Ann Marie M. Pate,
2018-2019 Young Lawyers Division President
There is a Buddhist quote that says, “To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” I stumbled upon this sage piece of advice while putting together our Wellness page on Facebook which is sponsored and run through the YLD. The goal of our wellness program which was fostered as an idea under last year’s YLD President, Brad Reeves, is to help and encourage members of our Bar to focus on general wellness in order to make them healthier, happier and ultimately more successful attorneys.
Wellness has no one definition. What makes one person feel that they have “wellness” may not be the same as the person sitting at the next desk. Our focus on attorney wellness is really an opportunity for us all to stop and assess areas we feel may need some attention. This may mean a focus on spending more time away from work with family or friends. This may be a change or boost in exercise and nutrition. This may be an opportunity for someone to reach out for help with addictions or anxiety issues. Whatever your goal may be, I hope that you will join our YLD and the Mississippi Bar as a whole in focusing some attention on wellness this year.
There are a number of ways to join in with the wellness challenge. The first, as mentioned, is to follow our Facebook page if you are able. You can find it listed under MS Bar YLD Wellness Challenge. Everyone is welcome. Even though the YLD is the sponsor, we hope to reach far beyond our own committee. Once you have liked the page, check back for updates on challenges and various wellness tips. Another way to get involved is to “hashtag” your wellness activities in order to share them with your fellow members. Simply post a photo while out exercising, making your favorite healthy snacks or simply spending time with family or friends. Be sure to put #fitmsbar in your caption. You can also help keep others involved by sharing wellness events in your area. They can be shared to the Facebook group or sent out to your local bar members. The more opportunities we are all aware of, the more often we can all participate.
You can also incorporate wellness into other events. At the YLD Fall Meeting in Cleveland, board members collected sporting goods to benefit local youth sports opportunities. Sporting goods have since been distributed to schools, recreation leagues and a local kid’s outdoor recreation camp. Think of ways your committee or local bar can encourage and support wellness in your community. Public service can be more than pro bono cases, and fostering wellness in others is a great way to continue to focus on your own wellness too.
This Spring, the YLD will be encouraging a statewide “day of wellness.” On that day, we will be encouraging local bar members to get together for a wellness activity. This may mean a meet-up at the local walking trail, a tennis mixer, yoga on the lawn of the courthouse or any wellness event your local bar wants to put together. It can be as formal or informal as you would like. Be sure to look for the release of that date in the new year.
We all know what a privilege it is to be an attorney. There are many people who look to us daily for guidance and support. We have an opportunity through our focus on wellness to not only make ourselves healthier and happier but to be better attorneys for our clients and to be positive examples in our communities. Our YLD board hopes that you will join us this year in making strides toward a healthier and continuously productive Mississippi Bar.