• with Brenda Walsh of Golden Door Health Retreat

E-Tox your life at Golden Door

Ever feel like you are totally overloaded by technology? SMS's, Emails, Mobile Phones... all begging to be answered can leave you feeling torn apart at the limbs and wishing you put them all into a box and throw them off a cliff (don't laugh - I actually dream of doing exactly this!).

It seems I'm not alone , so this month we talked to Brigid Walsh, General Manager of Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia about technology addiction and how Golden Door assist with the e-toxing process for their Health Spa guests.

Could you please outline the Golden Door’s approach to technology? Are guests encouraged to limit their use of technology, gadgets etc for the duration of their stay? Do you have a formal ‘e-toxing’ program in place, where guests are supported through this process? So many of our guests aren’t aware of how completely addicted to their technology they have become until they experience the Golden Door program. We limit the use of technology to rooms to ensure everyone gets the most out of everything we offer here at Golden Door and are able to be fully present in the moment. While there is no formal e-toxing program at this time, we do support guests by encouraging them and teaching them to practice mindfulness and slow down. We’ve also recently launched our Corporate Wellness program, which is perfect for ‘conscious leaders’ and businesses that are increasingly looking for new ways to optimise the physical, mental and social health of their employees. E-toxing is a major component of this program as we find those in the coporate sector are especially susceptible to the negative impacts of technology.

Why do you advise guests to disconnect from their devices? What’s the thinking behind this? In what way will it enrich their retreat experience? An essential part of living well is being mindful and it’s proven that technology and the constant distractions of mobile phones/laptops/iPads are having huge negative impacts on how we live and connect with others and ourselves. Constant connectivity is great for business and getting in touch with loved ones who live far away but it also puts us under an extreme amount of pressure to always be available. Those who stay with us at Golden Door find that thy are free to make real connections with other guests and while, at fist, may be adverse to the idea of not having their phone on them at all times actually employ ‘tech-free time’ when they go home, for example by making meals a strictly no phone time. Our guests make life long friends at the Retreat and we believe it’s because they are truly sharing their experiences together by giving their full presence every day and taking it all in from moment to moment.

Generally speaking, what are some of the key health/wellness and psychological benefits ofhaving a break from technology? Some of the benefits include btter concentration, improved posture, stress reduction, improved creativity and an overall better work/life balance. Many people also find thy even have a better night’s sleep and are more productive at work. Your relationships with others also benefitsimmensely when you take regular breaks from technology and you’ll find leisure time is ven more enjoyable.

What sort of feedback do you have from guests about the e-toxing experience? Do people tend to implement it in their regular lives, post-retreat? Much of the time we have guests come to Golden Door and they are so wary of the e-tox experience, however once they’ve had a few days to get used to it they discover this whole new lease on life. I’ve had guests tell me that they’ve never felt so energised before with a better sense of self and focus. People definiely implement e-toxing in their regular lives once they experience a Golden Door program from making meals a phone-free time to switching off emails after 6pm. It only has to be a small change at a time but it can make the world of difference to your health, quality of life and relationships.

What makes Golden Door Elysia unique in the health retreats space? Who is it for? Any key attractions? Located in the stunning NSW Hunter Valley Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia is the only purpose built health retreat in Australia and we cater to anyone over the age of 16 and all levels of health and fitness. Our orld-class programs are designed to give guests the information and tools they need to live well and achieve life-long health and wellness.

Our all-inclusive two, three, fie and seven night programs have changed the lives of tens of thousands of people and have been developed to motivate change and connect mind, body and spirit – all while taking in the magnificent Bokenback mountain range and breathing in the fresh air. We also offer a range of specialty retreats throughout the year on topics such as meditation and mindfulness with key health and wellbeing practitioners, which are especially popular. In addition, our on-site spa Spa Elysia offers a wide range of treatments, including our signature Watsu treatment, in one of the largest Spa facilities in Australia.

Brigid - thanks for talking to us and sharing your insight into technology and health. Now... I just have to return all my missed calls...

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