The 3 Rs for looking after your mental health
LawCare CEO Elizabeth Rimmer shares her 3 R’s for looking after your mental health, including useful tips such as using the lockdown as a way to get new perspectives on the positive changes we would like to make in our lives.
Reach out – Lawyers can find it hard to ask for help, we tend to have a mindset that as we solve other people’s problems, we can’t let on that we may have some of our own. We may think that asking for help may be seen as a sign of weakness by others.
When working from home it’s even harder to ask for help, as you don’t have the same opportunities for informal support such as popping your head round a colleague’s door and asking ‘can I have 5 minutes?’ or running something pass a trusted colleague you bump into in the kitchen.
We are often contacted by lawyers who are worried about a mistake they have made or how they are managing a particular matter, but are anxious about talking to their manager or colleagues about it. If you are worried about a work matter, try not to sit on it, ask a colleague for a phone or zoom call – most people tell us that when they do ask for help, the response is positive and they wonder why they hesitated to seek it. If you are a manager, set aside regular catch ups with colleagues and ask them if there is anything concerning them that they need help with.
If you don’t feel you can talk with a colleague you can call our free confidential helpline 0800 279 6888 and we can help. A problem shared is a problem halved.
Relationships –One of the biggest challenges for us all during this period of isolation is the lack of social contact. For most of us, our everyday lives provide lots of opportunities to connect and be around people – sometimes when we’d much rather be on our own! Humans are tribal; we innately seek relationships with others. Social and emotional support, and the role of individuals, families and communities in delivering this, is vital to managing wellbeing.
Although the novelty of moving our social lives online and connecting with others on zoom may be wearing off, that Saturday night family quiz may no longer be the novelty that it once was; it is important to stay connected. Not every call has to be a marathon, short and sweet check in’s with friends, family and colleagues can give you a boost in your day – and don’t worry if you don’t have to have anything in particular to say, just connecting with someone and hearing their voice can make a difference. Some people have found it helpful to recreate the office environment on Zoom, with everyone typing away in the background and then occasionally asking each other a question. The shared silence can still provide camaraderie.
Reframe – Many of us have never experienced this level of change as we navigate the covid pandemic. We will be thinking about when we will be back to ‘normal, how we can get through this time of isolation and business disruption, and hoping that we will be able to resume right where we left off and that life will return to ‘normal’. We are in survival mode.
We are in a tough place right now, but this also a great time to reflect on life and work. What was making you happy before lockdown? What wasn’t? What are you enjoying about different ways of working or being furloughed? How could you incorporate some of those things when you go back to the office? What would you like to change?
A forced break from the usual routine of work can give us a new perspective on what we’d like to do in the future and gives us space to think about the positive changes we would like to make in our lives.
This article was originally published under The Lawyer's Financial Services Hub, part of the 2020 Virtual In-house Financial Services Conference.