Category Archives: Mental Health

Nicola Hogan’s 5 Self Care tips for Over Indulgence

Nicola Hogan is a Holistic Therapist and Self Care Mentor, who enthusiastically shares her love of reflexology, aromatherapy and meditation with her clients. Nicola practices from Earth Point Energy Centre in East Perth and has also presented at the Mind Body Sleep events. When she is not treating clients, you’ll find her writing blogs and articles, taming her 3 kids and ginormous pumpkin vine or heading out for adventures in nature. 

This morning I was at a client’s house for a Mobile Reflexology session. When I asked how she was doing, she replied “hungover from a late night of work drinks on Saturday”.


Yes, it is that time of the year again. I know I was feeling a little more tired than usual this morning. Yesterday afternoon I hosted a Christmas High Tea for my extended family. Champagne in the afternoon, rich Christmas cake and fruit mince pies. Tiny pastries filled with cream cheese and smoked salmon. Petit fours and chocolates. Gin and tonics. All very delicious and decadent.

Tis the season, right?

December and January are typically that time of the year where we enjoy a little more festive cheer and food than normal. Not only does this feel great at the time – we’re happy, tipsy and relaxed. It is not uncommon to wake up the next day with a headache or sore tummy. And the older you get, the harder it is to recover the next day(s). *Note, I do not know if this is scientifically proven, it’s just my experience, having turned 40 this year, recovery time seems to have doubled!

There are a few tricks that I have discovered along the way to help support the body recover from over indulgence. Holistic tools like self-massage and aromatherapy work wonders for your body and are healthier and healing on your already hardworking liver and kidneys than popping a few Panadol and chowing down on a Big Mac and fries. Ask your naturopath, she’ll back me up on this one.

My 5 Top Self Care Tips for Over Indulgence

Hydrate. Sounds simple, doesn’t it. Before going to bed after a particularly indulgent evening, I’ll drink a pint of water and usually a peppermint tea. In the morning, I skip my traditional long mac and create a jug of water. I add thin slices of cucumber, ginger, orange, lemon and fresh mint, lots of ice and filtered water to a 1-liter glass jug and sip on this all morning. If I am going out, I’ll fill my drink bottle and sip on the go. I’ll refill this jug throughout the day and continue sipping.

Foot soak. I love soaking my feet. I admit, I do prefer a good soak in a bath, but my house doesn’t have one. I can feel a little guilty about the water used and wasted with a bath. In my foot bath I add to warm water a half cup of magnesium salts and 2 drops each of lavender, peppermint, orange, geranium and basil essential oils. When I am finished, I tip the water out onto my garden.

Self-reflexology. After a foot soak, I’ll massage some reflex points on my feet. Foot reflexology is the practice of sedating or stimulating specific zones on the feet. The entire body is mapped out on the feet and when massaged, can have a positive impact on whole body wellbeing, from the inside out. At this time of the year, I give extra love and attention to my Liver, Kidney, Adrenals, Stomach and Thyroid points. Locate each point on your foot and apply a gentle but firm circular massage pressure for 1 – 2 minutes.

Aromatherapy. There are many different ways to utilize the magical properties of essential oils. When it comes to a hangover, diffusion is by far my favourite way to use aromatherapy. Place water in a diffuser or oil burner and add up to 10 drops of any of the following oils, or a combination. Try lavender, peppermint and lemon for relaxing, soothing and uplifting energies. Other essential oils that may help hangovers include rosemary, grapefruit, orange, lime, basil and marjoram. Along with diffusing, try an aromatic dressing. Here’s how; after showering, take a quarter cup of base oil (coconut is good, so is almond or even olive oil), add 10 drops of your chosen blend of essential oils and massage all over your body, paying lots of attention to you head and neck, being careful not to get any in the eyes. You could also work on those Reflex points on your feet.

Meditation/Walking. Before you shut all the curtains and curl up on the couch in a ball for a Netflix binge, try some light exercise like walking and include meditation. It might be the last thing on your mind, but slipping on your trainers, a hat and your darkest sunglasses can ease your hangover quicker. It’s about getting your circulation flowing and metabolizing the night before quicker. Also, fresh air just feels Pop your ear buds in a listen to a guided meditation and you’ll be tuning out your headache faster than you slammed down those tequila shots. If you can’t manage the exercise, lay down on you bed with a cold flannel. Maybe add a couple of drops of peppermint and lavender essential oils and breathe. Again, a guided meditation will be useful here and there are so many to choose from. Head over to YouTube and search guided meditation for hangovers. This can sometimes turn into sleep, but that is okay, your body needs the rest! The practice of meditation can help to soothe and relax tension in your head or ease your stomach after an over indulgence.

It is the silly season, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw all of your good habits and get your festive cheer on every day (but if you do, there’s no judgment here).  Self-care also means tuning in to your body. It’s a trusting and knowing when you’ve had enough, when you need to rest and when you just need to drink sparkling water and eat a big bowl of rainbow veg. By all means have fun and enjoy yourself, I know I will. But know that you have simple, easy holistic tools on hand to help support your body through the over indulgence. And, maybe pre-book in with your Naturopath for a herbal liver tonic in the new year!

Bulimia, More Than Just An Eating Disorder

Bulimia is more than just an eating disorder, it’s a serious illness that affects many people world wide. Having an Eating disorder does not just affect what you put into your mouth but your entire life is affected. It affects your friends, your family, your work your home life, your social life, everything. It is a very difficult illness to overcome because your whole thought process is altered and the negative thoughts and self doubt become strong motivators to continue on a path of the illness.

I saw a lovely client this week who has been suffering with Bulimia for the past 33 years and has only just started seeking help this year. Consulting with her about this illness brought back memories from my younger years when I was a sufferer.

