Welcome to our blog, Thriving Today. The OAAP attorney counselors and, occasionally, guest writers share their personal and professional experiences to bring you current information to enhance your well-being and provide you with tips and food for thought.
Takeaways and highlights from the OAAP's 14th Annual Wellness Retreat for Lawyers Identifying as Women or Nonbinary at the Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach.
It’s that time of the year when traditions are often at the center of how we think, feel, and behave in many situations. It’s a time when it is easy for us to feel we have something of a permission slip to act in ways we otherwise might not. Nowhere is this more evident than with our use of alcohol during the year-end holidays, when drinking rates spike significantly for much of the population.
October 10th is not only Law School Mental Health Day, but also World Mental Health Day. Recognizing you are not alone in your hardships or experiences can bring comfort and a renewed sense of community.
The practice of savoring has many benefits, not the least of which is helping you feel less busy on a busy day. Research shows it has positive effects for helping reduce hopelessness in depression, minimizing stress, and mitigating the effects of family conflict in balancing work and life activities.
There are many in the legal profession who struggle with the emotional tug-of-war of taking time off. Here are some thoughts to consider when planning your next holiday.
Friday is a day to focus on emotional well-being. One of the ways we can foster positive emotions is by spending time appreciating or savoring positive experiences.
Social connectedness is so powerful in our brains and bodies, and harnessing that association offers a huge advantage. Now is a great time to test some new strategies in our friendships.
For today's facet of well-being, we look at the ways we can increase our sense of meaning and fulfillment in our work.
Find time to connect and focus on your spiritual well-being with these resources.
Start off well-being week in the law strong with these resources to improve your physical well-being.
A brief routine you can do at your desk to bring energy and flexibility to your day.
The OAAP is excited to bring you blogs and resources to enhance your well-being. Each day will focus on a different aspect of well-being and will include suggestions to “watch this,” “read this,” and “do this.”
Food is a necessity in our lives. Our society, however, has some very unhealthy pressures around disordered eating and distorted views of body image. It would make sense that a group of people facing heightened stress levels—such as attorneys—would find themselves in food-related challenges as a way to cope.
The importance of mindfulness practices for day-to-day well-being, especially in the post-holiday season.
The OAAP is pleased to announce that Kirsten Blume, JD, MA candidate has joined the OAAP as an Attorney Counselor Associate!
Following the recent string of bleak news, researchers are forecasting an “epidemic of resilience” because “resilience is the modal and normative response to trauma.” But what about those of us who have resilienced as hard as we can and are still exhausted and overwhelmed? For us, there is the concept of Post-Traumatic Growth.
End the Friday feeling well with emotional well-being
Let's connect this Thursday with Social Well-Being!
Let's engage this Wednesday with Career and Intellectual Well-Being!
Let's align this Tuesday with Spiritual Well-Being!
How Physical Well-Being fits into the role of a lawyer
The OAAP is excited to bring you blog posts and resources to enhance your well-being. Each day’s blog post will focus on a different aspect of well-being and will include suggestions to “watch this,” “read this,” and “do this.” You can choose from a veritable buffet of well-being activities all week.
As vaccinations increase and COVID rates fall in Oregon, many of us are venturing back into the world, albeit perhaps tentatively. A meal with friends or a fiddle jam in someone’s backyard can be exhilarating, tenderly heartfelt, and also a little terrifying. While we relearn how to make small talk and navigate who goes first in building entrances, now is a great time for trying out a new practice.
Welcome to the 2021 Well-Being Week in Law! The OAAP is excited to celebrate this event and provide support for the well-being of members of the Oregon legal community. Each of the five days in Well-Being Week will focus on one dimension of well-being, and our daily blog post will include activity suggestions to “watch,” “read,” and “do” to enhance your well-being in that area. Let’s cap off the week with emotional well-being!
Welcome to the 2021 Well-Being Week in Law! The OAAP is excited to celebrate this event and provide support for the well-being of members of the Oregon legal community. Each of the five days in Well-Being Week will focus on one dimension of well-being, and our daily blog post will include activity suggestions to “watch,” “read,” and “do” to enhance your well-being in that area. Let’s continue the week with social well-being!
