Maintaining Your Sanity in a Time of Insanity  

By now, we’ve all received the news that we are in this for the long haul. The nation has been requested to continue its social distancing protocols until April 30, 2020. With having to spend so much time indoors and away from our friends and extended family, below are a few tips to help in keeping our mental health in check:

 1.       Keep a Schedule

For many who work from home, these past couple of weeks are still in the routine. For those who are not used to working remotely, the past couple of weeks may have provided a few challenges and frustrations. In order to tamp down on being frustrated because we are outside of our normal work space, we should control as much as we can about our schedule and workspace at home. We should continue to wake up at normal hours, make your bed, and find a good spot in your home to work, whether it’s the dining room table or a desk.
By maintaining an organized space and keeping our schedule, we can complete a good day’s work, which will help alleviate other stress about meeting hours, moving cases, and being productive.

 2.       Take a Break

When working from home, it’s important to make sure that we aren’t just working straight through from waking until sleep. Just as we leave the office, we have to find times to put away the work at the end of the day. If you’ve hit your hours for the day, and it’s after 6:00 p.m., rather than starting another project or pleading, turn off the computer and take a much deserved break.
You break could include meditating or taking deep breaths to help reduce anxiety when things feel out of control. There are several apps that can help with this, including Calm and Inscape. They provide guided meditations, white noise, and soothing music to help your sleep. It could also include fun habits, such as coloring, reading a non-lawyer book, or putting together a puzzle.

 3.       Take Care of Your Physical Health

Sleep and exercise cannot be overrated on the best day, and is even more important now. We should ensure we get six to eight hours of sleep each night. Anxiety could cause us to fall out of our normal sleeping patterns. To help keep your sleep on track, meditate before bed.
We should also ensure we are eating healthy, balanced meals. While we may enjoy eating potato chips and mindless snacking (I’m very guilty of this one), we need to have a good pyramid throughout the day (veggies, whole grains, protein, et cetera). 

 4.       Seek the Sunshine

While we must socially distance ourselves and try and remain inside as much as possible, we should try to get some sunshine and fresh air. Many of our offices provide great natural light which keeps away the blues. We should try to get some of that same natural light but taking a solo walk around the block while avoiding groups and gatherings. Open the blinds and windows to let the fresh light and air into your working space.

 5.       Connect with Your Circle

New Orleans is a very social town, even when we’re distancing. Make sure to get regular “face time” with your friends and family that you can’t go to dinner with for a while. There are multiple video platforms, such as zoom, FaceTime, or Skype that allow us to both see and hear our loved ones. I’ve already created some great memories on zoom that were not to be missed, and I’m looking forward to more. Stay connected y scheduling weekly calls or happy hours with your girlfriends. Mark it in your calendar as an important meeting, and have your cocktails ready!

 6.       Know When to Seek Help

There is no shame in seeking professional help. Many health insurers are waiving fees and allowing telemedicine. If you feel you need professional help, check with your insurer to see if you can participate in virtual counseling sessions with a mental health professional.

Valerie Fontenot is an associate at Frilot, LLC practicing in the Medical Malpractice & Healthcare section. Her practice is based in litigation of civil matters, particularly the trial and appeal of health care matters, including medical malpractice defense and regulatory and compliance. Valerie’s areas of experience have provided her numerous opportunities to interact with many expert fields including medical causation, vocational rehabilitation, life care planning, bio-mechanics and economics.