What Is Bulimia

Bulimia is the act of binge eating then purging. Those with the condition will deprive themselves of food then in the comfort of their own home binge. After a binge session feelings of guilt, anger and sadness come rolling in which then brings on the act of purging to “get rid” of not only the food but the emotions.

It is common to see sufferers skip meals during the day when they are at their place of work or in public and binge when they return home. In doing this they are depriving their body of essential nutrients assimilated from food.

I Was A Weekend Binger

I would be very strict with my eating during the week, around friends and family. I would only fresh fruit, vegetables and lean proteins. I had a reputation of being “so healthy” to maintain and would refuse any junk food that I was offered. I would sit at McDonalds with all my friends after school and sip on a medium diet coke while they all ate burgers and sundaes. I was sick and had an extreme fear of weight gain. Looking back on photos of myself I was no where near fat, but because I looked “healthy” no one ever suspected my disorder. Bulimia sufferers are excellent at hiding their disorder and can be years before the recovery process begins.

Compulsive Exercise

I suffered with Bulimia from the age of 15 through to 17. At age 15 I also developed an excessive compulsion to exercise. I would wake up at 6am every morning and do Aerobics Oz Style on the TV before school…big daggy I know! After school I would go for a run before my sport training; I played netball, basketball and also did swimming training. Late at night I would complete 100 Situps, 100 Star Jumps and 100 Squats before I retired to bed. On Friday and Saturday nights I would binge on whatever minimal junk food my mum put in the pantry and purge. My Immune system was hit the hardest and after having recurrent tonsillitis every couple of months I had to slow down on the exercise. My immunity was so weak that eventually my bouts of tonsillitis developed into Glandular Fever. I was run down for the better half of 6 months and even to this day my immune system is one of my weakest aspects of my health.

Effects of Bulimia

The damage from Bulimia doesn’t just include a sore throat and sensitive teeth. Bulimia also can cause more serious long term effects like enamel erosion, hormonal imbalance, low blood pressure, anaemia, ruptured oesophagus, reflux, kidney and intestine damage as well as an irregular heartbeat and heart failure.

Acknowledge Bulimia

If you have an eating disorder the first step is to acknowledge it. It took me 2 years and my client 33 years to acknowledge the illness. It isn’t easy but is essential for the first step of recovery. There is a lot of help out there and it is so important not to feel ashamed or embarrassed by it. It is a mental illness and there is no shame in owning the illness and moving forward to seek help.

Eating For Health Not Weight Loss

Funnily enough once you start to recover and develop a healthy relationship with food your weight naturally falls off. Eating becomes an enjoyable experience and eating healthy food is rewarded by feeling good about yourself. It was not until I started studying Naturopathy that I realised the principle of eating for health rather than weight loss. The media constantly shoves images in our face that to be successful and popular among our peers we should be slim. Too much focus is put on weight rather than dealing with the causes of weight gain like stress, anxiety and eating disorders.

Optimise Your Body

I wish there was more education when I was at school regarding this because it was not until I started learning about it myself with my course that I started eating to be healthy not thin. If you are getting adequate nutrients through regular healthy meals your body starts to operate properly and you start to feel healthy. Your immune system becomes strong, you digest your food well, you have energy, you sleep improves, you crave healthy food, your hormones are balanced and then you lose fat. More importantly you develop a positive relationship with food and start to enjoy eating. Once you are in this head space, then incorporating a  regular sensible exercise plan will assist you to lose fat and gain lean muscle.

If you would like to know more about a holistic treatment plan to recover from an eating disorder like bulimia please contact

Mind Body Health

In order to have a healthy mind, you need a healthy body and in order to have a healthy body you need to have a healthy mind.

Mind Body Health is vital for wellness and this concept was re-iterated through a podcast. The guest speakers on this particular podcast were talking about a wide variety of health issues but the one topic that really resonated with me was their perspective on cancer.

One of the guest speakers was talking about her own personal experience with cancer and how she saw the illness as a positive impact on her life. This perspective on cancer is not heard regularly. Yes, we hear cancer survivors speak of their journey and how the illness impacted their life but I have never heard someone speak of being diagnosed with cancer as a blessing.

This lady was diagnosed in her early twenties and she explained that she was enjoying her life in a very unhealthy way. She was partying a lot, drinking a lot of alcohol, dabbling in illicit drugs and was not eating well. She said her health was not a priority and despite being shown small alarms of illness developing before the cancer developed she continued to ignore all symptoms because she “Was having too much fun”.

Hearing this made me think of all the young adults out there, even into their 30s and 40s possibly living this kind of life not considering their health as a priority.

The way she spoke about Cancer was so inspiring, how it was a wake up call for her to make changes and begin to live a healthy life.  Cancer is not some mysterious illness that just develops overnight. How you live your life and what you put into your body every single day will determine your risk for preventing or encouraging illness. You have the power to choose how your body is going to function and in result how healthy you are.

The podcast continued on to a conversation around the power of thought and how much impact our thoughts and attitude have on our life. There are so many individuals out there living with such a negative outlook on life hating where they are, what they do for work, what they look like etc.

One piece of advice I took away from the pod cast was how much we can change just by changing the way we think about things.

Fall back in love with you, your life and think about what you want to achieve in your years spent on this planet.

Stop hating yourself and start accepting yourself and if you want to change something about your life set goals and do whatever you possibly can to achieve them.

One simple thing you can start now is writing an affirmation for yourself to look at every day for the next week.

“I fully approve of who I am, even as I get better.”

Stick this affirmation where ever you will see it regularly for the next week (on the bathroom mirror, back of the toilet door, in your car or on your fridge etc.) Say it out loud every day as many times as you like (Even if you feel silly doing it).

Once you start to believe the words you are saying, you will be amazed at the positive changes that can happen.