Saltwater Therapy – Mental Health Soup for the Soul
October 20, 2016 by Stuart Rawlins
Sand everywhere, three young kids, no proper toilet and how the hell am I going to watch the footy grand final. These were just my initial thoughts when a good mate suggested we head up the beach with them for a weekend of camping and relaxing.
Then came the clincher, no mobile phone reception, the Bush TV (I will explain this one a bit later), only a strip of sand between us and the water and the roar of the ocean all night while you sleep. Sign-Me-Up was my response, and that was that we were booked in for three days camping at Noosa’s beautiful Double Island Point.
Did I mention we don’t have any camping gear at all?
Well with the assistance of our lovely neighbours we managed to borrow their camper trailer and a few more things from the friends we were going with and we were set.
Having recently been on a two week family adventure of New Zealand’s South Island without my mobile phone, the thought of another quick trip away without a mobile phone was tantalizing to say the least.
As the days grew closer I couldn’t get two things out of my head.
The thought of going to bed listening to the roar of the ocean; and
Three days without mobile phone access.
As we hit the beach late in the afternoon I literally felt the stress and tension fall away, well actually I could only that for about all of 2klms until we realised our friends were bogged near the waters edge on a in-coming tide.
After bogging ourselves trying to help them out the only solution left was using 3 x V8 Toyota Land-cruisers hitched together with snatch-n-straps to get them out.
Funnily enough the stress of both of us getting bogged right on the waters edge with the waves coming closer and closer was exhilarating, it made me feel alive. I had full confidence in our friends and the kindness of other beach goers was refreshing.
With a tow up to the Teerwah township we decided to sit out the turn of the tide and continue on after the tide had dropped so we could get a good run on the harder sand down close to the water’s edge.
As we cracked the top off a few beers and got some dinner sorted for the kids we took some time to thanks our rescuers and it was then when I started to feel the start of some saltwater therapy.
To give you an idea of what I am talking about have a quick look at the below photo!
At this point I also realised that I had no mobile phone reception and it sunk-in, no-one can contact me even if I wanted them to. Knowing this removed the guilt of having to put my phone on silent or do not disturb, but still secretly check it every few minutes.
As the sun went down while our families stayed at the site we took over a small fire pit that had been left behind by another group of people on the beach. Grabbing some fire wood from the dunes we got it going again and this is where I was introduced to the ‘Bush TV’.
You see the Bush TV (Fire) is captivating to watch, and changing the channel is as simple as adding another log and watching how the fire caresses the wood before taking hold and turning it into red hot coals that glow and change colours. So there we were two men sitting in the complete dark away from the our families staring at the fire, we talked about life, its challenges and triumphs, but most importantly we talked!
Having some uninterrupted time to talk to a friend is so beneficial for your mental health. Talking can be more than just words, it can often allow someone who maybe going through a difficult time to unload some of the stress and pressure they have been carrying around inside of them.
Besides as the saying goes ‘A problem shared is a problem halved!’
Later that night we managed to navigate our way up the beach and find a suitable camping spot where we set up and unpacked. With a bit more Bush TV time under our belt at our new home it was time for bed and to check out this promised all night roar from the ocean.
Well it was there alright, all night and for every minute over the next three days. The sound of the waves crashing down some 60 meters away takes a bit of getting used to, but I can tell you it is a great sound to go to sleep to!
Over the coming days we had some great family adventures four-wheel-driving, fishing and generally exploring but there was one activity that really stood out for me. At the end of the beach is a little cove where most campers and day-trippers congregate to relax, surf, swim and snorkel around the amazing rock formations.
It was at this location that I managed to take my 9 year old son snorkeling in the ocean for the first time. His nervousness and apprehension was soon replaced with excitement and exhilaration at seeing the thriving ecosystem of fish, jellyfish and turtles that were literally within meters of the waters edge.
That time connecting and bonding with my eldest son is something I will cherish for ever. It was something that also made me appreciate the joys of family, having my health and the unconditional love that children possess.
Sitting back on the beach in a fold-out chair with the sun slowly warming me back up I could taste the dried salt on my lips and smell the sunscreen that was on my face. As I watched my son back in the water with his new found passion for snorkeling I felt a sense of calm, a feeling of ‘I could be anywhere in the world right now with this view’.
But I wasn’t I was simply about one and a half hours from home enjoying the very simple but amazing pleasures the beach, the ocean and the saltwater had to offer.
If you want a location where you can relax, reconnect and take some time out from the world to work on your mental health, then get yourself to the beach!
Saltwater Therapy – Mental Health Soup for the Soul!
PS – Watching the footy grand-final on a flat screen tv in our friends caravan with a few neighbouring campers in-tow was great!
Stuart Rawlins | Healthy Mind Healthy Future
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