Welcome to the 2021 Well-Being Week in Law! The OAAP is excited to celebrate this event and provide support for the well-being of members of the Oregon legal community. Each of the five days in Well-Being Week will focus on one dimension of well-being, and our daily blog post will include activity suggestions to “watch,” “read,” and “do” to enhance your well-being in that area. Let’s continue the week with career and intellectual well-being!
Welcome to the 2021 Well-Being Week in Law! The OAAP is excited to celebrate this event and provide support for the well-being of members of the Oregon legal community. Each of the five days in Well-Being Week will focus on one dimension of well-being, and our daily blog post will include activity suggestions to “watch,” “read,” and “do” to enhance your well-being in that area. Let’s continue the week with spiritual well-being!
Welcome to the 2021 Well-Being Week in Law! The OAAP is excited to celebrate this event and provide support for the well-being of members of the Oregon legal community. Each of the five days in Well-Being Week will focus on one dimension of well-being, and our daily blog post will include activity suggestions to “watch,” “read,” and “do” to enhance your well-being in that area.
What Is “Well-Being Week in Law” Anyway? “Well-Being Week in Law” is a national event that takes place annually the first week in May. The goal is to raise awareness about mental health and encourage action and innovation to improve well-being throughout the profession.
For many of us, COVID has materially altered the way we work and interact with others. These changes have significantly impacted people with ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder). Students with ADHD are often struggling to adjust to new classroom structures and methods of learning.
The following is a fictional account of someone who is wrestling with the age-old challenge and uniquely human experience of procrastination. Although the story is not “true” from a factual standpoint, it contains much “truth” in the larger sense of the word – and many people will undoubtedly recognize themselves in this narrative.
The other day I had something of an epiphany. For me, these are intuitive perceptions or insights into the meaning of something or, more frequently, how to do (or not to do) something. Of course, they are not really epiphanies in any true sense; most often, they are just sporadic breakthroughs of common sense. Most of these aha moments, when the light comes on, have to do with me recognizing some better, faster, easier, or smarter way of doing something...
I am writing this post to say farewell to the Oregon legal community, as my last day at the Oregon Attorney Assistance Program will be November 3, 2020. It will be a bittersweet parting, as I have been fortunate to have served our community for 21 years by helping people and building community, which has always been and remains my personal mission.
As the months are stretching longer and the days are growing shorter, many of us are looking for strategies to help buoy us for the long haul. One of the techniques that I find exceptionally helpful for these challenging times is GRATITUDE.
Lawyers and students often leave healthy relaxing activities and rituals at the door of the profession, starting when they arrive at law school. As we get closer to Law Student Mental Health Day on October 10, 2020, I want to encourage law students to practice well-being, but I also want to help lawyers and students find ways to calm and soothe themselves.
A few weeks ago, I commented in my blog post about the recent Sunday morning I awoke to a warm and beautifully clear day, happily looking forward to some recreation and relaxation …. only to fairly quickly realize that it was not Sunday, it was Monday!
Hot summer days have come. Soon enough it will be fall. Schools have reopened – albeit remotely for many districts – for concerned parents and young kids. Law school graduates have made decisions about diploma privilege, while others plan for, or have proceeded to take, the bar exam.
It was twenty years ago now, but I still remember what it was like showing up at law school that very first week or so. I didn’t know anybody, and I felt a little bit like a fish out of water, because it had been a while since I’d been in school. I was the first person in my family to become a lawyer, and I didn’t know what to expect, so I was pretty nervous. But I was also excited!
How does the vicarious trauma caused by exposure to our clients’ suffering intersect with the stress and anxiety many are experiencing right now due to a global pandemic? If you have ever attended one of my CLE presentations, or met me in person, it is very likely you have heard me talk about vicarious trauma. I hope these discussions and others like them have helped us recognize a familiar experience for many of us in the legal community.
