Lawyer Well-Being Week Challenge

Welcome to Lawyer Well-Being Week! This week (and hopefully every week) LAPBC challenges you to spend a little time focusing on your most precious commodity, YOU! Check out ways of taking care of you with an emphasis on being kind and compassionate as you do so. 

Well-Being is a continuous process of taking care of ourselves. Many of you know that a few years ago, the ABA surveyed over 13,000 lawyers and they proved what we all have suspected, lawyers are a tough crowd and as a result, we have high instances of substance misuse, anxiety and depression. A well-being taskforce was formed and a few years later a great report came out with suggestions for lawyers as individuals and law offices, too. The taskforce focused on 6 dimensions of well-being and, thanks to Karen Neri, formerly of the Oregon Attorney Assistance Program, we have added a 7th dimension. The dimensions are physical, social, emotional, intellectual, occupational, spiritual and cultural.

As lawyers, we owe it to ourselves, our families and friends, colleagues, and clients to continually take care of ourselves. As humans, one would think, this would come naturally to us but as helpers, our own well-being often takes a second or third chair! As part of lawyer well-being week, LAPBC challenges you to take care of yourself across all the dimensions, perhaps trying one small act of self-care each day. See if you can find a way to care for yourself in all the dimensions by the end of the week.

Below are definitions of each dimension with examples of self-care activities. Your challenge is to find an activity with a focus on each of the dimensions and see if you can do one thing a day. Sometimes an activity might cross several dimensions - like going for a walk in the Activities can last a minute or hours. Please feel free to report your observations and experiences back to LAPBC to

Physical Well-Being is nourishing our body with healthy food, activity and rest. Going to the doctor for check-ups and getting help when we are sick are included on this list of physical self-care. Engaging in sport, physical exercise, and limiting less healthier choices of substance use and staying hydrated, are a few ways of attending to our physical selves.

Social Well-Being is feeling that sense of connection with friends, loved ones and acquaintances with whom we have healthy relationships. Social connection is important and necessary and sometimes harder to come by, especially during this pandemic. Some of us need more connection time with others than others. Visit with someone you enjoy spending time with. If you go for a walk while talking with them, you will actually be engaging your physical well-being and your social well-being at the same time.

Emotional Well-Being is tending to and nurturing our emotional sides using self-compassion, introspection, counselling, support and self-help. Talking to a mentor, friend or trusted confidant to process strong emotions are ways of taking care of ourselves, as well as finding time to feel things like grief, passion and compassion.

Intellectual Well-Being is looking at how well our brain is stimulated and productively used, and intentionally embarking on activities and learning that feels interesting, educational, and renewing. When we like the work we do and/or when we learn about a topic of interest to us, and/or gain mastery, we may feel intellectually satisfied.

Occupational Well-Being is when we are working and/or navigating through our day in ways that play to our strengths, allowing for appropriate functioning and work and at home.

Spiritual Well-Being is finding ways to connect with something greater than ourselves, getting in the zone with our passions, arts and/or religion through activities, meditation, or prayer.

Cultural Well-Being is finding ways to satisfy our connection to our heritage and others through art, music, food, religion, tradition, and rituals. When we cook the comfort foods from home, practice dance from our heritage and/or check out art and crafts we are tending to our cultural well-being.

Take the well-being challenge by creating a list of activities and checking them off one by one. Let us know how you are doing and do share with others.

Shari R. Pearlman
Shari R. Pearlman joined LAPBC near the end of 2020.