It’s National Self Care Week and it that vain, it got me thinking about the inherent relationship my shooting and fishing has with my well-being. One of the things I treasure most is being in the countryside. As much as I love the city, being in the wilderness inspires me and gives me a perspective on what is important such as the changing of the seasons, fresh air and exercise. Shooting and fishing take me to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.
Shooting has taken its toll on me physically. After being knocked unconscious by a dead pheasant hitting me in the back of the neck 7 years ago, I have permanent damage to my vertebrae although the operation I had on my arm 5 years ago was the real trigger for my regular yoga practice. The injury was from lifting a heavy gun repeatedly and I had the tendons taken from my elbow, the damage removed and the tendons reattached. I was unable to pick up a gun for 10 months and with that came a loss of identity, a void where the social life I once took for granted had been and a loss of the skill I had honed. I was determined to retrieve all of the above as quickly as possible and so a regime of self-care kicked in. The alcohol went first so I could focus on getting back to full fitness and I started an intensive regime of Pilates and yoga to get my former strength back and keep my mind calm and focussed. It worked. With a lot of effort, I was back shooting in 10 months, albeit with a 20 bore which I now love. My original prowess has not quite returned although I’m now very capable of bringing my fair share of high birds down and yoga ensures I can swing through those high birds with a flexible spine.
The balance of work and play is far better and my yoga practice manages all my injuries. Just a fortnight of not being on the mat and the aches and pains can start to creep back in. I practice Ashtanga – it can be punishing and demanding but so can life and it keeps me match fit. I now enjoy a few glasses of wine – I’m a firm believer in yin and yang, although not before a yoga practice day. I’ve developed shoulder pain and this could be from carrying the gun, recoil or simply ridiculously large handbags. I’m having a scan next week although know that with my yoga regime I can practice self-care.
Self-care through yoga definitely helps me focus at work and what is important for my client’s projects. Passionate about game, extolling the virtues and discovering new markets, it has been a dream to work with The Eat Game Awards from the beginning and now the British Game Alliance. I care about the cycle of life with shooting and that what we shoot ends up in the food chain. I’m proud to be part of the shooting community that actively promotes this. The restorative qualities of fly-fishing are clear through initiatives such as Casting for Recovery and Fishing for Heroes and I am proud to work with Orvis who are always concerned about giving back. 5% of their pre-tax profits go to charities and conservation projects. Nineteen 87 have pledged a huge sum to Great Ormond Street and so the cycle of helping to encourage others to practice self care comes into our work every day.
Self-care enables me to make the right decisions, do what I do to the best of my ability and work with clients as focussed on doing the right thing as I am.