Australia + Health & Lifestyle + Healthy Travel

Gwinganna: How I found my calm again at this health retreat

16 June 2017
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The last few weeks I have been suffering from mild anxiety.


Truth is – it is quite a strange emotion for me to feel these days. I can’t even recall the last time I felt ‘anxious’ (or perhaps I just haven’t been aware of it because I have been so busy).


I write this because I know so many of you can relate. That pit in your stomach feeling when you wake up– the worst, right?!


Even worse, when you can’t quite pin point WHY you are feeling anxious. Having an actual reason – for some reason makes you feel 5% better about it.


I was for sure a very anxious child and teenager but thankfully grew out of it. I have been in therapy for many years now to obtain the tools I need to cope with anxious/stressful times.


For the last few years I have (so thankfully) felt very calm, focused and optimistic about life. I feel very in control of my thoughts and emotions.


If you know me, you know I take good care of myself. I practice yoga 2-3x/week. I eat very well. I take work breaks. I have strict social media boundaries. I listen to my body. I am kind to myself. Food has zero control over my thoughts these days. I am in a very healthy and happy relationship. I have 99% healed my relationship with food and my body. My energy is amazing. I am happy.


But… I also have been feeling anxious.


So last weekend I packed my bags last minute and took myself to the amazing Gwinganna Health and Lifestyle Retreat for the weekend to try and figure out the cause of this anxiety and to disconnect from the chaos of everyday life.


This gorgeous health retreat nestled in the hinterland just outside of the Gold Coast. A quick 1-hour flight from Sydney.


What drew me to this retreat?


The no reception and no phone/computer rule (thank you universe!!!), no coffee machines allowed (ouch, but I need this) and the ‘dreamtime’ afternoon you experience each afternoon from 2pm-7pm where all you are allowed to do is sleep, read, meditate, be in the steam room or have a massage… Ummm 5 hours of rest? Are you kidding? Yes… Please!


This appealed to me more than I can express in words.


You too?


So off I went and experienced 2 magical days!


If you need to find your inner calm and ease everyday anxiety – this is the place!


Their program is literally tailored at helping you disconnect from the stress of the outside world and implement tools and techniques that can help you better manage stress and anxiety – just what I needed. My entire nervous system just dropped!


What a day looks like at Gwinganna


6am: Qi Gong with the sunrise – Qi Gong is kind of like Tai Chi. Incredibly healing and calming. 6am sounds really scary and early, I know. But when you see how much you get to rest during the day, you don’t mind this early wakeup call. You can also kindly decline being woken up, don’t worry. It is truly truly an incredible start to the day.




6:45am: Gentle walk in nature or a moderate/intense walk in the bush. I chose the gentle walk in nature.


8am: Delicious wholesome breakfast – gluten free, sugar free, dairy free and 100% organic. I loved their homemade gluten free bread with a poached egg and sautéed greens – JSHealth style! You also enjoy fruit and a choice of a gluten free warm oatmeal to start with.


9am: You get to experience 2 hours of amazing holistic movement. You get the choice between doing YIN or YANG movement (gentle or strong exercise). If you know me and my philosophy on exercise, I am all about moderate forms of movement – moving your body in ways that you love and focusing on calming your nervous system. So each morning I chose the Yin movement which was a NIA dance class, yoga or stretch – all amazing.


11am: Morning tea. The best tahini balls you may ever eat, ever. Followed by a nutrition/health talk.


12pm: Relaxation class with blankets and cushions before lunch. Could this day get any better? I asked myself…


1pm: Delicious organic lunch. The turmeric chicken with quinoa and sautéed veggies was a highlight for me. Yum.




2pm-7pm: DREAMTIME – my favourite part of the day. 5 hours of rest. All you can do is read in nature, sleep on your day bed, have a massage in the award winning spa or meditate somewhere pretty. I mean, this is just too good to be true. You can’t even comprehend how calm, rested and at ease you feel after these 5 hours.  And remember, you have no phone/computer anywhere near you!


This really got me thinking about how much anxiety my phone and computer cause in my everyday life.

Setting boundaries with social media and technology is absolutely essential to live a healthy life. I am so sure of this.

My business now runs on social media but since implementing by 6-7pm switch off time – my sleep and stress levels have dramatically improved.


Gwinganna is a perfect place to experience how good it feels to disconnect from technology and to start to implement boundaries.




7pm: Delicious organic dinner. Absolutely loved the quinoa and lentil moussaka. You have a choice of vegetarian based dinner or meat based. Your meals are always accompanied with amazing salads or sautéed/steamed veggies.


8pm: Bed/reading time. Heavenly. Your body drifts away with absolute ease with the sounds of nature calming every part of your mind/body.



I have come home calm, rested and identified the causes of my anxiety. I have implemented great lifestyle adjustments that will help keep my mind/body steady and balanced.



The food:

Delicious. All organic. All gluten free too. The food is designed to help your body gently detoxify during your time there. You can notify the staff of any dietary requirements/food intolerances which they so kindly cater to. The food is literally picked from their gardens for each meal – farm to table style. Quite amazing.




The accommodation:

Beautifully done. Clean and comfortable. I stayed in the Orchard room.


The Spa:

 The best in Australia, The Hawaiian body work treatment and Lomi Lomi massages are out of this world. Highly recommend. Each therapist has had years and years of experience – you can tell. I spent very afternoon in the steam room too – so cleansing and delicious.




So glad I got to enjoy this deliciously invigorating retreat.


This is a place to put on the bucket list! Find out more here!


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