Hot Spots

In effect their achievement is likely to be sadly lacking if they haven’t factored in some regular breaks away from work, especially over winter. It’s now recognised fact that achieving good work/life balance is an essential part of sensible personal management. And as we approach the half way mark in the year’s diary, we’re entering danger territory – if you haven’t blocked off mid-year break, chances are you’ll pay for it in the months ahead.
Stress counsellors say taking regular short breaks away from the day-to-day stress of work pressures is standard advice for busy managers and executives. Many now have regular getaways built into their contracts as part of the increasing awareness of personal management. And counsellors and psychologists advise that mid-year break of at least seven days is essential health maintenance given the level of pressure most people face in business today.
Although many fired-up managers consider it an unnecessary indulgence, the value of having relaxed and recharged the batteries mid year will undoubtedly see them through the next six months in far better shape than those who chose to ignore the advice. The trick is to pre-empt situation which might arise when crisis forces you to pull out the stops and use every remaining ounce of energy. If you’re the sort of person who has worked to the max since returning to work from the Christmas break – chances are you’ve got nothing left in reserve.
Aside from crisis situation, how your partner and/or family views your version of work/life balance is likely to be out of sync with your own beliefs. Most busy executives work long hours to pay for certain lifestyle and while they may achieve that, what results is situation where their lives are totally out of kilter with family and friends. “In order to be success what things have you had to give up to get there?” quotes independent business psychologist Jean de Bruyne of QED Services.
De Bruyne portrays work/life balance as essential and says achieving equilibrium is about being in tune with your own needs and responding to them.
“We have need for activity but at the other end of the spectrum is relaxation and pleasure. To achieve equity, activity must be counter balanced by passivity. It’s an individual thing which is linked back to thought. We all need time to ourselves to nurture inspiration and one way of doing that is to take more time to enjoy goal-less pleasure,” she says.
SAD or seasonal affective disorder is also recognised condition and although no New Zealand statistics are available Jean de Bruyne says it is common knowledge that an increasing number of people here are sufferers. She says most research is done in the northern hemisphere and there is increasing risk the further you move away from the equator.
The condition stems from lack of bright light which affects the brain chemistry resulting in fatigue, lack of energy, irritability, loss of concentration and lack of recovery despite adequate sleep.
The obvious solution is break away in the sun but de Bruyne also advises daily maintenance to fight the winter blues. “While we can’t all afford to cruise off to tropical island, there are things we can do on daily basis. Make sure you live and work in light, bright environment. Find time to walk, run or take bike ride – especially if it is sunny. Try to always work in room with window so there is lot of natural light. Make sure you are in tune with your winter needs and respond appropriately to them,” says de Bruyne.
Getting back to nature – enjoying the sunny, blue skies of the Pacific, lazing by water, cruising in exotic locations or enjoying the varied terrain of New Zealand will undoubtedly have profound effect – not just on your body but also your mind, with very positive results on your work performance. Psychologists say that busy people tend to suppress inspiration and their creative ideas won’t come to the fore.
“If you don’t take break you certainly will end up not being an effective person,” says de Bruyne.
Even if work overload has suppressed your creativity you won’t need lot to be inspired by the range of winter breaks available. The getaway market is one of the fastest growing niche areas of the travel industry and the possibilities are endless – from indulging in long weekend at one of New Zealand’s top resorts, an adventure holiday here or abroad, five star cruising in exotic waters, relaxing on an idyllic tropical beach, pampering yourself at health spa or playing endless golf – there’s stunning range of financially and physically viable options.

Cruises
New Zealanders are waking up to the delights of cruising, which operators put down to two main reasons. One is that we’ve finally got the message that you don’t have to be old, wealthy, idle or boring to go on cruise. The second is that because the cruise market has grown so dramatically, the range of options is now very wide and so appeals to much greater market.
Lance Green, the CEO of Creative Cruising, says the cruise market is fuelling itself with huge percentage of return business. But the “cruise once, forever hooked” group must also be vocalising the pleasure of their experience since the cruise market is the only area of the leisure market that is showing continuous growth. For the past 20 years the market has shown steady annual growth of 10 percent and has continued to invest billions of dollars back into its development each year. In the next three years, 44 new cruise ships will come into service worldwide.
Since Green set up Creative Cruising nine years ago he has seen major development in the cruise industry and since 1997 has sent 9500 New Zealanders away on cruise holiday. “The reality is that people now realise the number of options there are in the types of cruises available, the destinations and the flexibility with time because of fly/cruise offers. We have lot of business people who travel to say America, Europe or the Far East on business then take time out at the end of the trip to enjoy relaxing cruise,” says Green.
The corporate sector is also moving further into cruising for variety of reasons including rewards, incentives and conferencing. Choosing the right cruise line or ship can be difficult since there are literally hundreds of sizes and shapes travelling to exciting places and exotic ports all over the world. Green puts them into four categories: – 1) big ships with lots of people, fun and activity; 2) large ships with less people, more refined with some entertainment; 3) boutique style smaller ships with less people, informal atmosphere, little on-board entertainment but interesting ports of call; 4) ultra luxury, medium sized ships, all suite accommodation with some formality and sophistication. Silversea cruises falls into the latter category and is the only cruise company with six star rating… the brochure is luxurious, top quality travel book in itself.
Many companies are taking advantage of the incentives now available for corporate clients and the range of groups opting to cruise is diverse – from builders to beauticians, salesmen to surgeons. An exercise in costing is interesting. Given the all-inclusive nature of cruises – compared to hotel accommodation plus meals plus entertainment, sporting activities and gratuities – cruising comes out very favourably. People find the upfront payment an advantage and relish the hassle-free factor of having everything available and accessible onboard.

Pacific Islands
It’s powerful thought that in less than three hours you can be in tropical luxury away from the stresses and strains of business and city life.
It’s not just the accessibility that makes the Pacific Islands so attractive, it’s the impact of relaxation which instantly takes effect from the time you arrive.
Sunshine and warmth combined with peace and tranquility make the islands perfect destinati

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