Key lessons, habits and behaviours the Balance Holidays family will be bringing from 2020 into next year and beyond to sustain vitality and wellbeing

27th December 2020

As the saying goes, we do not remember days, we remember memories. Walking into the new decade, many of us carried high anticipations for 2020. Hoping for it to be a year swelling rich of meaningful progression, personal achievements and heart-warming memories. Yet instead, their realisation was placed on involuntary pause. With end of year nigh, we begin to dial back and reflect on the last 12 months. Although laden with disruption and continued challenges, it has also presented valuable opportunities to discover new lessons and mind-sets. Unlearn old behaviours that no longer enhance our quality of life and in general, foster an astute awakening to the things that matter in life. Tools we at Balance Holidays believe will stay with us and help us shape and fuel the New Year and beyond.

LIVIA MANCA DI VILLAHERMOSA, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR AT BALANCE HOLIDAYS

“In 2020, I discovered what it meant to be thankful for the capacities allowed by my health, prompting an increased sense of gratitude above the usual, for being alive. Appreciating the cognitive ability to practice my profession too, something that has been so challenging this year. The freedom to put on a pair of trainers and exercise on my own without being wrapped around fear of frailty. It is the security of knowing that I can deal with whatever conditions I encounter and still have energy to enjoy elements in everyday life. At our own individually defined levels, we had to draw into our inner resources to maintain vitality. While we were digging, we found precious stones to polish. Rather than going back, I take it as going forward to the basics. This is the lesson that I would like to bring into the New Year. Recognising that to some degree, we have ended up establishing a precarious relationship with the complexity of life as defined by modern society. So my personal wish is to keep moving past these unnecessary complexities and point to what really matters.”

OLGA PEDICONI, OPERATIONS MANAGER AT BALANCE HOLIDAYS

“’Challenging,’ is the word of the year. Things we thought we were sure about, such as our freedom had to be reconsidered due to the virus. Having grown up in a world that is fast and immediate to then be met with the polar opposite, slow and gradual, quarantine was the turning point. It helped me learn to take things as they come and adjust to unexpected life changes. By embracing the bad moments as well as the good ones, it has taught me to become more flexible, patient kind and respectful to others and myself. Firmly holding onto the ideology that there is there light at the end of every tunnel. Having had the time to be by myself to explore my personal weaknesses, brainstorm how to improve myself, to reviewing several life happenings and indulging in small pleasures such as a reading a book. Which would oftentimes go neglected. I realised I cannot always be strong and I am not invincible. I am deserving of moments to be weak too. This way, I started to unmask my true personality and the real essence of my spirit. Finally, thanks to what I have experienced this year, I have learned that there is something sure that will never be threatened, the faith and the freedom of my soul.”

KATHERINE CHAN, CONTENT AND MARKETING MANAGER AT BALANCE HOLIDAYS

“2020 opened my eyes to the true value of time. The flow of time is inconceivable. It carries no scent, sight or sound yet it is our constant companion. Although ironic, time itself cannot be measured but embodies the role of a measurement unit for humanity, expressed as memories, growth and experiences. When the key elements that shape our day-to-day lives came to a standstill, time continued to roll forward. Drafted plans and holidays became a tallied score of cancellations, quickly igniting low-spirits and frustration over worries of not being able to efficiently convert my time into what I consider as ‘productive and worthwhile’. However, the abundance of time carved space for new, personal dialogue and solace. An educational tool that helped me remodel my skewed outlook of what is perceived “an efficient use of time.” A Chinese proverb commonly endorsed by my grandparents seems fittingly here: “Do not be afraid of growing slowly but only of standing still.” Despite the surrounding circumstances requiring us to be physically positioned in one place. Opportunities for memories, growth and experiences remain rife. The only inhibitor is our attitude and personal expectations. This past year has taught me to be free of self-judgement and harsh over-assessment based off the established standards in society and comparison to others. For the next year and beyond, I am choosing to let time be a guidance and a golden resource to invest into my truest state of being. Embracing every passing moment in consciousness and compassion in place of prudent governing and heavy engineering stemmed from worries of tomorrow and my ranking in the illusionary race of life.”

SAH D’SIMONE, EXPERT FROM JOYFUL AWAKENING AT BALEARIC ISLAND RETREAT

“Wow well, I think among so many things, 2020 presented each and every one of us with the opportunity for inner-exploration – time to truly uncover what makes us feel magnetic and joyful, and what doesn’t. When we really take the time to listen, we make space to discover our innate superpowers, uncover authenticity and build self-confidence that radiates through every inch of our beings. That listening is key honey! I stay connected day to day through a routine of daily practice – concentrating the mind with meditation, mantra practice, and moving the body with dance. Sleeping well, eating really whole foods, finding ways to be of service and being surrounded with people who laugh lots, and make me laugh too!”

