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When the earth shakes, you have to stay still

Strange days have come, a year after the war in Ukraine. The energy crisis has changed the game, and now a devastating earthquake- one that changes the face of the impacted areas in Turkey and Syria. Is this nature’s payback for what we have done against it for the past decades? Let us say this: Nature is not vindictive, holding grudges against us. How could it- we are a part of nature, anyway. So, when almost everything seems ready to fall apart, how can we remain focused and calm?

We need to find the power within ourselves. Keep in mind this popular thought, that under the wavy ocean, there is calmess. The sky is always blue, even if the clouds cover it. Our mind always has a quiet, calm place, hidden behind our thoughts and emotions. The only think we need to do is to find our way to it.

So turn to your breath. Put your headset on, select the Breathing Space and connect with the air you inhale and exhale. Let your breath guide you to this calm place that you have reserved inside your mind, where the grass is green, and life is calm and beautiful. Remember, you can always get there; all you have to do is to select the 3D setting you want and to meditate for some minutes. Your inner stillness is the antidote to all earthquakes and shakes. Let’s go there.

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Zoom Layoffs: A challenge for the manager, too

Having one-third of the workforce turned into remote work, meetings have turned digital accordingly, and so did layoffs. It was already a challenge for most managers to announce to an employee that s/he is fired, now this has to be done with the awkwardness of a screen. In a recent article, we read that managers need to get prepared beforehand- it is not a task one can complete spontaneously. A script and many rehearsals are needed, more than one could imagine. The author of this article proposes a direct look at the camera and an empathetic yet determined tone of voice. Managers need to be focused and calmed before announcing a layoff.

Here enters Solas Vr- the breathing space in particular. Focus and a calm mind call for breathing exercises, and/ or a short meditation session as well. Taking breaths in the forest – actually the VR forest of Solas VR- can prepare the mind and the body for stressful situations and allow them to remain focused yet decisive. On the same token, a short meditation could be of use after the meeting, in the case that the manager feels overwhelmed by the tension of the meeting or the reaction of a fired employee.  A microbreak before or after this discussion can bring outstanding results for both sides. Because, as we discussed in a previous blog post, good leaders are mindful. So let’s be!

Also read: What to do in times of lay-offs, from the side of the employee

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Time for Resolutions. Or not!

It’s like two waves collide: one is the trend of New Year’s Resolutions and the other is against them. In fact, several voices on the internet positing the resolutions are stressful, not aspirational. We read that resolutions focus on the end of the journey not the road to it. So, when we make our long lists of promises, we usually set high goals, like going to the gym 4 times per week, getting a promotion, buying a house, get a degree. Which, obviously, makes us feel good as we visualize our prosperous future. But, do we set the bar far too high? The answer is usually yes and this is how New Year’s resolutions turn into stressful thoughts.

What is funny is this specific resolution to be more mindful. But, mindful means living and enjoying the present, being there, feeling more, think less. We cannot push ourselves to enjoy the moment, we can only realize the importance of being present: Of reading this blog post now and being aware of the light of your computer and how it makes you feel, to notice the feeling of the chair or cushion you are sitting on, to stop thinking what you can do with your resolutions and focus on here and now. Sometimes, it might feel difficult to concentrate, especially if you are not living alone, at a cottage, or in the mountains. This is where Virtual Reality comes to the rescue: The mind reacts to VR, in the same way, it reacts to the real experience, hence a virtual meditation in the forests of Ireland will make you relax as if you were actually there. This is why so many meditators have selected Solas VR as their mindfulness vehicle and this is why we are about to launch more landscapes and new possibilities, ones that will allow you to interact- like moving pebbles from one place to another- allowing the mind to unwind more.

We don’t make resolutions, but we can make this promise: this year, all Solas VR users will be more mindful than any other. Just put your headset on.

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Some Frequently Asked Questions about our app

Solas VR app is already a success amongst managers, especially in organisations that care about corporate wellness. There are many reasons why they have selected our app, but the main one is that there is no risk: literally, there is no reason not to buy a business subscription and watch your teams perform better and enjoy stress-free workdays. During our meeting with the decision-makers, we noticed some recurring questions, reflecting concerns about the resources and effectiveness of the service. Here are the most frequent of them:

Do we need to train our staff to use it?

Absolutely no. Solas VR environment is very simple and friendly. They only need to enter the experience and Solas VR does the rest. The users have the freedom to select among different settings and durations, in the most simple and intuitive way. It can’t get any easier than this.

Do the experiences take a long time?

No, the impact is instantaneous – that is the power of VR – It transports the user to a meditation space. In fact, Solas VR boosts the power of microbreaks, which are the perfect practice for better performance, according to an Organizational Behaviour Journal publication.

Can all staff use it?

The Nature-based experiences appeal to people of all ages, cultures or religious backgrounds. 

Are there many benefits to it?

Yes, research shows that mindfulness and/or breathing exercises improve our concentration levels, our ability to absorb information and our decision-making.

