Original article by: JEENA CHO
Let’s begin by defining Self-Care: Self-care refers to activities and practices that we can engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and maintain and enhance our short- and longer-term health and well-being. It’s difficult for me to do my best work when I feel fatigued. Yet, when you are give the suggestion of basic self-care practices such as getting enough sleep, having down time, exercise, and eating a well balanced diet, you push back. I don’t have time to go to the gym! I have so much work to do. I can’t afford more sleep! I have to bill more hours. Sit quietly every day and meditate?!?!?!
A. However, taking time to practice self-care doesn’t diminish your ability to do your best work. To the contrary, it’s essential for doing your best work.
B. Consider the last time you pulled an all-nighter. Were you fun
ctioning at your peak the next day? Doubtful.
This is the stress management 101 — structure your life such that there are outlets to let go of stress on a regular and consistent basis. Law firms can also play a role in getting the absolute best work from its lawyers (and staff) by making self-care and wellness a priority. Mike Ethridge, partner at Carlock Copeland offered the following wellness practices for law firms. Mike also writes a blog called Lawyers In Search of a Soul that I recommend you check out.
Tips for Creating a Healthier You
- Have walking meetings. (Check out this TED talk by Nilofer Merchant on how this works.)
- Have a Stress Free Zone room. Encourage everyone to spend 15 minutes per day to recharge and de-stress.
- Start a monthly wellness challenge. Some ideas: daily meditation, drink more water, or have a goal of taking certain number of daily steps.
- Offer a standing desk.
- Offer flex-time.
- Start a wellness mentorship program.
- Recognize and praise employees that demonstrate a well developed balance between working hard and taking time for family and self-care.
- Post articles for the break room on health issues. For example: recipes, exercise routines and time management articles.
- Host potluck get togethers. Offer childcare to make it easier for people to attend.
Remember, you are responsible for your well-being!
C. Sadly, one of the most common obstacles for adopting healthier habits or taking time for self-care is guilt. We live in a world of 24/7 connection and there’s an expectation that we constantly produce, that we’re constantly in doing mode. Do you engage in self-sabotage? Take a closer look at your habits. Take a look at the obstacles — both external and internal that prevents you from practicing self-care.
Finally, I’ll leave you with another truism: Secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others.