ISSUE 8 | NOVEMBER 2021
WELLBEING VIDEOS & INFO FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
Steve and Lynette Waugh on helping “orphans” of the health system and overcoming personal tragedy The “other” pandemics – calls to mental health crisis lines soar, and “languishing” becomes a new way of life Beating boredom and other “vices” that have escalated since COVID Don’t miss out on your injury compensation entitlements The joy of animals – and ways to contribute to their welfare The insidious path to burnout and how to avoid it
Welcome Hello and welcome to Issue 8 of Thrive – the run towards the end of the year with a smile on our dials as we emerge out lockdowns around the country and into a summer that feels oh so special!! What a year it has been, with Thrive 7, we were in the thick of it after the nation collectively shook our heads wondering if there was ever an end to a situation that whilst we had been here before, still felt foreign. Now as the World is starting to open up again, the future looks bright and summer in Australia is guaranteed to be one filled with fun, family and friends, laughs and the appreciation of how resilient we can actually be. To help with the brightening of spirits and the pep in our step, we are pumped to be bringing you some fantastic stories involving Steve and Lynette Waugh on helping “orphans” of the health system and overcoming personal tragedy, Understanding a term we haven’t commonly heard before but have all felt what it means to move through ‘Languishing’, The joy of animals – and ways to contribute to their welfare, beating boredom and other lockdown vices we developed, extinguishing the flames of burnout, and some yummy recipes from the farmers market as we get out again to enjoy and support the availability of fresh produce! With a smile on our faces, we hope Issue 8 brings you an increased sense of motivation and confidence in lifting your heads a little higher towards the sun and put the past behind us for a bright future! On the last page, we ask again for your feedback to help us continue to bring bigger and better Issues of Thrive, please take 5 minutes to complete for your chance to win 1 of 5 $50 eftpos cards for you to use on celebrating a bright future! Thank you for your continued readership, stay strong and THRIVE ON! Anthony & Lachlan PUBLISHED BY
Thrive Magazine | www.thrivemagazine.com.au CONTACT US
105 Carpenter Street, Brighton, Victoria 3186 Phone: 03 9592 8986 PUBLISHERS
Lachlan McPherson & Anthony McCabe EDITOR Jenni Gilbert PRODUCTION Mick Carney
Blue Banana Graphics & Design - Kelsie Spies CONTRIBUTORS Steve and Lynette Waugh,
Dr Natalie Flatt, Cath Muscat, Danielle “The Magpie Whisperer”, Anita Tomecki, Sophie Scott, Alexx Stuart
Inside CELEBRITY SPEAK
STEVE AND LYNETTE WAUGH’S TIRELESS WORK FOR “ORPHANS” OF THE HEALTH SYSTEM
LYNETTE WAUGH TALKS ABOUT RECOVERY FROM A DEVASTATING STROKE AND SIGNS TO BE AWARE OF
“LANGUISHING” – THE DOMINANT EMOTION OF 2021
MY LITTLE CHICKADEES – A FLUFFY FLOCK FULL OF JOY
HEART-WARMING TALE OF “THE MAGPIE WHISPERER”
CELEBRATING THE RSPCA’S 150TH ANNIVERSARY AND OTHER VITAL ANIMAL WELFARE ORGANISATIONS
BEATING BOREDOM AND OTHER “VICES” ACCELERATED BY LOCKDOWNS
THE INSIDIOUS PATH TO BURNOUT AND HOW TO AVOID IT
THE “OTHER” PANDEMIC – CALLS TO MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS LINES AND SERVICES SOAR
THE LATE TECH GENIUS STEVE JOBS’ LEGACY VIDEO ABOUT FOLLOWING YOUR INTUITION AGAINST THE ODDS FOR A REWARDING LIFE ACTOR DENZEL WASHINGTON ON TAKING RISKS AND “FALLING FORWARD” IN THESE UNCERTAIN TIMES
INJURYMATE - ACT QUICKLY TO SEEK COMPENSATION, YOU ARE ENTITLED TO
ALEXX STUART – A QUEEN OF LOW TOX FOOD
RECIPES – ALEXX STUART’S FARMER’S MARKET FEAST
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Going into Bat for Orphans” of the Health System HOW FORMER AUSTRALIAN CRICKET CAPTAIN STEVE WAUGH AND HIS WIFE LYNETTE HAVE TRANSFORMED THE LIVES OF HUNDREDS OF CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES WITH NOWHERE ELSE TO TURN BY ESTABLISHING THE STEVE WAUGH FOUNDATION | RARE DISEASE FOUNDATION AUSTRALIA Cricket titan and stellar Australian captain for seven years, Steve Waugh largely disappeared from the game when he retired in 2004 after almost two decades. Instead of turning to commentary, selection or coaching, “I wanted to create some new memories in my life rather than just reliving the past," he says, with 168 Tests and 10,927 runs to his name, and having led Australia to a win at the 1999 World Cup and a still-record 16 consecutive Test wins. Steve’s desire to help those less fortunate began during a cricket tour to India in the late 1980s. "We went to visit a project," he says. "I decided from that point on to sponsor a kid for a year with World Vision or one of those organisations. That got me open to the concept of being involved." That desire intensified after meeting Mother Teresa, the Catholic saint known for her lifelong dedication to charity work around the world, particularly in India. 4 | THRIVE #8
Although not a religious man, Steve once revealed in an interview that the person he would most like to meet was Mother Teresa. Cricket writer Robert Craddock stored this info away and when the Australian team arrived in -Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1996 for the World Cup game, he made some calls.
“The floor space was almost totally taken up by tightly bunched sisters, all clad in pure white cloth with dashes of blue.” Then Steve revealed the tiny Mother Teresa appeared – he almost tripped over her – and they were introduced for a few moments of chit-chat. “Her face was wrinkled and weathered, yet soft and welcoming and she radiated a tremendous inner strength and sense of compassion,” he recalled. "It was only a fleeting sort of moment where we talked. But I think it just gave me some inspiration that maybe I could play my small part down the track. "Obviously you can't emulate what she did or achieved, but if everyone aims to help in their own little way that certainly helps. "I've always been inspired by people who fight against the odds, overcome adversity, and show courage and character. "We give holistic support. It's not just a one-off involvement. We've been with some of the kids for over 10 years now.” This meeting planted a seed that was to come to fruition in 2004 – when he was named Australian of the Year - following his retirement from cricket. He and his teen sweetheart and wife of 31 years, Lynette, 53, co-founded The Steve Waugh Foundation | Rare Disease Foundation Australia to help young people (aged 0-25) with rare diseases and their families. Today, both Steve and Lynette remain intimately involved in the Foundation's overall operations, including the approval of grant applications, fundraising activities and events.
In the process he has attracted major donors: iconic residential property developer AVJennings, www.avjennings.com.au, founding corporate partner of the Foundation; one of Australia's leading online lenders, www.loans.com.au, major sponsor of The Captain's Ride; and world leading image company Canon - www.canon.com.au who partnered with the Foundation to help raise the profile of rare disease and share the stories of the "Rare Star" program.
"We believe no one should have to stand alone as we strive to be the support team for those who need it most." “The Steve Waugh Foundation/Rare Disease Foundation Australia is about Strength of Character, the website says. “It’s at the core of what we do, from the people we support, to the people who support us. “Our team is dedicated to helping improve the quality of life for children and young people living with rare diseases in a holistic manner. We see some children come for help once, while others come back time and time again” A disease is considered rare when it affects one in 10,000 people. “We endeavour to raises awareness, building connections and support networks within the rare disease community to continue to be ‘somewhere to turn’ for our families.
Lynette has battled her own demons over the ensuing years after suffering a debilitating stroke in 2006 (see accompanying story).
“We believe no one should have to stand alone as we strive to be the support team for those who need it most.
Steve Waugh is not a self-promoter. He flies under the radar, letting his work speak for itself.
“After you retire you realise that it is a sport ... and there are bigger issues at play." THRIVE #8 | 5
“We entered a room that reminded me of an old school classroom, with wooden shutters running horizontally,” Waugh, 56, wrote in his biography Out of My Comfort Zone.
boys would be the breadwinners and so it was more important they be educated. Many of the girls, he was told, would be sold into prostitution at a young age. And then he arrived at the colony. “We turned sharp left into a black hole of depression, a place that looked like the marrow of life had been sucked out of it. “This was the most basic means of living I had ever seen, with minimal hygiene and no real hope of escape.”
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN Early in 1998, the Australian team had been annihilated by India at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, beaten by an innings, which meant the five-day test was reduced to four. Steve had a spare day in the city. A note had been slipped under his door inviting him to visit a school on the outskirts of the city. He and some mates decided to get out and explore in Kolkata, they visited a school called Udayan. On the wall of a girls’ dormitory at the school is a stone plaque that now reads The Foundation Stone of Nivedita Bhavan (Udayan Girls Wing) was laid by Steve Waugh, Australian Cricket Captain and Patron, Udayan, on July 21, 1998. The bland inscription underplays the immense difference this has made to the lives of hundreds of girls. The kids at the school came from a nearby lepers’ colony and were the children of people suffering from leprosy. Most of their parents were beggars – the only work available to them. The kids lived on campus and Steve saw they were getting a good education and were well nourished. “The children were playful, mild-mannered and appreciative of their environment,” he says. But he noticed it was only for boys. He asked if he could visit the community where their families lived. It was on the drive there that he asked why there were no girls at the school. He was told the 6 | THRIVE #8
He met a young woman – a mother of three – distorted by leprosy. He asked her what she looked forward to in life. “Nothing,” she said. Waugh walked around the squalid camp looking into the eyes of the young girls, knowing the dreadful future that awaited them. His own daughter was 18 months old. “That was a lightbulb moment,” he says. “I couldn’t just pretend I didn’t hear what I’d heard. I had to do something for the girls.” The money he raised built a dormitory that houses 100 girls. In the two decades since, many hundreds of girls have been given an education that has allowed many of them to study teaching or nursing and to lift themselves out of the degrading poverty that was their destiny. “I made a commitment to raise money for them, to not forget about them,” he says. “And to visit when I could.” Twenty-two years later, he’s still sending cash to India. He visits every chance he gets.