As we work with new managers and corporations, we will update this FAQ list, to make an easy decision, even easier!


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Setting 2023 Goals: Dealing with Burnout


Burnout could have been the word of the years 2021 and 2022 if it hadn’t been for covid and the metaverse. This situation is defined by WHO as :

“a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
  • reduced professional efficacy.”

This new definition highlights burnout as a serious matter that needs to be professionally addressed, removing the stigma of behaving as a spoilt kid as “you overreact, it’s just stress”. In fact, as we read in the “State of Burnout” report by Infinity Potential, dealing with burnout is an urgent priority as the latest years have induced lifetime high-stress levels, due to unmanaged workload and the struggle to maintain a work-life balance. The same report explains the fundamental causes and effects of burnout, as follows:

Source: State of burnout report- Infinite Potential 

These five points highlight the importance of empathetic leadership and a well-structured organisational support process that will allow the employees to feel secure and trust between employees and employers to be restored. Now it’s the time for managers to show that they care about their teams’ wellness and to introduce new practices that will actively help employees deal with stress. Here comes Solas VR meditation app as a tool designed for the hybrid world, tailored to destress through short, yet powerful breaks, that allows the mind to unwind and focus again. As a stand-alone solution or as part of a corporate wellness process, our app responds to all  aspects of the above key findings:

  • It is focused on well-being, while directly addressing burnout symptoms.
  • It can become the founding stone of an organisational support program.
  • Microbreaks are a proven solution to a lack of focus, especially when they are related to sessions of mindfulness.
  • VR technology is an important player in the hybrid world conversation
  • As a result, Solas VR meditation app becomes a powerful people-first initiative, as it highlights the empathy of management and it drastically supports employees’ efforts to cope with stress and current challenges.
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Productivity during enegry crisis

Every change is a big change; turning the office light off while still working might seem minor, yet it makes us lose focus, or irritate us. And while we were still wondering how to push the camel of productivity through the eye of the needle of shrunk time and hybrid workplaces, an energy crisis comes up, threatening our well-being. So, in the question of how to remain productive in this fast-changing context, we propose two answers, one of each perspective- the company and the employee.

What businesses can do to keep productivity levels high.

Adapt, adjust and overcome. There is no room for adhesion to established patterns and mindsets. Classic leadership styles- transactional, transformational and so- are already outdated; now it’s the time for empathetic leaders to thrive (you can read more here). The debate about corporate wellness is fueled some months ago, and it now emerges as a strong productivity tool, as an adjustment that might preserve success and KPIs rates. 

  • New leaders are called to empathize with their teams’ challenges and invent new ways to help them overcome stress. They need to consider that employees find it hard to remain focused and calm when key market players announce massive layoffs daily and when new imperatives juggle their routines. Here is where mindfulness enters the conversation. Spending some time every day for inside calmness and stress relief is a good practice, in more than one way:
    •  After a short break for mindfulness exercises, focus can be restored along with an inside-out optimism, that things can actually go well. A calm employee, freed from anxiety and concerns can better focus on work, hence keeping their productivity levels high.
    • At the same time, the company reveals this much-discussed empathetic face, soothing the fear of layoffs and imbuing confidence and safety.

What employees can do to keep productivity levels high.

Staying focused and immune to change is a hard task, especially- but not exclusively- for those working in hybrid environments. Employees need to find new ways to cope with stress and to feel that their employers understand and support this new situation. Either for their personal inner balance or as a tool for better work performance, mindfulness exercises are the key to a better work and/or life. A microbreak every couple of times per day is proven to restore inner calm, and allow the mind to unwind and cope with stress.

According to the projects we are working on, a large majority of companies have already accepted this new imperative, and are working with us to design corporate mindfulness programs. As we see the benefits in action, we are more and more confident to support that the answer to how productivity can rise through turbulent times and challenges is a clear mind and a calm soul- and we can help you get there.


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What to do in times of lay-offs

From Twitter to all the companies impacted by the energy crisis, many people abruptly found themselves unemployed. And while the obvious first move- massive cv sending- there is one that comes first: to find yourself and what you really want to do.

“It is easy to say when you are from the outside”, you’d think, and perhaps it is right. But, don’t you need a sober-minded friend to hold you back from making a mistake?

You will find online several lists on what to do when you are laid off, but that consent on one thing: try to make lemonade out of this bunch of lemons that you didn’t ask for, but here they are. Take some time to digest what happened and what it can possibly come out of this. Was it the job of your dreams? What are your strengths, and in what areas can you better yourself? What do you really want to do with your life?

Check the job ads but be patient, don’t allow the panic of the moment to draw you into sending CVs to jobs that are lower than your standards. And, focus: on the present and the future- the past is the past.

Try mindfulness– even if it’s the first time in your life. Find new ways to empty your mind, send away any negative and stressful thoughts, and start over. As they say, many things can be fixed just with a restart. So is yourself. And, your career. 