I find myself amazed at the simplest of things sometimes and am curious, upon making new friends, what brings a sense of awe to them. What I knew before reading about some research is that when I feel that sense of awe, that fascination with something right in front of me, in that moment I possess buoyancy, light, and a childlike sense of wonder. I am in the moment, mesmerized and able to concentrate on the object of my awe.
Forgive me for not dispensing well-being advice and wisdom here. We are all navigating through uncharted waters today. Most of us are doing the best we can. There are times we get things right, and times we don’t. Below are some of my own reflections, and perhaps not uncommon examples, of how I have attempted to navigate those waters.
It may be difficult, perhaps seemingly far-fetched, to consider that race and trauma coincide, or that they even exist in our individual or collective bodies. However, because of the manner in which our nervous system processes information and experiences of race and racism, both of which are so much a part of our American history and culture, it would be neglectful from a mental health standpoint to discount the mark that a societal history of racialization leaves in all our bodies.
Normally, the purpose of this blog is to talk about ways in which we can be healthier, happier lawyers. So my original plan for this post, when I thought about it weeks ago, was to write about a self-care topic – some little tidbit that would help better manage the daily stress of being a lawyer. But honestly, in this moment, that seems trite, a little patronizing, and frankly, a bit tone-deaf.
Living in the “place between no longer and not yet” (a phrase coined by Victor Turner, anthropologist, writer) can make us feel stuck. We all find ourselves living with uncertainty, and the unknowns can create a level of anxiety within us that has us freeze and then at times feel stuck.
The other day I was checking out our new OAAP blog, Thriving Today, to re-familiarize myself with the topics and the resources about which we had previously written. I wanted to post something this week that would be new and different, maybe even insightful and profound ? a short piece that would dispense some really helpful advice about how, in times of significant difficulty and uncertainty, we can best help ourselves navigate our way through the challenges we sometimes have before us.
Hello everyone, When the OAAP embarked on our first endeavor to celebrate lawyer well-being week, we did not know what would unfold. What we found was sincere participation by our community and care for ourselves and others. I personally was amazed. We are all living our lives under ever-changing rules and encountering new experiences. Yet, we are able to carve out time to listen, learn, and participate together.
It turns out that the word “inspiration” comes from the Latin word “inspiratus,” which essentially means “breathe into.” It has been said that, before this literal meaning, the word inspiration had a theological basis that predated this definition. It initially referred to the influence of a divine entity on a person. I like to think of inspiration as the occurrence of both breathing life into and as something ethereal.
Welcome to Day 2 of Well-Being Week! I am so glad you have stopped by the blog today for our post on acts of kindness. There is some lovely research (see Dartmouth for a fact sheet) on how participating in acts of kindness improves our physical and mental health. Even the mere act of observing someone else sharing a moment of kindness improves our own well-being.
The OAAP welcomes you to Lawyer Well-Being Week!! Watch our blog each day for new opportunities to take care, connect, be inspired, and inspire others.
If there are aspects of our human experience that many of us yearn for and thrive in the most, it would be meaningful connections and community.
In his article, “Why Leaders Need Meditation Now More Than Ever,” in the March 22, 2020, edition of the Harvard Business Review, Dr. Matthias Birk talks about the value of meditation for increasing empathy, analytical decision making, and creative thinking. These are traits needed by business leaders, and, I would argue, everyone else, during this time of change and uncertainty.
Working remotely and practicing physical/responsible distancing from friends and family is teaching me a lot! As an extrovert, I have learned that three hours of people contact time each day is quite satisfying, and I can achieve that through phone and Zoom most days.
In times of stress, I try to get really intentional about taking care of myself. I use a couple of strategies to increase my awareness of what is going into and coming out of my mind. I attend to how I am describing my circumstances and the world around me, and what I consume in the printed or visual forms. I came upon two great resources this week from The Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley that I’ve been sharing with colleagues and friends.
It is no surprise that each of us responds differently to life’s changes and challenges: the birth of a child, the death of a parent, a good job obtained, a good job lost, a financial success, a financial setback. No two of us react in exactly the same way. That’s natural and to be expected.