The importance of rest and recharging over the holidays: Update

Posted by Ben Whittacker-Cook on 9/12/2021 10:00:00 AM

One of our wishes this time last year was to not have to write about the impact Covid was having on SMEs and wider New Zealand in 2021. Unfortunately, that wish didn’t happen, so it’s as good as time as ever to repost our pre-holiday wellbeing message from 12 months ago.


We've also been listening to our business owners and leaders and understand the current challenges and uncertainty can mean it is difficult to lead strong, look after yourself and your team.

The Icehouse wanted to provide an opportunity for our alumni and the wider community to ask Dr. Sven Hansen (Icehouse friend and founder of The Resilience Institute) pressing questions and get live answers, that will empower them as business owners and leaders.

The live Q&A hosted by The Icehouse took place in November 2021, with guest Dr. Sven Hansen, and focused on wellbeing and resilience. It's a great watch for anyone in need of a lift and offers some fabulous advice. It can be viewed here.

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. Further, how you approach the holiday break can have a real impact on how you tackle 2022. So, what's to be done?

Putting the office to bed

Switching off, by knowing you've taken the necessary measures to ensure a smooth return in the new year, is vital. 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 to your team and communicated to your suppliers and customers when you’ll be back and, no doubt, they will have done the same.

Taking time out now can also ensure a positive start to the new year of work. 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.

2022 for checking in

As many businesses chose to return to work under the Covid-19 Protection Framework or traffic light system, it’s still important to regularly check-in with your teams and to make sure everyone is ok. It can even be a daily thing. Bringing mental health to the forefront of your organisational culture can 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... 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. Be kind to yourself and to others. 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 or app 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!

For information on how The Icehouse programmes, workshops and coaching and advisory services can help your business, click here.

For more business ownership and leadership advice, 
check out more of our blogs.

Icehouse Alumni? For exclusive content on Icehouse Central, register now.  
Follow this link.  


Topics: Wellbeing, Mental Health, Business Resilience, CEO Resilience, The Resilience Institute, Dr. Sven Hansen