By Sarah Valdes • March 02, 2020•Ms. JD, Writers in Residence, Issues, Balancing Private and Professional Life
Everyone else feel like we blinked and suddenly we are in the third month of the year? I’m pretty sure I still haven’t finished writing out all those New Year’s resolutions and that groundhog has the audacity to not see his shadow? Before you move on to planning spring brunches and trying to figure out what parts of our closet spark joy, I invite you to take a moment to reflect on the month of February.
For most, that means it’s the month of love. I filled my home with convenience store hearts and baked cookies filled with icing (if you haven’t read my last post on group fitness, you might understand my incentive a little more now). But most importantly, February brought me a time to reflect on those who care for me and whom I care for. Lady lawyers building an empire understand the hustle. We understand getting up to prepare for that deposition, calling that client, or crafting a persuasive brief. I know that I at least sometimes forget to value small moments of connection with those around me. Here are some of my tips to celebrate love in any month:
Date Night. Sure, you’ve heard it works wonders for your relationship. But have you ever thought about date hour? Date twenty minutes? When life gets particularly hectic, date night may be a little difficult to schedule. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Try making a deliberate decision to put away all phones, work and personal, and spend twenty minutes with your significant other. Have you ever noticed how frequently we have full conversations with others and never make eye contact? Phones down. Gaze up. Heart full.
Gal Night. I know any Parks and Recreation fan knows the charm behind Galentine’s day. The show’s main character tenaciously schedules a meal in which she celebrates the lovely ladies around her. So why not do the same? I have dutifully written down “Call So-and-So for brunch” on about seven different variations of my to-do list. What did I do last month? I scheduled a call. Yes, like a client meeting. We couldn’t partake in mimosas, but we were at least able to catch up. And that was all that mattered.
Volunteering…and reflecting on it. Some of you have (or can very carefully make) some time to do some non-legal community service. I guarantee some time at a soup kitchen or local elementary school will not only give you a much-needed break from deposition designations, but will put a little kindness in a world that so desperately needs it. If you just can’t bear to get away from the law, contact your local public school district. Many have pre-law programs for students ranging from elementary to high school age. I recently had the privilege of volunteering at a high school civics competition. For a brief moment I got to be the adult that told them they were seen and heard. I got to encourage them to develop the skills that will allow them to advocate for themselves. That was priceless.
These small gestures of kindness and connection combat the feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation that are unfortunately entirely too pervasive in the legal field. What do you do to show someone you care? Do you have any quick tips you can share?