“ORPHANS” OF THE HEALTH SYSTEM
The Steve Waugh Foundation is dedicated to "kids who have an extremely rare condition, who don't get support from any other charities or government funding," he says. The Foundation makes grants totalling more than $1 million a year. He says rare disease patients are the "orphans of the health system ... often without diagnosis, without treatment, without research and often without hope. "Without us they literally have nowhere else to go. I guess we're the last lifeline for a lot of these kids and their families." A disease is considered rare when it affects one in 10,000 people. "Their attitude is what continues to amaze me,” says Steve, “They just get on with it, never complain, make the most of each and every day. They are great role models for all of us.
CAMPAIGN KUDOS As part of fundraising efforts, The Captain's Ride was initiated in 2015. It is the highlight of the Steve Waugh Foundation's fundraising campaign - an exclusive six-day on road cycle tour. At the core of The Ride is a Leadership Program for captains of industry, emerging leaders, and anyone who wants to be a captain in their own life. Says Steve: "The ride is about giving people a life challenge. We want to emulate the spirit of the kids.” Rare Star Day is a by invitation only event, when the Steve Waugh Foundation hosts a selection of its grant recipients and their families, of that year from all around Australia, to join us to celebrate Rare Disease Day, which is on the last day of February each year. The last one was held pre-COVID in 2019 on the Gold Coast.
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LIAM’S STORY I have Acute Demyelinating Encephalomyopathy (ADEM). This rare disease is a neurological immune-mediated disorder. It creates lesions on my brain affecting gross motor skills, speech, tightness in and shortening of my muscles, and involuntary movement I can’t control, which worsens as I get older. I’ve been helped by the Steve Waugh Foundation in many ways, over many years to make life easier for me
and my family. In 2007 the Dynavox V communication device gave me a voice, then a LEVO stand up wheelchair C3 with a Bluetooth R-Net control system in 2011 helped me walk for the first time and a new stand-up wheelchair in 2016 has given me control of my mobility, including greater speed! Life can be lonely and isolating but we have managed because of the Steve Waugh Foundation’s support. They have given us so, so much. Not only helping Liam, but given us friendship, love, and care; a shoulder to cry on, and even our first family respite holiday. We’ve been truly blessed to have been welcomed into the “Foundation family” and there are no words adequate to express our gratitude. “There are millions of other families here in Australia and overseas with their own stories to tell- all of them different; all unique; and all with different needs. Thank you for being ‘somewhere to turn’.” - By Liam's Mum
RENEE’S STORY Renee is the ambassador for the Foundation and has been with it from the beginning. She has geleophysic dysplasia, a rare form of dwarfism. Hear more from Renee in this video: www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1749947135394655
To learn more about the Steve Waugh Foundation | Rare Disease Foundation Australia, how to apply for a grant or make a donation please visit: www.stevewaughfoundation.com.au/ 8 | THRIVE #8
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Emotional exhaustion, headaches, and reduced productivity are just some of the things that burnout can look like. And if you didn’t know, Working from home burnout can actually take a toll on your mental health. Our doctors say walking even for 10 minutes in your neighbourhood is remarkably relaxing. Check our article on “how to beat burnouts like a boss” and see what’s more our doctors have to say on managing burnouts while still working from home. Read the article www.bit.ly/3nx8Bet
80 years after its discovery, PCOS is still difficult to understand. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS is a widespread hormonal disorder in women. Often causing acne, loss of scalp hair, and irregular periods, it comes with many other symptoms affecting your overall health. But having said that, it can be well managed. All you have to do is reach out to your GP if you notice any symptoms
NO TIME to WASTE
IN 2006 LYNETTE WAUGH SUFFERED A DEVASTATING STROKE AT AGE 40, AND A SECOND IN 2020. SHE URGES ALL AUSTRALIANS TO BE AWARE OF THE SIGNS, NOT TO WASTE A MINUTE IN TAKING ACTION, AND THE STEPS TO TAKE TO REDUCE STROKE RISK In 2006, two years after co-founding The Steve Waugh Foundation | Rare Disease Foundation Australia with her husband, Lynette Waugh, then 40, began suffering a series of excruciating headaches. Steve was away on a book tour, and she was busy looking after their three kids, Rosie, then 10, Austin, 7, and Lilli 5, as well as working for the Foundation and as a preschool teacher. To make matters more difficult, Austin was at home with a broken hand and Lilli hadn’t started school. "When you are busy with kids, you don't think anything is going on," says Lynette, 53. "I'd had headaches for days before and just thought they were migraines that were really bad." One afternoon "I just suddenly felt not right," she says. "My headache was really bad, and I was trying to talk to a painter [the Waughs were having 10 | THRIVE #8
their house redecorated] and I was holding my hand over my eyes because I couldn't handle the light. Then I felt an overwhelming need to go and lie down.” Austin sensed something was very wrong and brought the phone to her bedside. Lynette called her Dad, who came over to look after the children. When she got up and tried to walk she found herself leaning to one side. Her father immediately rang Lynette’s sister Sharon, a nurse, who arrived soon after. She began asking Lynette some questions to assess her using F.A.S.T, which stands for Speech, Arms, Face, Time: • Face. Check their face. Has their mouth drooped? • Arms. Can they lift both arms? • Speech. Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
The operation to remove the clot was successful but she was in a state of constant confusion about where she was and why, and asking the same questions over and over. Over the ensuing months, indeed years, Lynette would have to learn all over again how to walk, talk and read. She lost the ability to play the piano and flute, and Steve eventually taught her how to drive again. (However, she has since lost her licence after suffering a "syncope", which is when someone faints or passes out due to a temporary drop in blood flow to the brain.)
"People were talking to me and I was answering and I remember thinking, 'Why are they looking at me like that for?'"
Today Lynette’s sight is still impacted and has trouble filtering out sounds, so noise can be overwhelming.
Sharon immediately recognised that Lynette was suffering a stroke and called an ambulance. "I didn't even know it was a stroke, or what stroke symptoms were," says Lynette, who recalled walking out to the ambulance but was in fact on a stretcher.
"I just wanted to be able to be a mum again," she says. "I kept thinking it wasn't just me who suffered from the stroke, but my Mum and Dad who were there cooking and cleaning, and my friends who were looking after the kids while I was just sitting at the table thinking about what I should be doing."
“I thought [strokes] affected older people. They were far from my thoughts. I had just been taking painkillers, up to six a day."
Steve says: "She just had to go back to basics. Austin was in Year One at school, and they were learning the same words and spelling together."
The Waughs live in Sydney’s Cronulla and Steve was in Geelong on a tour for his autobiography Out of My Comfort Zone when Lynette’s father called to say she was in hospital.
Lynette says it took her seven years to be able to multi-task again. “I remember the day it happened. It was a Christmas lunch and I was feeling really good and it was a real achievement."
"So I knew it was serious," says Steve, “and rang my good mate Charlie Teo [renowned neurosurgeon] who took over.
Last year she had a second stroke but it started differently.
“His last words before I flew back were, 'Prepare yourself for the worst.' It was spine-chilling. He was able to speak with Lynette briefly on the phone, but she was unable to answer any questions without mixing up her words. Lynette had suffered an AVM, or arteriovenous malformation — a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries in the veins in the brain which had ruptured and was bleeding, compromising the flow of blood to her brain.
"Steve was away in the UK for the Ashes and I wasn't feeling well," Lynette says. "I said to the girls in the office where we run the Foundation that either I was getting really old or I was losing my hearing. My hearing became really distorted and I was struggling to follow tasks. I'd start them but I'd move on without finishing them." After Steve’s return, it was at Lilli’s Year 12 formal that her hearing became even more distorted and began feeling unwell. THRIVE #8 | 11
"I didn't even know it was a stroke, or what stroke symptoms were. I thought they affected older people. Strokes were far from my thoughts. I had just been taking painkillers, up to six a day."
"They had to put me into an induced coma," Lynette says. "When you have a bleed like that, you have to quieten the brain before surgery.
"I thought I'd just go outside for some fresh air," Lynette recalls. "Then I felt a sharp pain in the back of my neck and this time I recognised the signs, so I walked into reception and said, 'I'm having a stroke, can you call me an ambulance?'.” This time the bleed was closer to her brain and couldn't be operated on. It attacked all the nerves in her body including her spinal cord, which caused agony all over her body and spent 10 days in ICU. Four days after returning home she experienced intense pain in her head again and went back to emergency: “They think I had another stroke."
Lynette has also partnered with Bloom's The Chemist who, in partnership with the Stroke Foundation, is raising awareness of how to prevent and recognise strokes. With one stroke occurring every 19 minutes in Australia in 2020 and over 440,000 Australians living with the effects of stroke, the public is urged to learn and share the most common signs of stroke. "It is easy, quick and simple, acting as the initial step towards risk prevention," Lynette says. "No matter your age or lifestyle, stroke can strike anyone, any time." Blooms The Chemist offers a free Stroke Risk Assessment; it takes less than 10 minutes and is an initial step toward stroke risk prevention.
Recovery from stroke is a long one: "I always say it is a lifelong process, a journey and some days you'll be two days ahead, but then you may have a bad patch and fall two days behind," Lynnette says. “There are good days and bad days, and Steve has been my carer.
Lynette adds that if you experience any symptoms of a stroke, time is critical so treat them as "urgent" and call 000.
However, Lynette says she's "happy" where she is in her recovery.
12 | THRIVE #8
"Don't delay getting medical advice, because nothing is more important than your health.”
Languishing – The Dominant Emotion of 2021 THE INCESSANT UNPREDICTABILITY OF OUR DAY-TO-DAY LIVES AND FUTURES AS A RESULT OF THE PANDEMIC HAS GIVEN RISE TO A NEW EMOTIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL “EPIDEMIC” By Dr Natalie Flatt As COVID-19 and its aftermath grumbles on, the pre-pandemic “normal” lives are feeling like a distant memory. With the constant change of rules and restrictions, our future is out of balance and many people remain stuck; living in limbo while we hold our breathe that the vaccine will roll out as promised. At times, we don’t know what to do, we don’t how to feel and we don’t know where to look. And then the mix of emotions sets in with a consequence of “blah” usually following. And we call this languishing. WHAT IS LANGUISHING? It has been described as the neglected middle child of mental health. Languishing is apathy, a sense of restlessness or feeling unsettled or monotonous or
an overall lack of interest in life or the things that typically bring you joy. Is this a mental health diagnosis? No – rather than being classified as a mental diagnosis, languishing is more a series of emotions. Mental health can be described as a spectrum that covers a wide range of experiences and symptoms. On one end of that spectrum is depression, characterised by feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. And on the other end is flourishing: a sense of connection, purpose, and meaning. In the middle of this is where we find the new word of 2020 and 2021 – “languishing”. So technically you don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but you don’t feel or look the picture of mental health either; THRIVE #8 | 13
more just getting by.
