Zoe Watson On What Women Want And Need When Taking A Break

Posted on Jan 24, 2013


This document includes;

  1. Background on Zoë Watson and Bliss Sanctuary For Women
  2. Zoë Watson’s research on what women want and need from a holiday
  3. Zoë Watson’s top five tips for achieving deep rest at home

38 year old Australian Zoë Watson has always been a driven professional, working in what were and still are mostly male dominated industries like hotel security, liquor marketing and media sales. Always a great networker and supporter of women, she was also on the Asia Pacific Business Council For Women for several years.

Zoe WatsonIn 2007 Zoë was in a serious car accident in Adelaide, SA. It left her with severe back pain and migraines but she carried on working regardless.

In 2010, burnt out and struggling, Zoë booked a holiday by herself to Bali. Zoë realised how restorative time out alone could be, but she felt intimidated by the stares as she ate by herself, navigating transport on her own and not really knowing where all the best places were to visit. She wished that there had been someone in Bali to help organise what she wanted to do.

Zoë solved her own problem, and that of many women, and she moved to Bali and set up Bliss Sanctuary For Women, a bespoke travel experience for women who travel alone or with a friend. This first-of-its-kind tranquil haven is dedicated to a culture of time-poor and stressed women who never put themselves first.

After being open for 18 months, business is booming and Bliss Sanctuary For Women is now the TripAdvisor #1 rated accommodation in its area in Bali and Zoë has plans to open another Bliss Sanctuary in Europe in 2013.


Recent studies by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that 42% of Australian women always or often feel rushed or pressed for time, leading to increased stress levels. Medical research proves that being overstressed can result in physical illnesses, and psychological illnesses such as anxiety and depression.

It’s the valuable research that Zoë is gleaning from the hundreds of women who stay at Bliss Sanctuary For Women that’s giving a strong indication of what Australian women want from their much needed holiday break. The below results are in order of results i.e. #1 = the most, #2, the second most etc

More and more Australian women are booking holidays alone because they:

  1. Rarely get pampered in their everyday life or take time out for themselves
  2. Want to travel without children (especially mothers or teachers / childcare workers)
  3. Celebrate milestone birthdays (especially 30th, 40th, 50th and 60th)
  4. Find it empowering to travel on their own
  5. Want a relaxing holiday rather than an active ‘travel’ holiday where they rush to see sites or do planned activities
  6. Don’t have a partner

What women think they want from a holiday:

  1. Yoga or exercise classes
  2. Strict healthy eating
  3. Spa treatments

What women actually discover they need from a holiday:

  1. Deep rest (a combination of sleep, meditation, time to relax and do nothing)
  2. Indulging in delicious food, when they want it, with the time to sit and enjoy it
  3. Connection with new, like-minded people (Sanctuary staff and other guests)

Length of time to ‘wind down’ when beginning their holiday:

Every woman is different but, on average, it takes approximately three days to ‘wind down’ when they start their holiday. Holidays between five to 14 days are reported to be the most beneficial.

Length of time that women’s state of ‘bliss’ remains after their holiday:

After taking a holiday alone, women report that they still feel a sense of relaxation from their time away for up to one month after they return.

This is compared to those who take a more active ‘travel’ holiday who report feeling calm for only three to nine days after returning.

Zoë Watson describes this: “Typically when people visit the island of Bali they jam-pack their schedules with activities every day and forget to relax. However, we know that women taking more time to relax are less likely to experience burnout, and the benefits of resting can make them more creative and productive than their overworked, under-rested counterparts”.

How women’s lives have changed after taking a holiday alone:

  1. Many have begun new jobs, businesses or hobbies
  2. Many have re-thought relationships
  3. Some have taken up yoga and meditation
  4. Many have begun to take more time out for themselves in general / changed their mindset that it’s ok to put themselves first sometimes

The effect on the families and friends of the women who have taken the holiday:

The time away alone doesn’t just change the women – the family, friends and work colleagues that they return home to are also affected;

  • The men in their lives are usually very encouraging and see how much more balanced and rejuvenated their partners are.
  • Mothers have said that they are far more patient with their children when they return.
  • Professional women say that they are less inclined to react when faced with a stressful situation in a work environment.

Specific comments from surveyed Bliss Sanctuary guests:

“I was struggling with menopause and felt detached and unappreciated. The time away was good for me and having my husband pick me up from the airport with flowers because he missed me so much gave us a fresh start”.

“When I came home I was able to deal with my 18 year old getting a tattoo much more calmly as I was far more level-headed. This really helped my relationship with my daughter”.

“After going through a very messy divorce, the time out gave me the clarity and courage to realise what was really important in my life”.

“After six months in my new role, I found myself lacking enthusiasm for the job – I felt like I’d lost my spark. The seven days away with no schedule or demands reminded me of who I am and why I love my work so much. My team are certainly glad I took the break!”

“Coming away overseas with my Mum and sister, away from our kids, work and everyday life, allowed us to grow closer. We’re so glad to have booked to come back again next year for my 40th”.

  1. Try meditation – meditation gives you a greater sense of rest than sleeping alone. And if it is difficult, try spoken guided meditations – you can download these as apps straight to your smart phone – search for guided mediations like ‘Deepak Chopra’ or ‘Mind Valley’ or ‘Inner Wisdom’.
  2. Remember to breathe. Stop what you’re doing and take slow, deep breaths at intervals throughout the day to help centre yourself, your thoughts and emotions.
  3. Create a sleep sanctuary – make sure your bedroom is full of positive energy from the books you read, to calming essential oils and fill it with things you love that help you feel nurtured and safe. Keep phones, TV and computers out.
  4. Keep a 3am notepad on your bedside table so if you do have thoughts running through your mind you can offload them quickly and easily and continue sleeping.
  5. Give yourself permission to rest. Listen to your thoughts that often berate you and remind yourself that only by giving to yourself can you truly give to others.


Zoë Watson is originally from Adelaide, South Australia and moved to Bali two years ago.

She is the owner of Bali’s Bliss Sanctuary For Women and is available for interview

FACEBOOK – www.facebook.com/blisssanctuaryforwomen
TWITTER – www.twitter.com/blisssanctuary
TRIPADVISOR – #1 on TripAdvisor
WEBSITE – www.blisssanctuaryforwomen.com

For further information please contact:
Bec Brown Communications, Sydney

Bec Brown PH: 0403 052 256 | bec@becbrowncommunications.com.au
Yanna Moutzouris PH: 0410 678 918 | yanna@becbrowncommunications.com.au