How many of you are juggling more than one thing right now? Maybe you are on a Zoom call while attempting to catch up on e-mail. Perhaps you are facilitating at home learning for your children while preparing a client memo. Or you might be burning the midnight oil to stay on top of professional and personal to-do lists that never seem to end.
From lawyering to parenting, to cooking and volunteering. From serving your clients to improving the profession and everything in between, many of you are the most nimble, dedicated, spirited people I have the privilege of knowing. You are the masters of "YES, and..." rather than "YES, but..."
Naturally, you've applied all of this agility to your practice during this unprecedented year of remote lawyering. I know many of you pride yourselves on inspiring those you work with and see yourselves as relationship builders. You see the good in your colleagues. Their uniqueness. Their shine. You see the challenges of your clients and you scout out ways under, around and through those difficulties. You mentor and coach your colleagues with this same aplomb.
All of the ways that you are balancing on the tightrope and spinning the plates as you face an ongoing public health crisis is a skill. In these pandemic times, however, it is important to remember that skill and capacity are two different things.
I have been lucky to know so many lawyers like you. Willing. Observant. Considerate. Nimble. Open to learning a new program/app/platform to support their clients and their practice. As a member of this profession, I have known generosity of self in each of you that is astounding.
No matter how superhuman lawyers can be, they all face moments of feeling they have little or nothing left to give. Many of us are experiencing a profound lack of capacity in this moment. This diminished personal capacity is the product of many factors and was a passion project of mine long before pandemic days brought the well-being of lawyers into our awareness.
I believe emotional self-care is one of the keys to maintaining and expanding our capacity to connect with others and to effectively serve in our role as lawyers.
Would you like to learn more about emotional self-care and expand your skills in this area? Join me for a 14-Day Self-Care Challenge. September is Self-Care Awareness Month. Launch day is September 8th! During the challenge you will receive a self-care toolkit, see daily posts to encourage new practices, and enjoy connecting with other lawyers around emotional agility and lawyer well-being. I can't wait to connect with you and support you in your self-care goals in September!
If you don't have the capacity to join in the Self-Care Challenge, consider these tips for cultivating emotional agility during the next month:
- When all else fails, remember the basics. Be sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise. Research demonstrates that these basic daily tasks support our brains in coping effectively, regulating stress, decreasing depression and anxiety symptoms, and processing information.
- Just as you would create a medical toolkit, create a coping toolkit for yourself. Put together a list or kit of activities and objects that help you feel grounded, safe, bring you joy, and increase your quality of life as you ride out this crisis.
- Although staying informed is important, as possible, minimize your exposure to media and/or the flooding of traumatic stories about the pandemic. Exposure to trauma-filled media has been linked with increases in vicarious traumatization and traumatic stress symptoms.
- Take advantage of the resources of the Colorado Lawyer Assistance Program (COLAP) http://coloradolap.org/ and prioritize your mental health and well-being. Reach out to get free, confidential support when you need it.
- Normalize your struggles. Remember that you are not alone in this and many others are dealing with the consequences of this distressing time. Be kind to yourself (and others). Kindness and compassion can go a long way.
I hope you will join me in dedicating 14 days this month to cultivating emotional agility and increasing your capacity to continue to show up in your practice and in your professional relationships with the skill and ability I know is in all of you. Follow the CAMP Facebook and Twitter pages beginning September 8th to join the Challenge!