May 3-7 2021 is Well-Being Week in Law. This week is designed to bring awareness to the value of leading a balanced, healthy lifestyle for those in the legal profession. Most lawyers are 100% dedicated to their practice, and while this serves clients well, other areas – such as physical and mental health – may be neglected. With a little work – and we know lawyers are great at putting in the work – it is possible to lead a healthier lifestyle alongside a successful career. If you’re thinking that you need to boost your healthy habits, this week is the perfect time to start.
Each of the five days of Well-Being Week in Law outlined below is dedicated to one dimension of overall well-being. Try some or all of these do-able tips this week and see if you notice a difference.
Monday: Stay Strong (Physical Well-Being)
Regular activity, good nutrition, and a good night’s rest all contribute to making an individual feel healthy. Here are some tips to try.
- Commit to abstaining or limiting alcohol (and/or other addictive substances) this week. These substances can interfere in work and sleep quality.
- Get in more steps. Walk to the train station, park furthest from the office building, take the stairs.
- Set a movement alarm every hour to get up and do something (jumping jacks, pushups, lunges for 1-5 minutes).
- Shop and plan your meals for the week; pack lunches instead; if dining out, choose a salad as an entrée.
- Stop drinking caffeine in the afternoon.
- Swap out sugary beverages for bubbly water or water infused with fresh fruit/herbs.
- Turn off all electronics at least one hour prior to bedtime.
- Try a relaxing bedtime routine – use lavender, take a bath, drink herbal “nighttime” tea.
- Set a bedtime and stick to it.
Tuesday: Align (Spiritual Well-Being)
The spiritual well-being here is referring to your intrinsic core values. While you may work with others who do not share your core beliefs, it is important to stay true to yourself. Here are ways to be your best-self in the office.
- When considering a career path, pay attention to what the company stands and how they treat others, both inside and outside the company.
- Keep a positive attitude. Don’t participate in office gossip; try to find solutions in a difficult situation instead of venting about it; use positive words.
- Get to know your colleagues and clients so you can have a more cohesive work environment and a better understanding of them.
- Think about how your actions (not words) affect those around you. Do you keep walking when someone is trying to speak to you? Do you stare at the computer while your colleague is asking you a question?
- Treat others how you would like to be treated.
Wednesday: Engage & Grow (Career and Intellectual Well-Being)
Engaging in creative or intellectually challenging activities will help to continuously grow our professional and personal lives. Here are ways to continue to engage and grow.
- Choose work that you love. If it’s something that you don’t enjoy doing, delegate the task to someone else (if possible).
- Take on something that is challenging and out of your safety zone.
- Figure out when your best work time is. Maybe it’s early morning or late afternoon. Whatever it is, dedicate that time to the work on items that are particularly challenging and you may find that they are a bit easier when you’re in that “zone”.
- Exercising your “creative” brain will also strengthen your analytical brain. Make time for your creative hobbies – i.e., cooking, painting, photography, knitting, gardening, playing a musical instrument.
- Do pro-bono work at a legal aid clinic or at a non-profit that you’re interested in.
Thursday: Connect (Social Well-Being)
Connecting with colleagues is more than just building a friendship. It also fosters a sense of belonging and gives you a support network (both inside and outside of the office). With some people working from home, this is harder to do but not impossible. It may take a little more effort but the risk is worth the reward.
- Engage in conversation with coworkers about outside activities. What they did during the weekend; how many kids they have; what book they’re reading. You may be pleasantly surprised to find commonalities that you can use to build a long-lasting friendship.
- Invite a group to a non-alcoholic lunch or happy hour.
- Listen attentively during conversations.
- Have a positive outlook.
- Drop pretenses and let them see who you really are.
- Be kind to everyone.
Friday: Feel Well (Emotional Well-Being)
Learn how to identify and manage your emotions. Doing so will help you make better decisions (inside and outside of the office), achieve goals, and boost overall happiness.
- Recognize unhealthy thought patterns – also referred to as thought distortions – that hold you back such as negative self-talk (“I can’t do this…”, “I am stupid…”, “My brain doesn’t work that way…”) and try re-framing the thought (“I’ve got this…”, “I’m smart and can figure this out…”, “This is a new opportunity to learn something…”).
- Start a gratitude log. Write down 5 things you are grateful for each day. This will help you have a more positive outlook and will give you something to refer to when you’re having a hard day.
- There are lots of apps that can help you get started with a quick (or long) guided meditation such as Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer.
- If you find yourself in a situation where you need a quick de-stress moment, practice 4-7-8 breathwork. Inhale for 4 counts, hold it for 7 counts, exhale for 8 counts.
We hope you add some of these tips to your action-items list this week. Here’s to your well-being, health, and happiness this week and beyond.
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