On demand 1h 3m 46s Basic

Neuro-Natural Wellness for New Lawyers

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Neuro-Natural Wellness for New Lawyers

Among the best skills new lawyers can possess, self-care may be the most lacking, according to research. Numerous studies have reflected the negative effects that the stress we develop as law students continue to impact us as we enter the legal profession. In this course, we explore how neuroscience (the study of the nervous system) recognizes the detrimental effects of the chronic stress placed on law students and lawyers. Such stress is manifesting itself in rates of anxiety and depression among attorneys that are at a rate more than 3 times that of the general population. Research has established the importance of developing and maintaining cognitive fitness to equip young lawyers with the skills they need to thrive professionally. The course also addresses the connection between nutrition and cognitive wellness and offers practical strategies to help you excel.

Transcript

Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining me today on this CLE entitled Neuro-Natural Wellness for New Lawyers. By way of introduction, my name is Dr. Patti McCartney. I am a board-certified naturopathic doctor, an animal naturopathic doctor, holistic healthcare practitioner. I'm also a cognitive wellness coach for the legal profession and I am the founder of Council Care, formerly known as Inspire Council, and that is an e-wellness and micro coaching platform. I also offer coaching services for lawyers and the legal profession in general. So I wanna thank you again for joining me and we can just dive right into today's discussion. The learning objectives that I've set forth here include learning how law school and lawyers stress changes the brain. We're gonna be discussing that in some detail and discovering how nutrient deficiencies can shape our mental wellness. And the majority of the coaching and wellness programs that you have come across or will come across as a practicing lawyer, most of those are going to be focusing on the mental and emotional aspects alone because I am a naturopathic doctor and also a licensed Texas attorney, I may have forgotten to mention that, but I understand both sides. I've lived and and struggled through the stress and anxiety that can come with practicing law. And now as a naturopathic doctor, I understand the core issues and what can be at the root cause of some of our stress and anxiety and even depression. So I try to incorporate those and give a naturopathic, which is a holistic approach to wellness and specifically neuro-naturopathic wellness for new lawyers. This, again, focuses on lawyers who are new to the profession because research has shown us that there are specific issues that arise for those who are younger in the profession. And understanding how emotions regulate or can be regulated and how emotion regulation can benefit the way that you process stress. You may not have heard the term emotion regulation before, so we'll be touching on that briefly. Learning what neuroplasticity is, again, a term you may or may not be familiar with and how that can change the way you practice. And finally, we're gonna discover how to incorporate contemplative practices for cognitive wellness. I hope at the end of this presentation that you feel empowered and equipped in going forward in your practice of law. As new lawyers, you should feel so empowered and having reached such a sense of accomplishment, you should feel like you're on top of the world. After all, you've survived three grueling years of law school. You've passed an insane exam that is actually the rite of passage that allows you to move forward into the practice of law. So congratulations on those accomplishments. They are big and important certainly, but having accomplished those, how do you feel? Do you feel on top of the world? Do you feel like you're already living your best life? I hope so. I truly hope so. If not, then perhaps this course can give you some tools and equip you with some strategies to get you closer to that mark. Because the reality is that the practice of law poses new opportunities, but also many of the same challenges you had in law school. And there are certain difficulties, stresses and anxieties that come with the practice of law. So we're going to go over that. Again, I don't mean any of this to seem as a discouragement from the practice. Let me tell you, I love being a lawyer and I'm passionate about the legal profession and helping the legal profession. So I do hope that comes across in this presentation. As way of background, over the last 30 years, numerous studies have documented the psychological distress among law students and lawyers. There are a couple of articles that I mentioned throughout this presentation. One of them is the contemplative lawyer and I would really encourage you to read that. It was a bar review article and it was written in 2002, so we're talking 20 years ago. And it focuses on the importance of contemplative practices and the struggles that have been tracked from law school going into the profession of law. We now know that many of the mindsets that we experienced in the practice were first rooted in our behavior in our psyche and our minds as law students. I'm going to talk later, as I mentioned about neuroplasticity, but what that really is just as a precursor to the discussion is neuroplasticity stands for retraining the brain. And that's basically what law school is for us. We come into law school, most individuals study show inner law school actually mentally healthier than the average person. Sadly, when we come out of law school because of the stress and anxieties, most of us come through that experience a little worse for where, and I like to look at it as a difference between form and function. Most law schools prepare us to become lawyers, but they don't prepare us to be lawyers. They don't give us