The time I had a wake-up call flying into a volcano crater in Hawaii

THIS ISLAND LIFE | N? Pali Coast, Kauai - Hawaii

I was flying into an extinct volcano crater in an open-door helicopter on the Hawaiian island of Kauai when I realised something was wrong. We descended into the crater like a scene out of Jurassic Park – the crisp coastal air was blowing through the cabin, and we were surrounded by lush rainforest canopies in a gorge that had views of the incredible N? Pali coast, but instead of wide-eyed amazement, I fell asleep. Twice. I was only two days into a 10-day shoot across Hawaii and already I was in trouble.

A few months earlier I’d started what I thought was my dream job, but two and a half months into the role, I’d clocked up a ridiculous 53 days in overtime across four different countries. On top of that, I was still running my site THIS ISLAND LIFE in what non-existent time I had. I was exhausted, stressed and completely overwhelmed. I had no capacity to think creatively, no time or energy to exercise, and was ignoring my body’s crucial warning signs.

A few days after the helicopter microsleeps, I woke up in severe pain. I was on the island of Oahu and still had another week of work to complete before flying back to Australia. I doped myself up on painkillers and finished the trip, but the seriousness kicked in when I got back home to Sydney. Within a few days I was having surgery for something pretty serious – it was a massive wake-up call for someone who was otherwise young and healthy.

It took four months and another surgery to fully recover, but I got away relativity unscathed. I was lucky, really lucky. I found a new job and I’ve now redesigned my life for a healthier and more balanced future.

If you’ve had your own wake-up call or just want to avoid one, here are eight simple ways to slow down and put your health first:

  1. Get eight hours sleep

Eight hours sleep each night is the minimum time your body needs to repair while you sleep.

TIP: Once a week, have an alarm free day where you let your body sleep for as long as it needs to, where you wake up naturally.

  1. Meditate every day

Even if it’s for just 20 minutes, get in the habit of truly relaxing your body and mind.

TIP: A guided meditation recording is a great way to start – find one you like and download it to your phone so you can do it anywhere.

  1. Cap your screen time

If you work all day in front of a computer it’s important to give your mind and body a rest from staring at a screen – even if it is full of awesomeness.

TIP: If you usually jump online as soon as you get home, make plans with friends after work and break the habit.

  1. Have a digital detox

Once a week take a self-imposed media blackout. Ban your phone, tablet and computer and be free from social media, phone calls and texts.

TIP: Utilise your phone functions and only accept calls from people who know you’re on a blackout and would only contact you in an emergency.

  1. Exercise to feel good

Don’t focus on superficial goals – instead focus on making your body as happy and healthy as possible through physical activity you enjoy.

TIP: Stay away from gyms where people stare themselves and each other out in the mirrors.

  1. Listen to your body

If you’re tired, sleep; if you have a headache, take a break; and if you don’t feel like doing your regular cardio session at the gym, don’t.

TIP: Give yourself permission to rest and take it easy – routines are made to be broken.

  1. Ground yourself – literally

Slipping off your shoes and connecting with nature is a really great way to ground yourself and boost your body’s vitality.

TIP: Tie it in with your daily meditation routine and find a place outside where you can relax your mind. 

  1. Laugh as much as possible

Laughter is a proven form of stress release and can even strengthen your immune system, relieve pain and improve your mood.

TIP: If you’re friends and family aren’t cracking you up on a regular basis, watch more funny movies.


PS. I still work as a copywriter at an advertising agency in Sydney, but I now only do that four days a week – giving me more time to grow my passion THIS ISLAND LIFE and focus on my health.

PPS. I wrote this post in December last year when I got the all clear after my second surgery, but wasn’t sure whether to post this story. While I share my summer travel adventures and fashion finds throughout THIS ISLAND LIFE, I’ve never really shared much about myself personally. I hope that this post offers a little behind-the-scenes insight into my world, but most of all I hope it gets you thinking about your own work/life balance, so you won’t ever find yourself sleeping through life’s adventures.


1 Comment

  • Thanks for sharing Laura, glad you have recovered well. B

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