MARIE YAGAMI, EXPERT FROM JIRIKI SEITAI AT SICILIAN MANOR RETREAT

“One of the key lessons I learnt from this year is to live life without judging, thinking, and resisting, but surrender, observe and accept everything that surrounds ourselves. From there, we could build a foundation within ourselves with strength and calmness in order to overcome all of the challenges that might come to us. Additionally it will improve the ability to focus on the present moment, which will make our lives more joyful and fulfilling.”

ROGER TEMPEST, CUSTODIAN OF BROUGHTON HALL ESTATE AND CO-FOUNDER OF AVALON WELLBEING

“It appears that the way we have been living over the past one hundred years in what we class as civilisation is breaking down. The idea of different –isms, socialism, capitalism, fascism and all other variations do not seem to work for humanity. In the wake of Covid-19, people are becoming more aware, raising questions about the pre-established models and paradigms. Exploring new modes of living that are focused on coming together as a family, seeking unity and letting those experiences define quality of life. As I really believe, taking responsibility of our actions through the choice of quality will be placed at the forefront of our future agendas.”

MUAYAD NAJEMEDDIN, EXPERT FROM SOUND BATH AT SWISS ALPINE

“It has been a very interesting year both witnessing and experiencing the pandemic. In particular, I feel the national and international lockdowns have opened many people’s eyes to the need to take care of themselves. Setting up personal boundaries, requesting and feeling comfortable enjoying time and space alone. Using it to remind ourselves of who we are, to do the things we enjoy and to disconnect and recalibrate. Being in the company of others is beautiful and believed to be greatly beneficial to wellbeing by many scholars. However, if we spend too much time with others without casting time to focus on our needs, we start to grow distant from our true nature. This year has really highlighted this way of thinking and it is something I will always keep with me for the future. Always demand my space to sleep, to recharge, to do the things that I long to do on my own.

One other thing I have come to learn through quarantine is the power of being able to state the truth as a means of sustaining clean wellbeing. We have always been conditioned to do this, not do that, what is classified as right from wrong. However, we forget that us humans are made out of vibrations. We bear lights and shadows and our moods can go up and down. We should not thrive to be happy or wrestle for the preconceived notion of what it means to be living healthy and happy. It is about understanding our inner-volatility and moving along with the waves. Depressed moments, personal weaknesses and past mistakes are part of our light and happiness. So we should be embracing it instead of pushing it away and then apply the same empathetic outlook to our friends and family’s waves too.”

ANA TOLEDO, DIRECTOR OF SALES AT IL BORRO

“For me, this year’s hardships nurtured an everyday framework comprised of five key elements. Gratitude: Take time to appreciate nature, silence, family and myself. Being grateful for the every day details we often overlook, Patience: Knowing how to await the arrival of a new cycle and preparing for it. Resourcefulness: Maintaining a consciousness of the present and making the most of it. Endurance: Challenges are part of the process and when we try hard and do not give up; we learn to appreciate things more at the end of it. Faith: Believe and be guided by the motion of events, allowing it to unfold in its own order to bring us to a new place that will make sense once it all passes. As a new mum, eating clean, mostly a plant-based diet, balancing detox and retox days, aiming for good sleep (very hard at the moment) and gentle daily exercising with soothing classical music will remain.”

ROBERTO RUBALCAVA, JIRIKI SEITAI AT SICILIAN MANOR RETREAT

“A lot of things came out from the past year, that I really believe will continue to add immeasurable value to the quality of our lives. For me, it was turning back to basics. Dialling down from a fast-paced oversaturated lifestyle to one that is more simplified and centred on self-care. For example, shopping locally at farmers markets to support local producers, walking to reach places instead of turning to public modes of transport and maintaining a routine. One that is no longer installed with placeholders to keep us thrumming on busyness. Rather, it is filled with pockets of time-out to pay closer attention to the people I love, carefully explore and express how I feel and learning to stay humble. Taking each day as it comes and living it to the fullest by acting, speaking and behaving in ways that carry positivity and leaves a trail of light behind.

ANTONELLA PUGLISI, MAÎTRE DE MAISON AT CAPOFARO

“One of the greatest lessons learnt this year is that, in spite of thorough planning, we do not possess control of everything around us. The world and the things we thought we knew like the readings of our palms disappeared at the blink of an eye. To not be crushed by the weight of anxiety, uncertainty and fear, we ought to focus on who we are. The underpinning values of our being, raised awareness to the things that make us tick and shake. By creating new rituals to help us stay grounded and live everyday in gratitude for what we have and continue to discover about our true selves. Peeling away all articles deemed superfluous and an obstruction to the essence of our existence. Most importantly, accepting that there is nothing wrong with treating ourselves with kindness and patience. Giving us room to do nothing but focus on our wellbeing and checking in on our community to support those less fortunate.
The lessons of 2020 are a blessing and we will strive to incorporate what we have learnt into 2021 and beyond.”