While this is a large umbrella term for managing our emotions in a productive and positive way and feeling at ease with ourselves and those around us, each one of us could benefit from putting a little bit of energy and more love into enhancing our individual emotional wellbeing. Over the years the following practices have helped me maintain an even keel and be more at ease with my emotions - both the nice and the not as nice.
1. FRESH AIR. Getting outside is one of the easiest ways we can take a moment and recharge. It helps us get perspective and gather ourselves.
2. ONE ON ONE TIME WITH YOURSELF. This is one of the best ways you can check in with yourself and see how you are feeling and what is going on. Spending time alone is healthy and I encourage you to try it.
3. CONNECTION. Personal, meaningful relationships are so important especially in this day and age of social media and the ability to be next to someone but not really be there. Allow yourself to (often!) reach out to those you feel closest to because you will not only hear how they are you can share what yourr current experience with them.
4. STRESS MANAGEMENT. Find a few activities that help you let off the steam and stress of the day. Joining a gym is a great idea. If gyms are not for you, find a running club or a swimming pool. Managing your stress does not have to entail physical activity as you might find that, for you, cooking a homemade meal or listening to your favorite music immediately helps you feel at ease and calm.
5. REST. Taking the time to just be and rest is extremely underrated, especially in the society and culture we live in where maintaining a jam-packed schedule is the norm. If you are feeling tired, allow yourself to go to bed early. There is nothing wrong with that!
The above-mentioned practices are simple but can make such a different in managing your emotions and keeping an even keel. May you continue to explore any practices that positively impact your emotional wellbeing!
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
I took the train from Nørreport and remember seeing many participants with their speedy, sleek racing bikes. For a milli-second I felt out of place with my beautiful but heavy, wide-basketed Raleigh city bike. With self-awareness and a non-judgmental approach, I decided to embody the above quote when I showed up to my first sprint triathlon.
Starting where I am, using what I have, and doing what I can.
I have two girl friends that I met in college that I know are “into” triathlons. They have the gear, are strong, and are fiercely active. I also have a colleague at work who is very much into long endurance runs and tris and I remember that my brother participated in a tri the year before. One of my above mentioned friends is the biggest inspiration to me. She trains daily, stays motivated, and has even done multiple Ironmans - both half and full. While that may or may not be the end goal for any one person, I admire the drive to do something daily to move and to challenge yourself.
Over the course of the past few months I have come to believe that:
ENDORPHINS + SWEAT = FEELING HAPPY, STRONG, AND CALM in the time between
Curious about the tri experience and with the encouragement of my brother who had done one himself, I signed up in the dead of winter for a women’s spring tri in May. I felt a little nervous once I signed up but I believed that I could do it. Taking notes from my friends, colleague, and brother, and staying semi-active I trained off and on during the spring. Of course, I could have always trained more.
Returning Wednesday before the Sunday race from a transatlantic two week journey with jet lag and an epic tiredness, I felt even more nervous. Being a no show was not an option so I prepared my gear, my self, and I showed up. I was in good time (as you can see in the picture below!) and coincidentally met the nicest two ladies who I ended up spending a few hours with as we waited for our time to start. I knew I was in good company when one of the ladies said to me “This is such a hyggeligt tri.” and “I have not gotten into a pool in months.” It was then that I remembered why I had signed up - to try something new/challenge myself, to move my body, and TO HAVE FUN.
All in all, it was a great introduction to and first experience with the triathlon sport. I had fun, laughed a lot at myself, and felt accomplished. I also really enjoy recounting my experience with family, friends, and colleagues - one in particular, C! We really cracked up when I shared and showed pictures from my first tri experience ;)
Have you any experience with triathlons? If so, would love to hear in the comments below!
Studying for the bar? Join me this Saturday, see your invitation just below.
This presentation focuses on the non-black letter law essentials for passing the bar and I will be talking about the importance of the following:
- practicing self-care,
- stress management,
- mindfulness, and
as you continue to study hard and prepare yourself for the bar exam.
Together with the ICE Foundation, and, specifically, G.C. Murray we are creating a lively, light, and fun space to discuss the above topics (which also happen to be extremely close to my heart). Practical tips will be shared and I will speak a little about my experience preparing for the Florida bar - yes, all three times - and I am certain it will bring a smile to your face :)
So I invite you to take a little study break, make yourself a cup of tea or a smoothie (coffee - anything you like!), and tune in!
I look forward to seeing you there.
All of these pictures were taken directly by me during and throughout my prep experience.
The news is still settling - you did not achieve your goal of passing the bar exam. You might feel mad, angry, sad, disappointed, or anything under the sun that does not feel good. As someone who sat for the bar exam three times, I am quite familiar with the way it feels and what thoughts you might have running through your mind.