the tools and the strategies we need to help us function at our best. And again, that's where areas such as coaching and therapy such as cognitive behavior therapy and contemplative practices can really help us. So if you have a spare afternoon where you're bored from reading briefs and law books and all of the other work that you are no doubt entrenched in in your new practice of law, I would recommend looking at this bar review article and seeing it's extremely helpful. And again, what is most interesting is this is 20 years ago. We've been aware of these issues and these struggles for law students going into the profession of law for 20 years. And in the legal profession, we've been aware of the mental stresses and the mental distress that our profession suffers from for well beyond three decades. And sadly, not enough has been done. There is much more work to be accomplished in this area. But the good news is there are those of us who are extremely passionate about that and when they do all we can to help you live your best life, practice in the most effective and successful way possible. So before we get off on the focusing more on the positive, let me go through the rest of the factors that can contribute to an elevated sense of distress among lawyers. And those include obsessive compulsive behavior, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, social alienation, and the role of, again, legal education. Okay, what is your professional identity? This may seem like an odd question, but again, research has shown that lawyers began shifting their perception of themselves again in law school, which is why this is targeted to new lawyers because you have accomplished surviving and completing law school, passing the bar. You are a new lawyer. But you have specific mindsets coming out of law school going into the profession. And those will make you great lawyers. But we also wanna make you healthy lawyers. We want you to last the distance. And again, that's what I'm hoping to accomplish through this presentation. As I stated earlier, I want it to be empowering to you. I certainly hope you walk away with that sense. As lawyers in training law students undergo a culture shock. That's the most common expression of sentiment by lawyers is going into law school is a huge culture shock. I remember my law school orientation, the professor who was handling that stated the best way to complete law school as having had a year of law school coming in. Of course that's an impossibility, but that expresses in a nutshell the struggles of coming into law school, especially if you don't come from a family of lawyers. There were no lawyers in my family. For those who have grown up in that environment or have worked in a family member's law firm, it may not be that much of a culture shock, but for many it actually is. However, it's that process of going through law school that we begin to define our professional identity. Many of the mindsets we accomplish are we incur during law school, we carry forward. And some of those are positive and beneficial. Some of those sadly are not the healthiest for us going the distance in our profession. So for many of us who have not had a formal process of an identity formation program, this is something that we pick up organically and our identity is formed through our experiences, our experiences, our study habits, those we surround ourselves with and our own biases, our own mindset that we come into law school with and then enter the profession with. If you were part of a law school that actually had a professional identity formation program, that's wonderful. I'm sure you found it extremely helpful. So this presentation assumes you have not had that. If you had, again, you're already a step ahead of the others. So way to go on that. Whatever the method of professional identity formation, the foundation that you will build on is established at this point and is then again carried into your professional life. So what are we talking about? We're talking specifically about a concept referred to as identity mapping. Identity mapping is an exercise that was first referred to in a Harvard article. And identity mapping is a concept that is used outside of the legal profession. It's used in other business and technology sectors as well. But within the legal profession it was this particular Harvard professor that brought attention to the concept. And what it is is it's looking at how lawyers identify the different roles that they take during their daily lives and the emphasis that they place on those roles. And one thing this professor Bliss identified and discovered doing the research on identity mapping is the transformation that occurred between lawyers as law students and then or individuals as law students and then later as lawyers and how their perceptions were based on what they expected the profession to be and the practice of law to be versus what it actually was. And sometimes there's a dichotomy there. I don't know if you've experienced that yet, if you're there or if you will be, but that's a very common perception issue that lawyers have is the way we anticipate the practice of law to be and what it actually is. And of course I like to say that speaking of mapping, the practice of law is a journey. And when you come out of law school and you've passed the bar and boom, suddenly you're a lawyer, it's like you're handed a map and in one spot at the bottom is circled, you are here and then at the top is circled destination. But the roads getting there are murky, some of them are wiped out. You don't see rest stops built in. There are no lookout points. You're just told to get from here to there. And without a strong enough support system, it can be challenging. And so again, that's what I'm hoping you'll gain from here. If you already have that wonderful, this should just undergird that for that mindset and that process for you. If you don't have that process already in place, then