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Fun on Fridays: Paddleboarding

There are so many fun things to do when on Cuan Law! You don't have to be a diver!  Check out how this guest overcomes her fear of the ocean by being on top of it - upside down! 

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Terrific Crew Thursdays: Meet the Captain - Chris!

Chris
Chris

Chris is our friendly Canadian. He calls Vancouver home but prefers the warmer water temperatures of the tropics. Chris began with us on Cuan Law as a dive instructor, having previously worked around the world, including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Pacific coast of Mexico, Thailand. Chris is a quiet guy with a great sense of humor. When not working, Chris likes to read, travel and dive new places.

Wellness Wednesday: How to Create the Perfect Team!

Wellness Wednesday: How to Create the Perfect Team!

How To Create the Perfect Team

By focusing on just 3 important changes!

 
If you look through our many positive reviews left by our amazing guests, you'll see that one of the aspects they comment on is our crew! How helpful, positive and cohesive the team is onboard!  When working (and living) in tight quarters, it's important to create a team that can not just 'function together' but can THRIVE!  So we thought we'd throw together some of the best ways to improve teamwork and workplace morale!

Creating the perfect team at work can sometimes seem like an impossible mission.  It seems that between the personalities of each employee and the increasing workloads that the dynamics within a 'team' are just too complicated to 'perfect'.
 
But let's step back for just a moment and define what these terms actually mean.  What is 'perfect'? What is a 'team'? And what, specifically, is the 'perfect team'?  If we consulted Webster, we'd get the following definitions:
 
  1. Perfect (adjective) means to have all the required or desirable elements, qualities or characteristics; as good as it can possibly be. 
  2. Perfect (verb) means to make something completely free from faults/defects, or as close to such a condition as possible.
  3. Team (noun) means a group of people, two or more, working together. 
  4. Team (verb) means to come together, matching and coordinating, to achieve a common goal.
 
To use the words as an adjective and a noun creates a phrase that could actually be an impossible goal.  There are too many factors to control to achieve and maintain the status of a 'perfect team'.  There are too many factors that change within the day, week, month, year.  You have employees coming into work stressed from a busy morning with the kids, you have employees working hard all morning and crashing in the afternoon, you have employees too sick to come into work or those who should have stayed home but are dedicated to coming into the office anyways. Then you have the over-achievers and the under-achievers and those who follow the leader. You have hot-headed employees and others who are quiet and don't speak up at all. Then there are slower days for the workload where it seems pointless to have everyone working and days where you just don't have enough people and hours to get the work done on time!
 
A work environment is just so dynamic! There is always SO much going on!
 
What if we changed the way we defined the 'perfect team'? Instead of it being a destination - a final end goal - it becomes a journey or a working goal.  If we defined the 'perfect team' as a verb in both words individually and paired as a phrase, then we always have something to work towards, no matter what the dynamic or challenge is within the workplace. The working goal, the journey, of having the 'perfect team' gives the workplace direction, purpose, and responsibility - both individually and wholly - to the employees, supervisors, and work environment.
 
So how can you actively work towards a 'perfect team'? By focusing on three core aspects and creating a workplace that strives not for perfection (which is an impossible notion), but for progress towards perfection.
 

Physical Environment 

Consider the physical environment in which your employees work.  Beyond addressing the 'traditional' safety aspects of the environment, consider aspects that will create a more comfortable space for your employees so that it doesn't feel so institutionalized.  This can easily be addressed by adding some comfy chairs in the staff room, motivational posters in different areas of the office or changing the colours of the wall to encourage a peaceful yet inspiring atmosphere.  Read this great article about how colour affects the workplace and which colours to choose based on the atmosphere you want to create! Remember that you don't have to choose just one colour.  You can create different energy in different areas of your work environments to evoke different moods depending on the use of the space! Or, choose one colour for the walls and add accents in the form of furniture and decorations to bring subtle energy tones to that space! This is just the visual aspect of your space - think also about incorporating more natural elements into that space. Try some indoor plants, rock gardens, water fountains and consider the location of windows to allow fresh air and natural light into the space. Studies are showing that environments with more natural elements invoke creativity, peacefulness, and encourage focus - all factors in producing a happy and productive team!
 
