Break from the busyness

Fran Woodruff of Foundation to Come Home (at left). Photo: Imagine Pictures. Nat Dowling of Wander into Wildness (at right). Photo: Chloe Smith Photography

Schedules may seem ‘back to normal’ but complementary practitioners are supporting local people to check in with what the body has to say about busyness.

Fear, worry and anxiety frazzle our nervous systems. Without rest and recovery after chronic stress, our health and wellbeing can be at risk.

If we go for too long without rest, biophysical feedback loops become hard to shift. We can get stuck out of balance. Wired and tired. Low and lethargic.

Castlemaine nutritionist, Nikki Valentini, explains that a lack of rest triggers chemical reactions in the body, like cortisol activation. Sustained over time, this can lead to fatigue, imbalanced digestive health and inflammation.

“Our modern world has us constantly engaged in information, which can be unsettling,” Nikki says.

“It can lead to negative thought patterns that we don’t know enough, have enough or that we are unsafe.

“There is a false sense of having to ‘keep up’ constantly pressuring us.”

Fran Woodruff from the Foundation to Come Home in Yandoit agrees that the value of switching off is not regarded highly enough.

“Social expectations, busy schedules and external events can be tricky, steering us in directions away from what we truly need,” she says.

“Mindfulness and meditation practices support us to build strong foundations.

“Over time we become less shaken or distracted by the happenings around us.”

The world continues to greet us with big happenings. But how we look after ourselves influences how we greet the world.

Louise Cook-Tonkin understands that a chronic stress response is the foundation of chronic illness.

As a shiatsu practitioner in Castlemaine, she also observes how stress creates imbalances that result in low-level, debilitating issues that impact clients day to day.

“Some people come to shiatsu in need of simple re-balancing. Others have spent years living with deep stress patterns under the surface,” Louise says.

“My work acts like a circuit breaker, helping systems return to balance. That rest and ease supports people to find vision and purpose.”

Purpose doesn’t reveal itself simply by getting more sleep. Sleep and rest are not the same thing.

Rest brings restoration, incorporating physical, mental, sensory, creative, emotional, social and spiritual aspects. It’s a dance between what we do and how we be in the world.

The busy world pressures us to do.

When Nat Dowling offers nourishing sounds in her Kyneton sound healing practice, she supports clients to shift gears and recalibrate.

“Right now many people feel flattened. Others are pushing flat out,” Nat says.

“Both are nervous system responses to overwhelm, on either side of the pendulum swing.

“With practitioner support we can bring ourselves back to a central point of balance.

“When we find our natural resonance, we can be and do from a more coherent place.”

Rest Stop is a day of guided rest to support people to pause, listen in and come back to that place.

It’s an invitation from Nat and Fran to gather for sound healing, mindfulness, dance movement and nature connection.

Rest Stop happens on April 30 and May 28. More info at