hopefully you'll pick up a few pointers along the way. So in the identity mapping concept that Bliss was talking about here, the author of the article, again, he was noticing the difference between the perception that participants had as law students and then those they had coming into the profession. And how he tracked this was taking a piece of paper that had a big circle that individuals drew and then other circles indicating other areas of their life. It's very fascinating to go through that exercise and see where you're at on that and perhaps get a little bit of self-awareness on your perception and then contemplate if those have actually changed from where you were as a law student and where you are now. And even down the road it would be beneficial to see how much that perception changes as you go. So I put the link here for you to check out if you wanna go through those exercises. The article does actually have exercises. There are instructions on how to complete that exercise of drawing the circles and what that means in order to better evaluate where you're at, of course this is a tool that as a cognitive wellness coach I use as well. So if it's something you're not comfortable doing on your own, you can always reach out and have a coach assist you with that and explain the process and do a more thorough evaluation analysis, so forth. Okay, in further explanation, Harvard Law School in 2016 published this result or this research that resulted from Bliss's, Professor Bliss's study, John Bliss. And that research revealed or really shined a light on the challenges that most law students and new lawyers do face in becoming a lawyer. And that difference in mindset. The reason I'm focusing so much on mindset is we know that much of the mental distress we face as lawyers, which sadly is three times more than the national average, the studies that have been done again over the last 30 years emphasize the difference in the practice of law. I heard one surgeon put it this way, as a surgeon I don't have another surgeon on the other end of the table trying to undo all the work I'm doing whereas lawyers have that system built in where there is an adversary on the other side trying to undo. If you're going to court, there's another lawyer trying to quash your motions or get your petitions defeated. There's that adversarial tug and pull on the mindset, the thrust and bearing, if you will, of the practice of law, the give and take. And one of the factors pointed out in the contemplative lawyer is the fact that lawyers come into a profession thinking that it is mainly adversarial and it is, it is an adversarial profession, but it doesn't mean that we have to be adversaries with our opponents. It doesn't mean we with opposing counsel, it doesn't mean we have to adopt that. Sadly, so many in the profession think that you are more successful if you have a negative outlook on life and you have a negative outlook on your cases or on the opposing counsel. I've had cases where the other attorney was very kind and professional when we were off the record and when we got on the record absolutely voided every agreement we had and went for the jugular. It doesn't have to be that way to be effective in the practice of law. And we have to make sure that the way that we're perceiving those relationships doesn't affect us to the extent that it impacts our mental health and our wellness and changes our outlook to one that is overall negative. A healthy skepticism is a good thing, but unhealthy outlook or a negative outlook can change our perception to an extremely negative one. So as new lawyers, you do understand of course your professional responsibility, ABA Model Rule 1.1 that you're required to give competent representation to a client. And what that competent representation means is that you're gonna exhibit the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary. Part of that I submit includes a healthy mindset as well because if you're not your best, you can't give your best, you can't give what you don't have. So if you don't already possess balance in your own life and your own mindset and your own mental wellness, it's really difficult to give that for your clients. And again, the practice of law is a journey. You don't wanna burn out early on. You don't wanna turn to crutches or aids that are artificially stimulating you. You wanna develop the tools and the strategies and the mindset that can help you pace yourself for the long haul. I do understand new lawyers if you're with a firm, you're getting the brunt of the work. I do do understand the pressures there. This is not a denial of what those are or what the real life practice of law is, but rather it's a recognition that there's help available. And it doesn't have to be professional help in the terms of seeing a therapist, it's just understanding and equipping yourself with some basic tools such as eating the right foods, filling your body with the appropriate nutrients, because we know the connection between nutrition and mental health that was overlooked for decades. But thankfully you're practicing at a time where we've had about 20 years of understanding at least a solid decade of recognition of the benefits of nutrition toward mental wellness. And we'll explore that a little bit further. But also with tools and, again, strategies that we have available to us as lawyers that we can incorporate ourselves to make us more effective in our personal lives and our professional lives. The perfectionism perspective. I don't really need to explain this to young lawyers, but you come to the profession with a desire to succeed. Of course. You went into law school because you wanted to be a lawyer, you were willing to endure the sacrifice and pay the price to accomplish that. And that's a noble endeavor. And it still is a noble and worthwhile profession and we're the brunt of a lot of jokes. There's a lot of negative comments made about lawyers and that can be challenging