Monday, May 3, 2021

Well-Being Week in Law 2021

Please join me in participating in Well-Being Week in Law (WWIL), #WellbeingWeekInLaw.  WWIL is a week-long event that is aligned with Mental Health Awareness Month.  (Yes, that's this month!)  From the event website:

What’s The Purpose of WWIL?

The aim of WWIL is to raise awareness about mental health and encourage action and innovation across the profession to improve well-being. In 2021, the event’s name was changed from “Lawyer Well-Being Week” to Well-Being Week in Law to be more explicitly inclusive of all of the important contributors to the legal profession who are not lawyers.

Each day in the week, the WWIL program invites participants to focus on a different aspect of well-being, using this graphic as a guide:


image from


I am planning on participating in WWIL activities as much as I can in this busy week filled with exams, papers, and the graduation for our third-year students. 

Today's WWIL focus is physical well-being.  I had a lovely 10,000+ step walk planned for this morning with a colleague to start the week off right.  Rainstorms put the kibosh on that.  (We are rescheduling . . . .)  But I will try to get a walk in later in the day--outdoors, if the rain lets up for a bit or tapers off.  Moreover, while I have not written about it recently, I do continue to practice and teach yoga.  I also will work some yoga into the day later.  It's a super antidote to that scrunchy feeling I get sitting at the computer all day!  Both walking and yoga--desk yoga, specifically (check it out!)--are mentioned on a nifty WWIL webpage that offers ideas for how individuals can participate

In addition to these movement-oriented ways of looking out for my physical well-being, now that classes are done for the semester (yay for that!), I have refocused attention on getting at least seven hours of sleep and hydrating more frequently and consistently.  I also am cutting way back on coffee, which has been doing a number on my stomach of late.  I try to eat a balanced diet (I am a meat, fish, and poultry eater and love almost every food imaginable), although I know that I can always use more veggies and fruits in my day!  Perhaps some of these things also represent helpful suggestions for your well-being.

A good diet is hard to come by, however--at least sometimes.  And there are specific health issues that I must focus on as I prepare to start my seventh decade of life in less than two weeks.  (Humbling.)  So, maintaining physical wellness, for me, also involves taking supplements and medications.  I have recently recommenced taking iron supplements for a slightly low iron count that has been dragging my energy level down lately (something I also wrestled with a year ago--cause investigated and still unknown), even though doing that makes me cranky because of the way I have to sequence taking those supplements and a GERD medication that I dutifully take every morning.  I also am restarting omega-3 supplements, which are known to lower high triglyceride levels (something I have contended with in the past).  And I regularly take vitamin D supplements and an anti-cholesterol medication, as prescribed by my doctor.  It's a lot to focus on, but I am worth it!

Gratefully, there is a lot of solid programming out there for lawyers who desire to improve their well-being.  Even continuing legal education programs now cover this space (I have given two sessions on mindfulness) as part of professional responsibility/ethics training.  And if you are interested in lawyer wellness--or just in avoiding burnout (read on)--you may want to check out a new podcast series that premieres on Wednesday: Leveraging Latitude.  One of the co-hosts, Candice Reed, is an engaging UT Law alum who is the co-founder of a legal services recruitment/placement firm.  She teaches in UT Law's Institute for Professional Leadership.  (I sat through her "Thriving as  Lawyer" class this semester.  It was truly inspiring.)  On LinkedIn, Candice notes the following about Wednesday's podcast:

Our first guest is former attorney and resilience expert Paula Davis. We'll be discussing her new book, Beating Burnout at Work: Why Teams Hold the Secret to Well-being and Resilience. This book is fantastic and full of pragmatic, science-backed strategies for addressing burnout, and Paula is a dynamic speaker and teacher. I hope that you will listen to our conversation.

Sounds like a highly relevant program, especially for us law professors at the end of a difficult semester and academic year.

Finally, I want to give a loving shout-out to co-blogger Marcia Narine Weldon.  If you are not connected with her through LinkedIn, you are missing out in many ways--including as to tips on lawyer well-being. Her latest post, from yesterday, is here.  In that post and the embedded video, Marcia honors Mental Health Awareness Month and advises us to take care of ourselves, especially if we take care of others.  She offers multiple suggestions for ways to accomplish that self-care.  Marcia also has shared wisdom on lawyer well-being here on the BLPB.  She started us off in 2021 by counseling us on how to thrive this year and recently offered information on the business case for promoting, supporting, and even prioritizing attorney well-being.  The courage and candor she shows in all of these communications is laudable and evidence of her caring nature and support for the legal community.   Her work is an inspiration for this post.

Be well, y'all.

Joan Heminway, Marcia Narine Weldon, Wellness | Permalink


Love that you are posting on this topic and thanks for highlighting WWIL. I've been trying to cut back on coffee too. My goal is to cut down to 5 cups per week or fewer (1 cup per work day). I've run in the rain the last two mornings and it has been wonderful. I highly recommend it (assuming lightning is not an issue). Imagine walking in the rain might be similarly nice. Taking a break from social media has been helpful too.

Posted by: Haskell Murray | May 4, 2021 8:36:04 AM

Thanks for these thoughts. I walked in the rain with a colleague over a week ago. It was great, although the wet coldness took a while to wear off . . . .

I commend your efforts on the coffee and admire your restraint on social media. I am sure I will have more to say on this over time as we transition away from the triple pandemics of 2020-21. I appreciate you, Haskell!

Posted by: joanheminway | May 4, 2021 9:08:48 AM

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