Is there a correlation between languishing and depression? Research shows that Individuals with a history of depression and anxiety or who are genetically predisposed to psychiatric conditions are more prone to languishing than others. Additionally, new pandemic research is finding that certain front-line workers who were languishing in 2020 were on average three times more likely than their peers to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Why are so many of us feeling this at the moment? 2021 has been a very unusual year – we are excited and hopeful that a vaccine has been rolling out over the world. But at the same time, it has emphasised feelings of waiting, of not having control over what the present looks like or what the future will bring. So there is still that lingering feeling of fear and dread due to the unknown with no clear finishing line in sight. It’s because of this we are keeping our bodies in a “fight or flight” adrenal state which has caused us to become worn down. Our adrenal response is supposed to be used in short, sharp bursts to get ourselves out of situations. Unfortunately, due to media, restrictions and rolling lockdowns, we have stayed “poised” for threat and it has worn down our adrenals. This has caused us to feel the compounding fatigue and basically feel like there is not much left in our fuel tank. What are some signs we may be “languishing”? In 2020, we named it the “Corona coaster”; the high feelings of energy and which can quickly drop into the lows of apathy. As the days and number of lockdowns have trudged on, we have found we have tackled the days with less energy which makes the tasks more draining than before.
"There is a lingering feeling of fear and dread due to the unknown with no clear finishing line in sight. It’s because of this we are keeping our bodies in a “fight or flight” adrenal state which has caused us to become worn down." How can we move from languishing to flourishing? 1. SELF CHECK-IN Self check-ins are one of the most important things you can do for your mental, emotional, and physical health to get an accurate reading of how you feel. Your body often sends physical cues about how you’re feeling, long before your emotions fully register. Regularly pausing to acknowledge the full spectrum of your feelings has a host of science-backed payoffs. Take a moment each day to notice any tension in your body, such as tight shoulders, chest, or jaw. Use descriptive words to capture how you feel. Brainstorm what might be contributing to those emotions. 2. SAVOURING Appreciate an event or activity in the moment and savour the experience using all your senses. Go simple – take stock of what you see, hear, smell, taste, touch and also feel (bath, walk, funny movie, laugh with a friend) and then reflect on this experience as a post victory. 3. CELEBRATE THE SMALL WINS
We hit the re-set button with a little less gusto each time. It’s like we know we are not at our full capacity, and we may feel we are just getting by.
Especially when we feel so stagnant and restrained right now, it’s important to recognise that we are still moving in the right direction.
Languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus and make clear quick decisions, and triples the likelihood that you’ll cut back on work. We may hold apathy towards things that used to bring us joy; like exercise, socialising, hobbies.
Appreciation can sometimes be played down in life, and we often forget to appreciate what we’ve done and what we have.
14 | THRIVE #8
Appreciating our small wins and the small steps we
take can be the difference between failing and succeeding.
CELEBRITY WELL MINDSPEAK
Reflecting on those “small wins” in the day can make you feel accomplished and provide you with validation and purpose. This might even be “I put a load of washing on” or “I made my body move outside”. 4. RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS This is an easy endorphin and serotonin booster and a way to also reduce blood pressure. A “five-minute favour,” like introducing two people who could benefit from knowing each other or sending an article or podcast link to a friend, saying you were thinking of them. This is a great one to also do in the work environment (either in person or virtually). 5. OPPOSITE ACTION Opposite Action is a new technique in Dialectal Behaviour Therapy that involves choosing to do exactly the opposite of what your emotions tell you to do. For example – lethargy. When we can’t be bothered trying, we most likely will avoid the things that will get us out of this state (exercise, healthy eating etc) which then keeps us held within this emotion. Try making a list of things that you CAN do. Ideally, these should be things that can be realistically attained in the short-term. For example, despite a feeling of lethargy, you can do small things like washing the dishes, doing laundry, or tidying up. These are all behaviours that directly go against the feeling of lethargy, which can create an opposite emotional experience. 6. CHANGE OF SCENERY It’s incredible how much changing a physical view can be refreshing. From changing your workspace at home to taking your computer outside, a change of scenery can bring a lift of endorphins and a literal change of perspective.
7. SELF COMPASSION This is treating yourself with kindness and fairness, the way you would a good friend, when facing adversity, like a setback, disappointment or other trying time. When experiencing a setback or when situations don’t go as planned, she suggests using a different self-talk voice such as “this is temporary”; “I will get through this”; and “I can try again next time.” Self-compassion is saying, “I’m not perfect. I’m more than this one negative moment or mistake.” Create a self-compassion toolbox which reminds you of these statements and some activities you can do to help you take time out of the situation and self-regulate and create strength to try again another day. 8. CONNECTIONS Most of all, be connected. We can’t forget that wellbeing is such an incredible resource and one which needs to be always at the forefront of our minds. Social connection to others, whether it be family, friends, colleagues or neighbours to talk to, debrief, laugh, cry, be angry - that’s important.
Dr Natalie Flatt Ph.D is co-founder of ConnectPsych Services online e-counselling platforms that support employees with psycho-education and mental health in a flexible and convenient manner. Natalie has extensive experience in solution-focused cognitive behavioural presentation and interventions to assist with anxiety, resilience, stress management, relationships, workplace conflict and compassion fatigue. Her therapeutic work offers practical, evidence-based solutions to assist professionals to overcome a wide variety of difficulties to ensure ongoing emotional resilience, wellbeing, and improved self-confidence, resulting in higher work life satisfaction and productivity. www.connectpsychservices.com.au/ THRIVE #8 | 15
My Little CHICKADEES WHEN WHAT WE NEED MOST IN LIFE COMES HOME TO ROOST By Cath Muscat Many studies and anecdotal evidence over the decades have indicated that owning a companion animal, such as a dog, cat or bird, has benefits for good mental health. Interactions with animals may help with depression and anxiety, particularly under stress-prone conditions - no more so, surely, than in the COVID-19 pandemic with all its uncertainty and severe physical and mental health and economic concerns. And animals are just a great joy to be with, watching their antics - as well as giving so much unconditional love. This editor has observed an absolute explosion of pet owners in her local neighbourhood over the past 12 months - not just lots of dogs, but even cats being walked around on leads for theirs and their owners' daily exercise (although who "owns" who is subject to debate). Because this is a very depressing time in recent human history, Thrive thought we'd bring you some inspiring stories about our animal friends, and the people they own.
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I have been keeping chickens as part of veggie garden life for about 10 years now. It was roughly 10 years ago that I noticed a missing pet sign on a telegraph pole outside my house in Marrickville [in Sydney’s inner west]. It read: “Missing… Daphney, our pet chicken, greatly missed. Please phone.” with a picture of a red-feathered chicken. It made me smile. Later, on my dog walk right outside my house, was Daphney, just scratching around on the front verge. So I went and got a washing basket and scooped her up and put her in my fenced front garden. I ran out and took down the number from the missing pet notice. I remember it was a long weekend, and I called the number all weekend with no answer.
Finally, on the Tuesday I got a call back from Daphney’s owners who came to retrieve her. I didn’t want to part with her. And that planted the seed. I did some research (my mum and dad are on a farm and have chickens too) and decided I could probably keep two chickens in the space I had. So I found an old wardrobe, converted it into a coop and the chickens lived happily in the front yard by day and slept in the wardrobe at night, laying an egg each morning in a drawer of the wardrobe. I think when you grow your own veggies, chickens just complete the picture. They eat the scraps from the kitchen and garden, they leave their fertiliser for the compost and they just add another dimension to your life, like any pet does. I am a photographer, predominately shooting food from my studio in the back of my house in Marrickville, so there was always an amazing amount of scraps for the chickens to feast on. They were the best fed chickens ever, and nothing in my studio ever went to waste. Over the 10 years I had a few different mini flocks, and one group I raised from day old chicks.
A few years ago my husband and I bought a farm, so I knew I could upscale my chicken keeping, and now I keep chickens at the farm, and they rotate in a mobile coop around the paddocks. Recently we were given a rooster by a friend and I was really intrigued to hatch out some eggs. So my chicken-keeping curiosity just kept growing over time, and with COVID lockdowns I knew I had the time to dedicate to raising the chicks and to be here when they hatched. Out of eight eggs only one hatched. At first I thought that the chick would be okay - after all, it had me and my Labrador Hazelnut for company. But this little chick cried and cried if I wasn’t holding him/her so I had to quickly find it a couple of friends. I put another eight eggs in the incubator in the meantime and, 21 days later, five of those hatched. That is why I now have one biggish chick that loves a Labrador, two medium-sized chicks that fight with each other, and five tiny chicks that have kept my friends entertained via social media during lockdown! So that is the story of the baby chickens. They are very entertaining and, while still cute, they are days away from hitting their very awkward teenage phase.
Cath Muscat is a longtime, highly successful media photographer who now runs her own business focusing on food, interiors and lifestyle photography, as well as running a farm with her husband. Her corporate clients include Woolworths, Tourism Australia, Macquarie Bank, Uniting Financial Services, Guide Dogs Australia, Manildra, IGA and Dilmah.www.cathmuscat.com
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All the while Daphney was happy in my front garden. She even gifted me an egg each morning.
MAGPIE PIE MAGIC IC A RANDOM VISIT FROM A MAGPIE CHANGED A WOMAN’S LIFE. “PIGPIE” BROUGHT HIS CHILDREN AND MANY OTHER FRIENDS. IT’S BROUGHT JOY TO THEM ALL, ON AN ONGOING BASIS
By Danielle, The Magpie Whisperer Ten years ago, out of the blue, this magpie came up to me in my backyard. He was very trusting and he'd sit on my knee and follow me around. I called him Pigpie. Being the first time I’d ever really interacted with a wild bird like this, I was really quite impressed. Shortly after that he brought his son over, who I named Gobbles, and he was very friendly, too. Eventually, other juveniles started showing up. I had about 20 to 25 and didn't mind at all. They socialised among themselves. They absolutely loved playing on the clothesline and spent quite a lot of time hanging upside down off the clothes. I'd leave socks and towels just for them. Sometimes other magpies were a bit cheeky. They would run up to the one hanging upside down and gently tug on his/her feathers or legs. You could say I turned the yard into a magpie playground. 18 | THRIVE #8
I thought, "What would happen if I introduced some toys for them to play with?" As they're very curious birds, I wasn't surprised when they took to the new toys almost instantly. They would often squabble over the same toy. Just like little kids play, they only want what they can't have. They would hang around the backyard and pop in to visit, often tapping on my loungeroom window to let me know they had arrived if I wasn't outside. They knew it was a safe spot for them and they were never bored with the number of toys I had left out for them to play with. Honestly, they'd have the time of their lives. I think all the adults said to their kids, "Hey, go over to the Magpie Whisperer's place. She's got toys and water and you'll be treated like royalty there." I have names for all of them. I named most based on their personalities and traits - Pigpie, Gobbles, Boots (loved cuddling up to by shoes), R2-D2 (sounds like the Star Wars robot!), Blossom, Baldy, Tiny Tim, Big Beak, Mini, Dougal (he just looked like a “Dougal”, haha), Big Mumma, Browser (“eyebrows” for days!) Snoopy, Wowser.
