Published: May 08, 2020
With several weeks of the “new normal” under our belts, we checked in with practicing attorneys to ask what they’ve been doing to maintain their mental health and stay connected during this time. (A couple of themes are clear: Zoom and working out!) Read on for their answers.
Maintaining mental health and self-care
“Exercise, cooking, and reading.”
“Working outside; daily walks with the dog.”
“It took a while to get into it but walks almost daily, eating healthy, and having set hours for working from home. Whenever I get up, I work until roughly 5-5:15 and then the rest of the night is for me and the husband or friends. My husband does the same with his work as if we have both spent the day working.”
“Trying new recipes, cross-stitching, Insanity 60-day workout!”
“I create a clear barrier of when the workday ends and my personal time begins. This usually looks like closing my workstation, going for a run/online workout, and cooking dinner. That way, I'm able to reset my brain even though I'm working from home.”
“Shout out to Peloton for keeping the ‘quarantine 15’ at bay. I've also been walking the pup 3x a day to get some outdoors time in and playing more Call of Duty than I care to admit.”
“Long walks with the dog, going for runs, and just giving myself room to struggle or feel sad.”
“I run approximately three times per week. I watch movies with friends once a week (we've been quarantining together so no issues). And I've read two books for pleasure.”
“Peloton, lots of outdoor walks, cooking, long baths.”
“I have been maintaining (more or less!) my morning exercise routine. I am also doing boxing workouts in my garage on weekends—I am now the proud owner of a set of ‘Venom’ boxing gloves.”
“Puzzling and cooking.”
“Outdoor walks have been the most helpful for me. I've also tried to set aside time to do things I wouldn't normally do without the stay-at-home order. For me that is doing a puzzle, playing cards, or reading a fiction book.”
Staying connected with colleagues
“Zoom lunch and learns, Zoom happy hour, calls, texts.”
“A Zoom call with the entire office once every two weeks! And sending lots of funny memes to my closest colleagues.”
“My practice group has been hosting bi-weekly trainings (every Tuesday and Thursday). The [partner in charge of my office] also hosts weekly happy hours through Zoom with associates. I've also done one-on-one Zoom calls with former professors and former work colleagues.”
“Zoom calls and phone calls—Jackbox is the best Zoom game. Happy hours with games are important.”
“Happy hours usually with a digital game element, like Codenames or Jackbox.”
“Small department check-ins five people) always have a portion dedicated to story-telling about our experiences with WFH and COVID-19.”
“With work colleagues, we usually talk daily on WhatsApp in a group chat format. With other friends in my profession, we have done some happy hour and video chats via WhatsApp and Google Hangouts.”
“Virtual practice group happy hours with themes like sharing embarrassing moments or other topics.”
“One of my affinity groups has a standing virtual happy hour that provides a safe space to share our thoughts through the lens of celebrating diversity and recognizing the effect of the pandemic on friends and loved ones that are less fortunate. Additionally, I am a member of a community organization that hosted a Netflix watch party open to the public.”
“I use the Skype chat function and [Google chat] function a lot more than when I was in the office. I make a point to just say ‘hey’ on the chat, even if I don't have anything to talk about. It does not recreate a drop-in at the office, but it is a way to casually keep in contact.”
“Every night, my husband and I go through our friend/colleague lists and FaceTime at least two people, even if we haven't connected with them in months. We also send small gifts to let people know we are thinking of them during this difficult time.”
One thing that has become clear during the Covid-19 pandemic is the need for mental health resources. Although mental health had already become a topic at the forefront of the legal industry in recent years, new factors like social distancing, career stress, and anxiety about the virus itself have led more lawyers than ever to reflect on mental health and well-being.
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