If it's in the budget or space allows for it, also consider the placement, and more specifically, the removal of walls in the space.  Studies have shown that when a person is placed in a room that is physically confined, their imagination, creativity, and productivity are substantially restricted. Meanwhile, those working in a space that is not physically limited by tight walls or low ceilings performed better on tasks requiring imagination, creativity, and focus! If it's already an outdoor environment, consider how the varying natural elements may actually be hindering productivity and happiness if your employees are not well equipped (too cold, too hot, too windy, too sunny, too much rain, not enough water to drink, not properly clothed against the weather).
 

Organizational Culture

The pool of employees available for the workforce is changing.  Their attitude towards work is different and evolving from prior generations, their desires for impact are stronger, and the newer workforce values an organization which promotes flexibility, commitments to health & well-being and has a strong purpose.  The workforce today doesn't want to be a number in a line-up or a face in a crowd. They don't want to trade time for money. They want to share skills and values to create change and impact.  They don't want to just collect a paycheque, they want to make a difference. Regardless of the industry. It would be silly to think that these statements are inaccurate.  
 
As the younger generations move more into the workforce and the boomers begin to retire, massive change is happening in the workforce and companies need to keep up.  They need to change with the times and 'modernize' the culture in the workplace.  Striving towards the perfect team means being able to adapt to the changing expectations of employees. 
 
It's a two-way street. If you invest in the social structure of your company, your employees will invest their skills, times and values back into the company. Having a culture within the workplace that positively promotes, engages and fosters employees to be better, to do better and to want better will be reciprocated back to the company in work performance and employee loyalty.
 
Consider introducing small aspects into the regular routine to encourage a more positive and productive environment.  The purpose of these is to create a sense of community in the workplace, encourage teamwork and cooperation, and heighten morale.  There are always aspects of every industry that are going to be unpleasant and stressful, but your goal as an employer is to make the day-to-day experiences enjoyable, fun and relaxed.  A place where employees feel at ease and look forward to coming in. Some easy and inexpensive options are:
  1. employee character of the month recognition
  2. recognizing that sometimes an employee's personal life does need to come before their professional
  3. encouraging small pot lucks or group get-togethers on a regular basis
  4. providing progress reports on the company's efforts in different aspects (financial goals, values, mission, environmental goals)
  5. hosting donation drives to charities
  6. office 'dress down days'
  7. and avoiding micro-management techniques
 
Wow! This next piece of information is sure to surprise you!  In 2019, LinkedIn provided a Workplace Learning Report, in which 94% of the employees who had quit their jobs did so because the company did not invest in helping them learn and grow! 
 
This is a BIG deal!  Don't stress the company with staff turnover trying to find an already skilled candidate. Find a candidate who is capable of learning the skills necessary and then TEACH them! Shape that candidate and your current employees into the ideal candidate with the necessary skills to perform the tasks efficiently!  This shows your employees that you are making a long term commitment to them, that you value their work and their commitment to the company.  Your company will, in turn, be rewarded with more accurate work, a longer-term commitment to the company from employees, and stronger efficiency. How can you do this? Have a look at these suggestions and think about how you can incorporate them into your workplace culture.
  1. provide an opportunity for job-specific and relevant-skill training either by having a training program in place for all employees or providing time off for employees to engage in development courses, programs, seminars and workshops 
  2. encourage and provide opportunities for personal growth and development - these opportunities do not have to be task-specific to the job but could be related to personal and soft skills that, with intentional development, could benefit the company (such as communication skills, abstract thinking, team building)
  3. offer team (as opposed to individual) performance goals and bonuses
  4. host events that include the employees' families to create a sense of community
 

Personal Health Resources

Lastly, but not least important, is providing an environment that fosters the holistic health of your employees.  According to the Workplace Safety & Prevention Services, there is data that links a healthy workplace to decreased staff turnover, accidents, illnesses and stress; insurance claims; and use of short and long term disability.   There is also data linking an increase in health and safety performance, employee satisfaction and engagement, productivity and profit!
 
