3 Ninja Moves to Maintain Sanity – and Your Balance – When Away from Home

3 Ninja Moves to Maintain Sanity – and Your Balance – When Away from Home

Let’s face it. For a lot of us, travel is one of those things that really move the needle of our work lives. We travel to make an impact. We travel to expand our professional reach. We travel to increase our contribution, and our value, to our employers and to this industry as a whole.
Travel is also one of those things that throws us off balance. Big time.
Which is why travel is a frequent topic here at ABG. The content around it resonates especially now, as we’re heading into the season of the international trade fairs, with Prowein, Vinitaly and Vinexpo already calculated into our schedules.
Like many of you, I also travel frequently and in addition to those major events, however. And like many of you, I’ve developed a system that clearly helps to maintain my balance, with meditation, exercising outside, and super hydration topping the list.
Maintaining balance is one thing, and that system usually does the trick. Maintaining sanity, however, is a whole other level.
The difference between the two is what I’d like to talk about today.
The difference is when things really go off the wheels. When you’re triggered psychologically, so that even your carefully curated system of “tricks” and “hacks” feels inadequate. When you have to call up your store of reserves from way deep down, and harness them to pull you up and through.
Here are three of those methods I’ve had to put to use these past few weeks.
Write the words of intention.
Usually it starts and ends for me with meditation. I clear my mind. I breathe purposefully. I set an intention. I use the power of visualization. But sometimes, when I’m triggered psychologically, it feels like I need something beyond even that as a counter measure. That’s when I pick up a pen and write, physically write, the words of what I intend to happen that day. One thing at a time. It’s a few sentences, though it takes several minutes because what’s been visualized during meditation is now making its way onto paper, into physical form. That somehow makes it more concrete, and more grounded in the reality of the day.
Self-care, with oils.
Coconut oil when it’s warm weather, sesame oil when it’s cool weather. On elbows and shoulders that are strained from dragging heavy suitcases through airports and train stations. On feet and heels so that they don’t dry out and invite blisters from all the walking. On nose and throat, to coat and add a layer of protection and lubrication from the weather and unfamiliar particles in the air. I carry just a few ounces of these oils, because it doesn’t take much to activate the oxytocin of self-care.
Slow down with tea.
Years ago I went to cooking school with a woman from India who taught me about tea. More valuable than any explanation of flavor, however, was what she said about hot water, and how you can’t drink it while being in a hurry. “You must stop for tea,” she said. Obviously, right? Until you see what happens when you do stop. So I carry tea bags with me, three or four different varieties. Some current favorites for me are pure ginger, and Yogi Honey Chai Turmeric Vitality. (Favorites of Beck include Tulsi Sweet Rose and Yogi Tea Kava Stress Relief.)

The bag version is not ideal, I know, for the tea purists out there! Forgive me, but my purpose by this point is more about stopping than it is about the formalities.
Fortunately the need for these “sanity keepers” isn’t very frequent, but I’m grateful that they’re there for when the time does come.
How about you? Do you have different levels of self-care? What do you do to maintain balance, and what do you do to maintain sanity? We’d love to hear.

Meet the Tribe!

Our community is only as strong as the company we keep, and here we meet some of the folks who make our profession so dynamic.


Laura Catena
General Manager, Bodega Catena Zapata (argentina)

Years In Industry:
Officially I started in 1995, 23 years ago, the same year I finished my medical residency. Emergency Room doctors work 12 days a month, because of all the nights and weekends, so I had time to start with the winery on the technical and viticultural side. Eventually I moved into exports and sales, and now I'm the GM. Unofficially I started with the winery when I was 18 and started going to France and drinking great wines with my Dad, who was figuring out what it took to make a Grand Cru.

My Biggest Challenge To Wellness:
Selling wine all over the world, in different time zones, with lots of late night conversations. So I get really organized. Eighty percent of my calendar is organized three weeks in advance, because I spend four or five hours on conference calls with Argentina every day. You know when’s your free time, and you get back to people on time too.

Staying on top of all the diseases and the technology around them -- both viticultural and medical -- is also a big challenge and my obligation.

I also spend extended periods of time abroad with my family. There’s something about being in a different country, especially a Latin country, that's much more relaxing in many ways. It recharges me.

How I Keep It Together To Stay Well:

We have a system for keeping track of things, that combines email and scheduling time to talk to people. After every two emails, the third encounter is a phone call. It's an unwritten Catena-wide rule. Staying connected makes me stay well.

I also think that working in mixed teams, with both men and women, is much more conducive to wellness. Everybody learns from each other. When you have a male colleague you can talk about how you handle having two working parents, and you aren’t just talking to other women. For men having a female colleague, it makes them understand their wife better.

Finally, once in a while, I take an Ambien for sleep. The research shows that we should try to get on the new time zone as quickly as you can, so I take a sleeping pill on my flight there and then on my first night in the new place. That's it. Taking three drinks to get yourself to sleep is a lot worse.

You can connect with Laura on Instagram or through the Catena Wines website.

This Week's Reading:

There's no shortage of wine stories and media inundating our IN Boxes. Here's what has piqued our interest this week.

Time for Happiness: Why the Pursuit of Money Isn't Bringing You Happiness, and What Will, by Ashley Williams in Harvard Business Review
“No matter what the outcome of our efforts, we all feel increasingly strapped for time, and often the things that we think will make us happy — the accomplishments we work so hard for — don’t.

These are the Ten Best TED Talks of the Year, According to the Guy Who Runs TED – Inc.com
Great insights in 20-minute bites.

Let’s Meet Up!

As work life has it, we are traveling over the next few months and would love to see you. Check out details on the Let's Meet Up! page over at A Balanced Glass.

Drop a line to rebecca@abalancedglass.com or cathy@enolytics.com if you are interested in getting together for practice, a chat or a great glass together.

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