and difficult and sometimes we laugh along with those jokes, but at the same time we understand that we wouldn't have made the sacrifice to come into the profession if we didn't love it. My first day of law school, my first class was civil procedure and the door opened and the professor walked in and he said, do we love the law? And I'll never forget that because of course we all entered into law school loving the law and we enter into the profession loving the law and wanting to make a difference. So understanding how we can make that difference and continue to love the law and love being a lawyer long term is something that we should strive for. And there are ways to accomplish that. There are mindsets and goals and perspectives that we can have focusing on that. So because we enter into the profession with a perspective of perfectionism, sometimes that can become warped. The risk of a mindset going from a healthy sense of perfectionism, wanting to be your best, wanting to accomplish the most, wanting to strive. And it's a competitive field. If you're in a firm, you wanna stand out and that's a good thing. That competitive streak that got you through law school, it helped you succeed, it accomplished what you needed to do, it brought you to this point. We're gonna talk a little bit further about not abandoning those principles and those values of who you were that brought you this far, trust in that. But at the same time, understand that the shift has changed now and it's different than three years of law school and the bar. You wanna have a long-lasting, successful and satisfying career. And because of that you wanna pace your perfectionist standard. If you don't, it'll develop into, or it may develop into what's called an unhealthy or maladaptive view. Maladaptive perfectionism is based on standards that are so high, they're impossible to obtain. And sadly as a result you can end up with feelings of shame or self doubt, inadequacy, such insecurity that it truly impacts the way you feel, the way you see yourself, the way you see others and the way you see the profession. In one of my other presentations, I talk about a lawyer who was a partner at a Los Angeles law firm and a bankruptcy lawyer and he felt that the pressures were so immense on him, he actually felt like his body was shutting down. He was married to a lawyer and he expressed this to her and she encouraged him to just leave his job, just leave the pressure, just be willing to step away from that so they could even move away to a different location, do something different. He could practice with another firm, practice on his own something and he was willing to commit suicide rather than let down his clients. He actually told his wife just shortly before committing suicide, I can't let my clients down. But instead he left the world way too early. That was an example of maladaptive perfectionism and his wife in writing an article, and the article is called How something to the extent of "How Big Law Killed My Husband". If you wanna check that out, it's a very poignant and heart wrenching article and yet certainly something that all lawyers in the profession need a reminder of for purposes of understanding that the profession demands a lot, but we can't let it take too much of us. So there is life through the practice of law, outside of the practice of law, and then at the end of your career beyond the practice of law. But while you're here, while you're pursuing it, while you're in the journey, I wanna help you have the most satisfying outlook and a positive perspective of the profession that will help you succeed to accomplish all your goals. That's what I want for you as a lawyer who has been practicing more than two decades before getting my MD. So that's what I want here, is to encourage you in striking that balance so that it doesn't reach a point of mental distress or hopelessness. There are tools available, sadly this lawyer wasn't aware of them. That's what makes the value of a course like this so important and I'm so grateful for Quimbee for allowing me to present this. Now let's switch to the discussion of neuroscience. As I mentioned earlier, neuroplasticity, the changing of the brain, that's usually used in terms of a healthy transition in law school, it was a necessary transition, but there were some unhealthy effects for most of us. Neuroscience and neuroplasticity are ways to come behind that and help us to continue to think sharp as lawyers, but to smooth out some of those rougher edges, those sharper corners that we were left with that may have tainted our view in general of the practice of law or perhaps our view of life coming out of law school. So necessary in some sense, but tempered, and to the extent they were not tempered in law school, the good news is they still can be as lawyers. So neuroscience is really the study of the nervous system. The nervous system which includes not just your spine, also your brain. It's a recognition that the detrimental effects of chronic stress can be placed not just on law students but also on lawyers and brought again into the profession. So neuroscience is not specific obviously to lawyers, but within the realm of neuroscience, we understand that the nervous system takes a beating going through the process such as law school and that stress that we absorb going through law school, pushing ourselves, striving to be more. And now as young lawyers, again that turns out to be more than three times the general population. Stress at that point and at that level is unsustainable. That's what we've seen as a profession. So good stress that helps you strive a little more. Push a little farther is motivating. But as a naturopathic doctor, I understand stress can result in cardiovascular disease, stress can suppress your immune system, stress can affect your digestive system. So chronic stress and controlled stress is your enemy. It's not your friend. So you may have that balance already well