans, the gadgets, the complete get-up. US…we borrowed my dad’s 4wd car, my brother in laws tent, sleeping bags, camping chairs – pretty much everything!!! For some people they would have said no to the experience because of the lack of equipment but we said and big fat yes and I am so glad we did. One of the other fabulous experiences was that we went surfing in water that hurt because it was so cold….like hurt hurt…I kept thinking of the ice chamber sessions booked in and how its all apparently mind over matter….I am not normally a beach person – I feel like that’s a very “UNAustralian” thing to admit but my Irish/Scottish skin gets burnt literally from the sun reflecting on the sand. I also hate the aftermath of sand if I am completely honest. But as I was bobbing over the waves holding the board, I was thinking about how women especially stop trin new things as the get older because they don’t want to get their hair messed up or struggle with body image, fear or perceived lack of time. I am not saying I am about to become a surfer chick but we are going to purchase wetsuits for the family and further adventures!
Where: York Peninsula
Cost: $10 per night council camping fees
I mean it would be weird if I didn’t include Counselling into my EPL agenda. There are so many therapy tools and platforms available, however talk therapy happens to be one of my favourites. The truth is I often drive to my appointment with my counsellor and think “what am I even going to talk about?” and before I know I have hit the 58-minute mark downloaded and unpacked something I wasn’t expecting! Counselling still isn’t a hot favourite in 2021 however, with the right therapist it is a powerful space and can provide a deeper awareness of mental, emotional, and relational hiccups holding us to ransom. Avoiding said hiccups really have one destination point that I have personally attended and can confirm is not the place you will enjoy.
Where: Find one that you trust and kindly challenges you.
I had been given a couple of vouchers for Endota for my birthday so perfect timing. How many people have been given the same and forgot or just not “had time” to book it – I mean is that the definition of crazy? But it happens, one day as I was waiting for my appt a woman walked in and discussed a voucher she had been given in 2019 and wanted to know if it was still ok to use…ummmmm I know life can get in the way, but it absolutely shouldn’t….
Cost: Recruit vouchers over the year!
I have done a Float tank before, but this was different. It wasn’t in a tank, which I think for many people could be a barrier. This was like having your own private pool, with candlelight and the water flickering light onto the ceiling like a beautiful production. 30 minutes is surprisingly long; however, I could imagine that an hour session would possibly take you to a deeper calm and relax position. Floatation therapy involves lying ini float pool in which you are suspended in 1000kg of magnesium sulphate (pharmaceutical-grade Epsom salts) the density of the water means it so buoyant that you float effortlessly and experience an incredible feeling of weightlessness.
Floatation therapy is backed by over 200 studies showing it to be of benefit for a vast range of mental and physical conditions, such as:
- Helps reach a state of total calm and deep relaxation
- Improves sleep, jet lag & insomnia
- Gives you more energy and feel rejuvenated
- Alleviates stress, anxiety, fear, depression
- Relieve pain from injuries, arthritis, tension, fibromyalgia, migraines, pms, multiple sclerosis, pregnancy tension, bursitis
- Balances your metabolism and hormones
- Decreases production of cortisol, ACTH, lactic acid and adrenaline
- Boosts immune function
Where: Blue Lagoon Float & Spa
Cost: $60 per 30 minutes
Half a day riding up in the Adelaide Hills that included gorgeous sunshine and spontaneous rain downpours with a bunch of friends with constant laughter was definitely a highlight. I decided early on that I needed FUN and we have hired E-bikes several times before across the state and loved every single minute of it, so I knew it was to be on the agenda. One of the things that gets lost in translation in adulthood is often PLAY THERAPY – in its simple form adults having fun. Fun that doesn’t involve or is connected to children, work, or any other function aside from “just because”. For anyone that hasn’t experienced |E-bikes it is not a completely free ride, you will definitely work and get the blood pumping and feel the wind in your hair with the added bonus of turning up the battery and letting the magic propel you forward and UP!
Where: Bike About
So at the end of my EAT PRAY LOVE what have I learnt….a few things! We all need to look up more often. I have had people call me inspiring, indulgent and a few things in between. Interestingly the indulgent comment really bothered me because I have a relationship with that word that is not something that sits comfortably. What has been really important for me is TIME and the opportunity to try new things that may or may not improve my entire being.
I have learnt that no one wins an academy award for being a martyr even if it is in the name of “helping others” I have learnt that its ok to jump completely off the treadmill and choose to get back on it differently. I have learnt that the in-between school hours are actually a LOT of minutes when you are free. I have learnt that baking cakes straight out of the oven for school pick ups is one of my new favourite things to do. I have learnt that water and iced long black coffees are actually the bomb. I have learnt that joy comes from the very simple things like cleaning out my handbags, I have learnt that I need to say no a lot lot lot more so that I am saying yes to other things instead. I have learnt that I cannot be a counsellor personally and privately so boundaries are uber important. I have learnt that I am actually simple and uncomplicated. I have learnt that courage is actually a “doing” word. I have learnt that just because we can doesn’t mean we should. I have learnt that our identity such as WOMAN or MAN outside of work and titles like mum, wife, boss, friend can often get lost in the noise so we need to turn the volume up a little on that one part. I have learnt that -110 degrees is cold but doable. I have learnt that the ocean is a great “dry shampoo” alternative. I have learnt that having fun is critical to my life. I have learnt that active wear is rock solid for most occasions if you can swing it. I have learnt I am good company to myself.
There are going to be some people who read this blog eye roll and keep scrolling on social media , others who get pumped and think “I’M DOING IT” but you never will because other things get in the way and you are not your priority. Then maybe a handful of you will make phone calls tomorrow and book some time off work, off kids, or will choose to spend your spare time differently after reading this. Whatever the case I can categorically confirm there will be a sequel to EPL2021….it will be called EAT PRAY LOVE 2022
**Please note I was not paid to endorse or recommend any of the business mentioned here – I did so because they were amazing and provided excellent services and products – I personally paid for every treatment and/or experience**