The Indigo Project is a psychology practice that has hosted everything from free nap classes to guided death meditation. “We’ve really tried to look at the needs of our community and be as progressive as we can,” says psychologist Mary Hoang, who founded The Indigo Project six years ago. “People are excited that mental health can have such an approachable, down-to-earth feel.”
When it comes to ideal spots around and outside of Sydney for topping up one’s wellness and self care, Hoang is literally an expert. “Making the time to get out and about is so important for people’s wellbeing,” says Hoang.
It’s this type of insider knowledge that inspired the launch of MyBroadsheet, our new feature that will add a layer of personalisation to your regular experience of the site. Use it to discover, document and save your favourite elements of the city through customisable lists and bookmarks. You’ll never be stuck for somewhere to eat, drink, shop or visit ever again.
Here are her top picks for serene Sydney.
Italian delights in Haberfield
“Haberfield makes me so happy. It’s the real-deal Little Italy in Sydney and would put a smile on anyone’s face. Cassaniti is the local bakery and their arancini is seriously good – you have to eat it as soon as you get it on the street. You line up and you’ve got these Italian nonnas serving you. I also love having a chat at family-run Franks Fruit Market and picking up some fresh fruit and veggies. And I always stop off at Paesanella for some incredible cheese and gourmet goods … the staff are always so lovely. Lamonica IGA is the best place to stock up on pasta, and there’s always a massive line for their deli.”
Beaches off the beaten track
“The Indigo Project gets pretty full on, so I’ve got to find peace in nature otherwise I’d lose my mind. The best places that I go to quell my anxiety and stress is Congwong Beach in the Botany Bay National Park – super clear water, calm and picturesque. It’s a bit of a hidden spot – not super busy and overrun with tourists. Little Congwong Beach is a little walk away through a sandy track, which is tops if you’re keen on getting in your birthday suit. My other favourite beaches are Pearl Beach on the Central Coast and Reef Beach, on the Manly to Spit Bridge walk.”
Jelly Bean Pools in the Blue Mountains
“You can’t be in the city 24/7 and be balanced – wellbeing to me is about going exploring and being curious about different neighbourhoods. I like pretending that I’m having a holiday even when I'm just heading an hour out of town. There’s a cute little town that I love in the Blue Mountains called Glenbrook. It’s home to one of my favourite swimming holes: Jelly Bean Pools, in Blue Mountains National Park. There are lots of spots to hide and have a picnic, and it’s best to bring a floatie to chill in the water all day. Glenbrook also has some great cafes, like Kickaboom, and a deli called Con’s Continental. And you have to get a pie at Bakehouse Gourmet Pies.”
Listen Up workshop
“Music is an important part of the work we do at The Indigo Project, and listening to great music is a sure-fire way to feel good. We’ve developed a contemporary sound bath called Listen Up where we play participants an album start to finish and guide people through a therapeutic journey in their minds in the dark. It’s pretty wild – music triggers all these different emotions, memories and even colours in people’s minds. In the past we’ve listened to Max Richter, Nils Frahm, Nicolas Jaar and Greg Haines. It’s a super-approachable way to teach people about their emotions and the capacity of their minds when they’re actually doing very little. They’re just spending time with themselves, which a lot of Sydneysiders forget to do.”
Hindu and Buddhist temples
“We have some incredible temples in Sydney where you can go and soak up the atmosphere. On Saturday and Sunday, Helensburgh Hindu Temple serves incredible vegetarian food: dosa, paratha, Indian sweets, masala tea. When my father passed away in 2017, my partner took me to Nan Tien Temple to pay my respects, and it brought me such peace and calm to be there. Nan Tien is huge and they have a cute tea house that serves dumplings and noodles. Between these two temples is the Sea Cliff Bridge and idyllic beaches, so it’s a great day trip. Stopping by the secret Helensburgh glow-worm tunnel is also a treat on the way back. It’s like stepping into another galaxy – I’d like to try it next time with some headphones and an ambient album.”
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