Erin Clifford, partner at Clifford Law Offices and holistic wellness coach in Chicago, was interviewed by The Chicago Bar Foundation’s Executive Director, Bob Glaves, giving advice on how to start the new year off right with A Wellness Action Plan to (Re)Start 2021.
“The pandemic allowed our profession [as lawyers] to take a pause, and in doing so, individuals have been evaluating what is important to them in their personal and professional lives…individuals recognized that the grind of burning the candle at both ends was not only unhealthy, but it was preventing them from maintaining a desired work-life balance.”
Erin pointed out many lawyer-specific issues that are important to be aware of when creating your wellness plan. “Lawyers tend to struggle with stress management, depression, anxiety, and addiction. While it has been taboo in our profession to talk openly about mental health, I believe the tides are fortunately changing.”
“The law is a very rewarding but demanding profession. Thus, lawyers need to be open about their struggles so they can get the assistance that they need from their employers, families, and mental health professionals.”
Important advice Erin gives for lawyers to start improving their wellness is to set clear boundaries and take time for self-care.
“Lawyers are often their worst enemies and have a difficult time using their no buttons. You make the choice to be always on, and I would encourage anyone reading this to set priorities and boundaries that work for your unique lifestyle.”
“Studies show that individuals are more productive and function at a higher level when they recharge their batteries. Therefore, lawyers should make a point to use their vacation time and take mental health days.”
In the interview, Erin also emphasizes the importance of giving back to the community. “Giving back to the community and helping someone in need can be a tremendous form of self-care. I would highly recommend engaging in some pro bono work or volunteering. I am the president of Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth – the amazing individuals that tutor for our organization tell me all the time how good it is for their souls and mental health.”
Erin points out that the leaders in the law profession need to realize that their colleagues must be given space to take care of their physical and mental health so that they will be able to function at their best for the firm and their clients.
“It is up to the leaders of our profession to take care of each other, and in doing so, transition the profession into a healthier place for new generations of lawyers.”
Click here to read more of Erin’s wellness advice in the CBF interview “A Wellness Action Plan to (Re)Start 2021.”
You can hear more from Erin and also ask any questions of your own at the upcoming Chicago Bar Association Program, “Your Practical Action Plan for Wellness in 2021” on January 27th at 3 p.m.