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.
Russell Lewis, Partner-in-Charge of the firm's Houston office, reflects on his wellness journey during the pandemic:
What has been your biggest wellness (mental, emotional, or physical) challenge over the past year, and how have you addressed it?
Particularly during the early days of the pandemic when everyone worked remotely at all times, the lines between work and personal time became exceedingly blurred. I found it difficult to break away from my remote office and “turn off” at any point. Combined with all the external worries and stressors, it was mentally and physically exhausting. After a few weeks of depressing reports from my smart watch’s health tracker, I finally forced myself to take periodic breaks to walk around the neighborhood or get some other form of exercise. That helped, as did working from the office on certain days when that became possible. I also began taking more frequent bicycle rides with my daughter, which has provided some much needed exercise and been a bright spot during a pretty difficult time.
How does a commitment to your personal wellness make you a happier person or better professional?
I think it’s important to establish some level of balance. If you don’t, you will burn out and suffer both physically and mentally. On days where I exercise, I am more motivated and more productive.
What wellness habits have you adopted over the past year? What wellness habits would you like to adopt?
I’ve managed to replace my pre-Covid exercise routine with more outdoor activities – bicycling with my daughter, hiking with my family and dog etc.… (who knew Houston had places to hike?) But I would really like to become comfortable going to a gym again. I miss doing that, but it doesn’t seem like a great idea right now.
Who in your life is or has been key to your wellness, whether they provide emotional support, encourage you to take that bike ride, or otherwise help you focus on and improve your wellness?
My family. Fortunately, two school-aged kids will keep you very busy with sports and other activities. That also helps to keep things balanced and in perspective.
What recommendations do you have for others to improve their mental or physical health, resilience, or emotional wellbeing?
Set aside some time for yourself throughout the week. Put it on your calendar if you must, but commit to keeping it open so that you can refresh and recharge. With remote work, it can feel almost impossible to get away. But, in the long run, you will be a happier, healthier, and more productive person if you can find a way to decompress.
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