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Caroline McKenna - Mental Health, Breathing and A County Down Under
Episode 921st February 2023 • Oxygen Advantage • Oxygen Advantage
00:00:00 00:56:16

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“The sun will always rise again tomorrow and you’re not on your own.”

In this episode of the Oxygen Advantage® podcast Patrick is joined by Caroline McKenna, a mental health advocate, teacher, and host of the ‘A County Down Under’ podcast which she started during her time living in Australia.

Originally only visiting Australia for ‘a few months’, Caroline ended up staying seven years. It was during her time in Australia that Caroline saw the high standards of mental health awareness and positive steps taken to highlight and address it. Things like readily available counselling services and mind healthy activities like mindfulness coaching.

During the pandemic, Caroline started to galvanize her thoughts on what she wanted to change in her life. She had spent almost three years in lockdown, away from home like many other non-Australian nationals, so she made a 15-minute video explaining the difficulties that many ex-pats face being unable to return home.

The video was a huge hit and was the beginning of what became the ‘A County Down Under’ podcast. A very popular show focused on mental health and wellbeing which has appeared on top download lists in Ireland, the UK and Australia ever since.

At a similar time, Caroline also started Sunrise Socials as a means for ex-pats to meet up and watch the sunrise and look at the future with positivity. The first Sunrise Social took place in Sydney, there are now 35 communities worldwide.

Caroline speaks in honest terms about how repeated suicides impacted her community growing up and how she struggled to understand why someone would take their own life and how she herself decided to quit drinking alcohol due to its negative effects.

An advocate of ice baths, it was also during lockdown that Caroline was introduced to breathwork thanks to Ronan O’Brien of Breathwave Ireland and has not looked back. She now agrees with Patrick and wants to see breathwork training taught in schools.

This is a very entertaining and enlightening podcast on the importance of finding time for ourselves and time with our family and getting away from the distractions of work and the phone.

Plan your exercises at home. Try the free Oxygen Advantage Breathing App, available now.

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00:00 Introduction

01:53 Ireland and Mental Health

04:55 Caroline’s Story

09:34 Giving Up Alcohol

15:11 Discovering Breathing Exercises

19:48 Making Breathing More Accessible

22:40 Mental Health and the Older Generation

24:45 Teaching Breathing in Schools

30:04 Giving Attention to Ourselves

31:14 The Distraction of the Phone

38:51 Religion and Breathing

39:53 Why Are More Men Doing Breathwork?

43:02 Breathing for Concentration and Focus

45:10 Teaching Students & Mental Strength

49:55 The Future of Breathing

53:56 Conclusion