5 Ways to Catch Joy
It’s officially summer here in the northern hemisphere and boy, have I fallen hard for it this year.
More sunshine. Slower pace. More joy.
Sign. Me. Up.
But here’s the thing: for as laid-back and casual as the summer ideal is, the reality for most of us is probably a lot more business-as-usual, which means catch-as-catch-can.
That’s what I’ve been focusing on this week, as the season has officially transitioned: catching the joy that summer embodies, even when “the catch” lasts just a few minutes.
I’ve started thinking of it as a “vacation-ette.” Because the commitments of life – and work, and family – go on, even when it’s nice outside. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find moments that channel the ideals of summer, from connecting with family to mentally “checking out” to relishing the time to rest body and mind.
Here are five of my most recent favorite catches of joy, available any day and at most times.
Warm Water at Bedtime
Talk about a simple pleasure. This involves only a washcloth and warm (sometimes hot) water, rubbed with vigor first on my face and then on the soles of my feet at the end of the day. Washing away the day? Sure. But for me it’s more about the comfort of warmth, applied directly to the muscles that have been called into action the most that day. It’s soothing, restful and rejuvenating all at the same time, with no elaborate spa ritual needed.
Bonus: oil applied immediately afterward. Sesame oil in the winter, coconut oil in the summer. Good night.
Sitting Back to Back
My husband and I walked into a partner yoga class a few months ago, and the first thing the teachers had us do was sit on the floor, back to back, and take a few minutes to breathe.
Again, simple. Right?
It is actually one of the most connecting, supportive, happy things we do. There’s the obvious “you’ve got each other’s back.” There’s the less-obvious but variable physical touch in places we don’t normally feel it; for Chris it’s shoulders-to-shoulders, for me it’s spine to spine, for both of us it’s the backs of our heads leaning into the other.
There is the joy of that.
Our kids (twin boys) were born premature, each one weighing about 3.5 pounds. The most important thing the nurses in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit taught us was “kangaroo care,” where we held the babies skin-to-skin, them in their diapers and us with our shirts off. The physical contact is well-documented as helping babies, especially preemies, to thrive. Worked like a charm.
Turns out that it’s true for adults too, as we re-discover every time Chris or me is in particularly acute need of emotional healing. I doubt I need to convince you of the power of human touch, but summer vacation-ettes are a great time to prioritize it.
Wine. Oh, That!
This week it was the Bannister Riesling from Mendocino. Last week it was Vin de Days Rouge from Oregon. What’s it been for you? Have you noticed? The wines that bring you pure joy, that is. It’s What’s in the glass, of course, and Who you’re drinking it with, but it’s also the Where. Lately for me, this summer, it’s been our front porch, watching the neighborhood go by. It isn’t the beachfront or some hip street in Copenhagen or Montevideo. But it’s right here, and it’s every day I want it.
The Mental Check-Out
Reading, where I include every sort of book, from hard copy to e-book to audio book. It helps to pick something that has absolutely zero redeeming literary value whatsoever. For me it’s historical murder mysteries that romp along colorfully with humor and dynamic dialogue. Do I “get something” out of them? Nope. Except pure pleasure, and quite a lot of imagination. Which is the best “get” of all.
How do these sound to you? And what are your ideas for vacation-ettes? Let’s get a list going! We’d love to hear.
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.
People With Osteoporosis at Risk of Injuries from Yoga – Wellbeing Magazine.com
The study also found that patients who took the recommendations to modify their exercise experienced reduced pain and they improved their symptoms.
How Science Saved Me From Pretending To Love Wine – New York Times.com
“The fault was not in my stars, nor in myself, but in my fungiform papillae.”
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.
Julie Rothberg, President, Medlock Ames (California, USA)
Years In Industry:
While living in London working in tech, I started taking wine tasting classes for fun. I quickly became obsessed. In 2003, when I moved back to New York, I started working at Sherry Lehmann while applying to business school and never looked back.
Over the years I got my WSET Diploma, managed a boutique importer, and oversaw an $80 million portfolio of 20 brands. I’m now President of Medlock Ames Winery with 100% organically-grown grapes from Bell Mountain Ranch which straddles the Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley. In 2015, my husband Gregg and I launched a Rhone-varietal boutique wine called 13th & Third, named for the street corner in NYC where we met.
My Biggest Challenge To Wellness:
I used to balance the inherent challenge of working in wine by being one of those obsessive spin-class types who’d sweat out all the wine and food the next day. Getting pregnant was an eye opener that put my frenetic work outs to rest.
It was a lot harder than expected to get pregnant. Rounds of IVF were mentally, physically and most of all emotionally exhausting. Now I have two-year-old twin daughters who bring unimaginable joy to my life. Once they were born, I struggled with returning to work when I wasn’t getting more than 3 hours of sleep at a time, which is something that continued for over a year.
Today my biggest challenge is juggling it all and finding time to work out while not eating my girls’ mac and cheese because, well, it’s just easier when I’m exhausted and starving.
How I Keep It Together To Stay Well:
Mindful prioritizing. I made it a priority after my girls were born to relocate to California, not only to expand my career but also to ensure we’re able to live a more active, sun-filled lifestyle. Gone are my spin-class days, and that’s okay. I make it a priority to set the alarm extra early so I can go for a sweaty run before the girls wake up.
I prioritize having fun and enjoying time with my family over lots of endless weeks on the road traveling with rich wine-soaked dinners. Finding fun ways to be active and silly with kids burns a ton of calories so we have plenty of baby dance parties or we pop the girls on the back of our bikes and go for a ride.
I prioritize being mindful and healthy in the foods I choose to eat, consciously avoiding dairy and grains except when a rare-mouthwatering cheese wafts past me. And lastly, I prioritize giving myself a break, trying to take deep breaths when I can, remembering how important priorities are.
You can connect with Julie on LinkedIn, Instagram and via email at email@example.com
Let’s Meet Up!
As work life has it, we are traveling over the next few months and would love to see you.
Attendee at Vinventions Innovation 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)
Attendee at Australian Women in Wine Awards in New York, September 17 (Beck)
Emcee at Australia Decanted in Lake Tahoe, October 6 to 9 (Cathy)