Created in 2016, Cumberland’s academic support program has been an integral part of its students’ experience, and director Lynn Hogewood ’93, J.D. ‘03 has been crucial to its success.
An energetic and passionate advocate for students, Hogewood works with faculty and staff to develop programming to help first-year students adjust, to help struggling and at-risk students succeed, and to implement intentional and direct communication with students as they prepare for the bar exam.
To complement her, role and stemmed from her own passion for health and wellness, Hogewood has initiated a series titled Contemplative and Mindful Lawyering with a goal to provide opportunities for students, and alumni alike, to enhance learning, lawyering and wellness in the practice of law.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hogewood’s initiatives have become even more important to the Cumberland community.
“I have known and witnessed the importance of health and wellness for academic success and general life satisfaction – career or otherwise,” Hogewood said. “Over the last three weeks, I have become even more acutely aware of the significance of maintaining health and wellness during times of adjustment, uncertainty or crisis – we have all been experiencing these in some form.”
Hogewood expressed that she has personally used all of the tools that she is aware of during the quarantine to maintain her own health and wellness.
She has put together a list of resources and suggestions for maintaining health and well-being. In short, she suggests making a routine, planning activity that promotes the entire well-being, connecting with others, getting outside, and resting.
Here are some reminders and additional resources to help you balance health and wellness during this unprecedented time:
To maintain a sense of balance, keeping a regular routine is the starting point for health and wellness. For some, that means scheduling every move. For others, being flexible with routine is important. Regardless of your best methods, establishing routine can equal to establishing balance. We cannot control everything going on in our worlds right now, or ever, for that matter. But, a daily routine can help us feel more in control of ourselves. Routine can help with balancing life, maintaining mental health, forming healthy habits, reducing stress and coping with change.
A good routine needs to include activity, perhaps daily, in all of these areas of your being.
Our spiritual wellness can be obtained through religious practices and through forgiveness, gratitude, empathy, compassion and kindness. Set some time to pause each day for a spiritual practice that fills your spirit and renews your energy. Perhaps you begin the day with prayer, devotion, or meditation; or, perhaps you verbalize things you are grateful for in that day or you lend a helping hand out of kindness to someone in need. The scientific studies show that spiritual practices done in as little as five minutes a day reduce anxiety and depression and increase overall health and well-being.
Nourishing your body through physical activity and healthy eating is critical for overall wellness. Consume foods that digest well for you. Sweat out toxins and stress. Schedule time for exercise and healthy meals. When we nourish our bodies, we feel stronger to handle life as it comes. We may literally be stronger as well.
Being able to manage our emotions and having positive outlets for expressing and dealing with emotions allow us to be more realistic and to maintain positivity about ourselves and our circumstances. Having emotions is a beautiful thing; managing emotions is equally beautiful. We can deal with life stressors better. Holding onto our emotions causes more anxiety, insomnia, and digestion and heart issues. Take time to gain perspective – pause, instead of letting the emotions spiral. Take the time to feel things and seek extra support if you find yourself spiraling into the emotions rather than managing them.
Challenging your mind should be part of your routine to maintain health and wellness. Engage in learning. Tap into cultural or creative activities. Expand your knowledge. Embrace your curiosity. Taking the time to exercise your mind allows for a focus and produces a shift in perspective that can create better balance in life.
We are made for connection and relationship. Part of your routine and activity must include connecting with another human by phone, FaceTime, Zoom, WebEx – in a social way, not in a work way. Research shows that regardless of extrovert or introvert, those people who have meaningful social relationships are healthier and happier. Perhaps you could schedule an activity that supports your connection: an accountability or prayer partner for your spirit; a social-distancing walk around the neighborhood with someone in your household or a neighbor for your body; a phone call with a friend to simply catch up for your emotions; or an online book club or game of scrabble for your mind.
Get outside. Vitamin D, nature – birds, trees, flowers, sunrise, sunset, moonlight – these are all good for the soul. Science supports that nature heals, soothes, and restores. Something magical can happen in the soul when we pause to notice the world around us. A breath of fresh air, a sunrise, a sunset, the sound of the birds or the rain can connect the senses and bring awareness and gratitude for the moment. With that, we can better balance our health and wellness.
With the volume of information we are receiving, the adjustments we are making, the uncertainty we have before us, and the crisis of this pandemic, our minds and bodies are absorbing a huge amount of energy right now. You may have felt more tired than normal, and this is your body reacting to the big energy of this time. Rest and sleep increase productivity and concentration and overall health and wellness. The studies on sleep are well-known and research about the benefits are solid. Part of having a routine is even scheduling rest – a mid-day nap, intentional disconnection from screens, and specific bedtime scheduling can greatly improve health and wellness.
American Bar Association COVID-19 Mental Health Resources
American Bar Association Pandemic Resources for Lawyers and Law Firms
American Bar Association for Law Students: Discovering the science of well-being for lawyers
Ten Ways to Take Care of Yourself as demonstrated by Canine Companions
Mental Health & COVID-19 published by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
Seven Dimensions of Wellness published by Alive.com
Health Benefits of Having a Routine published by Northwestern Medicine
The Mental Wellness Routine That Will Change Your Life published by Psychology Today
Why Sleep Is Essential For Health published by Medical News Today
Tips to Stay Healthy When You're Stuck at Home Right Now published by EatingWell
The Positive Effects of Nature On Your Mental Well-Being published by PositivePsychology.com
The Science Behind How Nature Affects Your Health published by Forbes.com