To close out the challenging year that was 2021, Clarissa Rayward joined us for another lawyer wellness webinar to share three skills we can implement to bring calm to what can often feel like chaos in our professional and personal worlds as lawyers, but also have a bigger impact on the world we all live in.
Whether it be in the workplace or at home, Clarissa expresses that we can reset anytime and anywhere with a few simple breathing exercises.
How to Pause, Breath, Reset and Re-Ignite
- Step 1: Pause from what you are doing right now.
- Step 2: Take some mindful breaths. Notice the breath coming into your body and back out again.
- Step 3: Feel yourself beginning to reset, gently letting go of your to-do lists and your busy thoughts. Gently let them leave as you breathe out.
- Step 4: Open your eyes and now notice what is around you. Begin to engage your senses and feel the calmness of your breathing.
There is nothing new about mindfulness programs in law firms. Mindfulness can help change the way you think, react and make decisions. There is no shortage of research to show the essential skills to guide modern lawyers.
Mindfulness is about being aware: “(It) means paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment in the mind, body and external environment, with an attitude of curiosity and kindness.” Mindful Nations UK report.
Clarissa’s three tips to bringing calm to the chaos
Tip 1: Presence
Living in the moment, also known as mindfulness, is a state of active, open and intentional attention to the present. When you become mindful, you realise that you become an observer of your thoughts from moment to moment without judging them. Clarissa quotes:
“Living in the now should be the focus. It has been said, depression is living in the past and anxiety is about living in the future. To improve your performance, stop thinking about it. Live in the now, do more things that make you forget to check your phone.”
Tip 2: Back to Basics
If we are not functioning at our best capacity, it can become challenging to help the people around us, whether this is family, friends, colleagues or clients. As a lawyer, you are likely to have a lot of people depending on you. Trying to meet everyone’s needs can become an extremely stressful endeavour. Consider what is in your circle of control and bring those back to basics.
- As lawyers tend to sit for several hours each day, try to keep active. This will help improve mood, energy and lead to better sleep.
- Sleep is the foundation for good health and well-being. Lack of sleep can slow down the thought process to make better and clear decisions.
- Watch what you eat and drink. Unfortunately, the demanding schedule of practising law can lead to poor habits. Fuel yourself to support productivity in the hours that you work by avoiding excessive caffeine and alcohol, and eating regular healthy meals and snacks.
Tip 3: Just be kind always
This principle holds in everyday life, not just in the courtroom. If you get a sense of other people and find compassion for them, you’ll feel better yourself. In a relationship, one of the best ways to get your own needs met is to take maximum reasonable responsibility for meeting the needs of the other person.
Yes, being kind to yourself doesn’t always come naturally. The phrase “you are your own worst critic” rings true for a reason. Flip it the other way, kindness to yourself is kindness to others. As your well-being increases, you’re more able and likely to be patient, supportive, forgiving, and loving. To take care of your clients, you’ve got to take care of yourself, otherwise, you start running on empty. As you grow happiness and other inner strengths inside yourself, you’ve got more to offer to others.
About Clarissa Rayward
Clarissa Rayward is a Divorce Lawyer and the Owner of Brisbane Family Law Centre. Over the past 14 years, Clarissa has worked with thousands of families during separation and divorce. She specialises in assisting her clients to experience a dignified divorce - staying away from the Court process and finding sustainable agreements for the future. Clarissa tackles the challenging issue of unhappiness in the legal profession through her writing and weekly Podcast ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life’ where she interviews lawyers who have found a way to maintain a successful career in the law while not giving up their life outside of their career.