"I'd be quite a lonely person if it weren't for them in my life. Just being in their presence eases my anxiety and depression. They're really my best friends, and family also." These birds are really the only reason I continue to get out of bed every morning. I've always chosen to live on my own, and I don't socialise with anyone. I'd be quite a lonely person if it weren't for them in my life. Just being in their presence eases my anxiety and depression. They're really my best friends, and family also. The positivity, HAPPINESS and tranquility the magpies have brought into my life! Their antics never fail to impress and amuse me. Whenever I'm around them they help ground me.
their behaviour and realise that they really are no different from us. Feeding magpies and other wild birds is a controversial topic. Should we, or should we not be feeding them? Are we causing more harm than good? In some circumstances, we may be causing more harm than good - especially when nutritional deficiencies develop from well-meaning and unaware people feeding them inappropriate food. These most common foods usually being bread, cheese, and plain mincemeat. Birds will often feed their little ones what people feed them. Those fragile, little, growing bodies require the correct nutrients to ensure they grow up strong and healthy so they can avoid crippling abnormalities such as soft/broken beaks, bone abnormalities, deformities, seizures, and improper feather growth. I've heard my fair share of comments such as "What a load of rubbish, I have never seen a magpie with a 'nutritional deficiency' from being fed the wrong food". Each year, I and many other wildlife carers and Vets, have witnessed first-hand just what the ramifications of inappropriate feeding can do to a bird. It is heartbreaking to see, but it can be avoided if they're not fed rubbish. I urge people to research and please be mindful of what they may be feeding the birds.
Birds are the best company and extremely therapeutic. I prefer their company to people. They get me out and about in the sunshine and fresh air, they give me a purpose in life which is to care for them in ways I was unable to before becoming a wildlife carer. They have and continue to help me through some of my darkest days. Now it's my time to return the favour. Whenever I'm around the birds my troubles melt away. They ease my anxiety and depression. They're all individuals and have unique personalities just like humans. If you spend time observing them you will learn about THRIVE #8 | 19
The magpies also follow me around the street. It's so funny watching them follow me. It actually makes my day.
Mind you, I hadn't had a real-life friend for many, many years; just internet friends. Now she is my mentor and close friend. Some time after the old shelter closed, she decided to start her own licensed wildlife shelter and invited me to become one of her foster carers. To become a licensed carer in Victoria, you have to apply for a permit and be approved by the Department of Land, Environment, Water and Planning (DELWP).
I occasionally give the birds treats - such as live mealworms, crickets, and insects from the garden. I never feed them plain mincemeat as it has no nutritional value, and it leaches calcium from their beaks and bones. Please be aware - If you feed mince, it possibly could stick inside the birds' beaks leading to a bacterial infection. Try feeding meat strips instead, but please make sure it's lean and has a powder supplement added specially made for insectivorous birds, called Wombaroo Insectivore (purchased online or found in most pet stores). They most likely won't like the taste of the supplement at first, so it's best to start by adding a small amount then gradually increasing to the recommended dosage. Also, raw meat can potentially expose them to the parasitic disease Toxoplasma gondii, which can be potentially fatal. Meat should be frozen for at least three days before use to ensure this parasite is not transmitted. I became a licensed wildlife carer a couple of years after I had been volunteering at the local wildlife shelter. Tragically, the shelter closed due to both of the owners passing away. They were wildlife warriors and such lovely people, and they helped give me that inspiration to become a foster carer. Before I started volunteering at the shelter I was Facebook friends with a wildlife carer who has been working with animals for over 13 years. She lives locally and invited me to come along with her to the local shelter and start volunteering. As shy as I am, I couldn't refuse the invitation to be up close and personal with the beautiful animals! 20 | THRIVE #8
I live in Victoria, on the on the Bellarine Peninsula. I've lived here my whole life; it's a beautiful area with a great diversity of wildlife. My favourite naturally being the magpie! The currawong and masked lapwing come equally second. There are many magpies, currawongs, and masked lapwings in my area. The currawongs and lapwings often get a bad rap, as the magpies do. They're another misunderstood bird and just doing what they have to do to try and survive in this crazy world. I've had the privilege of raising an orphaned currawong and masked lapwing and let me tell you they are absolute treasures. I'm currently obsessed with lapwings! If you find injured or orphaned wildlife, please contact your local wildlife shelter (see options on Page ??) ASAP. Please do not try to look after the animal yourself. If the animal is injured it would be suffering and requires pain relief medication that only a vet can prescribe. For the animal's best chance of survival, it is best that you find an experienced carer so the animal has the best possible chance of recovery. If you're interested in helping or caring for wildlife, consider becoming a wildlife carer by starting out volunteering at your local wildlife shelter. If people may be thinking, "It's so cute, I want to keep it as a pet," I highly urge them to reconsider. Not only is it illegal, but it's not in the best interest for the bird. Also, please don't take away their dignity by clipping their wings. It was honestly the best decision I've ever made and it changed my life for the better. Who knows where I'd be today if it weren't for the birds and the work that I do with them today! Follow The Magpie Whisperer on Facebook and Instagram
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150 th, RSPCA! HAPPY
THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS CELEBRATES A CENTURY AND A HALF OF SERVICE TO OUR FURRED AND FEATHERED FRIENDS, AS WELL AS OTHER CRITTERS
“Our 150th anniversary is an opportunity to commemorate this history but also look towards the future.
In 1871, a group of colonial Victorians met to discuss their concerns over the welfare of working horses.
The RSPCA in NSW also launched Stories Behind the Scars, a three-part online series that offers a window into the lives of the unsung heroes – the inspectors, veterinary staff and the community outreach team – who make RSPCA NSW’s mission a reality every day.
Now, 150 years on from that first meeting, the RSPCA has grown to be one of Australia’s most recognised, loved and trusted charities. The RSPCA in Victoria, the first RSPCA organisation in Australia, commenced anniversary commemorations earlier this year in honour of that first meeting held in Melbourne. RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker says: “We can all feel proud of our history, the work we do and what we have achieved.
"There’s still so much work to be done to improve the lives of animals, whether it’s the animals who come into our care, or those in the community." 22 | THRIVE #8
“There’s still so much work to be done to improve the lives of animals, whether it’s the animals who come into our care, or those in the community.”
RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman says: “We want to use the 150th anniversary to highlight the extraordinary people who help make our work possible. “We have thousands of dedicated staff and volunteers across Australia who make our mission a reality every day. “It’s truly a labour of love for all animals great and small, and what better way to highlight our amazing people than the RSPCA’s 150th anniversary.” RSPCA Australia, the national office of the RSPCA, has been working with a number of iconic Australian brands and institutions on some exciting projects. They include an animal-themed version of the iconic cake and party food book, in collaboration with The Australian Women’s Weekly; a series of stamps to commemorate the anniversary, in partnership with Australia Post; and a limited-edition series of coins produced by the Royal Australian Mint – all of which will highlight the breadth of the RSPCA’s work. RSPCA Australia CEO Richard Mussell says: “We are a nation of people for whom animals hold a special place in our lives. And the RSPCA really holds quite an extraordinary
“But maintaining that important position doesn’t happen by accident, and so, all of us continue to work every day to raise awareness of serious animal welfare issues, provide that trusted advice to government and the community, and ensure our organisation is strongly positioned to deal with the challenges of the 21st century.
2021 marks the 150th anniversary of the RSPCA in Australia. I’m so honoured to have shared in some of the projects that have given a voice to the voiceless. From the bottom of my heart (and Banjo’s – here pictured with Michelle) I can’t thank you enough for all that you have done to fight animal cruelty. The job is far from over but I’m grateful to be part of the animal welfare movement.
“The occasion of our 150 years in Australia provides a valuable opportunity to reflect on our incredible and proud history, highlight the breadth and depth of our current work, and also to remind Australians that our job is far from done, and that we face numerous challenges as we look forward to the next 150 years and beyond.” NSW REFORMS In June this year, NSW became the first Australian state to impose a mandatory, lifetime ban on anyone convicted of serious animal cruelty or bestiality; making it a criminal offence for offenders to purchase, own or work with animals in the future. The amendments also increased maximum penalties for animal cruelty. There are also proposed changes to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW). “When I’m not representing RSPCA NSW (and the animals) in court, I have been working closely with the Department of Primary Industries for over three years on this reform,” says Kathryn Jurd, General Counsel at RSPCA NSW. “This reform is a necessary step to help modernise and streamline animal welfare laws in NSW. “The Act was created over 40 years ago and is the primary piece of legislation that our inspectors enforce every day, and this is a critical moment to impact animal cruelty legislation. BUILDING BRIDGES Fitness guru Michelle Bridges is a passionate supporter of the RSPCA. She recently posted on LinkedIn: Let's talk milestones … great or small, they deserve to be acknowledged. Maybe it’s smashing out your first 10 push-ups, maybe it’s 12 months of love (looking at your cutie) or, perhaps it’s 150 years of amazing work.
OTHER VITAL ANIMAL WELFARE SERVICES WIRES Wildlife Rescue is Australia's largest wildlife rescue organisation - 1300 094 737; www.wires.org.au Wildlife Rescue Australia is a nationwide 24-hour emergency phone service that provides support and rescue services to injured or orphaned native fauna 1300 596 457; www.wildliferescue.net.au Backyard Buddies is a free education initiative run by the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife. It gives you simple tips to transform your backyard into a safe and inviting habitat. It also offers an extensive contact list of wildlife carers around the country for sick, injured or orphaned fauna: www.backyardbuddies.org.au/ THRIVE #8 | 23
place in the hearts and minds of Australians. It’s an immense privilege to work with such a well-known and well-loved Australian icon.
