emotional health, food, health, mental health, motivational, nature

Taking a break

There's nothing like dipping your toes in to the ocean.
There’s nothing like dipping your toes in to the ocean.

I escaped from Brisbane this week just gone and thoroughly enjoyed a refreshing break.

I’ve written several times about why taking a break is important, how I like to relax and why the great outdoors is good for us.

This break started out in Campbelltown, Western Sydney. I’d just finished my Master of Health Science (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Women’s Health workshops for the year. (I’d like to add that these workshops were excellent – we had speakers on the use of acupuncture and herbal medicine for PCOS, IVF support and male infertility.)

This is Nicola Macdonald (the owner of the clinic) and I enjoying breakfast on our last day there:

Nov 14 UWS

I then jumped on a train to the NSW Central Coast to visit my cousin and his partner. And on the day I arrive their ducklings hatched out of their eggs. One of them will be called Sarah. ūüėČ

Nov 14 ducklings
Ducks aren’t very clucky so this hen was happy to lend her services.

This couple are interested in sustainable living. In addition to the ducks, they have a very impressive veggie garden which is helped along by rotating their chooks around the beds. Further down the backyard are the horses. Meals always include a good helping of fresh veggies from the garden. Oh! And I also tried my first duck egg – scrambled with fresh herbs.

The duck pond with just the edge of the veggie garden in the background.
The duck pond with just the edge of the veggie garden in the background.

My next stop was Nelson Bay in Port Stephens. This place is a sleepy little coastal town. My drawcard was that I had read that the scuba diving was up there with some of the best that New South Wales¬†has to offer. We headed out on the boat to Broughton Island. This was my first dive in a while and I was lucky enough to see a Grey Nurse shark at around¬†2.5-3m. She was a biggie! I also met some lovely new friends on the boat. I’ll be back to Nelson Bay for some shore diving sometime, it is supposed to be spectacular!

Nov 14 Nelson Bay

After these adventures I gradually made my way back up to Brisbane. Relaxed, refreshed and inspired. ūüôā

I’m back in the clinic this Thursday and Friday.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

emotional health, health, mental health, motivational

There’s nothing like a break

GBR anemone fishHello! ¬†It’s been a little while, but I’m back to you bursting with good health and wellbeing tips after a lovely little break.

Last year was a huge year filled with so many wonderful things including big days at the clinic with my lovely patients, teaching my eager beaver students about acupuncture at the Endeavour GBR clamCollege of Natural Health and recommencing my own studies with the Master of Health Science (Traditional Chinese Medicine) at the University of Western Sydney.  I spent the break between Christmas and New Year having an incredibly super time at the Woodford Folk Festival spreading the word on Traditional Chinese GBR sunsetMedicine dietary health at the Blue Lotus stage.  Add this all together, and well, I was feeling the need for some slow down time in the shape of a break come February.

So, off I took, to tropical North Queensland where the air is warm and the vibe is slow and relaxed.  I jumped onto a dive boat and spent the best part of three days underwater scuba diving with the fishes.  And those three days, well they felt longer.  They felt good and were just what I needed to unwind and relax.  Why is scuba diving so relaxing?

So, my message to you is this. ¬†A holiday doesn’t need to be long or expensive or take you to far away places to have that refreshing effect. Short bursts in different surroundings (that do it for you), regularly, may be just what you need. Got one planned? ¬†Pull out your diary/iphone calender now and block yourself out a short break or two to get you through to mid year. ¬†A long weekend here and there can work wonders.

I’ve included a few photos of the underwater adventure land that we are so lucky to have only two hours flight from Brisbane. ¬†The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living structure and needs to be explored to be really appreciated. ¬†Do it!

And if you need another somewhat weather appropriate message of how a good break can pick you up, then this gem is it.  Enjoy!

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

emotional health, exercise, health, mental health, nature, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Scuba diving: extreme relaxation

Great Barrier Reef Anemone Fish, otherwise known as Nemo

Last week I took advantage of a 5-day gap in my schedule (between speaking at a midwives seminar and supervising the College Acupuncture Clinic)¬†and¬†headed off for a well-earned break to the warm, tropical waters of North Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef.

Yes, the mini-holiday was relaxing, but it was my activity of choice that had far more to offer in tranquility than your average beach holiday.  I wanted to really slow down.  And this pastime had plenty to offer  for busy, city people who rush around, burn the candle at both ends and see the world in a blur.

I went scuba diving: three days living on a boat, ten dives, plenty of food and a few naps.  Bliss.  Not at all an extreme sport, well not the way I do it anyway.

But why was it so deeply relaxing?

  1. Go slow.¬† Scuba diving makes you slow down.¬† You can’t swim fast, and if you try to move about in a flurry, you disturb your buoyancy and end up floating towards the surface and/or stirring up the sand on the bottom.¬† A definite no-no.¬† In fast-paced modern life¬†there aren’t many activities that are¬†encouraged to be¬†done slowly, diving is one of the rare few.
  2. Breathe.¬† Remember how to breathe slowly and deeply? As soon as most of us are stressed our breathing rate increases and becomes shallow.¬† When scuba diving, it’s advantageous to slow your breathing rate down to conserve air,¬†that way you can enjoy the tranquil underwater world for longer.¬† Breathing slowly also encourages our blood vessels to dilate and our blood pressure to lower, which is relaxing for both the mind and the body.
  3. Enjoy the moment.¬†¬†This is perhaps the most important point and one that is easily missed in normal life.¬† The practice of ‘mindfulness¬†meditation’ is built on this concept.¬† Rather than clearing your mind of thoughts, we focus on really experiencing exactly what is around us, right at this second.¬† When scuba diving, as¬†we slowly move through the water, the whole idea is to do just that, explore¬†the surroundings – take in the big picture; the beautiful coral gardens and abundant fish life or focus in on the minute detail of a section of rock and its little ecosystem¬†of shrimp,¬†nudibranchs¬†and tiny fish – the things you would ordinarily be too busy to notice (such as the anemone fish pictured above).¬† Time may almost stand still. (And the added bonus of that is your holiday will also seem longer!)

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, diving offers us real ‘yin’ time.¬† It’s not only slow and peaceful, but also involves being immersed in cool water.¬† You can’t get much more yin that that.

This is just one way I like to unwind.¬†¬†How¬†do you choose to spend your ‘yin’ time?

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.