I’ve been blogging and speaking about attorney wellness for years. A smattering of the posts appears at the end of this column.
Initially, there was resistance. Thankfully, we’ve reached a point where most lawyers recognize and accept that wellness is an aspect of competence. Indeed, last summer – a time that feels decades ago – the Vermont Supreme Court adopted Comment 9 to V.R.Pr.C. 1.1:
- “ A lawyer’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being may impact the lawyer’s ability to represent clients and to make responsible choices in the practice of law. Maintaining the mental, emotional, and physical well-being necessary for the representation of a client is an important aspect of maintaining competence to practice law.”
Then, on February 10 of this year – a time that feels longer ago than last summer – the Court abrogated and replaced the Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education. Among other things, the new rules require lawyers to obtain at least 1 hour Wellness CLE per reporting cycle.
A question that’s not uncommon: “Mike, where do I start?”
An answer that tempts me: “Damned if I know. But once you find out, share! I could use a good starting point!”
I’d say I’m half-kidding . . .
Actually, there are resources. For instance, I’ve long been a fan of both the ABA Well-Being Toolkit for Lawyers & Legal Employers and the ABA Well-Being Toolkit in a Nutshell. Then, last week, the ABA Journal posted 10 Steps to identify irrational resistance to self-care. It’s by Rosario Lozada.
I think it’s a great place to start. Mainly because Professor Lozada points out that the starting line might not be where we think it is. That is, self-care doesn’t necessarily begin with self-care. Rather, the beginning is to identify whether – and why – we’re reluctant or resistant to starting.
Professor Lozada shares 10 tips to identify the status of our own relationship with self-care. The tips are not designed to “fix” anything. Rather:
“For now, see whether you can appreciate yourself for taking these precious moments to open up to your needs and to care for yourself.
“And the next time you pull up your calendar or another to-do list, add a specific self-care duty. Pick an activity that renews and energizes you; make it a recurring, high-priority event. You may have just engaged in a courageous act of ‘self-preservation.’”
I wish each of us the courage to help ourselves
Other Wellness Wednesday Posts
- Wellness Wednesday: Be Kind to Lawyers
- Civility Matters. Especially Now.
- Coping with COVID-19 Related Stress & Anxiety
- Wellness Wednesday: Unplug
- Well-Being is an Aspect of Competence
- Wellness Wednesday: Survival Skills
- Wellness Wednesday: Make time for what (and who) matters
- Wellness Wednesday: Risk & Response (this one is about the report I mentioned from the Virginia State Bar)
- Do summer your way
- Wellness Wednesday: Meet Alison, Shireen, Samantha, and Alison
- Reach Out, Check In
- Wellness Wednesday: Mentor Someone
- Wellness Wednesday: Joan Loring Wing
- Wellness Wednesday: Law Day & Pro Bono
- Get your sleep
- Take a Chance on Being Nice
- Attorney Wellness: We’ve Only Just Begun
- Be Kind to a Lawyer Today
- Be Nice to Someone Today
- Wellness v. Well-Being
- Wellness Wednesday: Meet Molly Gray
- Wellness Wednesday: Judge Garland & My Cousin Vinny
- Shakespeare, Pink Floyd and Wellness
- Wellness Wednesday: You are not an impostor
- Wellness Wednesday: “N O” is “O K”
- Wellness Wednesday: Stop it!
- Wellness Wednesday: Meet Jeff Messina
- Lawyers Helping Lawyers
- Lawyers Helping Lawyers Part 2
- Lawyers Helping Lawyers: Keep it on the front burner
- Lawyer Well-Being: a call to action
- Anxiety, Stress & Work-Life Balance for Lawyers
- Make time for what matters
- Lawyer Wellness: resolve to find 6 minutes for yourself
- 108 is way too many
- Workplace Happiness
- HELP: Resources on addiction and mental health
- Make Wellness a Habit
- A pledge by legal employers to focus on lawyer well-being
- Legal Ethics & the Water Cooler
- Wellness Wednesday: Island Vines
- Wellness Wednesday: on ponds, puffery and paltering
- Wellness Wednesday: Neil Diamond, the Lock Screen, and National Mental Health Day for Law Students
- Wellness Wednesday: Meet Jennifer O’Connor
- Wellness Wednesday: The Heady Trotter 4 Miler
- Wellness Wednesday: Judge McCaffrey
- Wellness Wednesday: Family Time
- Wellness Wednesday: Enough
- Wellness Wednesday: Meet Heather Moreau