CBA Record March-April 2020
LPMT BITS & BYTES BY ANNE HAAG Hang in There: Wellness Tips for Surviving the Last Days of Winter (Editor’s Note: This article was written and set in type before the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic).
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Take a deeper dive into lawyer well- ness, watch Anne’s free video, “Boost Your Wellness During the Winter Home Stretch” at https://lpmt.chi- cagobar.org/how-to-video-library. To earn 0.5 Mental Health & Substance Abuse IL PR-MCLE Credit, watch the on demand video available at www. chicagobar.org/cle. Of course, clinical symptoms of depres- sion aren’t going to be cured by enrolling in a ceramics class. If you find your symptoms rising to this level, a mental health profes- sional is in the best position to help. The tips above can’t hurt, but they aren’t meant to take the place of professional treatment. The Lawyers’ Assistance Program is always there to help. Their services are always free and confidential. Visit https://illinoislap. org. Be sure to ask about their free yoga classes in the Loop. training required. It gives the stressed dog a break from the chaotic kennel environment of a shelter for a few hours, and it’s a lot of fun for you! I’ve written in this column about the importance of sleep before, but it bears repeating. You should be sleeping around seven hours per night. If you fall short of that mark regularly, you’re putting yourself in a dangerous position. Sleep disruption contributes to all psychiatric conditions. It can leave you feeling emotionally irritable, and can even sabotage your ability to learn and absorb new information. If you’re prone to SAD or the winter blues, making sleep a priority can help boost your ability to mitigate your symptoms. The rates for classified ads are $2.50 per word for CBA members and $3.50 per word for nonmem- bers. Checks payable toThe Chicago Bar Associa- tion must accompany all ads. Mail to: Classified Ads, c/o CBARecord, 321 South Plymouth Court, Chicago, IL 60604-3997.
M arch can be one of the most mentally challenging winter months in Chicago. Spring is right around the corner (promise!), but the weather outside your window likely remains cold, damp, and maybe even snowy. The days are slowly getting longer, but not quite enough to get your circadian rhythm back to its natural state of sleeping when it’s dark out and waking when it’s light. You’re probably feeling a little stir crazy, sluggish, and maybe even a little down. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a subset of clinical depression in which symp- toms of depression manifest cyclically with the seasons.The exact cause of SAD remains unknown, but most theories revolve around the brain’s under-production of Vitamin D and over-production of melatonin during the winter months. Many individuals expe- rience symptoms of SAD, but only about 5 percent of Americans’ symptoms qualify for the clinical diagnosis. Whether or not your symptoms meet that threshold, by this point in the year you’re probably feeling a bit worn out by winter. So, what can you do to deal with these feelings while you await the first sign of daffodils? Light therapy has been a mainstay of SAD treatment for decades, in which an individual begins every morning by spend- ing 20-60 minutes in front of a special light box from fall until spring. The light, which Anne Haag is the CBA’s Law Practice Management Advisor, a certified crisis intervention counselor, and a volunteer withResilienceas a trauma- informed ER advocate for sexual assault survivors.
filters out ultraviolet rays but provides light around 20 times stronger than ordinary indoor lighting, helps replenish your vita- min D stores. You can also make an effort to eat foods high in Vitamin D (salmon, fortified dairy products, mushrooms, and egg yolks, among others) to help towards this end, though dietary intake alone is rarely sufficient. When the temperatures are hovering below freezing and there’s snow on the ground, it’s easy to talk yourself out of going to the gym. However, 30 minutes of exercise a day helps increase the brain’s production of serotonin. Try to resist that urge to stay home. If you get bored easily, try a subscription service like ClassPass that allows you to take a wide variety of classes without being locked into a location-based membership. It’s equally easy around this time to overindulge your introverted tendencies. Americans report being 31% more social in the summer than in the winter. This can add to feelings of social isolation that can exacerbate symptoms of depression. Registering for a cooking or art class (check out Sur Le Table, Lillstreet Art Center, or the Hyde Park Art Center) not only helps you learn a new skill, but it gets you out of the house and in a position where you can bond with others over a shared interest. Volunteering fits a similar need, and it doesn’t have to be work related! If you enjoy spending time with animals (which has been proven to lower stress levels and blood pressure, while elevating levels of serotonin and dopamine), check out the Doggy Day Out program at Chicago Animal Care & Control. You email them to set up an appointment ahead of time to take a dog out for a field trip of your choosing – no
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