Self-Care is Not Selfish: Self Care for Mediators and Legal Professionals
In the wake of everything that is COVID-19, this pandemic has changed the way we live with all the unknowns and stresses surrounding work, school, childcare, shopping, and our social lives. Self-care is a must, and as a mediator and legal professional we may often come up with reasons why we may not have the time, we may have other duties or responsibilities that require our attention, and of course focusing on trying to keep our mediation or legal practice afloat. COVID -19 has hit everyone in some way shape or form, and it sets unique challenges for all of us.
This article and the resources below, are to assist you with tips and ideas that help you take care of you while you are also managing other priorities, because let’s face it: navigating this new normal can pose some challenges. Weather it’s working from home, navigating a cat filter zoom function, or struggling to get the kids to focus online, it’s not easy. Now more than ever, getting into the practice of self-care is most essential when it comes to taking care of your emotional health and well-being.
Here is a small list of some self -care suggestions that you can try:
- Schedule a doctor’s appointment. It’s important to make sure that you are healthy on the inside as well as the outside, even though we are unable to go into the doctors office, some offices offer virtual sessions.
- Show animals some TLC. It’s not just for the pets, it’s for you too! Or maybe become a new pet owner! Having a pet can reduce your anxiety.
- Start a new habit. Weather it is waking up earlier or going to bed earlier or just making sure out of the 24 hours in one day, you find 1 hour for you, start a new habit you can keep post pandemic.
- Try virtual therapy and online stress management tools. Talk about it. We cannot go into an office to speak to someone, but there are online virtual ways to talk to a counsellor. One of the benefits of our growing use of technology and the internet, is that we have never been more able to access tools to manage our own stress levels. Online stress management websites dedicated entirely to stress reduction abound, allowing individuals to seek information and try stress reduction techniques from their homes or work.
- Start or maintain a home garden. Maybe if you’re not into purchasing a new furry animal for your home or you already have one, buy a plant or plants. Start a vegetable garden, maybe a herb garden or grow a rose bush.
- Donate to a cause you believe in. It’s a difficult time for people around the world, if you are able to, donate to a cause that hits close to your heart or any cause you support.
- Listen to an uplifting podcast. There are so many podcasts out there to listen to, here are some platforms you can try Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud Podbean and Audioboom, or you would like to do more than listen, create your own podcast! Talk about things that matter to you.
- Try coloring or art therapy. Yes, there are coloring books for adults, they are cheap but unfortunately, due to lockdown, they are not available in stores to purchase right now. You can try to purchase these coloring books online. There are a lot of sites offering virtual paint nights or look up YouTube for some great paint night ideas, make it a virtual evening!
- Take an online course. It’s a great time to take advantage of that course you have been wanting to take, as it is possible that it is available online, look one up and get started!
- Join a virtual book club. FDRIO has a diversity book club you can join, look it up here www.FDRIO.ca. Or you can look up some resilience boosting books to read in your spare time.
- Declutter your home. Did you notice you have a little too much in your basement or storage? Clear it out! You will feel better.
- Try creative writing. Join FDRIO`s newsletter committee, we will welcome you, even if its your first time, if you have something to say let’s hear it Inquire here email@example.com. Alternatively, you can journal or maybe start a book writing journey, it all starts with a pen and paper- or a computer.
- Use social media mindfully. Social media can be a lot sometimes and the pressures of the news can be difficult at times to bare. Select specific times to post, scroll and watch, also be mindful of the news that you are taking in daily.
- Call a friend or a family member. We may not be able to see our family members that are far away call them or set up some time for a video call. Do a friend night online, I know this is hard to do especially with the good weather we are having, but let’s make the best of what we have.
- Get more exercise! We are home all day for those who are not front-line workers, we don’t even walk to the car or even to the public transit route we used to take every day to work. Get outside. The days are getting longer, find some time to go for a walk. And if you require something more exhilarating, join an online workout class!
- Eat healthier. Hey, we’re home, right? Why not cook more. If you have your groceries delivered to you or if it’s safe for you to go to the grocery store, buy more fruits and veggies. It will help your immune system and its simply better to eat fruits and vegetables. Try these stress busting foods in your grocery cart next time herbal tea, dark chocolate, whole grains, avocados, fish, warm milk, citrus fruits, probiotics and high in fiber foods.
- Try meditation! Yes, meditate. It does not need to be anything spectacular like we see on tv, if you have done this pre-pandemic, get back into it. If you have not done this before, and would like to try, try this: https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/meditation-101-techniques-benefits-and-a-beginner-s-how-to, happy meditating!
- Prioritize sleep. Sleep. It was and is particularly important to make sure you’re getting adequate hours of sleep, although that in itself can be stressful on its own. Try starting out small, maybe 15 mins earlier. You will feel the difference!
The above are just some techniques that may work for you, below are other resources you could use for your self-care journey:
Remember, this is not something that happens overnight, you do not have to do it all at once or even more than once. Find what works for you, your schedule, your family, and your lifestyle. I wish you all the best on your journey to self-care.
10 Best Foods to Help Fight Stress – Kalah Seigel – March 26,2019
69 Top Self Care Tips for Taking Care of You During the Corona Virus Pandemic – Sarah DiGiulio & Elizabeth Millard -May 12, 2021