BEATING Boredom - and other LOCKDOWN "Vices”
WE PUNISH OURSELVES IN THESE STRANGE AND DIFFICULT TIMES OF FEAR, ISOLATION AND SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS FOR INDULGING MORE THAN WE POSSIBLY SHOULD IN OUR “VICE” OF CHOICE, OR FOR FEELING BORED. THE TWO ARE OFTEN LINKED. BUT THERE’S AN UPSIDE – AN UNDERTOW WE COULD LEARN TO RECOGNISE TO GIVE OURSELVES A BREAK.
By Anita Tomecki In my work as a human behaviour expert and Neuro-Linguistic Programing (NLP) coach, clients often come to me with the problem of being bored. A theme prior to lockdown and something that is brought up even more now, when we are IN-side more. The IN I really hear that people are referring to is less about inside their house and more about being inside their heads. With less external stimulus to distract us, there is more time to drive ourselves crazy with our thinking. This is not necessarily obvious to people but often the word “boredom” sits on the surface of much more. 24 | THRIVE #8
So when we dig a little deeper, in one-to-one sessions with people, some of the thoughts running through people's minds at the moment are in fact not that they are bored but they are: • Worrying for the future • Feeling lonely • Pissed off with what is happening • Fearful of what is happening in the world right now • Concerned around finances • Thinking how time is being wasted This has then been mapped to: • Lonely = Disconnection from self • Pissed off with what is happening = Inability to see own availability of choice
Not because it is true, but because a belief structure is so in place around this it is as natural and autopilot as brushing your teeth.
And ultimately at the heart of it all for most people is the fear of all of the judgement, negative self-talk, worst case scenario thinkings, as they are left alone in fear of their own mind running these stories and programs.
The positive intention for running worst case thinking maybe to be prepared for the worst in every moment so that the reality isn't as bad when it happens! But as we can't always predict what is going to happen, this program can be more debilitating for people than useful.
The reason these are referred to as “stories” is because they are usually future projections of something that isn't happening right now. The reason these are referred to as “programs” are because these will have been running for people far longer than we are aware of.
"That puff on a cigarette, face full of chocolate … that first endorphin hit ... gives us momentary relief, interrupts the thinking and brings us to Presence to be with the pleasure and sensations actually in the moment."
LOCKDOWN “VICES” So what then can happen is we look for something to distract us. Food, drink, smoking, working, vaping, social media, exercise, dating, drugs, sex... what is your “poison”? I am hearing more and more from people that they are finding themselves doing things excessively in these times. When scratching the surface with people on their “vice”, we often find that the positive intention for any of the above and more is to distract themselves from their self-talk, judgement and incessant mind chatter. The “vice” actually helps them to be more in the natural state: Presence. That puff on a cigarette, face full of chocolate… that first endorphin hit... gives us momentary relief, interrupts the thinking and brings us to Presence to be with the pleasure and sensations actually in the moment.
The programs of our mind predominantly form in childhood and then run on repeat. As humans, we go through life repeating these programs and attributing how we feel to what is happening externally and missing the fact that we have been running these programs for years. What we tend to do is in fact look for situations to give meaning to what is already running for us internally. An example of this would be, if you learned worst case scenario thinking in childhood, as you watched your mother or father run this, you will constantly be looking out and finding reasons to need to run this. THRIVE #8 | 25
• Worry as no money coming in = Fear of not being safe/secure • Time is being wasted = lack of trust
This moment may not last too long before we are back in the self-talk and judgements about how we shouldn't be doing this etc and so the “need” for more of it again to shut us up again.
Nothing to get away from, nothing to need distraction from as we are fully comfortable to be with ourselves in a more peaceful way.
AND, SO … LOCKDOWN
Then the chance to BE the change you want to see in the world so that the world will look like a better place to be, through our newfound lenses.
So what from here? The first step to any type of Then the pressure comes to give it up. And when change is awareness of what it is that requires we don't (‘cause why we would when it serves such change. What programs are running us? a purpose) or we fall off the wagon, the shit talk starts again. We've “failed”. There is a lot of self-development material out there now in the way of books, courses, coaches, Once we are able to see this then we have the therapists. chance, if we choose, to find more healthy ways to our natural state: Presence. Finding the thing that resonates best with you is the key as well as being ready for change. We no longer tell ourselves to just stop doing the unhealthy. That method usually doesn't work as This work is not always comfortable, once we start we are making it the problem rather than seeing to see what has been holding us back for so long, it goes deeper than addiction to smoking, sex, so trust the process. drinking etc. For a little bit of uncomfortability, there is the Finding a new way to quiet the chatter is the gold. potential for a far more comfortable future. From this place you can still do any of the above, the difference now is it is done through choice If you ain't operating to your fullest now, continuing rather need and consumption reduces. like this probably isn't that comfortable anyway.
What a time. What a beautiful opportunity to see all that runs in mind - during lockdown and not lockdown. To learn about ourselves and what was bubbling below the surface anyway.
WHAT IS NLP?
It is a model for self-realisation, for understanding While some of us aren't working as much, this is the the mind, how it runs, how we allow it to run us. opportunity to do the most important work of life. It helps us to see how we program ourselves through The Self Work. the language we use and the meaning we attach to words and then run this on repeat so it becomes Once this exploration is happening and we are programmed into our mind and neurology. understanding ourselves better than the being inside - the being alone, the BEing with the Message Anita if you'd like a complimentary Human Being of ourself - is much easier and one-on-one coaching call. much more peaceful.
Anita Tomecki is an NLP Master Practitioner, human behaviour expert/coach and workshop facilitator. Anita has many years of experience working with both women and men on making changes in their lives, having spent over a decade on this process with herself. Experiencing first-hand the power of fully understanding her own mind and body's programming, Anita works with people on a daily basis to firstly understand themselves and then make the necessary changes to live a more free and present existence. If you'd like to get in touch, go to LinkedIn: Anita Tomecki or Instagram: Anita Tomecki. 26 | THRIVE #8
SOPHIE SCOTT IS A HEALTH AND WELLBEING ADVOCATE AND LONGTIME ABC MEDICAL AND INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER. HER DRIVE TO BRING HELP AND INFORMATION ABOUT ISSUES IMPACTING ON THE VERY CORE OF OUR LIVES BROUGHT HER TO A PIVOTAL MOMENT THAT CHANGED HER OWN LIFE – AND WILL HELP OTHERS CHANGE THEIRS FOR THE BETTER. By Sophie Scott It was a black-tie dinner for about 500 people. I had been looking forward to hosting it even though it was a busy time for me. I had been working non-stop on television stories, writing, speaking and hosting health events. My focus was on improving the health and wellbeing of Australians, bringing our audiences the latest scientific research breakthroughs. Somehow, as well, I had become an investigative reporter, uncovering safety scandals that had left so many patients’ lives ruined. But I couldn’t resist the invitation to fly interstate in the afternoon to host the glittering event that night, honouring health workers. I felt good in my sparkly dress and high heels as I made my way onto the stage to welcome everyone. When I got to the podium, that’s when it hit me. All of a sudden, I felt dizzy and unsteady on my feet and had to hold onto the podium so I didn’t fall over. I smiled even more as I could feel my heart pounding harder and harder in my chest.
This wasn’t anxiety. I had had that feeling before and this was way worse. My one consolation, I thought, was that if I fell over in a room full of doctors and nurses, someone would be able to look after me! In hindsight, I should have seen it coming. I had been increasingly tired on weekends. I had been working long days during the week and using the weekends to catch up on sleep. Some Sundays, I was so tired I could barely make it along the promenade of my favourite beach when my husband and I took our puppy for a walk. To the outside world, I was happy. But deep inside, the joy I usually gleaned from my work, from interacting with patients, viewers and readers, had significantly lessened. After several rounds of medical tests that all came back normal, I found out that my THRIVE #8 | 27
Extinguish FLAMES before BU BURNOUT
autonomic nervous system had stopped working the way it should. Constant stress and overwork had led to what doctors call “autonomic dysfunction”.
I was burnt out. If you think of the body like a computer, the autonomic nervous system is like software that runs silently in the background controlling bodily functions we are not even aware of, such as breathing, blood pressure and digestion. Part of it is the sympathetic nervous system, which prepares your body for stressful or emergency situations. So it increases your heart rate and dilates your airways to make breathing easier.
"I'm a medical reporter who burnt out. It took eight minutes, three times a day, to rebuild my life." It causes you to sweat, your pupils to dilate and your hair to stand on end. Your body thinks you are facing a serious emergency, so it slows down processes like digestion. My nervous system had been switched to “on” for so long that my body was constantly primed and ready for attack, leaving me drained and fatigued as a result. I held onto the podium while I was presenting the awards. Somehow, I managed to get through it and back to the hotel without anyone realising what had happened. MY “AHA” MOMENT On the flight home, I realised something had to change. I had to find the magic bullet that would give me more energy, more clarity and focus, and calm my switched-on autonomic nervous system. I had to start working differently, not working harder. My job involves reading scientific papers and interviewing the world’s leading medical experts. I had written books on mental health, exercise and living a healthy life. Of all people, I should have been able to fix what I was feeling. My aha moment was realising I had to listen to that science. 28 | THRIVE #8
Stress had made my cortisol levels spike so much and for so long that my body just thought that’s what I was meant to feel all the time. I knew the impact stress has on the mind and body. Some stress is good for you. Knowing this was a good thing. But I was also well aware of the science into the effect of prolonged stress. Research clearly shows ongoing stress can lead to inflammation in the arteries and boost your heart attack risk, impact brain and memory function and mess with your hormones, among other things. I had no one to blame but myself. No one was piling on the commitments. No one was forcing me to say yes to everything. I had always enjoyed working hard but somehow being motivated and conscientious had morphed into perfectionism, setting unrealistic expectations for myself and focusing on the results, rather than the journey. No one was pushing me into a corner saying your self-worth depends on doing everything, showing up to everything and having nothing left for your family, friends and people you care about. SMALL CHANGES I had to learn that you can change and improve how you feel physically, emotionally and mentally. But it wasn’t going to be by taking a magic pill. It wasn’t going to be one single supplement, one special diet, one enlightened “expert” or one book. Unless I could fundamentally change how I approached living my life, nothing was going to improve. I had to focus on rebuilding my nervous system one day at a time. And science could show me the way. Knowledge is power, but I realised it was next to useless if you didn’t act on that knowledge. That was where the real power for change lies. Science showed me that even though I was busy and burnt out, there was a way forward. Science also showed me that even small changes could make a difference to my health and wellness. And it wasn’t about doing more (thankfully!) and adding to an already over-scheduled life. It wasn’t about getting up at 5.30am to run 10 kilometres (though if that’s what you love
What had been blocking me was my all-or-nothing thinking and picking a massive goal. But if your goal is too big (eg. start a million-dollar business, have a perfect body), it’s intimidating and you don’t feel like making a start. Instead, by taking small and simple steps, finally, I overcame those feelings of being burnt out and having nothing left. I was able to set boundaries, saying “yes” to those things that really mattered while giving a firm but polite “no” to things that didn’t. doing, all power to you). Instead, it was about taking small, simple steps that were achievable. I asked myself: what is the smallest action I can take that will move me forward? I started with eight minutes a day, three times a day. The first was some gentle tai chi in the mornings before work - I was so tired that I started with a tai chi video for seniors. The second was a walk in the sunshine to clear my head instead of eating lunch at my desk. Research shows movement can reduce the activity of stress response systems in the body, particularly if it is something you do regularly. The last was mindfulness meditation just before bed. Shifting my mindset could help me reframe my thinking. In other words, I could acknowledge I was feeling busy and burnt out without being defined by those feelings. Deep breathing can reduce cortisol levels by 25 per cent and reduce emotional exhaustion by bringing down the stress response. What I found was making those small changes and sticking with them started to make a difference. I was able to shift my mindset from all or nothing
Finally, I had the energy to take my dog, Sammi, for a walk at the beach. I had the energy to focus on regular connections with my friends and family. I had the mental energy to think clearly about my life and how to be the best mother, partner, friend and colleague. I had forgotten what it felt like to be calm, living in the moment and feeling good. Using practices such as mindfulness meditation, gentle movement and adjusting my mindset works. But these practices are just that – “practices”. You have to keep going with such practices, recalibrating them when life, as it will, throws you something unexpected. Now, when life feels out of control, I can bring myself back. Those practices bring me back to the present and help me remember it took only eight minutes a few times a day to turn my life around.
