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.
Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Partner in the firm's Washington, D.C. office, reflects on her wellness journey during the pandemic:
What has been your biggest wellness (mental, emotional, or physical) triumph over the past year and a half, or what wellness achievement are you most proud of?
I’ve really needed to find ways to keep moving! I am fully obsessed with counting my steps and my rescue dogs are my partners in making sure I get those steps in. I logged most of my pandemic foot miles with Butters, our senior golden retriever rescue, and with Cash, our adopted 20 month old shepherd mix. I kept my walks interesting by trying a new park every few weeks – this helped me reconnect with my own community. I walked in Great Falls Park, Seneca Park, Claude Moore Park, and my all-time favorite, Algonkian Park, as well as Mary’s Walk in the Shenandoah Valley. My phone is full of nature photos!
We lost Butters in late August 2021 at age 14 plus, but within a week we rescued a 2 year old lab mix named Hope! I thought her name was just right for the times we’re in – we all need a little Hope don’t we?
How does a commitment to your personal wellness make you a happier person or better professional?
My 18 year old son gave me wireless earbuds which were an overdue technology upgrade for someone like me who likes to walk and talk! Now, I more safely chat with friends and family while walking the dogs. It probably is too much multi-tasking, but as a busy attorney and parent, when am I not multitasking? I’ve found that getting in steps and talking to someone I care about keeps me upbeat and positive, and allows me mental space to focus on my clients and work when I’m at the computer.
What wellness habits have you adopted over the past year? What wellness habits would you like to adopt?
I am someone who for 25 plus years was mostly “in the office” or “on the road.” Working from home was a real shock to my system initially – I still remember setting up a home office, and thinking – “well, this will work for a few weeks.” I never would have thought I’d still be working from home today. The surprising wellness part of the pandemic for me was getting to spend a year plus with my senior dog Butters, and my high school senior son Sean – who took most of his school year remotely. I really felt engaged in my son’s life, in that I was physically present more than ever before, and of course this extra time helped becoming empty nesters this August a little easier.
What wellness resources have been most helpful to you over the past year?
I really enjoyed doing two virtual rescue animal fundraising walks in 2020 and am signed up to do them both again this Fall. Both organizations used really engaging fundraising apps and connected me with other passionate animal rescuers! Oh, and did I mention my smart watch for counting steps? And yes, for me Instagram is a wellness resource! I started two hashtags during the pandemic: #buttersandcash, and now, #hopeandcash - for my rescue dog adventures. Follow us!
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