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Travel expert and mum uses lockdown to launch new business providing luxury wellbeing retreats

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2020 began just like any other year, except it wasn’t. Just three months into the year the UK was put into a national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, and everything changed.

The pandemic has impacted people all over the world, and in more ways than one. And not just people, but businesses, too.

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Whilst it was a tough time for many, business owners were forced to think on their feet and now, we are seeing an influx of new businesses that were founded through lockdown and now, not only are they surviving, but they’re also thriving.

Victoria Cranmer, a travel and mindfulness expert and mum, founded Mindful Escapes throughout lockdown after spotting a gap in the market for well-being retreats designed to help protect both mental and physical health.

She said, “At the beginning of 2020, my travel business Paradise Promotions was in a position where it was expected to grow, and I had even planned to take on additional staff. However, that all changed and the business I had spent 15 years working so hard on, had come to an abrupt halt.”

The UK lockdown meant that travel was restricted, and people were unable to come in or out of the country, making the entire travel industry stand still.

Victoria explains that she juggles running her business with motherhood; “I have three children, aged 12, 10 and five. So not only was I trying to keep my business afloat, but I was having to step into a brand-new role – a teacher.

“It didn’t take long to realise that I was no teacher and the house felt like a pressure cooker with no income and three children struggling to adapt to the new normal.”

If that wasn’t difficult enough, Victoria lost her stepfather in May after a battle with cancer.

“I had reached a point where I felt numb and I wanted to channel all my grief and anxiety into something much more positive, so I began to study for a diploma in mindfulness,” she continued.

Soon, Victoria felt a new sense of calm, and began to spend her days gardening, painting and spending quality time with her children outside of home-schooling.

2020 continued to be a harsh year, and in August, Victoria lost her father, and it wasn’t long before the UK was struck with yet another lockdown, further crippling the travel industry and her business.

She said, “Yet again, I felt like the rug had been pulled from beneath me. The continued stress of being unable to pay the bills, combined with my ongoing feelings of grief were starting to get the better of me.

“This time, I was able to reach into my tool kit and with the mindfulness practises I’d learnt, I reduced my levels of anxiety.”

The emotional rollercoaster of the past fourteen months has come at a detriment to Victoria’s mental health and well-being, and it wasn’t long before she created Mindful Escapes.

“I combined my passion for travel and my experience within the industry, with mindfulness, yoga and a desire to help protect people’s mental health by creating resilience through coaching.

“Mindful Escapes offer a number of retreats, with each luxury destination focusing on a different aspect of finding balance and focus.

“I wanted to create a world where people can escape the stress and pressure of day-to-day life, allowing them to explore who they are and where they really want to be,” Victoria explains.

Mindful Escapes takes customers to luxurious and emotive locations that provide the perfect setting to create a feeling of calm and wellness. Aiding people in their journey to find their rhythm, recharge their batteries and carve out what’s next for them, our retreats offer a tool that helps people live their very best life.

With retreats held in the likes of St Kitts, Saint Lucia, Croatia, Mykonos, Austria, and the Himalayas, Mindful Escapes focuses on topics such as mind and body fitness, the menopause, creating inner-calm, coaching for success, and healthy ageing.

Victoria said, “Now that lockdown restrictions are easing and there’s light at the end of the tunnel with the travel industry finally open for business, I’m sure that everybody is in need of a little sun on their skin and some much-needed downtime.”

“Mindfulness, meditation and yoga all positively contribute to a happier and healthier lifestyle. Whilst physical health is incredibly important, we mustn’t forget to take care of our mental health and wellbeing, too.”

For many of us, the pandemic has created a heightened and long-lasting state of anxiety.

But now, as the world re-opens once more and we begin to see a boom in economic growth, Victoria asks; “Do you have the mental and physical resources? Are you able to dig into these to restart your business, lead a team and manage that big project?”

If the thought of running at full speed for the next two years seems an impossibility, then Mindful Escapes can provide you with your own hand-crafted tool kit to allow you to be the best version of yourself.

“With National Yoga Day right around the corner, now is a great time to pick up your mat and get stretching,” Victoria continued.

Mindful Escapes has partnered with Midlands-based brand agency Champions (UK) plc to help put the brand to the fore of the UK market.

Matthew Hayes, managing director of Champions (UK) plc expressed his joy at the partnership. He said, “This partnership has come at such a poignant time in line with the easing of lockdown and travel restrictions, and it is great to see businesses increase their focus on mental health and wellbeing follow the effects of the last 12-18 months.

“We’re delighted to have teamed up with Mindful Escapes and can’t wait to see the results.”

Business Matters Magazine

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