We may feel like we are drowning in news, and articles, and thoughts, and social media pieces about the virus (since we are). I’ll try not to add too much to that but use the virus for a point I’ve made before: while we may be in a so-called “thought” profession, we are not beings of pure intelligence, like some race from the original Star Trek series. Those minds are in bodies, and we have emotions, and we need to tend to them. One of the things which my colleagues and I often discuss is the physical reality to our job. Ordinarily, that might mean making sure to take a quick walk every hour, or to actually use our standing desks, or just making sure that quick and healthy snacks are available when we’re in the middle of a crazy day.
The present not-so-ordinary reality where some, like we lawyers, are able to do a lot of work from home, makes this point painfully clear. At least if you go to the office, you might walk a bit to the train, or to go out to get lunch, or even down some long hallways in your office building. When the commute for many of us now can involve collapsing from our bed to the desk in our bedroom, we have to take extra care to find a way to maintain our physical health. If you are able to go outside, do it. Yes, be safe, stay at least six feet from people, wash your hands, all that. But if you can, take walks — a lot — or run, or maybe hike or bike if that’s available. If you are not able to leave home, then find some way to exercise indoors. This could be the time to invest in a treadmill or stationary bike (if you have the space and money). But even if not, walk up and down the halls of your apartment or around your backyard. I take most of my calls while walking or at least pacing back and forth, so without thinking about it I somehow end up with 15,000 steps, even these days.
But there is more than our physical health. There’s our mental or emotional health. If you’re fortunate enough to be a parent, you have to care for your children’s emotional health in a special way these days, and that can make you really feel the obligation to maintain a good attitude, not swim in the negative news. This requires a choice that life before maybe didn’t demand of us. Whether you yield to hope or despair is a straight-up choice. We can make it easier to choose wisely: as noted, you don’t need to check a news app every 20 minutes just to read the same bad news; you can maintain a routine so that you give yourself down time (a problem with not having the routine and working from home is that it can feel like you really should be working every free moment from when you wake until you fall asleep). Do what you need to do to make the choice easier, but keep in mind you have a choice to be hopeful and maintain a good attitude.
If you’re even reading this entry you are very likely among the blessed, who are able to keep working, will hopefully not lose your job, and are able to take steps to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Be grateful for that, but also be sure you take care of your whole self during this time.
John Balestriere is an entrepreneurial trial lawyer who founded his firm after working as a prosecutor and litigator at a small firm. He is a partner at trial and investigations law firm Balestriere Fariello in New York, where he and his colleagues represent domestic and international clients in litigation, arbitration, appeals, and investigations. You can reach him by email at email@example.com.
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