We all know the saying “practice what you preach” yet many of us struggle to consistently achieve this higher standard of living. I for one have been challenged immensely in April as I looked after my mother undergoing Cancer treatment in addition to being with my 2-year old son full-time. After all my Mental Wellbeing research and the promotion of these strategies via the Happylocal platforms, I needed to really dig deep and put into practice all those techniques for coping, resilience and confidence building during tough times and making the most of challenging situations – even savouring them! Well honestly said, that last part was a bit of a stretch although by seeing situations as only temporary and seeking out activities that might bring me joy…we made it through the haze.
As I’ve said before, it’s a non-negotiable to your survival that you nurture some self-care time in order to be the steady ship you need to be for others. Activities that work wonders are eating well, exercising, meditating, a mindfulness practice or for me, it was time spent in nature and a little “out-there” indulgence. Being in Wellington, I have been able to access a couple of unique outdoor spaces that my son was also able to enjoy – The Wellington Zoo and Zealandia. The Wellington Zoo was a well maintained, educational place to visit, which managed to evoke a lot of childlike joy in me due to the animals present and interactive activities one could participate in regardless if you were an adult or child. Zealandia was very similar in that the work that these organisations are doing for the enjoyment and education around animal care and conservation is impressive beyond words, the mission Zelandia in particular states:
“ZEALANDIA is the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, with an extraordinary 500-year vision to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems as closely as possible to their pre-human state”.
Who wouldn’t want to support that!
Another way I kept things afloat during the month (pun intended) was experiencing the truly unique way to relax that is Float Pod Therapy. The research behind this new approach to relaxation is phenomenal, such benefits include:
◦ Creates mental clarity, alertness
◦ Increases creativity, problem-solving
◦ Heightens visualisation
◦ Deepens meditation
◦ Decreases the production of cortisol, ACTH, lactic acid and adrenaline
◦ Increases production of endorphins
◦ Speeds up rehabilitation and recovery
◦ Relieves pain (arthritis, migraines, injuries and so on)
◦ Boosts immune function
◦ Improves circulation and distribution of oxygen and nutrients
◦ Reduces blood pressure, pulse, heart rate and oxygen consumption
◦ Improves athletic performance
◦ Help prevent sports injuries, speeds healing process
I just want to say for the record, yes it does take a couple of sessions to get used to it – especially to fully relax. However, you don’t need to feel claustrophobic at all in this pod, it’s actually ample space and relaxing like a huge bath. You can leave a slight gap in the opening if you need to like I did to give you a feeling of connection to the outside world but my goal is to let this go eventually! It’s actually known to be quite a confronting therapy; bringing things to the surface but in a really productive way so that you become self-aware and reflect. It made me realise when you finally let go of all the control you think you need over things or ridiculous thoughts that consume us constantly, you experience such a deep quiet we hardly have the opportunity to access anymore. I highly recommend you give it a go, especially with the Urban Retreat team who made me feel so welcome from start to finish and the whole experience was just so indulgent!