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The Symbolisms of Autumn

Autumn is the season of change and harvest. The time of abundance- pictured as the cornucopia related to the autumnal equinox- and of the preparation to move from summer to winter. Authors, poets and painters have been inspired by the colours and the meanings of this season and we have collected here some of the ways this season deeply impacts each of us.

It is time to change

It is time to get rid of whatever doesn’t serve us anymore and to prepare ourselves for the new and the unknown. Nature “declutters” in a way, leaving behind the old and used and going forward towards new directions. The idea of letting go stresses the temporary nature of everything around us and calls us to reflect upon our lives and choices.

Preservation times

While animals are storing food and preparing for hibernation, we also change our patterns- we explore the mountains, we take long walks under the brown-ish tree leaves, and we prepare our homes for the winter. So, while farmers harvest their crops, we store our motivation and positive energy.

Time to protect ourselves and our loved ones

As the weather changes, we intuitively look for protection by wearing warmer clothes, like knitwear or multiple layers. After the season of fun, now we take a turn inwards, taking better care of ourselves, and the way we exercise, and we explore whatever new nature has to give us.

Comforting season

In the same vein as protection, fall strongly symbolizes comfort as well. What hygge is for the house, comfortable clothes are for us. Psychologists posit that in changing times we are looking for comfort in the familiar and in whatever makes us feel good.

The signs of balance

Our ancestors named the constellations very carefully and imbued them with symbolic meaning. Fall is welcomed with Libra, the sign of balance and equivalence. The equinox splits the day into two equal parts, autumn balances between summer and winter, and we equilibrate between our summer and winter habits. Few things surpass the change- e.g. inner peace.


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How VR can transform the health care system

There are several voices calling for a drastic change in the healthcare system, especially after Covid-19. Patients found themselves amidst chaos, where everyone had to be calm and organized under the most difficult situations. From that point onward, trust in health care systems was partially lost and new, more patient-friendly methods are called for. We know this, firsthand, as several healthcare organizations turned to us for the virtual care of patients, especially those at home.

A very interesting article recently written, we see exactly the what and the why technology in healthcare is becoming a must. We read:

“Encourage the adoption of technologies that engage and serve patients by making health care more convenient and more connected such as telehealth, remote monitoring, and digital diagnostic tools. These types of technologies have been shown to increase access to care while also making care more continuous and less episodic.

Much of the conversation around telehealth is focused on simply making care more accessible and convenient for patients who have grown used to the ease of meal delivery and ride-sharing apps. But the telehealth spectrum is much broader than that. With technology, we can rapidly and seamlessly move wisdom and expertise, not people, and that can significantly improve care delivery as well as patient engagement to improve outcomes.

For example, in helping recovered heart attack patients, Kaiser Permanente’s virtual cardiac rehabilitation program allows care teams to use an app coupled with a digital watch to monitor the progress of these patients with exercise, tasks, medications, and heart metrics. Patients enrolled in the program were nearly twice as likely to complete the recommended course of rehabilitation than those in traditional face-to-face interactions.”

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The power of microbreaks

A Microbreak is a short break you take from work (or anything that calls for your unhindered attention) in order to help your mind refresh and improve performance. Working for many hours straight, without a break or at least some stretching doesn’t signal a hard-working professional.

On the contrary, there is academic proof now that our brain ceases to focus after a while; so we stop being productive or creative. This condition is called The Troxler Effect and it is like we stop seeing something after paying continuous attention to it. In the same way an item disappears from our view, new ideas and solutions disappear from our minds when we stay focused for too long. Taking a short break and allowing the mind to let go of the project and engage to anything else is an excellent way to regain focus and boost creativity.

Are all microbreaks equally powerful?

Chatting over the water cooler, having lunch, or taking a breathing exercise, do they all result in the same creativity boost?

While microbreaks per se are always beneficial, the brain responds better to certain activities rather than others. A 2016 research published on the Journal of Organizational Behaviour tested the effect of different types of microbreaks – lunch, relaxation, cognitive tasks, social activities – on the relationship between work demands and negative affect. What they found is that performance actually increases only after microbreaks that included relaxation, social activities or nutrition intakes, with the exception of caffeinated products or cognitive tasks which actually aggravate the negative effect. Additionally, a Stanford University research stresses the importance of letting our eyes wander for a while during the microbreaks, feeding our brain with new visual stimuli.

A short walk in nature may be the ideal microbreak, but how feasible is this option for people living in big cities (or under lockdown)? VR technologies provide us with the perfect alternative because Virtual Reality triggers the mind to react as if it is experiencing the real thing. A short VR meditation in nature has the same effect on the brain as an actual walk, while the eyes wander among trees and rivers, without having to leave the office. Guided Meditations or breathing exercises create space in the mind, multiplying the effect of the microbreak. It only takes a few minutes for the brain to refresh and reboot.

Download our free e-book on corporate mindfulness and allow your team to be more.