I encourage you to let yourself work through your thoughts and feelings and to be kind to yourself. Below are a few practices that can help you move through this time period and towards success on your next attempt.
1. Accept the results. Although the result is not what you had hoped for know that you gave it your all. Nobody prepares for this exam with failure in mind so you should feel comfort in the fact that you worked hard, showed up, and made it to the other side. To even be eligible to sit for the bar exam you have had to work hard. Relish in your achievements up until now and remember – this does not define you and this does not make you any less of a human being or lawyer.
2. Deep breathes. You might be thinking what can deep breathing do for me and why now? When we take time to mindfully be aware of our breathing by taking five to ten deep breathes, it signals to our internal fight or flight mechanism that we are safe, calm, and results in a calming effect on our body. Deep breathing at this stage will not only help you collect yourself and your thoughts about how to move forward but it will equip you with a great tool you can utilize at any time when you feel overwhelmed or stressed whether it is bar exam related or not.
3. Become aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Not only in your study habits but in your knowledge of the law. Are you extremely strong in Contracts but do not feel as comfortable in Property? Do you struggle with time management on the exam? Do you need to write more practice essays under timed, test-like conditions? Ask yourself these uncomfortable questions. Honest self-observation and self-reflection can help you fill in your blanks and be an extremely informative guide moving forward. If you have a professor familiar with your performance and whom you trust, reach out to them. They might be instrumental in giving you those few words of encouragement that you need to strap your boots back on and make your way!
4. Be kind to yourself. I saved the best for last and for good reason. This time period can be exceptionally unsettling and stressful so I propose that you be as kind to yourself as possible. Of course, this can take shape in many different forms. Whether it means giving yourself time (unlimited or not) to let the results sink in and decide what to do next, spend more time doing something you really enjoy or even taking a family member or friend to your one of your favorite places or restaurants, these actions are important and signal to yourself that life will go on and that you are taking care of yourself.
Although at times not passing the bar can feel as if all of your hard work over the years did not pay off, rest assured that you can overcome this challenge if you aspire to and that the result of this exam is not a reflection of your work ethic, persona, or character. May you incorporate what above practices resonate with you into your current life experience and may you keep yourself in good spirits.
Happy International Women's Day!
“Here’s to strong women.
May we know them.
May we be them.
May we raise them.”
Sending light and love to all women, today and everyday <3
In the New Year, resolutions are made, aspirations are high, and we each have the intent to have the best possible coming year. What about making gratitude an integral part of your life this year?
So. What is gratitude? And how can I incorporate it into the practice of law?
Gratitude is giving thanks, feeling and being thankful and appreciative for what you have, where you are, and what is now - the present. Gratitude makes everything you have enough.
Incorporating gratitude in the practice of law can easily be folded into your everyday routine. Consider the following tips and remember, be patient with yourself and take one step at a time.
1. Start the day - either mentally or physically - recounting what you are grateful for. You can be grateful for the warm, quiet rest you just had, to the roof over your head and anything in between. If you like to write, get a special journal, and make a list of what things you are grateful for each morning. Make it a morning ritual. If you have a busy morning before you get out the door with kids or walking the dog, consider taking a few seconds once your alarm rings to put in your mind and heart what you are grateful for.
2. Spread your gratitude. Say thank you, open doors for others, and do one kind thing for a colleague or even for a stranger. You never know the difference you might make in someone else's day by just slowing down and being a little kinder than usual. As a litigator, go out of your way to be extra thoughtful to even your most dreaded and despised opponent. Compliment your adversary on a job well done, forget your ego, and, for a change, be courteous to the other side. As a non-litigator, emphasize the importance of your employees’ work to your practice and let them know you appreciate their contribution to the overall administration of justice.
3. Practice present-moment appreciation. Put down your electronics, push back from your desk, lean back in your chair, look up at the ceiling, and bring the moment into your consciousness and awareness. Take a deep breathe and be thankful for your life, its meaning, and your contribution and service to others. By staying in the present, you slow down, and can truly appreciate what you are experiencing - from preparing for a trial, writing a brief to meeting with clients.
4. Observe your surroundings, especially the natural environment. What do you hear, smell, sense, feel? As lawyers we spend nearly all of our time inside at a desk immersed in the demands in the tasks before us so it can be difficult to pull away, observe, and even take in fresh air. If you have just five minutes to pop outside for fresh air and sunlight it will contribute to your feelings of calm and wellbeing. If you do not have any time during the workday to get outside, try to incorporate a pre-work or even post-work routine that includes spending time outside, observing and, if possible, exercising.
May this be a gentle reminder of the positive contributions that you can each make in the legal profession and, on a larger scale, the world by practicing gratitude. It is never too late to show kindness, be gracious, and start to practice gratitude. May you seamlessly and successfully practice gratitude and law in 2018.