We all know it, we live in an age of technology. We have made ourselves available 100% of the time and are always switched-on (literally). I know for work, social connection and entertainment, technology is an integral part of my lifestyle.
Here’s a quick bio: I am 33 years old and live a full life, where spending time alone has become ancient history. I am the director of an interior design and architecture firm. I co-run a design blog. My social life is full with my family, work, my school-gals or my work-gals. I share my life with a great partner, his two teenager daughters, and our two dogs. We live in Marrickville, Sydney. While it is a convenient and trendy suburb, it is also an industrial area, and I feel like we live in the midst of a concrete jungle.
When Sporteluxe asked me to partake in a digital detox at the Eden Health Retreat in the Currumbin Valley (Queensland), I both jumped at the chance and became quietly terror-stricken. Not only would I not be able to feed my 4/5/6-coffees-a-day habit, but I would also have to spend six nights and seven days without my phone, without reception, without internet and most scarily—without access to social media. Panic began to set in as I feared that I was going to be surrounded by two types of people: 1) the health-pretentious, beautiful people, and 2) the vegan-yogis. I quickly realised that I probably wasn’t going to fit in.
I’ll want to preface this story of my experience at the Eden Health Retreat by saying I couldn’t have been more wrong. The love story of Eden Health Retreat and I sets place hidden away from reality and surrounded by one of the beautiful Queensland rainforests. Eden is the ultimate sanctuary to de-stress and focus more on social interaction and the connection between nature and yourself.
Every morning I was awakened by the gentle ‘dong’ of a bell at 5.55am. With no need to stress about setting the alarm, my night time routine and sleep became one of calm and relaxation. Chinese Yoga at 6.15am was the morning ritual. Run by Dr Jonathan Dao, he opened our eyes to Eastern philosophies and how to be more mindful of how we treat our bodies.
The retreat made me revisit my relationship with food. With a focus on clean eating, proportions and ‘roughage’ (a high-fibre diet); there was a vast selection of vegetables, some fruits, meats and an abundance of nuts and seeds. They catered for all dietary requirements. Both the eye and the mouth enjoyed the meals.
Leah Itsines led us in a cooking demonstration and ran us through her new cookbook, The Nourishing Cook. She reminded us how quick, simple and delicious healthy eating could be. Leah was so relatable and compassionate. Her goals were to help people, and she helped people through food.
Eden truly made me learn to appreciate small things. We always had to ‘work for it’ to receive the reward. Our ‘reward’ was a simple pleasure such as food, an activity, a treatment, alone time or sleep. The ‘work’ was either working in a team or walking. Our cabins, the dining room, the spa, the gym, and activity locations were strategically located far and wide, either at the bottom or the top of a long winding hill. We incidentally walked kilometres for our simple pleasures.
Each day was a surprise until we received our daily timetable. It listed times for our activities, treatments, to eat our five (delicious) meals, and drink our Tea Tonic herbal teas. These teas were our lifesavers for people suffering from coffee withdrawals (ME… I experienced terrible headaches on day 2). I was encouraged (but not pushed) to go out of my comfort zone with some ‘challenging’ activities. I partook in both flying fox and giant swing activities, both of which tested my need for control, fear of heights and forced me to learn how to release, ‘let go’ and trust. The initial fear quickly turned into a feeling of freeness.
It wasn’t all hard work. I experienced some deliciously-dreamy spa treatments such as; Age Correcting Facial, Lemongrass Crème Body Wrap Ritual, Reflexology Massage and Hot Rock Therapy. I walked out of these treatments feeling rejuvenated and amazed by the instantly smoother, glowing, replenished skin. I was intrigued with some of the other treatments that I had never heard of before and thought ‘when in Rome’. I tried the Kahuna Body Work, Healing Session with Dr Jonathan Dao and the Aloha Healing Session with Hawaiian heritage, Rachelle.
These were massages or deep tissue massages mixed with what seemed to be a lifetime of therapy. Your mind wanders back through old memories, and lets go of any clinging emotional blocks. The only word to describe it is MAGIC. A sense of peace waves over you. I felt focused and found my true self. My uniquely great qualities presented themselves, and I realised they have always been there, just overshadowed with my ambitions pushing me to be overworked, others expectations of what I “should do” or “shouldn’t do” and self-comparisons to others.
The people I shared my week have left a significant impression on me. Pip Edwards from P.E Nation sparked some fierce motivation in me. Her drive, her strength and her trust in her intuition are truly admirable. I am now an even bigger fan of P.E Nation, Pip and her tribe. TV personality, Carissa Walford, added a sparkle to the week. I realised how a constant smile on your face is contagious to those around you. Fashion stylist, Penny McCarthy, not only looked glamorous every day, but she owned her style, I loved how it reflected her infectious personality.
Our very last activity was outdoor pilates on the grass fields of Eden, led by the gorgeous Kirsten King of Fluid Form Pilates. After a week of concentrated mindfulness, the class only emphasised my need to continue this mental and physical journey that the digital detox ignited. When it was time to farewell Eden and all her glory, I felt sad that the love story was coming to an end, until I realised it is the begin of a new love story with myself.
My digital detox allowed me to have the space to think, discover and update my core values, care for my body, my mind and my soul. With the help of P.E Nation and Eden Health Retreat, I have removed emotional blocks, overcome fear, found a sense of peace and direction. As Pip directly said to me ‘It’s interesting when you meet yourself for the first time…’ I can genuinely say this is true. I want to keep learning more about this newly found ‘me’. The Digital Detox at Eden Health Retreat is like life medicine. I highly recommend visiting, if fact, I think it should be mandatory. I also suggesting create your own space for a ‘digital detox’ or even ‘digital reduction’. Like the coffee withdrawals, the digital withdrawals were tough, but after the ‘work’ came the ‘reward’.
Written by Mia Lake, Interior Designer.