achieved and if you do, wonderful, if not, then let's explore some ways that might help you achieve a little bit better balance. Again, the discussion of neuroplasticity, the term neuroplasticity and more specific terms and getting down to the core of what the term actually refers to is the brain's ability to rebuild or rewire our brain. And that's done at a cellular level. What's amazing is that for decades there was a belief system that the brain really was set at the point of childhood or going into your teenage years. At that point your brain was set, there was nothing else you could do. You couldn't rewire your brain. You couldn't retrain your brain. But through neuroplasticity, the research revealed that yes you could. And that's amazing because it's been so powerful for those who are stroke victims, even in areas of dementia and Alzheimer's for those suffering PTSD and yes even those of us in a profession that is so demanding that the stress can literally kill our brain cells, so much stress on your brain can actually reduce its size. You need every ounce of brain power you have going into the profession and thriving. When you think about the brain, the brain actually works on the equivalent of a 25 watt bulb. Now, when you think of what you demand of your brain, that's an amazing point to concept is that's not a lot of wattage for the output we expect which stresses the importance of why we need to make our brains as healthy and equip our minds with as much good and beneficial input in the form of nutrition, from the standpoint of exercises, oxygen so forth to help our brains thrive and succeed and to accomplish all that we're demanding of them. Because law is a cognitive profession, we cannot perform our obligations professionally if we're not able to function cognitively. We understand as lawyers how important our cognitive health is. So that makes it all the more important that we invest. We've invested in law school, we invested in taking the bar exam. We need to invest in ourselves, we need to invest in our mind's health, to take us the distance of everywhere we wanna go professionally and accomplish all that we wanna do because we're not gonna be able to do it if we don't invest in our cognitive health as well, which is why that's one of the focuses of my practice and of my platform is cognitive health as well as treating chronic health issues such as chronic stress. Okay, as lawyers being empowered with the knowledge of neuroplasticity actually empowers us and it helps us break free from old thought patterns that, again, we may be caring forward from law school that tend to occupy our mind to the point to where many of us can even succumb to them. And that can be on a light, a lighter, lower, smaller level, or it can be at a larger level such as the attorney I was describing earlier in the maladaptive perfectionism standard. So exercises that can help you in the practice of neuroplasticity include writing with the wrong hand. So if you're right handed, try writing with your left hand; something simple such as juggling with balls just or whatever, oranges, apples, whatever you're comfortable with. Or even playing chess. I know in law school, those who were chess players always found law school a little bit easier. I was not a chess player, I still am not. So if you are, that's great. That's a way of keeping your brain limber and I understand you're constantly learning and researching and your brain is stretching that way as well. But those are all stresses that are part of the profession. So I'm encouraging you to look at ways outside of the practice of law to help train the brain and stretch the brain. There are other examples that I give in my platform in my coaching and you can find some online as well. On anything I discuss here, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or if you wanna be directed to more information. So when I was talking about the importance of nutrition in your mental health, it's not just your physical health but also your mental health that the nutrients you eat actually feed. Hippocrates, the father of allopathic or conventional medicine, again, I'm a naturopathic, so I'm a natural wellness, a holistic doctor, if you will. We look at the mind-body medicine and focus at the root cause level. But Hippocrates, again, the father of modern medicine, understood the importance of food and actually said, "Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food." Now that is completely contrary to what we see in everyday life and the emphasis of modern medicine, but it is at the core of areas such as functional medicine, naturopathic medicine, and holistic health because we do understand the relationship between our food and our lifestyle with regard to our overall health. Sadly, most of us have lifestyles that are antithetical to good health. We eat on the go, we eat at our desk, we eat refined foods, we turn to sugar to boost us up, some drink alcohol and professional functions, if you go to a bar meeting, sadly most of the options are not the most nutrient-dense foods available. So I completely understand that, which is why it's more important that we take responsibility over our own nutritional wellness and that we undergird or support those choices that we make the best choice as possible first of all, and then that we support the choices that may not be the best with supplements. And when I say supplements, my first preference is always to get the healthiest whole foods possible, organic, if possible. But if you need supplementation, be careful on the supplements you get. Try to get organic and pure supplements from companies that you've researched, that you're familiar with, not just grabbing one off-the-counter at a pharmacy that looks good or seems like it will satisfy because, or meet your criteria as far as zinc or copper or magnesium, whatever it may be, because the proper supplementation is key here. And again, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out. I'm