This is an edited extract from Burnout: A Guide to Identifying Burnout and Pathways to Recovery by lead author Professor Gordon Parker, published by Allen & Unwin. It is available here: www.booktopia.com.au/ burnout-gordon-parker/ebook/9781761062148.html
Sophie Scott is a highly sought-after speaker and writer on burnout prevention and recovery, and managing your mental health and mindset, using the latest neuroscience. She is the ABC’s medical reporter and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame’s Medical School. She is all about helping people help themselves, using evidence-based science and her own personal journey. For more resources from Sophie Scott, you can follow her on www.sophiescott.com.au
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to realising that small changes can improve how you feel every day. I called it my “feel great in eight” strategy.
THE `OTHER’ PANDEMIC WHILE RATES OF SUICIDE APPARENTLY HAVEN’T INCREASED SINCE THE PANDEMIC, CALLS TO MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS LINES, THREATS OF SUICIDE, INCIDENTS OF SELF-HARM, AND LEVELS OF DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY HAVE SKYROCKETED SINCE COVID 19, LOCKDOWNS AND THEIR VARIOUS RAMIFICATIONS
Professor Michael Kidd
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease across many parts of the country, the social, economic and mental health ramifications will persist for a long time to come – the toll of COVID that is too often buried amid a swathe of statistics about daily case numbers, vaccination rates and announcements of measures to control spread.
Statistics, meanwhile, from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) show a spike in mental health-related prescriptions.
But behind closed doors, where many (most?) of us have largely been spending the past 18 or more months, another, equally disturbing, story has been unfolding.
“Social isolation, fear of contagion, and loss of family members is compounded by the distress caused by loss of income and often employment.”
Mental health helplines such as Lifeline, Beyond Blue and Kids Helpline, for people seeking emergency mental health assistance, have seen a 30 percent increase in calls since the pandemic began here, according to Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd. 30 | THRIVE #8
“The impact of the pandemic on people's mental health is already extremely concerning,” said Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Said Professor Kidd: “For those experiencing lockdowns, this is a time of disruption and frustration for many, and a time of isolation and fear for others. “We need to be supporting each other and showing our love and care to our family members, neighbours and friends.
While the AIHW indicates rates of suicide have not increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (or perhaps stats have not yet reflected the true picture), the use of crisis lines for those contemplating suicide or self-harm, suffering depression or extreme anxiety, have skyrocketed. The stresses of isolation, unemployment, financial distress, loneliness, relationship issues, fear and despair of what the future holds, and extreme boredom are key contributors. On Monday, August 3, Lifeline recorded its busiest day in its history – 3,345 calls – an outcome likely linked to prevailing lockdowns. On the same day, in a shocking turn of events, Kids Helpline also achieved record numbers. Figures from the AIHW's National Suicide and Self-Harm Monitoring System show more people are using crisis lines like Lifeline and other mental health services since the crisis began, while there has also been an increase in ambulance attendances for suicidal thoughts and self-harm in both NSW and Victoria.
Lifeline Chairman John Brogden
Lifeline Chairman John Brogden said there were more than 3,100 calls on Sunday, August 2, from Australians at high risk of suicide, in line with the average daily number during the height of the pandemic last year. “Phone counselling is the fastest way to get help and start talking,” the organisation says. “You can call us on 1800 55 1800, anytime and for any reason. “It’s FREE to call - including from your mobile. You can also call from any public phone or landline for free too.”
Mr Brogden – businessman and former Leader of the Opposition in the NSW Legislative Assembly - said that while calls had spiked, it was both concerning and reassuring, because while it meant people were struggling it also meant they were seeking help. "It is okay not to be okay, but please reach out for help. Don't suffer in silence, whether it's ringing your friend, GP, counsellor or psychologist, whether it's ringing organisations like Lifeline - there has been a phenomenal increase in our calls," said Mr Brogden, who once tried to commit suicide. His attempt on his own life was in 2015, just a day after stepping down from the NSW Liberal leadership. Then 36, he was found unconscious late at night in his electorate office on Sydney's northern beaches after concerns for his welfare were raised with police. After several scandals he felt there was no other way out. He locked his office, drank gin and cut his wrists. "Experiences like mine show there is a way back," he told The Sydney Morning Herald in 2016. And yet suicide, he points out, still remains off-limits. “Phone counselling is the fastest way to get help and start talking,” the organisation says. “You can call us on 1800 55 1800, anytime and for any reason.
"While higher rates of deaths by suicides were seen in men, the rates of ambulance attendances for suicide attempts and intentional self-injury were higher for women." Rates of self-harm highest among young women Data on ambulance attendances included one month per quarter snapshots from NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT from 2018 to 2020. In those states and territories, ambulances attended a total of around 22,400 incidents involving suicide attempts or thoughts during the months of March, June, September and December of 2020. THRIVE #8 | 31
“If you feel you may need help or assistance or you need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to reach out.”
And while higher rates of deaths by suicides were seen in men, the rates of ambulance attendances for suicide attempts and intentional self-injury were higher for women. More ambulances were called for young women aged 15-19 for self-harm, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts than for any other age group. The data also revealed from 2008 to 2020, the rate of self-harm hospitalisation in girls aged 14 and younger doubled, peaking in 2016-17, prior to the pandemic. AIHW deputy CEO Matthew James said young women aged 18-24 also had the largest proportion of high or very high levels of psychological distress of any age group. "We were seeing an upward trend there prior to COVID," he said. "In the US in particular there is concern about rising levels of anxiety among young females."
The death in July of former teen TV heartthrob Dieter Brummer at age 45 struck a deep chord with many Australians.
National Mental Health Commission CEO Christine Morgan
National Mental Health Commission CEO Christine Morgan said the figures were worrying. "I think we all have to acknowledge it is concerning when we see those increased rates continuing for psychological distress, for self-harm, for suicide attempts," she said. "It is certainly something that, across the sector, our colleagues are working towards better understanding. "For many, this data will be difficult to receive and we remind anyone needing support to please reach out to someone you trust, your GP or the support services available.” 32 | THRIVE #8
The one-time actor, who played Shane Parrish from 1992-96 in long-running Network Seven soapie Home and Away, committed suicide at his parents’ home in Sydney’s north-west in late July, apparently having lost all hope (and money) after he was forced out of work in his high-rise window cleaning business by lockdown.
His family released a statement farewelling the “handsome, talented, funny, complicated and beloved Dieter. He has left a massive hole in our lives and our world will never be the same.” WELLMIND
His devastated mother, Dawn, 84, is now writing a book about her son to cope with her own grief and to help others battling mental health issues. “I'm hoping that the book will help people who are suffering from a depressed state of mind,” she says. “That's filling my life now, I'm just writing, writing, writing.” Dieter was to have started a new job with an old mate when lockdown meant construction work was shut down in Sydney for two weeks. In his tragic last Facebook posts, Dieter paid tribute to his mate/new employer for “rescuing” him and how excited and grateful he was for the opportunity. His grieving mate said: “'The lockdown thing took the wind out of his sails.” Another friend, Danny Rizk, who was working at casting agents Mullinars when Dieter got his big break said: "Of all the deaths in the creative services business, this one has unnerved me. To anyone reading this, mental illness is not a hoax. "It is significant on every border because it truly eats away at one's core." Adds Suicide Prevention Australia, CEO, Nieves Murray: "Fortunately, while there has been a rise in the use of mental health services and an increase in psychological distress there hasn't been a rise in deaths by suicide. "I strongly encourage people to take a proactive approach when it comes to their mental health and to seek support if they need it. "The recent lockdowns have significantly shifted the social and economic landscape in Australia and will exacerbate the risk factors that are clearly linked to distress such as economic hardship, employment, relationship breakdown and loneliness, particularly for young people." Ms Murray urged Australians to check in on friends and family, particularly those who might be alone during lockdown.
"For parents, grandparents and carers, it's important to find time for regular check-ins with the young people in your lives, particularly if you notice things don't seem quite right," she says. "You do not have to go this alone. Help is always available no matter who you are or what situation you are in. If you are feeling distress, please reach out and access the various support services that are available."
WHERE TO SEEK HELP IN CRISIS
Lifeline on 13 11 14
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
Headspace on 1800 650 890
ReachOut at au.reachout.com
Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN) on 1800 008 774
THRIVE #8 | 33
connect my mind. Stop, Reassess, Self Discover.
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effective / proactive/ client-centred If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact 000 or your local emergency counseling service.
