In an effort to promote wellness and mental health, we are pleased to introduce our Windows on Wellness series. Throughout the series, our lawyers and staff will discuss their biggest wellness challenges over the past year, and habits they’ve adopted or resources that have been valuable in improving their mental and physical wellbeing.
Sam Dibble, Partner-in-Charge of the firm's San Francisco office and West Coast Corporate Department Chair, reflects on his wellness journey during the pandemic:
At first, the bad news came fast and with increasing fury. One low point was March 13th (a Friday, of course). That’s the day that the San Francisco office and our kids’ schools closed. To make matters worse, it was the day before my oldest son, a high school junior, was scheduled to take the SAT. “Important Notice: Your March 2020 SAT Test Center Has Closed” was the subject line of the email that we received less than 24 hours before his test. The email promised a make-up test “soon”, but his subsequent tests were also cancelled.
For the rest of March, I ate my lunch watching news conferences with then-President Donald Trump, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx. These were informative, but not especially uplifting. Then, on April 1, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that all California schools would be closed until the next school year, which was more than five months away! I would say that April Fools’ Day was the lowest moment of the pandemic if it weren’t for the fact that the very next day my son’s high school removed all of the basketball rims from the school courts that we had been using as our regular source of exercise after work and school. That was the lowest point of the pandemic for us.
July 4th was the turning point for me and my family. That’s the day Bella, our new Labradoodle puppy, arrived. She immediately reintroduced laughter, joy and hope into our house. Even though we couldn’t socialize her with other dogs until she had all of her shots (our “second quarantine” as my wife likes to call it), we didn’t mind staying close to home to play with Bella and watch her grow. By August, Bella had all her shots and was ready to explore the world beyond the end of our driveway. We followed right along!
Bella is an energetic dog and she insists on multiple walks per day. We probably average about 6 miles of walking with her a day. On my wife’s birthday, we even took her on a 15 mile hike along the coast (she was tired after that one!) Bella has brought our family closer and encouraged us to look at each day as a new adventure – a very helpful mindset in dealing with the (still) ongoing pandemic. In the last year, we’ve taken advantage of the great hiking trails near our home in Marin County, rotating among those on the San Francisco Bay to those in the coastal mountains and valleys. In addition to giving me a natural break away from the computer to get some fresh air and exercise, my walks with Bella have brought me closer to my local neighborhood. While that can’t replace the community of great co-workers we are lucky to have in the San Francisco office, it has been nice to connect with a group of people outside of my immediate family while waiting for the day when our office community can gather again on a consistent basis.
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