Self-Care and Practicing Law – Part A

This starts a robust set of posts on self-care and practicing law. Resistant Vision places this as one of the most important values because you can’t pour from an empty cup. Self-care is the means to enjoying your work, and, most importantly, building a life outside of work.

And of course, it’s important just because you’re you.

Let me start with my first legal job. I won a public interest law fellowship and was thrilled. I was going to live in the city of my dreams at the time (Washington, D.C.), gainfully employed, and I planned on taking advantage of all of it. I would (finally) leave the Midwest.

I was really broke when I arrived in Washington, D.C. I barely had money for food and had to call my mother to get the security deposit for the apartment I found. I was scared to do that because she was furious that I left Chicago and decided to live in DC (that’s a whole other story).

I don’t remember what I slept on . . . I think I had a sleeping bag that I moved to D.C. with and slept on the floor. I was afraid to unpack to live in the apartment because my rent and security deposit weren’t squared away yet.

I was afraid to return the rental truck – would there be enough room on my credit card to cover the bill? Would I be able to pay the bill when it came due?

I start here because, to me, it’s obvious that it would be challenging, at best, to take care of myself while worrying about money.

How did I handle all of these worries? Yeah, I bought some food, but alcohol could help soothe my nerves so I could sleep at night. And this wasn’t the first time that alcohol provided me succor in this way. I used to keep a gallon of wine in my fridge when I was in law school so I could fall asleep after a long day at school.

I had enough money left over after I moved in that I bought a bottle of rosé and started drinking it straight out of the bottle after I talked to my mom. THAT’S how shook I was about having to get her support here. That’s how scared I was about my situation.

Until I received my first paycheck, I borrowed money for lunch from my colleagues. I looked forward to events where there was food. That’s how I survived.

At this point in my life, the challenge was to quiet my very noisy mind. I had no tools to do that at all. Actually, running was one of them, but I couldn’t remember to use this tool because I was so wound up.

THIS is how I started to practice law. Quite an auspicious start . . .

What might I have told my 24-year-old self then?

  1. Unpack my running shoes.
  2. I would have shown her how to do EFT/tapping and pull that stress out of my body. This could open up possibilities for handling the first month in D.C.

Notice that the tools I would encourage my younger self to reach for would get her out of her head and back into her body. Our bodies provide the way out of distress that we encounter.

My next post will talk about the first 6 months of practice.

I hope you stick with me.

And if you want to learn more about the tapping I would have shown me as a newbie lawyer, sign up for my newsletter for the additional material!

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