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The one thing that you have to do today: ask R U OK?

The one thing that you have to do today: ask R U OK?

By LIV President Belinda Wilson

Wellbeing 

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Today is R U OK day, a day to raise awareness that any one of us can struggle with life’s challenges at any stage, and that it is so important to reach out to our friends and colleagues.

The Hon Chief Justice Marilyn Warren AC has said that “the law can be a very demanding and combative profession”. That summary is spot on. Every day we are taking on other people’s problems, we are constantly in the public eye, and our work is always being scrutinised.

Sometimes we are dealing with impossibly difficult cases, challenging people and clients, and situations where there can only be one successful party.

The daily grind can be challenging, but we enter the profession wanting to test our limits and to make a difference for our clients, and society at large. However, none of us signed up for compromising our own health and wellbeing.

Resilience in our line of work is necessary, but so too is being able to reach out. Both reaching out for help, and reaching out to those that may need help.

What can you do to make a difference to your life, and others’?

  • Simply ask “Are you OK?”. Such a simple question, and a sympathetic and supportive ear, can be life changing. Sometimes the question needs to be asked before someone is willing to open up. In my experience, I often have to ask it twice. Once to receive the “I’m fine” statement, and the second time to get the real story.
     
  • Do something for yourself. You don’t need much time or money to make a difference. Go for a walk, visit an art gallery, dose up on good chocolate and just put yourself first. We spend a large part of our day looking after our clients and putting their needs first. When is the last time you did something for yourself?
     
  • Join a group or catch up with friends. For me I have been lucky enough to do both through BottledSnail. BottledSnail is not just about exploring your hidden talents, be it singing, acting or comedy, but addressing wellness for the beginning by ensuring that you do something that makes you feel good.
     
  • Speak to a professional. Did you know that the LIV has a service that is free for all members and their family to enable them to get one on one help with a professional? Our new service through Converge International provides confidential advice that covers a huge range of areas including nutritional advice…quite handy if you listened to my earlier advice on good chocolate.
     
  • Check out the available resources. There are so many resources that have been established, especially those that have been designed for our profession. Wellbeing and the Law (WATL) a LIV and VicBar initiative was set up a number of years ago to provide tailored support for our profession. The LIV also has a whole set of tools to help you in your professional life. 

We don’t have to always be OK, but we do need to know when we need to take a breath and have a chat. R U OK?


Disclaimer: Views expressed by commentators are not necessarily endorsed by the Law Institute of Victoria Ltd (LIV). No responsibility is accepted by the LIV for the accuracy of information contained in the comments and the LIV expressly disclaims any liability for, with respect to or arising from any such views.

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