Their last note of importance is that unhealthy and stressful workplaces cost Canadian employers billions of dollars annually. Workplace interventions can make significant improvements and save at least 20% of these costs!
 
Good health is comprised of so many factors, many that are not controllable in the workplace.  However, a 'healthy' workplace will at the very least promote good health and encourage healthy lifestyles.  Healthy lifestyles in and outside of the workplace that focus on physical, social, emotional and psychological health can make the difference between employees' work performance.
 
Find ways to incorporate healthy habits in the workplace.  For example, when ordering food for the office, offer foods that are loaded with nutrients and low in oils, sugars and salts.  Good nutrition will keep your employees energized and alert.  Encourage mental and physical breaks from concentration to stretch, especially if their position requires sitting for long periods of time, and refresh their mind.  Provide opportunities for your team to engage in physical activities together (perhaps sponsoring a charity walk or hosting an office exercise challenge). If the duties of the job already require a lot of physical exertion, try incorporating some team stretching before, during and after the day to warm up and cool down the muscles.  
 
If your work environment is dangerous or abnormally stressful, think about providing external resources to your employees to learn acceptable and healthy coping mechanisms or bring in experts to host workshops and seminars when the workflow is low to learn as a group. And remember that a healthy environment also means an appropriate balance between work commitments and personal commitments, so recognizing the need for some flexibility is important as well.
 
You must be thinking: "wow, there's no way I could afford to do all of that, nor do I have the time to create and implement all of that!". You don't have to do it all at once.  Take little steps to begin making changes in the workplace.  Get your employees involved in the process (delegate) so that they have some control and flexibility in the process.  Find the changes that work for your environment and begin!  Invest in your company by investing in your employees and you will be working towards creating that previously elusive concept of a 'perfect team'!
 
To learn how Cuan Law can help you in that journey, visit our corporate wellness program!

Tasty Tuesdays: Delicious Desserts

One of the (many) enjoyable experiences aboard Cuan Law - the food!! Our chef, Patrick, does an incredible job at making you feel like royalty (even when you have dietary preferences) at supper time when it comes time for a plated meal!  And his desserts do not disappoint!  Just have a look at this VEGAN cheesecake!  Who's drooling yet?

Monday News: Personal & Professional Development

Need some down-time? Feeling a little over overwhelmed with work?  Maybe you're looking to develop some of your skills and take your professional career to the next level?  Check out how Cuan Law is helping build happy and healthy professionals!

Book your next corporate retreat, professional bonus incentive trip, professional development program or wellness retreat here: http://bvisailing.com/corporatewellnessweek/

Sailing Sundays: 10 Essential Items to Pack for Your Cuan Law Experience!

10 Essential Items to Pack for Your Cuan Law Experience

Whether you're well-traveled and used to packing for trips to all corners of the globe or you're about to take your first out-of-country flight, knowing what to pack (and how) can be essential to actually enjoy your trip! Now, we're not too sure about trips around the globe, or where you specifically are coming from, but we do know that to have an AMAZING experience with Cuan Law, there are 10 essential items to have with you. These are 10 items that we (and all of our guests) have found to be crucial to having a good time!

