COLUMN > MEMBER WELLNESS CORNER
BY ADELY RUIZ, LSWAIC
A recent analysis published in The Washington Post found that being an attorney is the most stressful job in the United States.11 www.washingtonpost.com/business/ 2023/01/06/happiest-jobs-on-earth/. The COVID -19 pandemic has only added to this stress and has led many legal professionals to work in a remote space. Personally, my ability to work from home made it so I didn’t have to wake up as early, but I also found that it was much easier to become distracted. Working from home can be a luxury or an enemy; finding a routine is key.
Establishing a routine begins with scheduling breaks. You are now likely spending more time on the screen, and you are isolated. Start by paying attention to your physical needs during all that screen time. Set designated times when you are not looking at your computer or phone. Instead, take a walk outside, eat a fulfilling meal, or maybe do some meditation at your desk.
The next key piece to establishing a routine is interacting with colleagues. You are no longer leaving home to go to an office. Your house now doubles as your office and your home. As a result, two things change: You are no longer able to socially interact with colleagues as easily, and you can no longer communicate about work with them by walking down to their office or scheduling an in-person meeting. Despite your remote location, try to remain connected with your colleagues by consistent use of email, chat, and other forms of communication. Staying informed about work duties and ongoing tasks is obviously important, but so is interacting socially.
The final component to your routine is your ability to start and end the day. The transition to working from home means you no longer have a drive or other form of commute to and from work. Previously, you may have treated your commute as a kind of ritual to help prepare for your day and to decompress at the end of it. So, what is it that may help you start your day when working remotely? Is it a cup of coffee and a chapter of your favorite book? What helps you end the day? Is it calling your best friend and sharing a conversation and a laugh?
Balance occurs through establishing a routine. Your routine is not just about how your workday will go and what you can accomplish but also how you can care for yourself and meet your needs. This means establishing breaks, staying connected to colleagues, and creating new rituals to help you begin and end each day.
Virtual Mental Health Support Group
The free group, “Healing Minds: Managing Persistent or Overwhelming Challenges to One’s Well-Being as a Lawyer,” led by Adely Ruiz, LSWAIC, and Dan Crystal, Psy.D, meets every other Wednesday from 1-2 p.m. Learn more at www.wsba.org/wellness.
Telehealth is Here!
The Member Wellness Program is now offering hi-def, HIPAA-protected video consultations
using the telehealth portal Doxy.me. Visit www.wsba.org/wellness and click “Book Your Initial Consultation” to schedule time with our licensed providers.
Monthly Virtual Career Guidance Group
This free drop-in group is for legal professionals seeking support in their job search or in other career dilemmas. This group will be led by Dan Crystal, Psy.D, or Adely Ruiz, LSWAIC. They can assist with résumé review, best practices for applying online, informational interviewing, identifying the ideal career, transitioning between practice areas, and other workplace challenges. The group will meet on Zoom on the first Thursday of each month from 3–4 p.m. Sign up at www.wsba.org/wellness.