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Learning to Prioritize Mental Health During the Pandemic

By Rebecca Moore

It is hard to believe that it has been over a year since the pandemic began. Over a year since we have all been trying to maintain that delicate balance between work-life and home-life, all the while trying to keep ourselves, our family and friends, safe and healthy. As if being a lawyer wasn’t stressful enough on its own!

Had you asked me last year if I thought we could be entering into yet another province wide lockdown in April 2021, I would have laughed (and maybe cried) at the notion. But, here we are. The stress, anxiety and frustration of navigating the ever-changing government restrictions remains a reality of our day-to- day lives.

Despite the numerous difficulties the past year has thrown us, the legal community has certainly risen to the occasion. The practice of law has adapted to the changing times. I suppose this isn’t too surprising considering that learning how to persevere in the face of adversity is a vital part of being a lawyer.

That said, I think it is safe to assume we are all feeling the pandemic fatigue, some of us more than others. If there is one thing I have learned over the past year, it is that we all deal with these emotions in our own way, and on our own schedule.

If you’re anything like me, this can change from one day to the next. Some days I feel good. I feel like I have figured this new work/life balance out. And then other days, I’m right back to where I was at the beginning – total denial. Understanding that we all have good days and bad days, a seemingly simple idea, is perhaps more important now than ever before.

At the end of the day, we need to take care of ourselves and to prioritize our mental health. I like to think that I was doing this before the pandemic began, or at least trying to, but the truth is that it took the lockdown to see just how important this really is.   

Regardless of where I fall on the spectrum of pandemic-fueled emotions on any given day, I’ve found that taking some time for myself has been a lifesaver. Whether it is taking the dog for a walk, making your favourite comfort food, watching an episode of a favourite TV show, or reaching out to family/friends to catch up, it is important to find something that helps you unwind and relax, each and every single day.

And don’t forget to give yourself a break from work at the end of a long day. I know working from home has eliminated all semblance of a division between work life and home life, but it’s ok to turn off the computer when the workday is over. I promise that everything will still be waiting for you when you sign back on the next morning.