  1. A swimsuit! Never mind clothes - you wore some on the plane, right?! You can't come to the breathtaking and beautiful British Virgin Islands and not get into the ocean, known for being a top dive site in the world, at least once!
  2. Okay, maybe some shorts and t-shirts/tanks. Just because you'll need something dry to change into for supper time. While you're at it, consider quick-drying layers. Yup, you'll be on a boat in the Caribbean, and yes, the boat will be sailing. If you've ever been sailing before, you'd know that you can sometimes get a little wet! Between the waves splashing up on the deck, the spontaneous rain showers that take place for exactly 10 minutes at the same time every day and the steady, summer heat causing you to sweat just thinking about working out, you'll want some clothing layers that are quick-drying and well ventilated. Our general recommendation for this is a polyester/cotton blend of 60/40. These fabrics dry within just a few hours hanging indoors and even less time when outdoors.
  3. A camera. If you enjoy photography and have a DSLR, bring it! You will leave with days worth of shots that are magazine-worthy! Photos of fish, birds, boats, sand, beaches, waves, stars, sunsets, sunrises and more!
  4. Speaking of the sun - we'd recommend a hat, sunglasses, and some (reef-friendly) sunscreen because no one wants to ruin their time in the sun looking like a piece of sea coral that's been plucked from its cozy home in the ocean!
  5. A water bottle. We offer unlimited, freshwater on the boat, available for drinking - ice cubes included! But who wants to run back and forth to the water jugs to fill up every few minutes when they've worked their way through their cup? Bring a water bottle with you, so you can fill up and enjoy ice-cold water for hours, before returning for a top-up, while you relax on the beach, lounge on the top deck, socialize on the back deck or get your heart pumping with the water sports!
  6. Running shoes - we're guessing that you're the adventurous type. Good thing, too, because the BVIs offer a wonderful selection of short hikes on the various islands, beaches and salt mines that you do not want to miss!
  7. Lip balm. There's nothing worse when you're on vacation and your lips are dry, chapped and peeling. Okay - there are worse things - but this is definitely uncomfortable. Just like we recommend sun protection with a hat and sunglasses, lip balm can really help you enjoy your time away and is often overlooked when packing.
  8. Basic Toiletries. We make your stay comfortable by providing you with freshly laundered towels, face cloths, shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, and body soap! Our hygiene products are all made locally on the island of natural ingredients and are surf-friendly (meaning they aren't going to harm the sealife you've come to explore)! But be sure to bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush and any other basic toiletries that are important to you being comfortable. When possible, we ask that you are conscious of how the chemicals in your products may affect marine life.
  9. Phone protector & charger. Forgetting your charger for your phone is a low blow when you're relying on your phone for photos. Don't miss out on photos of the last half of your trip because you forgot your charger. Worse, though, is to have your phone damaged by dropping it into the waves when walking on the beach or climbing out of the tender and onto the boat. Bring a protective case or bag for your phone!
  10. Lastly - and if we had to say, this is the most important and essential item to bring along. Your enthusiasm! You are traveling to a Caribbean paradise aboard the world's largest sailing trimaran and will be enjoying some of the most exquisite sights of mountainous terrain, white beaches, blue-green oceans, and colourful wild-life beneath the foamy ocean surface. Bring your enthusiasm, so that no matter what experience or adventure awaits, you are up-and-at-'em!

Now, it's okay if you missed a few of these when packing. You're still going to have an incredible time - seriously! If you forgot something, feel free to ask the crew and they will do what they can to accommodate you and ensure that your stay is comfortable and exceeds your expectations. Our crew is ready to make your stay on Cuan Law an unforgettable experience!

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Fun on Fridays: Silly Silks

It's always so exciting meeting all of the guests that come aboard Cuan Law! We get people from all walks of life and last week was no different!  One of our guests is a circus and aerial performer and we were fortunate enough that she had brought some of her equipment and gave some of us a few training sessions!  So much fun! Here are just a few pictures of our fun!

 #cuanlaw #funonfridays #megaaerials

Wellness Wednesday: Top 7 Ways The Caribbean Calms Anxiety!

Wellness Wednesday: Top 7 Ways The Caribbean Calms Anxiety!

If you're suffering from anxiety, nervousness, fidgeting or just feeling a little wound-up, it can sometimes feel all-consuming and never-ending.   Living with anxiety, or any of the similar symptoms, can really affect your ability to enjoy life and the people around you. It may prevent you from going out with friends, making conversation at work, maintaining composure when plans don't go your way, or even just getting out of bed in the morning.
 
Of course, treatment and management of symptoms, patterns and disruptions can take many forms. There is the medical route, in which you work closely with your medical team to regulate your symptoms through medications, and there are alternative therapies such as breathing activities, journaling, behaviour therapy, massage therapy and even exercise.  It seems that more and more people are recognizing the limitations of their anxieties and working in positive, holistic ways to help ease the discomfort.  A combination of medical and supplementary options create a holistic approach to managing the symptoms.  It gives you control over your situation and responses to the situation.
 
One supplementary option that is often overlooked, and taken for granted, is our connection to the outdoors.  Our connection to the outdoor physical environment - the earth - and all of its elements.  As our society becomes increasingly dependent on electronic devices, we are becoming equally reliant upon remaining indoors and further disconnecting us from our natural environments.
 