a resource for you. I hope you keep that in mind going forward. Nutrients that boost your brain power. B vitamins are incredibly beneficial in boosting your brain power. Low levels and B vitamins have been linked to depression, fatigue and irritability. As young lawyers, you're probably not getting nearly enough sleep. We'll touch on that briefly ahead, but fatigue is something you don't need to add to your day. Oftentimes fatigue can be a result of something nutritional, not just sleep deprivation. And even if you are getting sleep deprivation, which you need to get as much sleep as possible despite the circumstances and the time crunch you may be on, understanding that the fatigue can come from a nutritional deficiency makes it all the more important to focus on those nutrients and replacing those. You don't wanna be battling additional fatigue with an already packed schedule and then already demanding professional obligation or the professional obligations placed upon you. Adding more B vitamin rich foods can help with this. It can also help boosting your mood and your energy. We all need that significant vitamins for in the B vitamin family that can help boost your overall health including your mental health are B6, B12, B9 which is folate. These vitamins help produce chemicals such as serotonin that can help boost your mood and, again, help with your brain function, your brain power. I've also included a little bit here about iodine and iron, which help aid the brain. There is so much more information. If you haven't checked out one of my other courses, I would encourage you to do so. Again, on my platform, I have memberships for lawyers that have complete access to all of this information, but you can certainly email me or check out some of the other Quimbee programs because I do explain different aspects of nutritional wellness in different programs. So I would encourage you to check those out as well. Iron. Iron helps your red blood cells, carry oxygen throughout your body, including to your brain. So it helps strengthen your organs and also deliver oxygen to your brain, which your brain desperately needs. The health of your brain and your nervous system depend on healthy iron, on healthy iron levels. Low iron levels can result in oxygen not going to your cells, so your cells can be deprived of critical oxygen, which can have numerous negative effects on your body and can cause a range of symptoms including depression, fatigue, low energy, weakness, and irritability. An interesting fact here is with regard to the importance of nutrition and cognitive health in one of my other presentations, I actually reference this, but there are some nutritional deficiencies that can show up in cognitive, slow in cognitive functions such as giving the impression of somebody having dementia. And it can just be something as simple as a nutritional deficiency. So you don't wanna have to incur the added testing or the added stress speaking of stress that you don't need or even a loved one facing a potential diagnosis of dementia if it turns out to be just a nutritional deficiency. So one thing I would encourage you to do is not just have your blood levels checked, but even something as simple as a hair mineral analysis done that can measure your vitamin levels. If you don't know what those are, they're easy to measure. They're also easy to track, so that you can give your body what it needs, so your body can perform what you demand of it. And again, your brain in particular. Iodine. Iodine is instrumental for your thyroid hormone. So it's critical not just for your mood and your energy, also your cardiovascular health and deficiency of iodine can result in feelings of depression, which can also impact your hormone levels overall and can result in a slower metabolism. So those who have hypothyroidism, who are low on their thyroid, they have slower metabolisms, those who are hyperthyroid and their thyroid is working too fast, then they have a overactive metabolism. But you wanna strike that balance. Again, I know this is an unusual CLE, but the goal here is to give you information that's helping to invest in your wellness. That's giving you some insights on the input you can take control of for greater output into the profession, to your clients, to your relationships in your life. Because after all, that's what we all wanna be. We all wanna strive to be our very best. Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, I don't care about being my best. I don't care how I'm gonna get through the day. We all wanna do our best. Again, you're young lawyers, you wanna go the distance, you wanna succeed, you wanna thrive. I want you to have all your dreams come true. I want the profession to be everything you hoped it would be that first day you started law school. I wanna help you along the path to get there. Vitamin D, we have heard so much about vitamin D over the last three years, two and a half years with regard to COVID, understanding that vitamin D is linked to our immune system. Vitamin D is also linked to our overall mental health. There's a huge role. As a matter of fact, those who are dealing with long COVID or post COVID syndrome and sadly even lawyers who are dealing with that for many, dealing with long COVID or post COVID, the struggle is with mental cognition and severe headaches, brain fog, short-term memory. I actually have a family member who has been dealing with this and vitamin D levels are key as part of the analysis and the evaluation of long-term COVID patients. Vitamin D is key for all of us though overall with regard to our mental health, not just our bones, our teeth and so forth, but our immune system and our overall health. And there was a huge connection, while I'm mentioning immune system between immune health and your mental health too. That sadly has been overlooked, but the stronger your immune system, the more you are contributing to your mental health. And selenium. You may