1-1It’s easy to talk about “solutions for stress”, and say “I have to take a break”. But in all the hectic hubbub of modern life the mere attempt to carve out a personal space where you can be free from all the hustle and bustle is often fraught with pitfalls that threaten your tranquility and emotional stability. Those urgent work-related e-mails that you receive after office hours, the need to acquire extreme multitasking skills, and having to deal with the financial crisis, tight schedules and pressing deadlines are just a few of the factors that can poison your working day and transform every aspect of your everyday life into an experience that is complicated and almost impossible to manage. At a certain point, you know you just have to take some time out and say “OK, all of his has to stop”, but in order to truly prevent all the stress of modern life it is not always enough to simply turn off your electronic devices and enjoy a relaxing drink with your friends or an extra yoga session.

In fact that stress-cable that we sometimes need to unplug seems to be more and more firmly connected to our lives and, like a voracious sea monster or a parasitic poisonous plant, it preys on our performance anxieties, sucking the vital energy out of us and leaving us drained of all our confidence and positive attitudes towards the future. But help is at hand for all you people around the world who are chronically stressed out, and there is now a solid bulwark against all this strain and tension. This is the Iberotel Apulia eco-resort, the temple of Anti-stress located in the southern Italian region of Apulia, on the beautiful Ionic coast at Marina di Ugento. It is a truly unique facility that, thanks to a project of brand revival, will have the new name of Vivosa Apulia Resort starting from January 2017.

A few weeks ago, in the context of the “International Wellbeing Meeting Point in Salento”, the Iberotel Apulia eco-resort hosted the first “Unique Antistress Quality” course, reserved for companies and freelancers who wish to obtain a qualification in the sector of anti-stress and to improve their psycho-physical and emotional well-being on a personal and an organizational level. We too have been privileged to take part in this ritual of the retrieval of the Self from the dark and murky regions where our daily working experiences can all too often imprison us. As soon as we arrived at the reception, put down our luggage and went through the usual registration procedures, we entered a dimension of absolute relaxation, assured by the kindness and professionalism of the staff, by the availability of all inclusive packages providing food and drink at any time of the day, by the customizable offer of recreational and relaxing activities, and by the absence of clocks, a strategy which suspends our usual concept of time and transports the guest into an extraordinarily welcoming and soothing realm.

According to the new “emotional antistress concept” approach, the human factor is one of the key aspects for rejuvenating the staff of a company. Employees are the best ambassadors for the anti-stress message and much of this resort’s success is down to them. In addition to the more traditional techniques for stimulating relaxation, there are also some new methods for regenerating the spirit and the mind. The Unique Antistress Quality brand was developed within the Antistress Academy, the official association of Unique Antistress Resorts in the world, based in the Salento area of the Apulia region, at the Iberotel Apulia antistress resort with the special guidance of Simon Elliott, Myra Evans and Mirco Turco. They are a sort of “Druidic trio”, who help their guests to get the most from the experience of staying at the resort, starting from the measuring of their initial stress levels and leading to the development of activities that are specifically aimed at reducing them.

The initiative is also supported by the contributions of Stefano Santori, a business & mindset coach who is in charge of the management consulting company Challenge Network, as well as various authoritative international corporations and brands such as Il Messaggero, Widiba, F.lli Pace, Framesi, Evision, New Life Style Academy, Softlab, BdM – MCC SpA, Challenge Network, Courtial International Lufthansa City Center, Metro Cash & Carry, Sympany Assicurazioni, Netstal AG, HRCommunity Academy, ConTigo, Elektro Capaul AG, AliceTV, Pinktrotters and ACON, among others.

The Iberotel Apulia is still the best choice for leisure trips and “incentive travel” organized for employees. Guests are completely absorbed into a unique sensory experience including nature, sports, wellness, taste sensations, as well as team building and mind oriented activities intended to encourage wellbeing for individuals and businesses. This award-winning resort is also complemented by the colorful cuisine offered by the naturopathic doctor Paola Di Giambattista, together with the chef Mario Romano, who make the culinary experience of the guests a vital part of an unforgettable personal journey.

Wellbeing is in fact intimately connected to the palate and “taste and well-being” are the watchwords at the Iberotel Apulia, which concentrates on good and healthy eating practices. The day starts with an “awareness breakfast”, inspired by the motto “We are what we eat” and it continues with meals based on natural “Km zero” locally sourced produce and light menus. In the summer 2016 season the eco-resort was awarded the special prize “Unique Antistress Quality – The Shell” due to its constant attention towards healthy food products. This award was won thanks to the “energy cooking” approach of the chef Mario Romano and the nutritional cooking consultant Paola Di Giambattista.

During the ”International Wellbeing Meeting Point in Salento” in September there were some unexpected coups de théâtre, including the announcement of the new name for the brand. From January 2017, in fact, the Iberotel Apulia will be known as Vivosa Apulia Resort, but the quality of the services provided and the entrepreneurial spirit will remain as high as ever. This announcement was made by Damiano Reale, the president of Ugento srl, the company that owns the resort. The letters “SA” in the new brand name refer to the local Salento area, in an attempt to create a subliminal association, in the minds of tourists and travelers who are looking for excellent accommodation, with the Salento peninsula of the Apulia region.

Of course, good things often come to end all too quickly and our offices and desks are ready and waiting to welcome us back much sooner than we would like. So what did we bring home and to our working lives from this adventure? Certainly a bit of nostalgia, but also a series of useful tricks and methods to use every day and to stop us from getting too close to the edge of a nervous breakdown. First of all the MYSI method, a new energetic system devised by the Antistress Academy team that can be used by anyone to stimulate their health and to reach the optimal vitality of their mind and body, and secondly the Ease method of stress measurement. It consists in closing your eyes, breathing in and out and repeating the words: “I coordinate my Mind and Body with Ease”. But this is just the first step, and to learn more you will have to pay a visit to the Iberotel Apulia.

Elisabetta Pasca

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