This is a shame! Studies are showing that our natural elements can provide a lasting and positive effect on our mental health and well-being; and even more so when we commit to our environmental connection on a daily basis!  Depending on where you live in the world, access to some of the most influential environmental aspects may not be available on a daily basis - which is why some doctors actually recommend a southern vacation to help manage the symptoms of anxiety! But why? What is it about the Caribbean that can be so helpful? Here are the top 7 ways that the Caribbean calms anxiety!
 

1. The Length of Day


The consistent and equal length of day and night helps to reset our circadian rhythm, thereby balancing our body's serotonin, melatonin and cortisol levels.  All of which are affected by the amount of sunlight we're exposed to, the quality of our sleep and the consistency in the length of our day. When our bodies have high levels of cortisol, our stress hormone, we are more likely to exhibit anxious behaviours, nervousness and to feel 'wound-up', as our cortisol hormone is what puts us in a 'fight or flight' state.  Having a better balance of our sleep hormones (melatonin and serotonin) can help reduce the high cortisol levels and provide our minds with the rest needed to have better focus and emotional stability.

 

2. Vitamin D


The vitamin D exposure aids in the improvement of brain health, function and mood. Our bodies cannot create Vitamin D without exposure to the sun. Having direct and constant exposure on a daily basis allows our body to create a constant supply of Vitamin D to help regulate our moods and emotions.
 
 

3. Caribbean Air


The Caribbean air is of a cleaner quality than our industrial cities and offers the natural benefits of sea salt and gentle humidity. All of these, in combination, are great for clearing our sinuses and providing fresh oxygen to all parts of our body, including our brain.  Fresh oxygen and oxygenated blood to our brains allow our brain to think more clearly and robustly about a situation, rather than feeling closed off from solutions.  
 
 

4. The Sand


The sand in your toes, wrapped around your feet, and between your fingers can provide a tactile experience that is mesmerizing, calming and grounding. Tactile experiences have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety. This has become increasingly well-known in part due to the popular 'fidget spinners' and other random toys that provide a repetitive movement and texture for our minds to focus on.  This focus allows us to feel more control in our environment and allows us the chance to regroup our thoughts while we calm down.
 

 

 

5. The Ocean Sounds


The ocean sounds provide a relaxing, cyclical pattern that the brain finds soothing.  The sounds are similar to what our immature ears hear as infants in utero and remind us of a safe space where we don't need to feel negative emotions.
 

6. The Ocean Movement


The ocean movement.  Spend a night in a cabin boat on the ocean. The gentle, constant and rhythmic rocking of the boat again takes us back to experiences in utero that will lull and soothe our anxious fears and behaviours.

7. The Slower Pace


The slower pace of the Caribbean environment can really help us unwind and relax from the stress of our everyday lives.  It helps us to remember to breathe and focus on what's in front of us, rather than what's to come. In addition to this, being away from our daily life requirements really gives us more time to focus on self-care and symptom regulation techniques, such as developing a habit for journaling, deep breathing, stretching, or exercise!
 
 
 
There you have it - 7 ways that the Caribbean can help you in relaxing your anxiety and give you some control over your symptoms!
 
Of course, Cuan Law can help you unwind and shed some of those anxious feelings during our specially designated week in October for those living with anxiety and anxious behaviours!
 
 
 
OR in a more professional development setting by participating in "Wellness Week" from August 9th-15th, 2020 or October 25th-31st, 2020!
Sailing Sundays: Feeling blue is a term that originates from sailing

Sailing Sundays: Feeling blue is a term that originates from sailing

Blue flag - Captain's dead!
Blue flag - Captain's dead!

You would be surprised how many terms and sayings that we use every day originate from sailing. This applies to the term “feeling blue” as well. We know that if you feel blue, you actually mean that you feel sad or depressed. So it is actually very logical that the saying originated from sailing, because in the past when a ship lost its captain during a voyage, the sailors would sail blue flags, indicating their loss. So if you’re feeling blue, you’re actually referring to the blue flags that were used to sign that the ship’s crew is in mourning.