Feeling stressed, pressured or overwhelmed? Deep breathing can work wonders.
With your eyes either open or closed, take a series of long, deep breaths. Be aware of the feeling of the air coming in your nose and out your mouth. Try to fill your lungs, but don’t hold your breath.
Deep breathing helps combat the flight-or-flight reflex, which is the body’s natural response to stress, by slowing our breathing and heart rate and relaxing our muscles.
Pro Tip: “Thinking the word ‘relax’ as you exhale turns the word into a cue. The brain will then associate this word with the action of inducing a state of relaxation throughout your body.”
How would you rate your general wellbeing? On most days, do you feel healthy, happy and capable? Or hurried, harried and worn out? Find out on Thursday, December 14 at 12 noon CT for our free, one-hour CLE webinar: “Take Control of Your Well-being.” This is the fourth annual installment of our popular Lawyer Wellness webinar. Back by popular demand as presenter is the sensational Colleen Byers, JD, a seasoned litigator, mediator, legal educator, certified yoga instructor, and 2020 North Carolina Lawyer of the Year. Colleen’s tips and encouragement will help you finish 2023 strong and start 2024 off right! Register here for “Take Control of Your Well-being.” Free! Just one of many benefits available to members of the Alta Pro Lawyers Risk Purchasing Group (RPG). Learn more here.
Fifteen Minutes for Self-Care
Here are some other ways to create an oasis of calm in your busy day – in 15 minutes or less.
- Put yourself in time-out. As a gift, not punishment. Find a quiet spot where you can sit undisturbed, with eyes closed, for a few minutes. You’ll emerge refreshed, and perhaps with a new perspective. Some firms set aside “sanity” space in the office for meditation and centering.
- Move your body. Just 11 minutes of exercise a day can increase your life span, says this 2020 study. Pretty much any type of movement counts.
- Go for a walk outside. You’ll get out of your head and into nature, which is always affirming.
- Make a social connection. The law can be isolating. The solution is human contact. “Take five minutes to feel seen and heard each day — and return the favor for someone else,” says CNN. PS: Zoom meetups are better than none at all.
- Eat a healthy snack. Stock your breakroom with fruits, veggies and nutritious foods that will boost energy, not sap it.
ABA Well-Being Campaign Pledge
Recognizing that high levels of problematic substance use and mental health distress present a significant challenge for the legal profession, and acknowledging that more can and should be done to improve the health and well-being of lawyers, we the attorneys of ___________________________________ hereby pledge our support for this innovative campaign and will work to adopt and prioritize its seven-point framework for building a better future.
- Provide enhanced and robust education to attorneys and staff on topics related to well-being, mental health, and substance use disorders.
- Disrupt the status quo of drinking-based events: (a) Challenge the expectation that all events include alcohol; seek creative alternatives. (b) Ensure there are always appealing nonalcoholic alternatives when alcohol is served.
- Develop visible partnerships with outside resources committed to reducing substance use disorders and mental health distress in the profession: healthcare insurers, lawyer assistance programs, EAPs, and experts in the field.
- Provide confidential access to addiction and mental health experts and resources, including free, in-house, self-assessment tools.
- Develop proactive policies and protocols to support assessment and treatment of substance use and mental health problems, including a defined back-to-work policy following treatment.
- Actively and consistently demonstrate that help-seeking and self-care are core cultural values, by regularly supporting programs to improve physical, mental and emotional well-being.
- Highlight the adoption of this well-being framework to attract and retain the best lawyers and staff.
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