Coronavirus has increased the pressure on law firm leaders – to ensure their business’ survival and inspire their people, while juggling personal commitments. But, asks Nicole Vayssier, are you taking care of your own mental and physical wellbeing?

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For law firm leaders, there are many aspects of the coronavirus crisis and transition that need to be processed, digested and acted upon. Most law firm leaders:

  • are trying to sustain their business amidst a global public health emergency that has unsettled the worldwide economy
  • were not fully ‘prepared’ for facing the crisis and its consequences
  • face an uncertain future in terms of their personal finances and their business
  • are making difficult decisions and have moments of self doubt
  • are trying to balance their time and energy between meeting their own basic needs, taking care of loved ones, and the rising pressures of business.

With so many factors unknown or beyond our control, our mental focus, performance and endurance become compromised. There are so many distractions and ‘noise’, and things are changing so quickly, that even our best efforts are quickly undermined. Our fight-or-flight survival instinct is always on, and fear, worry and stress easily accumulate.

All this may sound daunting. But you have the freedom to decide how to interpret and respond to every situation. So, how can you be the best version of yourself, when everything is competing for your attention and energy?

Below are three simple but effective tips to help enhance your health, and support your ability to lead your people and your business in times of change. No prior experience is needed: only the willingness to experiment and observe what makes the difference.

1. Accept your decisions and move on

Decisions can be daunting right now, as we attempt to calculate the ‘right’ decision in an ever-changing context. Today’s decision may be the right one today, but further down the line, it may require adjustments. Change is inevitable.

Today, trust in your decision and let it go. Drop self-judgement and self-reproach. They serve no one, but consume vital energy needed for other things.

Don’t delay actions while trying to find the mythical perfect choice: that only causes distress and holds back your business. As things move on, remain flexible and willing to revisit the decisions you made today.

Don’t struggle alone: connect with your confidants and accept and receive their support. It strengthens bonds and creates resilience.

2. Commit to effective working habits

Your business requires the best version of you. As humans, we depend on daily rest, repair and replenishment to function to our fullest potential. Your mental energies are stretched right now – by making difficult decisions for your business and being resourceful to your employees, while dealing with family commitments, health concerns, conflict, and the news.

You can support your mental health by committing to daily healthy habits which both sharpen your focus and support your resilience.

  • Work in small blocks of time, giving your full attention. In between, take mental ‘breaks’ and detox from your devices, for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Do you observe a more refreshed mind and sharper focus? Then repeat it!
  • Get up. Go for a mindful walk and breathe fresh air. Practise presence in the activity, versus mentally revisiting work.
  • Commit to the end of the workday at the same time, every day. Unplug for rest and repair.
  • Begin a daily mindfulness practice to prevent stress and anxiety.

3. Exercise

Physical energy and daily exercise for a strong, healthy and resilient body have never been more valuable than today. Since the pandemic, we are living more sedentary lives. While our lifestyle and activities have been disrupted, a focus on our physical needs – for channelling energy, for play and rest – remains essential to health and performance. Ample research shows how daily physical activity strengthens the body and immune system, increases energy levels, encourages better sleep, and enhances emotional and mental health. What daily movement practice can you commit to? It could be:

  • an early-morning brisk walk, perhaps alternated with jogging
  • a 15- to 20-minute restorative or energising mind-body practice (yoga, qigong, tai chi, and so on)
  • simple stretching and breathing on a yoga mat.

Whatever you choose, the important thing is to commit to something that energises you and supports your physical and mental wellbeing.