Struggling with her physical appearance and the pressures of juggling work and personal life, Joelene Ranby had a snap moment where she knew something needed to change. But she needed to find where to start. Nearly 10 years later she is helping hundreds of women every year learn how to make those changes through Resolution Retreats, a luxury health and wellness resort in Waikato for women.
“When I was on my own journey it was slow going, I didn’t have the skills to change overnight so needed to learn the basics and adapt what would fit my lifestyle,” Ranby says.
“But I focused on one thing at a time and chipped away at it, if I had tried to do everything at once I don’t think I would have succeeded, it’s just too hard to change that much that quick.”
The retreat offers the space, support and tools for women to uncover what they are lacking or need to change in their own lives and how to go about it. It came off the back of her own journey and realising the process could be faster and easier for others, she wanted to share her knowledge to help.
“If something like this existed back when I was getting started it would have made a huge difference and that’s what we focus on now, inspiring people to make changes in their lives to help them feel better and give them some tools to reduce the pressures they’re facing.”
During her journey, she was working as a financial accountant but she felt incomplete. She also began studying nutrition and started sharing what she was learning with others. This grew and as a hobby, she started holding weight loss and health retreats where she shared her knowledge of health and wellness.
But the juggle of full-time work, study and the hobby was mounting and she made the call to leave employment and let her hobby take over. This was the birth of Resolution Retreats which has proven to be a great success.
“I felt a lot of self-doubt at the time but it really has paid off, what we’re doing here and what we offer is really fulfilling, I love helping others find their light,” she says.
The retreat offers a number of packages and women from all backgrounds come to get the space to reflect and uncover what they need to change in their lives and learn how the tools to make the changes.
“The environment at the retreat takes those pressures away, allowing women to reflect on how they can make changes for themselves.
“Although for most people those pressures they arrived with will still be there when they get back, so it’s about chipping away carefully, making small changes and focusing on one thing at a time.”
Ranby explains the scale of pressure versus productivity or performance, how as pressure increases, performance increases, but only to a certain point and any further pressure once that point has been reached will reduce performance.
“The point is different for everyone but once they go over that point they go into a state of overwhelm or what I term, the ‘O-zone’,” she says.
“And when people are in that space everything is hard and inefficient.
“But to come out, the first thing they need to do is acknowledge they’re in that zone and then find ways to reduce the pressure and in the future, it’s recognising when they’re approaching the O-zone and reducing the pressure before tipping into it.”
She explains the challenge is knowing what our personal signs are because everyone will respond differently to the O-zone. And we train ourselves to ignore the signs that we are there or that we are approaching it. So she recommends talking to family and friends, asking what signs they see.
“Our friends and family are good at recognising if we’re becoming overwhelmed and they can be a good checkpoint to help us see when we are approaching that space and to know what to look out for in the future.”
After recognising being in the O zone is only the first step, next the pressure needs to be reduced but for many, it can also be overwhelming to know where to start. And that is exactly why many women go to a retreat.
“We have women come for a huge range of reasons, including health, needing a break, stress, sleep problems, or a combo of all of those.
“Some want inspiration in the kitchen or to move their bodies, others are just lacking motivation, which is happening to a lot of people at the moment.”
There is a team who work alongside Ranby and guests are offered a huge offering of activities and workshops. It is a balanced approach, focusing on the elements of a ‘wheel of wellness’.
“There are four elements we need to balance for wellness and those are nutrition, movement, sleep and happiness.
“Our guests leave with ideas to support all of those areas but we encourage them to focus on one main area initially to keep their journey progressing.
“Many find their number one is meal planning, being able to implement the good things they’ve learnt about nutrition by forward planning because it can be hard to make good nutrition decisions when you’re hungry.
“And we find the second most common focus is having a happiness project, finding things people can do to give them joy and sparkle.
“Sometimes people don’t actually know how to answer if you ask them what they do for fun because it’s been that long since they’ve thought about it or felt it.”
Alongside Resolution Retreats, Ranby has also launched Resilience Retreats that cater for men and women and could be a great opportunity for farming families and teams to learn some tools to support life and business management.
“Rural people lead very busy and sometimes isolated lifestyles and we think both types of retreats have a lot to offer for the rural community.”
But the biggest advice she can give anyone who is struggling and feeling overwhelmed is to have a conversation with those around them about what they are feeling.
“Tell them you’re overwhelmed and that you need to reduce the pressure, but it’s ok not to have the answer on how to go about it yet, just get it out and recognise your feelings.”
This article first appeared in the August issue of Dairy Farmer.