not be familiar with selenium, but it is a powerful antioxidant. And it is so important to mental health as well as having a strong metabolism and optimal thyroid function. Selenium deficiencies have been linked to depression and mood issues. One of the great sources of selenium is Brazil nuts. In my workplace wellness presentation that is also available through Quimbee, I talk a lot about workplace snacks and healthy snacks to have, I'm a big proponent of nuts, having nuts in your briefcase, your purse at your desk or in common areas because walnuts are great for brain power. Peanuts of course are great for energy. Brazil nuts for selenium. So nuts are a healthy snack for energy levels, for overall health and also for your mental health. Feeding your mind with magnesium and omegas. Of course omega-3 fatty acids usually found in sources such as fish. They can also be found in seeds. There are other sources of omega-3 if you're not a meat eater, but you can find omega-3 supplementation as well. Magnesium. And it is a natural anti-inflammatory if I didn't mention that. Magnesium is vital to the nervous system. It is vital to your brain health. And even though it says approximately 50% of the population lacks magnesium, I believe the statistic is much higher. And I will tell you, going through COVID, those who entered into the hospital, 80% of those were found to be deficient in vitamin D as well since we just discussed vitamin D. So it is critical especially if you live in a climate that is not very sunny or you don't have year round sunshine. I encourage you to get out in the sun optimally as 20 minutes a day. Sun is the best source of vitamin D. I know I'm stepping back here, but I wanna throw that in for y'all. So I always encourage if you're in a small firm or you're able to make the suggestion, walking meetings, getting out, breathing the fresh air, filling your lungs with clean oxygen, having the cardiovascular movement and also getting in the sun, collecting that vitamin D3, letting your immune system get stronger as a result of it and build up that internal D3 level is very beneficial. So there's a tip with regard to exposure and benefits of natural vitamin D that is available to all of us. And then on the magnesium, these deficiencies again, you'll see the pattern linked to depression, anxiety, migraines, and yes, even high blood pressure. So magnesium is a wonderful source of not just nutrition for our bodies, but also for our brain health. And as I mentioned, these topics are discussed further in other CLE presentations as well as on my platform. One thing I always encourage lawyers to do is create your own mental first aid kit. Actually, when I'm working with firms, I encourage firm partners to put these together and make them available, not just for lawyers, but for paralegals, for your support staff. It's very beneficial that everyone in the legal profession, including the support system that you rely on so heavily, have the tools to help equip them to function at their best. If your support staff is not able to function at their best, they're not able to support you and your work, we understand the importance of that and that's just the way the system works. It's a legal ecosystem that we have to rely on each other and understand that there can't be a weak link anywhere along as far as health, energy and overall wellness with that impacting you and your ability to perform for your partners, your ability to perform for your clients. So what goes in a mental first-aid kit? One of the best measures, again that a lawyer or law firm can do is to incorporate these ingredients such as essential oils. I am a huge proponent of essential oils if you're not familiar with them. They are volatile oils that are derived from plants and bark of trees in some cases and they are so potent that they deliver the medicinal value to your system. Essential oils bypass the digestive system. If you rub an essential oil roller bottle on your pulse points, it goes directly into your bloodstream in less than a minute. I'm also a big proponent of nasal inhalers and I have one with me constantly and my aroma of choice is peppermint, which is both calming and stimulating. It's what we call an adaptogen. So it does the work that your body needs. If you need to be stimulated, it's able to do that just inhaling the aroma. And because of the way your nasal system is created, it goes straight into your brain very quickly. So again, my preference is peppermint, lavender is more calming, bergamot, there are so many choices available. You can find some information online. Also, as I stated, please feel free to reach out if you don't have any idea where to get started on looking at essential oils, I always recommend organic whenever possible. And there are sources, I utilize these in my practice. I utilize them in my coaching, particularly the roller bottles that are able to be rubbed on the back of your neck or on your pulse points, on your temples or on your forehead. Also, as I mentioned on your wrists, so amazing and so beneficial to help you along the way. Such a simple little tool that can make a tremendous difference in the way you're feeling and just giving you that extra measure of energy or calm depending on what you need. And as I stated, essential oil therapy is recognized as a form of cognitive health, cognitive medicine. So I'm a huge proponent Bach flower remedies. If you're not familiar with Bach remedies, Edward Bach was actually a surgeon and he developed some antibiotics. He was very well regarded during his time as a surgeon and as a medical doctor. And he observed that there were emotional issues involved in many of patients who had the same and different diagnoses, but many had the same stressors that were emotional in nature. And so Dr. Bach developed the theory that all physical conditions and ailments stemmed from emotional issues. And so he developed 38 remedies that came from different flowers. And it's a form