Wellbeing Resource Video Centre WATCH FOR INSPIRATION AND RELAXATION
THE APPLE MAC GENIUS WHO FOLLOWED HIS INTUITION AGAINST ALL ODDS Self-made successful people don't become that way overnight. What most see at a glance is wealth and its trappings, and a stellar career. But it takes purpose, persistence and determination; is the result of hard work and hustle over time. It could be a lot of time. Steve Jobs probably doesn't need any introduction, but here we go. Jobs, who died 10 years ago aged 56, was co-founder of Apple Computer, Inc. (now Apple Inc.), and a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer era that has transformed our lives. In this Motivation Ark video, Jobs tells how he once didn't know what his purpose was. He dropped out of college as the courses didn't interest him and felt guilty that his hard-working adoptive parents were “wasting” their money on his tuition. Instead, he "dropped in" on unlikely courses that interested him. He didn't know what he was going to do with them or where he was going but he had an instinct it was leading to something that would fulfill his life's mission. The rest is history ... Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography - https://amzn.to/3zKeTM6
DENZEL WASHINGTON ON “FALLING FORWARD” IN UNCERTAIN TIMES
Award winning actor, director and producer Denzel Washington says, in his experience, nothing in life is worthwhile unless you're prepared to take risks. He was told as a young actor that he should have "something to fall back on". However, in this Motivation Madness video filmed in 2020, Denzel says he never understood that concept. "If I'm going to fall then I want it to be on nothing except my faith. The key is to fall forward and then you see what you’re going to hit.”
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Don’t Miss Out on your
IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED ON THE JOB, IN A PUBLIC PLACE, ON THE ROAD OR DUE TO MEDICAL OR OTHER PRACTITIONER NEGLIGENCE, IT’S IMPORTANT TO ACT QUICKLY TO SEEK COMPENSATION, OR FIND OUT IF YOU'RE ENTITLED TO COMPO By BIANCA KERR Founder of Injurymate.com.au After suffering an injury, the physical and mental health consequences can be profound, impacting on your quality of life and work. In the shock – and likely pain – of the aftermath, the furthest thing from your mind is probably seeking compensation – or, indeed, whether you are eligible for compensation. But when that shock starts to subside, compensation becomes an important issue if the injury has been incurred at work, in a public place, on the road or due to medical or other practitioner negligence. Apart from the trauma you have experienced, you may be way out of pocket from medical and associated expenses, with many costs ongoing. Or incur new expenses down the track from delayed complications of the injury. However, that process can feel daunting for many people; notably, how to find the right lawyer for their particular situation – and, importantly, how much is it going to cost? InjuryMate is a new company that can facilitate that process; to find the right lawyer for you to seek compensation. 36 | THRIVE #8
When you suffer an injury, your primary focus should be on your health and recovery. Beyond that, many people don't consider that they might have a claim or case because, for instance: • The injury doesn't seem that bad in the beginning • They are able to continue working through pain • They don't want to get a hard time from their employer or work colleagues • They're afraid it might cost their employer money if they lodge a claim • They've heard bad things about WorkCover and TAC (Transport Accident Commission) • They’re wary of lawyers But the truth is that it’s important that you explore if you have a case or claim for these reasons: • Injuries can worsen. We've seen people even with small cuts and grazes develop serious infections leading to an amputation, or a sore back that later needs surgery. Just because your injury doesn't seem that bad at the beginning doesn't mean you should ignore it. • If you lodge a claim which is accepted you can get quicker and easier access to medical services which will allow you to get better sooner and you don't need to dip into your own pocket to pay for medical
treatment like GP visits, medication, physio, chiro, psychology etc. If you ever need to stop working because of your injury, it is easier to get weekly payments to cover your lost wages. Delays in lodging claims can lead to the claim being rejected, which can make life more difficult when you need to access benefits.
"There are more than 65,000 lawyers in Australia and InjuryMate helps match you with one to avoid poor service, bad outcomes and big bills. They compare lawyers and find you the good ones for your case" WorkCover and TAC are insured schemes - your employer or the other driver does not directly pay for all your expenses. Both can be quite generous if you know what your entitlements are and how to access them. You could access, weekly payments, medical expenses, impairment benefits, common law damages and more. WHEN DO I CONTACT A LAWYER? The idea of contacting a lawyer about an injury that you've sustained can be daunting and knowing the right time to contact one can be even harder. Organising a free consultation with a lawyer with InjuryMate’s help can be useful for these reasons:
• Many people only think to engage a lawyer when the insurer of their employer either denies their claim or terminates their benefits.
Prior to that, an insurer is not obliged to advise you that you are entitled to legal representation. •
Many people don’t contact a lawyer until it is too late. Time limits apply to personal injury claims and can lock some people out of seeking the compensation they are entitled to.
11 SIGNS OF A GOOD LAWYER 1. Experience 2. Returns your calls and emails 3. Explains the process so you never feel left in the dark or like an idiot 4. Gives you meaningful answers to your questions 5. Knows what entitlements you can access 6. Is proactive in pushing your claim along and unlocking your entitlements 7. Is willing to cap or reduce their fees in long and complex disputes 8. Cares about and supports you 9. Wants you to get the best outcome 10. Puts you at ease and gives you confidence 11. Delivers on their word HOW INJURYMATE WORKS FOR YOU There are more than 65,000 lawyers in Australia and InjuryMate helps match you with one to avoid poor service, bad outcomes and big bills. We compare lawyers and find you the good ones. Our recommendations are made based on proven track records, expertise, experience and more. First, we ask you to give some basic details. Take two minutes to answer some questions about your injury. After that, we figure out: • Whether you have a claim • What entitlements you may be able to access. Then we crunch the data using rankings and data analysis to recommend you a lawyer with proven results with your type of claim, and email you the results. We let you know whether you have a claim and which lawyer we recommend for your claim. The service is free, no obligation and we are not tied to one particular lawyer. We started InjuryMate because we were sick of seeing injured people miss out on compensation they deserved because they were being represented by lawyers who were not up to the task or charged too much for their services. We’ve spent years developing relationships in the legal industry and analysing data to find the best lawyers. Don’t miss out on your entitlements! Contact us at www.injurymate.com.au or email email@example.com THRIVE #8 | 37
NUTRITION & DIET
How FOOD is GROWN is KEY IN HER NEW BOOK, LOW TOX LIFE FOOD, ALEXX STUART – BEST-SELLING AUTHOR OF LOW TOX LIFE – TALKS ABOUT THE BEST FOODS TO PUT IN YOUR SHOPPING BASKET FOR YOUR HEALTH AND THE PLANET.
ALEXX’S QUEST When Alexx Stuart set out to write Low Tox Life Food, she originally thought it was going to be about the highest carbon-emitting foods around the world, thus helping us find a “low carbon diet”. But her investigations revealed the need for a different story – about the importance of where our food comes from. Her new book clears a path through the “rules” so stridently laid down by proponents of particular diets and discusses how food is grown is the key to unlocking dependence on a broken food system; to finding easy and delicious answers to that daily conundrum: “What’s for dinner?”.
38 | THRIVE #8
Let me start by telling you a little story about what got me engaged with all this … I was standing in the supermarket one day 17 years ago. Pre smartphone. Pre “cool app for looking up additives”. I was tasked with starting to eat a food mix avoiding gluten as an experiment to see if it helped if it helped my chronic tonsillitis. It was a long shot but a bit of research was suggesting a link between non-coeliac gluten sensitivity and recurring tonsil infections. I was up for trying anything, given the alternative was getting worse and worse bouts of tonsillitis with antibiotics no longer working. I headed into the supermarket for my very conventional shop. At the time my favourite breakfast on the go was from a large juice box/Tetra pack. My favourite “I don’t have time to look up a recipe” [at the time Alexx was running a very chic, busy bar] dinner came in plastic pouches you submerged in hot water.
My favourite movie snack was either a bag of microwaved popcorn or crunchy malt-centred balls. A practitioner had given me a list of names that gluten could be hiding under, such as hydrolysed vegetable protein, glucose, certain preservatives or “natural flavour”. Little did I know the Pandora’s Box I was opening. The breakfast shake should be an easy one, surely? Isn’t it just milk, chocolate and some kind of protein? What I found was this: Filtered water, skim milk powder, cane sugar (4%), wheat maltodextrin, soy protein, vegetable oils sunflower, canola), Hi-maise TM starch, inulin, fructose from corn syrup, oat flower, mineral (calcium), food acid 332 (potassium citrate), flavour, 460 (cellulose microcrystalline), 466 (sodium carbomethylcellulose), 407 (Carrageenan), vitamins (C, A, niacin, B12, B2, B6, B1, folate), and salt. As I continued studying the products, I kept finding gluten in everything, from rice crackers to the biscuits and frozen fish I liked, to the chicken stock … gluten everywhere! I thought, “Oh my gosh, I am literally not going to be able to eat anything!”. My first big food education epiphany was that the easiest way to avoid gluten was to learn to cook produce well. You don’t have to pick up a capsicum, or butter or a steak and read the ingredients, after all. I used recipe books to learn the basic principles and classic cooking techniques, and from there
was determined to really learn how to bring things together myself. I was in my element. It was such a creative time. I wanted to reach that moment where I could say, “If I put this in, then that, mix it with that, add those things and slow-cook for three to four hours, or saute for 10 minutes, something delicious will eventuate. And? I go there! If this sounds completely impossible right now, then stick with me, baby, and you’ll get there too. Cooking great food is a natural, everyday part of life because it sustains us the way nature intended. Not only did the gluten-free experiment make me learn how to cook, but the whole foods shift meant I also stopped getting tonsillitis. The big gift in disguise was a big move away from ultra-processed foods in general. It wasn’t just the gluten-containing ingredients I was talking about but all the additives, preservatives, fillers, thickeners and agents that were used, because I had to in order to figure out if they contained gluten. I was shocked that as a 28-year-old with 17 years of formal education under my belt, I’d never once been taught how to sustain myself with the basics, or that what I put in my body could impact my health, or the planet’s health, either – as I was soon to discover. Little did I know this was just the beginning of my food education. • Excerpt from Low Tox Life Food; How To Shop, Cook, Swap, Save and Eat for a Happy Planet. By Alexx Stuart, www.lowtoxlife.com. Photography by Cath Muscat – www.cathmuscat.com. Published by Murdoch Books, RRP $36.99, www.murdochbooks.com.au See over the page for some of Alexx's delicious Farmer's Market Feast recipes. THRIVE #8 | 39
NUTRITION & DIET
"As I continued studying the products [in the supermarket], I kept finding gluten in everything, from rice crackers to the biscuits and frozen fish I liked, to the chicken stock … gluten everywhere!"
