Practical Tips for Positively Responding to
by Chris Garcia, Lawyers Assistance Chair
“When we are no longer able to change a
situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
--Victor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
received three emails this morning from clients begging me to get them out on
house arrest. Whether currently in jail or a halfway house, their only desire
is to be stuck at home.
circumstances may feel crazy, but things could be way worse. Everything is
we feel powerless and helpless in the face of possible illness for ourselves or
people we love, the loss or slowing down of our livelihoods, the inability to
help our clients in the way in which we are accustomed. Then there are the
feelings of anxiety and guilt we experience for being annoyed by living in
close quarters with the family members we love.
are some practical tips for your body, mind, and spirit that should aid in
allowing you to settle in and respond more positively to your current circumstances.
Work on your Body
Sleep—Get more of it, at least
eight hours a night. If you think that you are different, and require less
sleep to function properly, then you are wrong. If you need convincing, read Why
We Sleep, by Matthew Walker. It will change your attitude and beliefs
consuming caffeine after noon.
the free Sleep Cycle App to your phone and start tracking your sleep.
enhances your immune system. It is necessary for your mental and physical
health. It is free. Anyone that criticizes you for sleeping too much, including
yourself, should be ignored.
Light—Get a therapy light and
sit in front of it for 5-30 minutes every morning. It shines at an angle into
the top of your eyes, mimicking the sun. I don't know how it works, but it sure
helps with my mood and sleep.
Carex Day-Light Classic Bright Light Therapy Lamp, can sit above your laptop,
and costs around $100 on Amazon. It is the best bang for your buck
mood-enhancer I have found.
not have to have seasonal depression to benefit from extra light, especially if
you're not leaving your home as much.
Yoga—Do it every morning in
your living room in front of your TV or laptop. Yoga with Adriene on
YouTube has hundreds of free 20-40 minute routines comprised of simple movement
and breathing. There is no good argument against moving or breathing.
not flexible” is not a good argument. Flexibility may result from regular yoga
practice, but flexibility is not the goal.
Exercise—Start small. Every time
you switch tasks, do 5-10 push-ups and squats. Work up to 5-10 sets a day.
Challenge your family to do the same. Work up to 15-30 minutes of physical
exertion a day.
isn't about getting in shape. It's about enhancing your ability to function.
Work on your Mind
Meditate—Meditation reminds you to
stay in the present. Start small—5 minutes of observing your breath is enough.
the free Insight Timer App, which has hundreds of guided meditations
arranged by topic, including many that will help you sleep.
in the midst of an era of conscious mindfulness. Mindfulness is just the
concentration of your attention—whether it is on washing your hands or avoiding
touching your face.
judge yourself when your thoughts or attention inevitably wander. Just notice,
notice yourself noticing, and bring your attention back to your breathing.
Read—I like to oscillate
between a novel and non-fiction--for me right now, it is A Gentleman in
Moscow, by Amor Towles, and Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a
Specialized World, by David J. Epstein.
is difficult for you to sit still and concentrate, listen to books on Audible.
self-help realm, I highly recommend The Untethered Soul, by Matthew Alan
Singer, and The Happiness Trap, by Russ Harris. Both books teach you
about the merits of having a healthy relationship with your thoughts.
gives a pragmatic overview of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT),
explaining how to defuse the negative power and seriousness of your thoughts
with simple techniques like starting each thought with the phrase “I'm having
the thought that...”, then singing the thought in your head. e.g. Notice that
feeling of inadequacy, the thought that “I'm not doing enough”; transform it
into “I'm having the thought that I'm not doing enough”; notice how that
observation defuses the power of the thought; sing the thought to the tune of
the Monkees' “I'm a Believer”, or Billie Eilish's “Bad Guy”. Just try it.
Work on your Spirit
Gratitude Journal--At the end of each day,
write down three things that you are grateful for. If you are having trouble
thinking of anything, recognize and appreciate the basics. e.g. I have a roof
over my head. I am warm enough. I have a can of beans in the cupboard.
supports the multiple benefits of gratitude to health and well-being.
choosing to see our current situation as neither good nor bad. I am observing
others awakening from the slumber of habitual and automatic “living” to display
thoughtfulness and kindness. I am watching the helpers, including our first
responders, aiding those who are in need and afraid. I am inspired by and
grateful for my fellow humans.
all in this together, or at least separately in this together. Call or text
someone you know, and ask them how they are doing. Prod them further if they
say “fine”. Really listen to them.
please reach out and ask others for help. Don't be selfish about asking by
thinking yourself a burden. Your law partner or uncle may need a break from
being inside their own heads. They may need to help someone else. Who are you
to deprive them of that opportunity?
Lawyers Assistance Committee members are here to help as well. There is a list
of our members in the Bar-O-Meter with contact information. Call or text me at
316-202-8218, email me at Chris@DrugCourtAttorney.com. Whether you are struggling, or just want to share tips about
what is working for you, I would like to hear from you.
you doing? I would really like to know.