of energy medicine. If you've ever heard of the product Rescue Remedy, which is used by athletes, celebrities used around the world. Rescue Remedy is a form of Bach remedy that actually combines its four or five remedies into one. And it's used to help everyone from a panic or stressful situation, even into a situation where someone is at a funeral and overwhelmed with grief for the loved one they lost. It's had a tremendous benefit of calming someone down in even those extreme situations. As I mentioned, I'm also an animal naturopathic doctor and I use Rescue Remedy on my own dogs. I have a little puppy dealing with separation anxiety and I use Rescue Remedy on her quite frequently. I'm also a big fan of something called cell Salts, which is biochemical medicine that stems from the 12 mineral salts that exist in our body. They dissolve under your tongue. They're completely natural and they are extremely beneficial. But also something as simple as calming teeth and relaxation exercises such as contemplative practices and in discussing contemplative practices, whether offered corporately or privately practicing some form of contemplation is extremely beneficial. As I mentioned, the contemplative lawyer, that article that is cited at the beginning of my presentation, it's a very lengthy article, but there is much research and information in there on the importance of contemplative practices, which have been part of the profession for at least two decades, but sadly is not recognized on a firm by firm basis and is something all of us need to stay centered in a spiritual context. Whatever centering means for you and whatever your spiritual belief is, you need to have something that you can take the focus from being outward all the time on partners and others, clients and other relationships. And to be able to bring that inward and just release that, just focus on something else that will help you fill your tank back up so you can be more effective. Examples include prayer, mindfulness, meditation. Those are just a few examples. Also, as I stated earlier, it's a journey. The practice of law is a journey. So pace yourself. Don't run a raise that is going to get you to the point of burnout. And sadly, statistics show us that most lawyers, by the time they reach year eight or nine are feeling extreme burnout. Many leaves the profession. This is particularly true for women in the profession, I am sad to say. So don't allow the practice of law gets you to the point to where you're feeling as though you lack control or you have unrealistic expectations, and you've lost all sense of work balance in your life. And even to the point to where you're not able to function properly at work. At that point, you're going to need to reach out to somebody. And I understand the anonymity that is important for the legal profession and I support that. And that's what makes coaching so beneficial. Whether it's available through your firm, whether it's available through a platform like mine, because there's nothing reported, there's no insurance claim, there's nothing that shows up anywhere. It's just you getting tools and being equipped with, again, strategies, mindsets, and behavior modification resources that can help you thrive, that can help you be your best. And that leads into the discussion of emotion regulation. And according to Psychology Today, that term means the ability to exert control over one's own emotional state. And this can be in the form of, or I'm sorry, in the form of cognitive behavior therapy, which I'm a huge proponent of. And the reason that cognitive behavior therapy is so beneficial for lawyers is it is short term, it is goal oriented, it is intensive, does involve homework, but it helps you from a practical standpoint. We are cognitive thinkers, we are problem solvers for everybody else, CBT or cognitive behavior therapy is a wonderful area that allows you to do that for yourself. As I mentioned, the biochemic medicine and Cell Salts are just two of the natural resource tools available for you. So check out the list I have here. And I wanna encourage you not to be a rolling stone. Don't be at the point where you say, I can't get no satisfaction in what I do. If you're unsatisfied with your work, reach out, talk to somebody, consider CBT as a way of drilling down to the point of dissatisfaction, and then make the changes necessary for that. I know that may sound easier said than done, but there are always resources and always options available to you. If you can't see them on your own, reach out to somebody, either a friend, a colleague, some support system, even if it's a coach to get help. Stay engaged in the practice of law, stay engaged in social relationships. Lawyers are considered the most lonely of professions, and that is because we tend to hunker down. Don't let the relationships in your life suffer, especially those outside of the legal profession. Those are your support systems that you will need for the long haul. As a final word, I know it may seem like we have gone through this at breakneck speed, but if you have any questions, anything at all, feel free to reach out to me. I do wanna thank you so much for taking time from your very busy schedule and sharing it with me and allowing me the opportunity to discuss the subject that I'm sure you can tell I am extremely passionate about and a profession I still to this day feel so privileged to be part of. I hope something here you've heard today that I've shared is gonna benefit you or someone you know. Remember, no matter what the challenge is, there is always, always help out there for you. And there is always, always hope to thrive and to succeed. I wish you the very best. Congratulations on your accomplishments and reach out if there is ever anything I can do to encourage you along the way. Until next time, take care and be well.

Presenter(s)

PM
Patti McCartney
Attorney
DrPattiMcCartney.com

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