Message from the Alexandria Bar Association Lawyer Well-Being Committee:
March 19, 2020

Keeping our minds and bodies healthy and resilient may be challenging as we are bombarded by difficult news and forced to become physically isolated from other people.   Social distancing and fears about the coronavirus can create and exacerbate existing anxiety, stress, and depression.  In this difficult time, there are things that each of us can do manage our emotional health and protect our well-being.  Now is the best time to practice self-care.

Some Tips for Self-Care:

·         Limit the amount of time you spend reading or watching things which aren't making you feel better. Perhaps decide on a specific time to check in         with the news.

·         There is a lot of misinformation swirling around - stay informed by sticking to trusted sources of information.

·         Have breaks from social media and mute things which are triggering.

·         Connect with friends via phone, Facetime, Skype, Portal, Zoom, email and text. 

·         Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

·         Continue to access nature and sunlight wherever possible.

·         Exercise, eat well, and stay hydrated.

·         Take deep breaths, stretch, and/or meditate.

·         Make time to unwind. Try to do some activities you enjoy.

·         Get plenty of sleep.

·         Continue any mental or physical health regimen you had prior to coronavirus to the extent possible.

·         Develop/stick to a daily routine that includes regular self-maintenance and keeping up with professional obligations and development.

If you are in isolation, these are some activities to try at home:

·         Dust off your paint set or sketchbook, coloring book, and take some of these Let’s Make Art tutorials. No experience required!:                                  https://www.letsmakeart.com/

·         Break out the recipe books

·         Check out this live Mt. Vernon LambCam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6USiDsXvtc8&feature=youtu.be

·         All of this: https://www.visitalexandriava.com/alxathome/

·         Try an online Pilates, Zumba, Barre, or yoga class.

·         Play cards, a board game, charades, or puzzle with your family.

·         Meditate.

·         Watch or listen to your favorite comedian.

·         Build a model airplane or car; Legos. 

·         Listen to that podcast you’ve been meaning to try.  Our committee members suggest:  Optimal Living Daily, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, the               Science of Happiness, and Before Breakfast

The CDC has the following list of common signs of distress:

·         Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear.

·         Changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels.

·         Difficulty concentrating.

·         Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images.

·         Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.

·         Worsening of chronic health problems.

·         Anger or short-temper.

·         Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

If you experience these feelings or behaviors for several days in a row and are unable to carry out normal responsibilities because of them, seek professional help. You can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

You can also contact the Virginia Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program 24/7 Helpline: 877-545-4682.  Or contact the Northern Virginia VJLAP support line (Barbara Mardigian) at 703-206-8027 or email: bmardigian@vjlap.org.

The ALX Women’s Support Group will be meeting via Zoom next Tuesday at 6:30 PM.  More details to follow.

Additional Resources:

CDC, “Taking Care of Your Emotional Health” https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/selfcare.asp

BBC, “Coronavirus: How to protect your mental health” https://www.bbc.com/news/health-51873799

Some resources for helping children cope:

https://www.cdc.gov/childrenindisasters/helping-children-cope.html

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus 

Lawyer Well-Being Committee

MISSION STATEMENT

At the Alexandria Bar Association, we take to heart the statement that a healthy lawyer is a better lawyer.  We believe that improving lawyer well-being is good for business, good for clients, and that it is the right thing to do.  We have therefore formed this Lawyer Well-being Committee and our mission as follows:

Our mission is to promote all aspects of lawyer well-being by helping lawyers achieve measured progress in the six dimensions of well-being identified by the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being:  Emotional, Occupational, Intellectual, Spiritual, Social, and Physical.

To help achieve our goal:

(i)              We will develop and offer education programming, activities, and events that focus on                      well-being related topics;

(ii)             We will help the bar association develop a best practice model policy to help our                              members respond to lawyers in distress, foster diversity and inclusion, improve                                mentoring practices, and promote work-life balance; and

(iii)            We will help the bar association develop information on and compile resources for                            lawyer well-being.


Lawyer Well-Being Committee Contacts

Clarissa Pintado – Chair

Patience Alexander

Elizabeth Crego

Richard Flynt

Mary  Horner

David Mercer

Chris Wright

If you are interested in joining the committee or have questions about lawyer well-being resources in Alexandria, please contact cpintado@fiskelawgroup.com.


Office Location and Hours

Alexandria Courthouse
The Alexandria Bar Association
520 King Street, Room 202
Alexandria, VA 22314


Monday - Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. by telephone 703-548-1106 or email at alexbar@alexandriabarva.org