The pandemic has brought on new levels of stress for many by blurring the lines between home and work, in addition to managing kids and school-from-home. Due to these factors, I have been working with employees of corporations to review, re-shape (or re-new) their wellness plan for the new year.
Recently I was interviewed by Bob Glaves, Executive Director of the Chicago Bar Foundation, about my thoughts on how to put a wellness plan into action for attorneys. While the law profession is very rewarding, it’s also very demanding and lawyers tend to struggle with stress management, depression, anxiety, and addiction. In the past, it has been taboo in the profession to speak openly about mental health but, fortunately, the tides are changing and we are seeing more employers providing wellness education to encourage employees to create a healthier work-life balance.
While this interview was geared for attorneys, my advice is applicable to everyone who is interested in developing a wellness plan or boosting their current wellbeing.
Here are some of my favorite tips from the interview.
On practicing wellness:
My philosophy is that you build upon small lifestyle changes over time. As you make small tweaks in your lifestyle – whether you are working towards weight loss or stress management – these changes become habits and build on one another. For example, someone who has not exercised in years can start by setting walking goals (5,000 steps per day, then 10,000 steps and so on) instead of deep diving into an intense workout class where they may get injured or feel intimidated.
I also recommended that individuals break down their overarching macro-goals into micro-goals. This will stop you from feeling mentally overwhelmed. For instance, the thought of losing 20 pounds can seem somewhat daunting, but when you break it down into micro-goals (five pounds at a time) it seems attainable. Plus, this type of goal setting allows you to celebrate the small victories.
On setting boundaries when working from home:
When you are working from home, you need to keep your personal and professional lives separate. For instance, keep your workspace distinct from your personal/family space. I recommend eating meals and snacks at your kitchen table as opposed to your desk. Further, change clothes at the end of your workday to mentally transition into your evening. In addition, talk to your family about boundaries so everyone can have some space in your home.
On practicing gratitude as a wellness strategy:
Practicing gratitude is a great mindfulness tool. Positive thinking has a tremendous impact on your overall health. When we live with the grass is always greener mentality, we overlook all the wonderful things present in our lives. A great way to flip your mindset is by keeping a gratitude journal. Every morning or before you go to bed, write down five things that you are grateful for in your life. Over time this will create a positive mindset that will transform your outlook on life. You can also place a gratitude trigger, such as a picture or favorite quote, somewhere in your home or workspace, which will remind you to feel grateful each time you look at it.
For all the wellness plan tips, read the full interview here.