Wellness Wednesday: Finding the Starting Line.

I’ve been blogging and speaking about attorney wellness for years. A smattering of the posts appears at the end of this column.

wellness

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:

  • “[9] 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

 

One thought on “Wellness Wednesday: Finding the Starting Line.

  1. I am so grateful to you for promoting this issue, and to the Court and respective rules committees for putting personal wellness fromt and center with other related professional responsibilities. The longer I practice, the more I realize the importance of an intentional wellness focus to sustain the level of competence and courtesy my clients expect and deserve.

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