Are you facing burnout? How Resolution Retreats is helping Kiwis reset and tackle the phenomenon head-on


An award-winning health and wellness retreat in the Waikato is helping New Zealanders recharge and thrive in today’s ever-changing work environment.

It’s a modern conundrum one tends to face when tucked snuggly into bed. To check the work inbox one last time — or not to check? Seems innocent enough. However, engaging with work after hours can be a sign a person is approaching burnout, a type of exhaustion caused by excessive or prolonged stress.

Enter a pesky pandemic that shifts many workplaces from the office to home, and the distinction between work and personal time becomes even hazier.

“Working from home was initially seen as a perk,” says Joelene Ranby, founder of Resolution Retreats. “But booking back-to-back meetings and answering emails after hours results in employees spending more time ‘on’. Our minds aren’t getting as much time and space as they did before.”

Joelene Ranby, founder of Resolution Retreats.

Resolution Retreats, a luxury resort bordering Lake Karāpiro, is the New Zealand’s only live-in weight loss, health and wellness provider for women. Over the past two years, Joelene and her team witnessed an overwhelming number of guests at high risk of burnout.

“We knew we could help Kiwis avoid burnout altogether. We wanted to help them learn the signs of burnout in themselves and those around them, as well as for organizations to learn strategies to help take care of their people”

And so Joelene did just that. With nearly a decade of experience and purpose-built training facilities, she and her team were all set to launch the three-day programme in early 2021. They called it Resilience Retreats.

Resilience Retreats and Resolution Retreats, both based at purpose-built facilities bordering Lake Karāpiro, invites guests to reset and learn life-changing strategies.

So, what exactly is resilience training? It’s an invitation for both male and female professionals to reset — not to mention improve their quality of life and work performance. Retreats for the 2022 schedule, which kick off in January, all include a range of engaging and gender-inclusive workshops that address managing stress and mental health, energy, sleep, habits, productivity and overall wellness. This all, of course, helps them ‘turn up’ better every day.

Wellness is not just a fancy buzzword — it might be the golden ticket to productivity. “When you reach an overwhelmed state of mind, you are not as effective as you expect yourself to be. This causes disappointment, and then we end up pushing ourselves harder than ever which can lead to burnout,” says Joelene.

Filling a gap in the market was precisely how Resolution Retreats came about exactly 10 years ago. Joelene, then based in Tauranga, was running retreats in her spare time after kicking off her own health and wellness journey. At the time there were plenty of retreats for aspiring yogis. But retreats for the everyday woman? Zip, zilch, nada.

These days, Resolution Retreats run a range of women-only programmes designed to inspire long-term, healthy habits. Workshops are facilitated by a team of experts and passionate staff, including nutritionists, personal trainers, life coaches, hormone specialists and beauty therapists.

Resolution Retreats includes delicious, nutritionist-planned meals, and invites women to learn how to cook healthy food on their own.

“Women come to Resolution Retreats for infinite reasons — some are stressed, some want to learn to cook healthier, some wish to lose weight. The one thing that brings everyone together is they all want to learn to take care of themselves,” says Joelene.

The results — and international awards — speak for themselves. In 2020 Resolution Retreats was named New Zealand’s best wellness retreat at the World Spa Awards. Today, the health and wellness provider’s winning formula is used in both the Resolution and Resilience Retreats programmes: putting the focus on progress, not perfection.

“We are all about how you can be better, but also be realistic about it. There’s nothing more demotivating than failure — and nothing more motivating than success.”

Quiz: Are you facing burnout?

Instructions: Write down “Yes”, “No” or “Sometimes” for each question.

1. You feel dread or anxiety about going to work.

2. You feel nothing is going right and cannot find hope that things will get better.

3. You are more easily irritated or more emotional than normal.

4. You are physically and/or mentally unable to do the things which you are normally able to do due to exhaustion.

5. You spend your days off with no plans because you are recovering from your days ‘on’.

6. You have trouble concentrating and are more forgetful than you used to be.

7. You feel you are making more mistakes than normal.

8. You find it difficult to break down and compartmentalize complex (or simple) problems. As a result, you get overwhelmed and find it difficult to achieve any progress.

9. You isolate yourself from the activities or people which used to bring you joy.

10. You turn to ‘quick fixes’ to help you think clearly, relax or feel better.

11. You’re finding your sleep is disturbed by worry.

12. You require more sleep to feel rested but may have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep.

YOUR RESULTS

The signs of burnout are different for everyone. However, if you answered yes to three or more of the above, consider getting help. The most important thing is to reduce the pressure you’re feeling. The Resilience Retreats team recommends the following as first steps:

1. Be honest with those around you, particularly those who rely on you. This will make them aware that they must back off a bit.

2. Remove yourself from the environment(s) which are contributing to pressure for at least three days — stay with a friend, go camping, or go to a retreat. While away, switch off from any connections to the pressure (e.g. delete your work email app).

3. Find someone impartial to talk to. Counsellors have relevant training and can help you compartmentalize overwhelming problems or feelings so you can see a path forward. You may be eligible for six free counselling sessions — talk to your GP.


SOME COMMON SIGNS OF BURNOUT

Feeling dread or anxiety about work. It may feel like nothing is going right, or there’s little hope that things will improve.

Being more irritable or more emotional than normal.

Constant exhaustion, either physically and/or mentally, to the point that it impacts your lifestyle.

Having trouble concentrating, or being more forgetful than usual. Cognitive problems may cause you to make more mistakes than normal.

Feeling overwhelmed. You find it difficult to break down and compartmentalize complex (or simple) problems. As a result, you get overwhelmed and find it difficult to make progress.

Isolation or avoiding activities and/or people that used to bring you joy.

Changes to sleep patterns. Sleep may be disturbed by the above feelings. You may require more sleep to feel rested but may have trouble getting to sleep or remaining asleep.

Learn more at resilienceretreats.co.nz and resolutionretreats.co.nz

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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