Under normal circumstances lawyers sit too much, don’t exercise enough and are some of the most stressed and depressed professionals on the planet. And since sheltering in place and social distancing have become the new normal for the time-being, most lawyers are working more, moving even less and are definitely feeling more anxious. Clearly, we are in desperate need of some serious self-care, of creating firmer boundaries between work and home life (and maybe between us and the refrigerator!) and some extra effort to move more.
Though your routine may be shot, it’s not too late to create a new one. Just because your gym is closed doesn’t mean you can’t work out. Sure, your favorite yoga studio is shut down for now, but online options abound. Perhaps you’ve been meaning to pick up running again or start a meditation practice?
Now’s the perfect time to get started. Not tomorrow. Today, counselor! When all this is over, you can look back and say you stepped outside your comfort zone and did something amazing for yourself.
Here are the key components of physical and mental wellness. If you’re already nailing one, awesome! Keep doing it. But if there is one you are failing to address or one that speaks to you, start with that one for the week ahead. Once you are successful with one, move on down the list and pick another. Focusing on one new practice each week will make it more realistic and manageable.
Get outside and go for a walk or run. Get some vitamin D. Get some oxygen. To borrow a line from my favorite lawyer Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.” Need some help with your running form? I’ve got you covered here and here.
Get at least 10-minutes of strength training. This 10-minute workout is perfect for the homebound lawyer who wants a total body strength option. No weights? Use common home items instead. Or pick up some monster bands to lift heavy! Get creative. Make a plan and do it!
Do some yoga to oxygenate your body and brain, to stretch tight muscles, to mobilize stiff joints and to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system. Many of the country’s top yoga professionals are offering live and recorded classes online through Facebook Live, Instagram Live and other web sites. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite yoga instructors. These instructors are offering amazing free/donation-based classes appropriate for all levels. If you want to feel and perform better check them out.
Start meditation or mindfulness. You don’t have to become the Dalai Lama overnight. Start with two minutes a day. That’s all it takes to make an impact. Or simply grab a pen and paper and jot down a few things at the beginning or end of each day you are grateful for.
Set yourself up for sleep success. If you’re not sleeping, you’re not giving your body and brain the regeneration time and resources it needs to keep your immune system tip-top, to maintain a healthy body composition and to keep you mentally sharp.
Eat some good stuff. No, not Oreos. Feed and hydrate your body properly to improve your mood and immune system. Not sure how to start? Here you go. There are so many ways to improve your nutrition. Are you getting enough protein and healthy fat? Eating too much sugar or drinking too much?
OK, there’s a ton of stuff here to get you started. You don’t have to, nor could you, address everything here. Like I said, PICK ONE THING and make it happen this week. No excuses. It’s just one thing. You’re worth it. Then next week, if you want, pick another. Stacking small behavior changes over time is the key to long-term results.
Jonathan Jordan is a personal trainer, nutrition coach and corporate wellness consultant in San Francisco. Check out his blog JJ Fit 24/7.