You are here:
  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Blog
  4. Five steps to wellbeing

Five steps to wellbeing

10 October 2016

On World Mental Health Day, Elizabeth Rimmer discusses how solicitors can look after their wellbeing.


Monday 10 October is World Mental Health Day, which has been observed annually across the globe since 1992, and promotes mental health education, awareness and advocacy. 

LawCare, which is funded by the Law Society, supports mental health and wellbeing throughout the legal community. World Mental Health Day provides us with the perfect platform from which to raise awareness of the importance of wellbeing and the impact it has on mental health.

What do we mean by wellbeing? 

It means different things to different people but it’s about how we feel, how we think, our relationships, and how we find meaning and purpose in our lives. Research has shown that about 40 per cent of our wellbeing is influenced by our choices and attitudes - how we approach relationships, our values and our sense of purpose. Understanding this means we can do something positive about influencing our wellbeing.  

There are five steps we can take to improve our wellbeing:

• Connect - with the people around us, our  family, friends, colleagues 

• Be active - find the time for exercise 

• Keep learning - new skills can boost confidence

• Give to others - just a simple kind word to someone can improve your wellbeing

• Be mindful - be more aware of the present moment, including your feelings and thoughts, your body and the world around you

In a professional context, wellbeing matters because it brings a number of benefits - greater self-esteem, optimism, resilience, vitality, self-determination, positive relationships with colleagues, better physical and mental health, greater motivation, greater creativity, and more productive work. Financially, it makes sense for companies to take the wellbeing of their employees seriously – improvements in this area lead to a reduction in sick days and increases staff retention.

A stressful profession

But what is it about the culture and practice of law that can compromise wellbeing? It’s not that solicitors are genetically predisposed to poor wellbeing; it’s about the culture of law, legal education and professional practice. The culture is one known for poor work/life balance, long hours, a competitive environment, and the fear of failure. We also know that driven and perfectionist personalities can be drawn to law. 

Solicitors are expected to cope with the demands of the job, and not coping can be seen as a sign of weakness: they can find it difficult to acknowledge that they may need support. 

This is where LawCare comes in: our staff and volunteers have experience in the law, and understand the legal environment.

Our key service is the helpline. It is free, independent and completely confidential, 365 days a year. We also provide over 20 factsheets, free to download on our website, on topics such as stress, anxiety and depression.

Legal Professions Wellbeing Taskforce

A cross-profession taskforce, initiated by the Law Society and driven by LawCare, has been established to promote and support good mental health and wellbeing across the legal community. It brings together, for the first time, representatives from legal professional and educational establishments, those with legal expertise and knowledge of the sector.

Lighting the way

The law is a rewarding and stimulating career. LawCare wants to ensure that the working culture enables solicitors to have fulfilling and healthy professional lives where wellbeing is valued. We strive for a legal community that talks openly about mental health so that these issues come out of the shadows. 

LawCare is proud to join the thousands of supporters worldwide who observe World Mental Health Day, designed to draw attention to mental health and how it affects people’s lives. 

Contact the helpline on 0800 279 6888 or visit www.lawcare.org.uk

Blog: LawCare – a helping hand

Blog: Stress and the legal profession

Read our press release about the wellbeing taskforce

Tags: emotional resilience | stress | wellbeing

About the author

Elizabeth Rimmer is the chief executive of LawCare. Elizabeth has been working to develop small charities in the mental health sector for over 15 years and started her working life as a solicitor. 
Follow LawCare on Twitter

  • Share this page:
Authors

Adam Johnson | Adele Edwin-Lamerton | Alex Barr | Alex Heshmaty | Alexandra Cardenas | Amanda Carpenter | Amanda Jardine Viner | Amy Heading | Andrew Kidd | Andy Harris | Anna Drozd | Annaliese Fiehn | Anne Waldron | Asif Afridi and Roseanne Russell | Bansi Desai | Barbara Whitehorne | Barry Wilkinson | Becky Baker | Ben Hollom | Bob Nightingale | Caroline Roddis | Caroline Sorbier | Catherine Dixon | Christina Blacklaws | Ciaran Fenton | David Gilroy | David Yeoward | Douglas McPherson | Dr Sylvie Delacroix | Duncan Wood | Eduardo Reyes | Elizabeth Rimmer | Emily Miller | Emma Maule | Gary Richards | Gary Rycroft | Graham Murphy | Hayley Stewart | Ignasi Guardans | James Castro Edwards | Jayne Willetts | Jeremy Miles | Jerry Garvey | Jessie Barwick | Joe Egan | Jonathan Andrews | Jonathan Fisher | Jonathan Smithers | Julian Hall | Julie Ashdown | Julie Nicholds | Justin Rourke | Karen Jackson | Kate Adam | Kayleigh Leonie | Keiley Ann Broadhead | Kerrie Fuller | Kevin Poulter | Larry Cattle | Laura Devine | Leah Glover and Julie Ashdown | LHS Solicitors | Lucy Parker | Mark Carver | Mark Leiser | Markus Coleman | Martin Barnes | Matthew Still | Meena Toor | Melissa Hardee | Neil Ford | Nick Denys | Nick Podd | Pearl Moses | Penny Owston | Peter Wright | Philippa Southwell | Preetha Gopalan | Rachel Brushfield | Ranjit Uppal | Richard Coulthard | Richard Heinrich | Richard Messingham | Richard Miller | Richard Roberts | Rita Oscar | Rob Cope | Robert Bourns | Robin Charrot | Rosy Rourke | Saida Bello | Sam De Silva | Sara Chandler | Sarah Austin | Sarah Crowe | Sarah Henchoz | Sarah Smith | Shereen Semnani | Sophia Adams Bhatti | Steve Deutsch | Steve Deutsche | Stuart Poole-Robb | Susan Kench | Suzanne Gallagher | Tom Ellen | Tony Roe Solicitors | Vanessa Friend

Tags

access to justice | anti-money laundering | apprenticeships | archive | artificial intelligence | Autumn Statement | bid process | brand | Brexit | British Bill of Rights | Budget | business | careers | centenary | charity | city | communication | Conservatives | conveyancing | court closures | court fees | courts | CPD | criminal legal aid | cyber security | David Cameron | development | Diversity Access Scheme | diversity and inclusion | education and training | elderly people | emotional resilience | employment law | equality | European Union | Excellence Awards | finance | George Osborne | human rights | human trafficking | immigration | in-house | International Womens Day | Investigatory Powers Bill | IT | Jeremy Corbyn | justice | knowledge management | Labour | law management | Law Society | leadership | legal aid | legal professional privilege | LGBT | Liberal Democrats | library | Liz Truss | Magna Carta | mass data retention | mediation | members | mention | mentoring | merger | modern slavery | morale | National Pro Bono Week | Parliament | party conferences | personal injury | Pii | politics | president | pro bono | productivity | professional indemnity insurance | represent | retweet | risk | rule of law | security | social media | social mobility | SRA | staff | strategy | stress | talent | tax | tax credits | team | technology | Theresa May | Time capture | training | Twitter | UKIP | value proposition | website | wellbeing | Westminster weekly update | wills