Taking My Own Advice: Let's Get Physical (Therapy)
The wine business can be a physically demanding career.
Years spent working on concrete floors, running up and down stairs, carrying boxes, getting in and out of cars, twisting and turning, often in the most inappropriate shoes that would give a podiatrist a heart attack… It can add up, and immobilize even the fittest of professionals.
Being in physical therapy (PT) while maintaining a daily job in any industry is difficult enough, but alcohol is known to be an inflammatory agent for joints and tissues, even though it can seem like a salve to take away physical pain that we may feel.
The whole reason that I was in PT? I could not remember a day or a week of not being in constant shoulder pain. I would tout self-care for others but was not looking after myself, and fooling myself that it would magically “get better."
The first step was making the decision to stop ignoring my body’s own messages, and to start listening to advice that I seemed to be giving other people about self-care.
Recently I began a rehabilitation program with a physiotherapist who specializes in working with athletes, and those with lingering sporting injuries. It took a big step to get started, but I’ve learned six valuable lessons I’d like to share:
1. PT can cause its own performance anxiety.
When checking in for the first appointment, my self-doubt took over fast. Maybe my injury wasn’t as bad as other people’s? Maybe I would not be able to perform the exercises at the high level of intensity that other people could? Maybe my body would never be back like it was? And so on…
I would soon learn this response was a completely normal reaction to being in a new PT space. And that all they could do was their best.
2. My resentment was misdirected.
My resentment was a result of the pain my choices were causing me. I had come to resent the job that had come to mean physical pain, caused by the repetitive strain of carrying luggage, lifting boxes, and dragging bags around on hard, concrete surfaces. Every wince, jam, strain and tear made things worse, but I had to learn that the anger was the pain, not the job.
3. I’ve had to stop and think.
I had to look at the way that wine was showing up in my life beyond the professional scope. Maybe part of my tasting and enjoyment was a form of medication for physical pain and numbing, more than it was part of my daily job?
Not an easy admission, but it was an easy one to address and made me more committed to getting well. It also makes morning training sessions much brighter.
4. I had to let go of the stories.
Carrying an injury can also mean a response of “I can’t because…” Beginning with negative thoughts immediately created limitations for myself that were more restrictive than necessary. Learning to walk the knife-edge between real pain and a fear-based response to possible re-injury has been crucial to supporting my healing.
5. I’ve found a new community.
I have found connection with other people who have either experienced the same or similar injuries. Every week at PT, I see increasingly familiar faces who sincerely ask how I’m doing. And not because of any work-related perks or favors I can help them with, but from genuine care.
Everyone at PT is in some stage of pain management and recovery. When you see each other strapped in ice, or wincing in pain as joints start to be mobilized again, there’s a deep knowing of the work it takes to get better. And that can be a powerful bond. Our guards drop, and the jokes flow freely, especially the ones about “Frosty the Ice-Pack Man.”
6. It takes time.
I am slowly learning that rehab takes a heck of a lot longer than I thought it would. There is no magic bullet to recovery. (Well, no legal one, at least.) For as long as it took to cause my injury, there would also be time to recover. Patience and practice.
Physical recovery can be a slow and painful process, but not one without immense gifts and gratitude. While it’s required me to seriously cut back on any and all wine intake while my body heals and gets back together, I know that first serious multi-course tasting menu dinner will be ludicrously enjoyable.
And for the doctors, physiotherapists, acupuncturists, and attendants, I’m filled with immense gratitude. You are helping to put my body back together, so that I can keep doing the work.
What We're Reading:
There's no shortage of wine stories and media inundating our IN Boxes. Here's what has piqued our interest this week.
Milk Thistle – The Drinker’s Dietary Supplement – JancisRobinson.com
A worthy read from the Wine Queen herself. Such is the in interest in milk thistle, the article has been published three times with updates! The original article also appears on Purple Pages here. (NB: before taking supplements consult with your medical practitioner, especially if you are taking prescription medication or being treated for a medical condition.)
Why is Nature so Good for Your Mental Health? – Greater Good Magazine.com
A new study suggests that nature may make us happier and healthier because it inspires awe.
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.
General Manager Winemaker, Tantalus Vineyards (Canada)
Years in the industry:
12 years. I began my winemaking career in 2007 with my first vintage at Neudorf Vineyards in Nelson New Zealand. I have since done vintages in Oregon, Burgundy and Australia before landing my first full time winemaking job in 2009 at Tantalus Vineyards in the Okanagan Valley, and became the General Manager in 2015. Last year, my wife and I opened a brewery with some friends here in Kelowna and in the after hours, I work in the background as a business partner and advisor on that project.
My biggest challenge to wellness:
Mental wellness, time management and stress mitigation have been the biggest challenges to my overall wellness. The stress of running a company, as well as being responsible for the overall quality of the grapes and wine, while juggling family and other business ventures has affected my overall mental wellbeing in the past. Stress is a hell of a thing.
How I keep it together to stay well:
Most recently, and most profoundly, I have found the benefits of yoga. I now practice hot yoga 3-4 times a week at Modo Yoga. There are some wonderful teachers there and a friendly community atmosphere. I have lost weight and no longer have lingering back issues, but most of all I have found that the 60-90 minute practice gives me mental clarity and inner peace I did not know I was missing until I tried it. I can go in stressed and come out with a solution to a problem that subtly popped into my head. I find that I am a calmer person in day-to-day life and more effective and efficient in my job because of the mental balance yoga brings to my life.
I have learned to manage my time better and to truly not sweat the small stuff. I have a great team in place at the winery, which is also paramount. It gives me the opportunity to spend more time with my wife and daughter and I spend more time on the golf course which is a great mini holiday.
You can connect with David at firstname.lastname@example.org find him on Instagram at @dave_pats or at the Tantalus Vineyards website.
Let’s Meet Up!
As work life has it, we are traveling over the next few months and would love to see you.
Presenter at Bâtonnage Forum, in Napa, May 4 (Rebecca)
Attendee at Vinventions Summit in Liège, Belgium, May 29 to June 3 (Beck)
Presenter at Chile Uncorked, NOLA Style in New Orleans, June 5 to 7 (Cathy)
Presenter at the CDO Executive Summit, in Atlanta June 26 (Cathy)
Attendee at Fine Minds 4 Fine Wines in Bordeaux, July 4 to 6 (Cathy)
Emcee at Australia Decanted in Lake Tahoe, October 6 to 9 (Cathy)