Wellness Wednesday & Bar Assistance: Quick Stress Relief Techniques

The Professional Responsibility Program’s new Bar Assistance Program (BAP) begins on April 1.  Set out in amendments to Administrative Order 9 that the Supreme Court adopted last November, BAP will be administered by bar counsel. My new role will:

  • continue to include responding to “traditional” inquiries. For example, questions on conflicts of interest, client confidences, whether to withdraw, and trust accounting.
  • continue to include presenting CLE seminars.
  • expand to include responding to and assisting legal professionals who are confronting behavioral health issues. For example, substance abuse, mental health challenges, chronic stress, or gambling addiction.
  • no longer include screening disciplinary complaints. That task will be assigned to Licensing Counsel Andy Strauss.
  • continue to include the #fiveforfriday legal ethics quiz.

In short, much like we should with behavioral health, my job will be decoupled from the disciplinary system. Having done nothing else since 1998, I’m both excited and apprehensive.

Anyhow, infused in BAP is a mandate for me to provide legal professionals with resources to assist with wellness and well-being.

Today, I’m sharing techniques to reduce stress.  These are not long-term strategies.  These are tools to use in the moment: whether immediately after the obnoxious email from opposing counsel, to help calm you after the phone call with the client who is never satisfied, or in response to any of the numerous interruptions inherent in working remotely.  Each comes from the American Psychological Association. Not one is longer than 50 seconds.

  1. Quick Ways to Manage Stress: Calm Yourself
  2. Quick Ways to Manage Stress: Relax Yourself
  3. Quick Ways to Manage Stress: Ground Yourself
  4. Quick Ways to Manage Stress: Celebrate Yourself
  5. Quick Ways to Manage Stress: Focus Yourself

Now that I think about it, these strategies shouldn’t be reserved for after your stress level rises.  I’ve been quite open recently: my conversations with lawyers around the state lead me to conclude, however anecdotally, that rising stress is causing increased incivility in the bar.  So, any of these techniques might be an appropriate appetizer to whatever uncomfortable communication you’re about to have.

You know, proactive wellness!

Oh, speaking of which, check out the flyer for the VBA’s upcoming Mid-Year Meeting.  The programming includes not one, but TWO wellness seminars.


One thought on “Wellness Wednesday & Bar Assistance: Quick Stress Relief Techniques

  1. Thanks Mike. These sound like they may be helpful. I also think a daily yoga practice goes a long way to keep one grounded and balanced. A daily practice starts to build in breathing and stretching techniques that can become almost automatic when one starts to feel stressed during the day. There are online resources such as Yoga With Adriene, which make this much easier to keep up with. Thanks again!


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