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Practice Insights: #13

Self-Care: Holiday Edition 2020

SelfCare

If there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s that 2020 has been a stressful year. When you combine an already taxing year with the typical stresses of the holiday season, it may become necessary to take a step back and remind yourself to take some time for yourself. For many lawyers, 2020 was a year of bracing change that necessitated quick adaptation to new settings and procedures. From transitioning from brick-and-mortar offices to working at home in an online setting, to dealing with court closures and the advent of virtual trials, the stresses came from every angle. Therefore, ‘tis the season for a little self-care. Below are our best tips to find peace this holiday season and into the new year.

Focus

Attorneys are no stranger to the word “focus.” It’s a mantra instilled on our first day in law school and throughout our careers. However, it can be hard to shift focus away from stressors in our everyday lives. Recently, the term “mindfulness” has gained popularity and is defined as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings and thoughts.”

You may think ‘easier said than done,’ but this year it’s especially important to divert focus from numerous ways the holiday season is different from past holidays. Acknowledging and accepting that the holidays will likely be atypical is crucial to finding the positives that have come with this change.

Slow Down

The words “slow down” and “the holidays” don’t usually go hand in hand, but one of the silver linings stemming from the COVID-19 shutdowns is that we have been forced to slow down. With the lack of in-person events, halted travel and a multitude of other closures, for most, the pace of life has become slightly less hectic.

The holiday season used to be synonymous with a litany of holiday parties, some that seemed more like a chore than a treat, school concerts and family obligations. This year, with in-person activities limited, many of us are faced with the prospect of some free time. Try taking advantage of this unusual “gift” and try to appreciate time for yourself and all of the good things in your life—big or small—that you may have previously overlooked amidst the chaos of the holiday season.

Get Rid of the Guilt

For a lot of attorneys, especially working parents, finding a balance can be a challenge. Many, and specifically women, face a catch-22—feeling like they should be working when they are spending time with their family, and like they should be spending time with their family when they are working. As such, “me time” and self-care generally gets bumped to the bottom of a lot of people’s lists. This problem has worsened during the pandemic shifting to working remotely and blurring the lines between dedicated work and personal time.

Despite these issues, almost everyone will agree that self-care and time for yourself is a necessity to maintain mental health. Ridding ourselves of the guilt we may carry when we “waste time” can be a challenge, especially when consuming social media images of our peers using their new-found free time to become long-distance runners and artisan bread makers. It’s important to remind yourself that it’s ok to do nothing if that’s what you want to do! Take time to relax and appreciate time to yourself and remember that you don’t have to fill every minute of the day with activity. This will help you to be more present when you are focused on work, or time with family.

2020 certainly looked different than most years, but there have been positives to come out of it and lessons we have learned. Focus on the good, and more importantly, take time to focus on yourself, and look ahead to 2021 with fresh perspective. This will benefit you, your family and your firm and keep you ready to tackle whatever comes next.

Categories: Practice Insights

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