The importance of rest and recharging over the holidays

Posted by Ben Whittacker-Cook on 15/12/2020 10:45:00 AM

It’s time to take a well-earned summer break and enjoy time with those who mean the most. After a year like no other, it’s vital that owners and entrepreneurs – and their teams – use the holiday season to step away from work so that they can hit 2021 refreshed and ready to take advantage of developing opportunities both locally and abroad.  

Wellbeing resilience

Many of the Icehouse Alumni say that one of the most significant takeaways from their programme participation is understanding the difference between working ‘on’ the business rather than ‘in’ it. What’s more, the research is overwhelming – switching off and doing a little of what you love is good for your health and can help with physical and mental wellbeing.

Icehouse Central users will have caught our exclusive webinar with Dr Sven Hansen, founder of The Resilience Institute, around end of year resilience and wellbeing. You will have picked up some amazing tips on how to switch off for the summer season – and how to integrate wellbeing processes into your daily routines now and in the future.

12 million days lost annually

Leaving the office for two weeks or so doesn’t mean you have to leave the business to fend for itself. You will have already delegated essential work tasks and communicated to your suppliers and customers when you’ll be back and no doubt, they will have done the same.

According to CEO magazine, ‘45% of people in Australia will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime with the resulting absenteeism and presenteeism resulting in around 12 million days of reduced productivity for businesses each year.’

Meanwhile, severe mental illness costs the US over US$190 billion in lost earnings every year, with depression alone estimated to result in over 200 million lost workdays annually’, states Harvard Business School.

Of course, there’s a legal and moral obligation to focus on the mental health and wellbeing of all workers, and the encouraging news is that more and more businesses are taking mental health seriously.

If someone offered you a tool to help you reduce stress, increase productivity and sharpen your decision-making, you’d snap it up. So treat health and wellbeing as an asset to your business.

Create a culture of support

It’s important to regularly check-in with your teams; to make sure everyone is ok. It can even be a daily thing. Bringing mental health to the forefront of your organisational culture will take away any stigma or embarrassment around the subject, and shows that your business places the utmost importance on creating a safe, supportive environment for all.

You’re good at spotting if a team member is struggling or not performing to their potential. You know the signs; behavioural change, drop in output, regular bouts of sick leave and so on. But, is this you, too? It’s critical that you apply the same empathy and close attention to your own wellbeing as you do to your teams’. 

And just as you’d move quickly to address any potential mental health issues in your employees, the same rules apply to you. 

Did you know: 

  • 95% of people feel good after spending time with nature (Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand)
  • High-quality sleep organises new information 40% more efficiently (US National Institute of Health)
  • Music that has a tempo of 60 beats per minute increases the efficiency of the brain in processing information (

The World Health Organisation explains that ‘Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015.’

So take the break you, your family and your friends, deserve. Here are six quick paths to de-stressing over the summer and beyond: 

  • Change your environment – Step outside and get some fresh air 
  • Practice breathing – Learn some basic textbook techniques
  • Meditate – Check out some methods online 
  • Exercise – Get your body moving
  • Find a creative outlet – Draw, make music, write that book! 
  • Rekindle an old interest – Fishing, cycling, reading; you name it

And one last thing… have a great holiday break!

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Topics: Leadership, The Icehouse, Resilience, Wellbeing, Mental Health