NUTRITION & DIET
A FARMER’S MARKET Feast These of
ALEXX STUART’S recipes
are inspired by BUENA VISTA FARM
Gerringong, NSW: “WE THINK OF OURSELVES AS REGENERATIVE DAIRY FARMERS,” SAYS CO-OWNER FIONA WALMSLEY, “SEQUESTERING CARBON BY PLANTING AS MANY TREES AS WE CAN, RAISING ALL OUR ANIMALS IN INTEGRATED AND NATURAL SYSTEMS THAT DON’T REQUIRE THE SUPPORT OF ANY PESTICIDES OR ANTIBIOTICS.”
40 | THRIVE #8
A MENU FOR 6-8 STARTER Chicken livers on sourdough MAIN Roasted garlic, herb and apricot chicken tray bake SIDES My bestest roast potatoes Fresh goat’s cheese, leafy local greens, seasonal fruit and classic dressing DESSERT Burnt honey semifreddo with seasonal fruits
Chicken Livers on Sourdough Serves 6–8 Prep and cooking time 15 minutes THESE LIVERS ARE SO DELICIOUS AND NOURISHING AND, FRANKLY, MY FAMILY WOULD HAPPILY FORGET THE REST OF THE FEAST AND JUST EAT THESE WITH A SALAD AND SOME TOAST OR CRACKERS FOR DINNER. 80 g (2¾ oz) butter 300 g (10½ oz) red onion, roughly chopped 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) organic chicken livers 1 rosemary sprig 2 garlic cloves, crushed 150 ml (5 fl oz) tomato passata (puréed tomatoes) 1/ 3
cup (80 ml) chicken stock
1 tablespoon finely chopped dried cranberries* ½ teaspoon salt ½ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve 6–8 slices sourdough bread* Heat half the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat and sauté the onion until soft and translucent. Add the livers, rosemary and garlic and pan-fry for about 5 minutes, until the livers are browned each side. Add the tomato passata, stock, remaining butter and cranberries, then pan-fry for a further 5–7 minutes, until the liver is cooked through (I always just cut through the thickest one and check. Chef friends will no doubt laugh at me when they read this, but it works for me). Voilà! Season to taste, pop in a serving bowl, top with the parsley and serve with the sourdough bread.
Notes: • • •
Instead of the cranberries you could use cranberry, plum or crab apple jelly. Honey would work, too. I of course serve this with gluten-free sourdough, but if you can eat gluten, choose your sourdough and enjoy. To make chicken liver pâté: Double the butter, then whiz in a blender or food processor. Store in the fridge and eat within 3-4 days. THRIVE #8 | 41
NUTRITION & DIET
A FARMER'S MARKET FEAST
NUTRITION & DIET
A FARMER'S MARKET FEAST
Roasted Garlic, Herb And Apricot Chicken
Serves 8 Prep time 10 minutes active, 40 minutes passive Cooking time 1 hour 2 garlic bulbs extra virgin olive oil, for roasting, plus 2 tablespoons extra, for rub 12/3 cups (50 g) coriander (cilantro) ½ cup (10 g) flat-leaf parsley ½ teaspoon fennel seeds 150 g (5½ oz) tomatoes 1½ teaspoons salt 1.6 kg (3 lb 8 oz) chicken pieces* 1 large red onion, cut in half and then 3 wedges each half ½ cup (125 ml) stock of your choice 60 g (2¼ oz) butter or 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
I like to roast the garlic a couple of days before when I’m cooking something else so that it’s ready for me to make the paste super quick. Use a mixture of chicken thighs and legs – whatever you fancy. You could also use a hand-held blender to blend the garlic paste in a jug.
12 dried apricots or pitted prunes, or 6 pitted dates, cut in half Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Place the garlic bulbs on a roasting tray and douse them in olive oil. Roast for 45 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Turn the oven off.*
place them in a roasting tin. Pop them to bed in the fridge overnight if you can. Otherwise continue with the recipe. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F).
Once the garlic is cooled, squeeze the roasted cloves from their skins and into a food processor.*
Arrange the onion around the chicken pieces. Pour the stock into the corners of the tray, to ensure it sinks to the bottom.
Add the coriander, parsley, fennel seeds, tomato, extra olive oil and salt, then pulse until a paste forms. Rub this all over the chicken pieces, then
Cut the butter into slices and dot on top of the meat. Add the apricots, arranging them around the chicken. That’s it.
Still strapped for time? • •
Roast for one hour and it’s ready to serve, straight from the roasting tin.
Cook in the oven on a less busy night while you’re making a stovetop evening meal. Pop in the fridge and reheat the next evening in no time. Serve with steamed greens and butter, a salad and roast potatoes, or my caramelised onion quinoa or cauliflower purée (recipes on www.lowtoxlife.com).
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A FARMER'S MARKET FEAST NUTRITION & DIET
My Bestest ROAST POTATOES Serves 6-8
THESE WILL DEFINITELY HELP TO MAKE YOU FAMOUS WITH YOUR FRIENDS. THIS ISN’T A PROMISE I MAKE LIGHTLY, BUT I HAVE A SECRET WEAPON. TO ACHIEVE THE SUPER-CRUNCHY POTATO WITH LIGHT CLOUDS OF FLUFF ON THE INSIDE, OLIVE OIL AND BUTTER AREN’T GOING TO CUT IT. ANIMAL FATS ARE THE KEY, AS IS THE TWO-STEP PROCESS DESCRIBED BELOW. I CANNOT WAIT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR SUCCESS WITH THESE – #LOWTOXFOODBOOK.
8 desiree sebago, maris piper or russet potatoes (about 2 kg/4 lb 8 oz) 1½ teaspoons salt ½ cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil, lard or tallow Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F).
Wash the potatoes and cut them in half. Place them in a large stockpot, cover with cold water and add the salt. Place over medium heat and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer for 5 minutes to parboil them. Strain in a colander and leave for a couple of minutes to let all the steam off – this is key. They must be dry before the next step. While they’re drying off, place the lard or tallow in a roasting tin and place in the oven for about 5 minutes. Cut the potatoes in half again and scrape all over the exposed flesh with a fork, to rough them up and create some crumbly edges. These bits will catch the fat and crisp up to epic heights during cooking.
Add the potato pieces to the super-hot fat in the roasting tin, placing them on a flesh side and spooning a little fat over them to coat the other sides. They should sizzle as they hit the tin. Roast for 45–60 minutes, turning them halfway through cooking, until roasted to your liking. You’re done.
Enjoy! THRIVE #8 | 43
NUTRITION & DIET
A FARMER'S MARKET FEAST
Fresh Goat’s Cheese, Leafy Local Greens, Seasonal Fruit and Classic Dressing Serves 6 200 g (7 oz) fresh goat’s cheese, crumbled 1 lettuce head, leaves separated, washed and torn into smaller pieces 60 g (2¼ oz) rocket (arugula) and/or foraged local greens 100 g (3½ oz) seasonal fruit* 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint 2/ 3
cup (105 g) hazelnuts, roasted*
¼ quantity Mum’s Vinaigrette* Combine all the non-dressing ingredients in a large flat salad bowl. Toss the vinaigrette and serve.
• In summer, pitted cherries are delicious, as are nectarine wedges. • Mum’s Vinaigrette version is a “batch” that lives at room temp for up to a month. You must,
however, use the egg variation the same day. My grandmère always used to serve the latter
with lobster or prawns at Christmas or with cooled steamed vegies like choko or squash.
Because it’s hot in Mauritius over the summer, we often ate cooked vegies cold out of the fridge.
It’s still one of my ultimate comfort foods:
1 cup (250 ml) extra virgin olive oil
100 ml (3½ fl oz) white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
2 pinches of black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a jar. Seal firmly with the lid and shake until emulsified. Keep as directed in the intro above. 44 | THRIVE #8
A FARMER'S MARKET FEAST NUTRITION & DIET
Burnt Honey Semifreddo with Seasonal Fruits Serves 10-12 ¾ cup (185 ml) local honey 600 ml (21 fl oz) organic thin (pouring) cream or coconut cream 8 organic pasture-raised egg yolks 2 organic pasture-raised eggs ½ teaspoon vanilla bean powder ¼ teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg Topping 2 cups (300g) pitted cherries or your favourite seasonal fruits, chopped, fresh berries and local edible flowers in season, to serve grated or ground nutmeg, to serve. Line a 24 cm (9½ inch) cake tin or 11 x 27 x 9 cm (4¼ x 10¾ x 3½ inch) loaf (bar) tin with baking paper (it will mould to the tin better if you scrunch it up well first, then spread it out to line the tin. I use two strips of paper at right angles, to get good coverage and to have plenty to fold over the top). Combine half of the honey and 2½ tablespoons of the cream in a small saucepan and cook on high until the mixture smells super caramelly (almost burnt), about 4 minutes. Pour immediately into a room-temperature bowl to cool. Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat. Place the egg yolks and remaining honey in a medium metal bowl that will sit securely on top of the saucepan without touching the water. Place the bowl over the simmering water and beat with hand-held electric beaters until the mixture is pale, creamy and frothy (taking care not to burn the electrical cord). Remove the bowl from the saucepan and set aside. Pour the remaining cream into a deep medium bowl and beat until thickened but not too stiff. Gently fold the cream and the cooled burnt honey mixture into the beaten egg mixture.
Everything should now be in one bowl. Pour into the prepared tin, then cover and freeze for three hours or overnight. When ready to serve, remove the semifreddo from the freezer, take out of the tin by pulling on the paper, then remove the paper and place the semifreddo on a plate or cake stand. DO NOT PANIC if the paper sticks. Just wait a couple of minutes for the semifreddo to soften, and it will peel off super easily. Scatter the fruit and edible flowers over the top and sprinkle with nutmeg.
Extra Notes •
To roast hazelnuts, spread them on a baking tray and roast in a 170° oven (325°F) for 10 minutes. To remove the bitter skins, rub the bust gently in a clean tea towel.
When cherries are out of season, try finely diced pear, sautéed in a pan with a little butter and vanilla bean powder, then cooled to room temperature.
For the photo, I used figs - about four. In spring/summer, you could use berries and small locally growing edible flowers such as elderflower.
For more recipes and great information visit www.lowtoxlife.com. THRIVE #8 | 45
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