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New Year, New You

Desperate to escape and recharge? Want to lose weight and live a healthy life? Stressed and heading for burnout? It could be time to change your life, says Brenda Ward.

10 March 2022

When people arrive at Resolution Retreats, they’re there to make changes, says founder Joelene Ranby. And she loves their commitment and courage.

“It’s an incredible mindset to have when you arrive, and we’re really able to help people fill their cup, because they genuinely want help and are ready to receive it.”

Near the shores of Lake Karapiro in the Waikato you’ll find Resolution Retreats’ multimillion-dollar facility offering accommodation, workshops, exercise facilities, personal trainers – and even a spa offering massages and beauty treatments.

A corporate accountant by trade, Ranby says she started with her own health and weight-loss journey. That inspired her to help others, so she started Resolution Retreats as a passion project on the side.

After starting with a couple of retreats a year at a lodge in Tauranga, she says she found a huge untapped market of Kiwis who needed support on their own health and wellness journeys.

“The original concept was around a women’s health retreat, a health and wellness retreat specialising in weight loss, because that’s where my biggest health journey had been.”

She took on fulltime staff and then moved the operation to the Karapiro site with its chalet-like villas and minimal exercise and yoga zones. Retreats last from three days to three weeks and start at NZ$330 a day.

About half of the guests still list weight loss as one of their goals, says Ranby.

“But many more come for many reasons – to learn about health and nutrition, to be fitter, needing healthy inspiration in the kitchen, needing to sleep better, cope with stress, or just wanting to take time out from punishing schedules, kids, and the pressures of everyday life.”

At the retreat, they can press the re-set button on their lives, going home with more energy and healthy habits to help them cope better.

A typical day on a Resolution Retreat would be:

  • Wake
  • Movement in the morning with a group fitness trainer
  • Breakfast
  • Health workshops: Topics such as nutrition, hormones, gut health, or mental health.
  • Lunch
  • Bliss time: Time out, a trip to the spa,
    or a yoga class.
  • Cooking demonstration
  • Dinner
  • DVD or free time.
  • Bedtime at 9pm

It’s a really good balance between activity and rest,” says Ranby. “Rest, rejuvenation and de-stressing are certainly some of the key reasons that people come.”

In late 2020, the team realised they were seeing many guests coming to Resolution Retreats who were at, or close to, burnout.

“We wanted to help people at the top of the cliff rather than at the bottom. And so, we came up with a new concept called Resilience Retreats.”

It’s focused on personal and professional self-care, reducing stress, and improving productivity, communication, and sleep. It’s popular with companies for team building, and individuals.

“What we’ve found is that Kiwis tend to wait until they’re on their knees before they ask for help, which is sad,” says Ranby.

“We’ve found that if people felt like they were doing something for themselves and it would benefit their work, they were much more likely to invest in themselves.”

She says sometimes people find solutions to problems they didn’t realise they had. Someone might come for a weight-loss goal and leave realising they hadn’t been getting enough sleep or enough time for themselves.

The Covid lockdowns will drive many Kiwis to seek help, says Ranby. The retreat saw a surge in 2020.

“We saw a lot of people at the end of January suddenly realising that this year was probably going to be another repeat of 2020 and saying: ‘I really think I need some help’.

“We’ve been seeing people now at the retreat that we probably should have been seeing six or eight months ago. They’re just really worn out.”

Ranby’s final thoughts can be found on her website.

“It’s time to put some effort into you … not just the kids, the partner, the housework or the job.

“It’s time to love you. You’ve only got one life, one chance to look and feel the way you’ve always wanted to. Do it now!”

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