Dear Bar Members:
In light of recent suicide-related tragedies, the Wellness Committee would like to remind you of the resources available to members of the Bar should you be suffering with a mental health difficulty. The Committee provides a variety of resources on its website, www.livingabovethebar.org. The site includes links for multiple mental health disorders, traumatic circumstances, nutrition/physical fitness, and social wellbeing. The focus of the site is prevention and self-care; therefore, we encourage you to bookmark the site and return regularly for blog posts and new resources. The website offers specific resources for suicide prevention and education at www.livingabovethebar.org/suicide-prevention.
As a reminder, if you in the middle of a crisis and need immediate assistance, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255 or chat with them at http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org. The South Carolina Lawyers Helping Lawyers helpline is also available toll free at 1 (866) 545-9590 or contact any of the Lawyers Helping Lawyers committee members directly. Also, the Bar offers free counseling sessions via CorpCare. Scheduling an appointment with a therapist is easy and completely confidential. Bar members may call CorpCare toll-free at 1 (855) 321-4384 to be referred to a counselor in their area 24 hours a day.
Finally, I worked as a mental health professional prior to attending law school. Should you need guidance in finding any assistance, please feel to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jasmine D. Smith on behalf of Living Above the Bar Wellness Committee
Other Resources for changing seasons:
Working in an office setting can be rather sedentary. Hours sitting behind a desk, working in front of a glaring monitor and the only opportunity to move about is the occasional stroll to the printer or down the hall to the restroom. Regardless of how much you love what you do or how important your work is, working in an office setting behind a desk all day can take a toll on your mental and physical health. Companies around the world now recognize this situation as an issue and are taking steps to help employees better enjoy their jobs and stay healthy at the same time. Many provide their employees with memberships to local gyms, time to integrate physical activity into their day, support local causes that host activities promoting health and wellness, and provide better food and snack options in the workplace.
At The Cate Law Firm in Spartanburg, the firm owner, Ruth Cate, cares a great deal about her attorneys and staff. She long ago recognized that she needed keep her staff focused and motivated in order to continue to provide the firm’s clients with quality client service. The firm has developed a family “vibe” that nurtures its employees with numerous opportunities to promote physical health and self-care, and it is obvious when you meet with any member of the firm that they, in turn, care a great deal about their clients and the outcome of their cases.
As a part of an ongoing effort to manage a top-notch staff and in celebration of Administrative Professionals Day, Ms. Cate recently purchased a new pair of Adidas Ultraboost X Running Shoes for each member of her staff. Ms. Cate shared that this was the firm’s effort to promote good health and wellness in her office. After receiving the gift, the staff coordinated a team walk on the Mary Black Rail Trail in Spartanburg, just down the street from their office. Many now walk the Rail Trail during lunch or right after work. Members of the staff hope to continue this trend, working to improve their overall health and mindset.
The firm has also taken steps to keep their kitchen stocked with fresh fruit and veggies to curb any mid-day cravings. They also keep a pitcher of water, infused with fruit, on hand for the staff. To promote mental health, massage appointments are offered to staff on a rotating basis. Annual weekend “destination work retreats” enable employees to connect and relax in a non-office setting, which provides respite and enhances interoffice relations and compatibility.
Planning for the future is an important element of our overall well-being and taking steps to improve our physical and mental health and wellness will not only help us improve our work effort but will help us to live longer and better lives. The Cate Law Firm is doing all it can to help their attorneys and staff maintain their own good physical and mental health so as to better serve the firm’s clients and to live longer and better lives.
Starting April 2, the Wellness Committee invites you to Spring Into Wellness! We’re hosting an eight-week challenge to help you achieve overall health: physically, mentally, socially and even financially! Plus, there’s a chance to win prizes. All you have to do is post about how you’re accomplishing the challenges on social media!
(If you don’t use social media, or if your account is private, we’ve created an online form where you can upload your photos.)
Here’s how it works:
Each week will focus on a challenge related to various areas of wellness. The week will run Monday through Sunday, so make sure you post or submit your entry by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday! Entries can be posted on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and must use #SCBarSpringIntoWellness. Captions should be about how you achieved the challenge, how it helped you and anything you learned that could help others!
Now here’s the fun part—each week ends with a prize! Each week that you participate, you will have a chance to win a water bottle and a $10 gift card. Then at the end of the challenge, someone will win an Apple Watch! Each post gets your name in the drawing, so be sure to participate weekly to increase your odds!
Here are the weekly themes:
April 2-8: Get moving! Move in some way for 30 minutes. Go for a walk, a bike ride or any other activity that gets your heart pumping.
April 9-15: Financial Fitness—save $20! You can skip lunch out two days this week or pass on your daily Starbucks. Small changes can have a big impact on your financial health.
April 16-22: Cook a healthy dinner at home. Pull out some seasonable produce and create a well-balanced and healthy meal at home. Don’t forget to share the recipes in your post!
April 23-29: Meditate: Take 10 minutes of your day this week to take a time out for yourself and meditate. Share when you found your 10 minutes in the day or how you felt afterwards.
April 30- May 6 (Community Law Week): Did you know that volunteering helps your social well-being? This week, spend time assisting someone with a pro bono matter, judge a mock trial competition, volunteer to answer questions on Free Legal Answers, help with a community event, speak at a career day program, spend some time mentoring a younger lawyer or student, or even assist someone you do not know get their groceries into the car. Tell us how you helped someone else!
May 7-13: Try something new this week. Whether it’s a new exercise, a new class at the gym or that healthy recipe you’ve been meaning to make.
May 14-20: Doctor, doctor—schedule an annual physical, dental or eye exam, especially if it’s been a while!
May 21-27: Have a technology-free night. Turn off those phones, tables, computers, etc. for the whole evening. Share what you did instead or how hard you found it to disconnect.
Get outdoors this spring and try some new recipes from members of the SC Bar.
Consider taking on a new challenge this year. Richardine Singleton-Brown took on the challenge of Martial Arts to balance work and life.
I am a work in progress physically, emotionally and spiritually. Balancing my life is a challenge and I have had to consciously find ways to maintain my emotional, mental and physical health. I manage my law practice full time and also serve as a part-time Magistrate Judge in Charleston, S.C. The practice of Martial Arts has been an outlet for me for a few years now. I am currently a Green Belt in Rydo Karate and one day I hope to earn my Black Belt.
The work that lawyers do is so very important and necessary for the good of the people. We are accustomed to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders and must use our own psyche to counsel ourselves and strategize on cases due to the privilege and confidentiality required in our profession. We can’t just talk to our friends or spouses about our work day any more. We are forced to carefully manage our own thoughts and what we say in all aspects of our lives.
Additionally, not only do we need to take care of ourselves mentally and emotionally, we need to do so physically. Karate allows me to do all three. I am exhausted when I get home from work but I know that after sitting all day, I need to get in some exercise. For an hour in Karate, I run, punch, twist, kick, strike, all while completing a series of moves, known as Katas, to fight imaginary opponents. We also spar with each other as well. Trained by my Senpai, Theraun Mixson, I use the hour to burn every calorie (close to 1,000) to which I am able, in order that I may, give my all that is left after a long day to my husband and to our fur baby boys, J.D. and Justice, when I return home. Moreover, that hour, subsequently allows me to take care of the needs of my clients or citizens coming into the courthouse. The added benefit is that I learn a valuable skill to protect myself as well. I recommend martial arts to any lawyer or anyone in need of a complete workout. The benefits are priceless.
Quick tips from the around SC Bar on how to manage your time, budget, and stress during the holiday season