Maintaining mental health in an unhealthy time

Connecting with new people in new ways can yield benefits.

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  • | 5:10 a.m. March 4, 2021
  • The Bar Bulletin
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By Teddy Foster, Morgan & Morgan

In a time of utter chaos in the legal community, it is difficult to remember to take some time for ourselves.

Zoom depositions, telephonic hearings and working from home are the new normal for a lot of us. This is difficult enough without factoring in schools and day cares shutting down because of COVID-19 risk, which means you might find yourself working from home, taking care of young children or even infants. That’s not exactly conducive to work. 

Teddy Foster
Teddy Foster

The past year caused many changes in the litigation process, but we cannot forget that mental health can’t take the back seat for any reason. Without it, we no longer are efficient advocates upholding the Florida Constitution and vigorously representing our clients. Now, more than ever, mental health needs to be a staple in everyone’s repertoire. 

What does mental health look like in the COVID era that makes it more difficult to relax and take our minds off work or that one case we can’t seem to stop thinking about?

More personal days is the easy answer, but we know that just leads to more hectic days when you return and that is assuming you are not thinking about work during your off day.

Maybe it’s just taking a walk outside to give your brain a rest while you give your body a little exercise. 

One thing I’ve done for a few years is playing basketball in the morning twice a week with a group of friends. We affectionately call it the “Tuesday Morning Basketball” league or “TMB” for short. We have even made socks and car stickers for everyone who plays. It’s something we bond over after we finish playing and continue the “group chat” on our phones throughout the week.

We try to get together for lunch at a new place every Friday and talk about things not related to our jobs. It’s a group that uplifts each other much like a support group. We all could use a group like this, a group of people cheering us on and who’s there to help. 

In this group, I’m the only attorney. It’s refreshing to find a group that talks about things outside my legal world bubble.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the law. I grew up surrounded by it and will never change professions, but it is stimulating to talk with Realtors, builders, bankers, stockbrokers, engineers, etc.

Because of these friendships, I have learned about the stock market (albeit it a beginner’s understanding at best), real estate trends and I’ve even gotten back into playing tennis and chess. 

We usually like the people we work with and it’s a blessing to work with people you consider your friends. However, in this COVID era, try something new.

Join an investors club and learn why AMC Theatres and GameStop stocks shot up faster than a rocket; watch “The Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix and learn to play chess; take up a new sport; or finish that book you started (“Hamilton” for me).

Find an outlet outside of the legal community that gives your brain a rest from legal analysis and otherwise engages you.

You might find that a new hobby is just what you need to reset your state of mind. Whatever it is, take time for you and as Tom Haverford said in Parks and Rec: “Treat yo’self!”

Teddy Foster is an attorney at Morgan & Morgan focusing on personal injury litigation.