From DJ & club promoter to Hunter Gatherer Forager, we speak to Anne Howlers about how much her lifestyle has changed since switching from party kid to slow living.
1. Can you tell us a little about your lifestyle as a DJ & club promoter in Australia and Scotland?
I got interested in music and putting on events when I was 15 years old. Not playing a instrument myself, I loved meeting like minded people and experiencing the energy at live music events. When I was 20, I was part of a crew that formed an arts warehouse collective called Push gallery/figure8 in Sydney. It was here that I was taught to DJ and able to put my love of reggae/dancehall music and events together. From there I travelled to London, then Scotland, where I worked in the club and bar scene. Although my lifestyle at this time was full of beautiful creative people and it was fun, I wouldn't say I was healthy. I worked long hours to support myself and any free time was spent partying and I wasn't taking care of myself. Being in my early 20s health mental or physical wasn't something I considered.
2. Did you encounter any mental heath conditions at this time?
Oh definitely my mental health wasn't great, I suffered depression and at times self harm. The partying didn't help but I guess not knowing better I thought I was 'self medicating'. I've known many people who suffer from mental health issues but it was never something that was talked about. I've always been blessed to have a really supportive community and friends but even so I had a hard time reaching out for help and I think many others did too. There's definitely a stigma surrounding mental health and often you want to sort it out yourself or not trouble people with your problems.
3. Do you think any of these mental health conditions could be better managed witha change of lifestyle?
I know for me personally my mental health has greatly improved since I started living a healthier lifestyle. I did go on anti depressants in my late teens but I didn't like them and now prefer diet and exercise. I still get down days but I'm aware of the signs and what I need to do for self care. There's still areas I would like to improve, the main being my addiction to sugar! I probably use less than most people as I only have It in fruit ,coffee, tea and home baking but I can feel it bringing me down if I don't have it and I'm not ready to go through the sugar withdrawal. I'd also like to up the amount I exercise to get some good endorphins!
3. Who is Hunter Gatherer Forager and what is the ethos behind what you do?
Hunter Gatherer Forager is made up of myself and my partner Dane. We wanted the best food and lifestyle but didn't have the money to buy it, so we started small by growing, preserving and fermenting our own food.. We are constantly learning more and exploring new areas. Currently I'm teaching myself to spin yarn. I love living this way and dream of buying our own small patch of land to teach others some of the skills involved.
I do feel we are part of a grass roots movement and more and more people in our generation are moving towards slow living.
4. What initiated the change from city life to slow living?
There were a few signals from the universe while Dane and I were in Europe but we ignored them, preferring to party and go to festivals. The real initiator was when we were in Croatia and found out I was expecting our daughter. We had a month helping in Slovenia before we returned home. Surrounded by farms we spent a lot of time thinking about what sort of life we wanted to live once becoming parents.
5. Has this lifestyle change had any positive impacts on you or your familys?
I'm not sure I'm happier as I was happy before but it's a different type of happiness - more soul fulfilling and nurturing. It certainly feels more natural to be up early morning and in bed early evening. When we lived on the farm we worked hard long hours but you slept deeper and I often wonder if our hard working pioneer ancestors struggled with mental illness as much as society today. It's hard to know though as things were very different in those days.
6. Do you think nutrition can have an effect on mental health and clarity?
I probably don't look into nutrition as much as I should. We eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and very little processed foods. I trust we get lot of good nutrients that way. I do feel I have more clarity and clearheadedness these days and that's very much a result of a cleaner lifestyle.
7. What is the most important lesson you have learnt from changing your lifestyle and nutrition?
Follow your passions and you will achieve great contentment even if it's just a hobby in your spare time.
8. What communities have you discovered and can recommend to people to reach out to if they are interested in improving their nutrition?
There's so many wonderful and inspiring cyber communities, blogs and Facebook pages out there. Personally, I was very inspired by Rhonda hertzels blog "down to earth" and Sally Wise who both live slow food , frugal lifestyles.
8. Where can we follow your adventures and purchase your latest products?
Etsy store HuntaGathererforager
Blog - huntergatherererforager.WordPress.com
Many many years ago a dear friend of mine encouraged me to try a yoga class. This was in Edinburgh, UK and my friend soon went on to do her yoga teacher training. After many wonderful yoga classes both in Edinburgh and Brisbane, Australia my wonderful friend and her partner went on to launch their own yoga retreat... Hide in the sky - I'll let them tell you more about it below and how you can get involved! - Lou
"Life is complicated. And hard! And overwhelming.. Everyone feels it I'm sure, but not everyone knows how to deal with it. How to take a step back and slow everything down to a point of reflection. To a place where you can safely explore your emotions, your actions, your stress,anxieties and find some resolve or better still, peace, quiet & self acceptance. We (Hide in the Sky) feel so passionately about creating a supportive space where people can feel comfortable nourishing themselves, taking that `time out` that everyone deserves.. Reminding people to care for themselves, to love themselves and to accept themselves for all of their perfect imperfections.
We are lucky enough to have a lifestyle where we can go off and explore.. Whenever we feel suffocated or stressed by the city pace we take a timeout in nature, in the mountains or by the sea.... The restoration we feel from nourishing ourselves in the wild is our inspiration for (Hide in the Skyline) After taking a group out to the French alps on retreat in September, and observing the powerful positive effects this nurturing space created, we wanted to bring that life changing experience home with us and share it with as many people as we can, popping it on the doorsteps of city people who's lifestyles don't necessarily allow this luxury. So we bring it to them, by using secret locations around the city where people can meet, move together, breathe together, share wine, delicious food and a lot of chatting!
Come with us and hide in the sky
Hide in the sky ~ weekend retreats in locations around Europe ( next retreat may 2017 - location TBC)
Hide in the skyline ~ day retreats in locations around UK ( next retreat 29th Oct- full )
Insta ~ www.instagram.com/hide.in.the.sky/
Fb ~ www.Facebook.com/hideinthesky
Share space is an online community where contributors work with MML to write about their own experiences with mental health conditions. Please get in touch via the contact page if you wish to be involved!