The alarm went off at 4am on Monday morning, but the thought of snoozing crossed my mind for only a fraction of a second before I remembered why we had set it so early. World Mental Health Day.
We got up and drove down to Bondi Beach before the sun had even thought about rising. In the pitch black, we spotted lights on the sand and made our way down to meet like-minded strangers to join in marking the beginning of Mental Health Week together.
Australian mental health charities OneWave and Livin had come up with the idea to make the word HOPE on the beach in lights. The aim was to get the message out that even in the darkest of darkness, there is hope, and you don’t have to go it alone.
As we snapped hundreds of glow sticks and hurried to place them in the sand before the sun rose, I felt that we were a part of something really special.
The sky slowly began to lighten and we could make out the faces of those we’d been working alongside in the dark. We huddled together and Grant, the founder of OneWave shared his personal story about what ‘hope’ means to him. He explained why he set up Fluoro Fridays, an event that sees people come together every week to surf, do yoga and simply create an opportunity in which to focus on mental health. An event that started almost with one man, now takes place every Friday at 16 beaches around the world.
We finished with a guided meditation as the sun rose and watched the magical early morning sky fill with colours. A truly special way to start the week and a reminder to take time to check in with myself and my loved ones.
We’ve made a date to head down to Fluoro Friday in a couple of weeks. A date that is all about looking after our brains. And each other’s.
(Header photo pinched from OneWave‘s Facebook page)