New Year Resolutions

Hello and Happy New Year! I am lucky enough to be writing this first blog post of the year from sunny Byron Bay in Northern New South Wales, Australia. I’m away on vacation with my partner for some summer fun in the sun and some much-needed relaxation time after a busy and happy 2017. As I sit here contemplating 2017 and envisioning 2018, like most of you, I think about the New Years resolutions that I have made.

In previous years I have had numerous and somewhat onerous resolutions, all made in good faith, but unfortunately being left by the wayside after the best of intentions. As I get older, I’m not sure if it has been a conscious decision, but my New Years resolutions have become somewhat less formal and more a general feeling or intention for the year ahead. I find this way I don’t give myself such a hard time if I do not meet or achieve each resolution. This year I have decided to spend a little bit more time each day doing things which makes me happy or brings me joy and a little less time devoting to things that take away from my happiness or that bring me down albeit this is easier said than done.

I’m not sure about you, but for me several ways to recharge my batteries energetically is to spend time with loved ones and cooking food with love for them. And spending time by the ocean. I’m an extrovert and love spending time with the company of others. However the older I become the more I enjoy my alone time. I also love food. Eating cuisines from around the world and sharing food is something I really cherish. The night before last I hosted a dinner party with family and friends and spent the afternoon in the kitchen preparing a number of different dishes. Personally I find preparing food and then sharing with others quite rewarding, however I’m sure my body would appreciate maybe a glass or two less of the white wine, which usually accompanies these soirées.

Growing up in Newcastle I spent a lot of time in the ocean. Between going to the fantastic surf beaches in Newcastle and hanging out on the shore of Lake Macquarie, I love to get my water fix. Merewether beach in Newcastle is one of my favourite places on earth and I was fortunate to be able to start the year on the morning of New Years day swimming at Merewether beach. I remember someone telling me a theory about ions around the ocean and their effect on our bodies and how this brings about a positive feeling. I have no idea if this is true, but I do know that I gravitate towards the ocean.

So what does all of this have to do with genetics or genetic counselling? I am a genetic counsellor. My profession is genetic counselling and I love my job. I spend a lot of my professional time involved with thinking about and discussing genetic conditions. I strive to be the best genetic counsellor I can be. And with this pursuit I think about myself holistically. As well as being a genetic counsellor, I am many other things including a partner, brother, son, friend, colleague, teammate etc. In order to be the best that I can, I need to be as healthy mentally, physically and emotionally as I can.

In times gone by, most clients seeking genetic counselling have done so due to either a condition they are at risk of developing or a condition that they either have or have a family history of. However more and more clients are seeking my services asking for advice on how to be healthier or to gain insight into health conditions which may have a strong genetic component and where prevention or early intervention or management may be advantageous. A genetic laboratory in the USA have created a product with the sole aim of enabling healthy people be proactive about their health by having a focus on prevention. This proactive test analyses over 130 genes related to cardiovascular conditions, hereditary cancer and more. The result can provide medically actionable insights to your healthcare. If you have the desire to become healthier and happier in 2018 or are curious about genetic testing for wellness, check out my page at

Happy Friday!

Matt Burgess

Consultant Genetic Counsellor

12th January 2018

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