If you are feeling anxious or stressed, you are in good company. The coronavirus is a triple threat of worry. We are concerned for our health, the safety of family and friends, and the viability of our practices. What can we do?
Don’t Brush it Off
Before you tune out … Are you having difficulty concentrating? Been making small mistakes? Is doing work the last thing you want to deal with right now? Do you sense staff or colleagues might be having some of these reactions?
Please read this post. Even if you’re powering through this like a champ, someone else may not be.
Make Safe Social Connections
Make regular phone calls – to colleagues, clients, friends, and family. Send texts, email, video conference. Do more than conduct business when reaching out for work. Offer support. You’ll get it back in return. It’s not just a saying – we really are in this together.
Once you start the habit of connecting, keep it up. Use your calendar to schedule time for daily calls and contacts.
Get Up and Out
Get out of the house. Take advantage of the uplifting benefits of going on walks with household family members or pets. If the situation dictates, walk alone. Give a friendly wave or exchange a few words at a distance with others who are out and about.
Take Care of Yourself
Walking will help. So will turning off the news and putting down devices. Keep a regular sleep schedule. Eat healthy.
Dodge the Myths, Rumors, and Hype
Rely on official sources for information, including your county health department, Oregon Health Authority, and Centers for Disease Control. Check out the World Health Organization myth busters page.
Ask a Lawyer Who Knows
If you feel overwhelmed, anxious, or just want to talk to someone who can relate to you, call the Oregon Attorney Assistance Program. The OAAP is open for business. Call or schedule a video conference with an attorney counselor today.
OAAP services are free and confidential. Each OAAP attorney counselor is both a lawyer and a counselor. They’ve been there, they are there, and they understand what you’re facing.
Call the OAAP at 503.226.1057 or 800.321.6227 (toll-free), email one of the attorney counselors, or visit the OAAP website. You can also reach out to your county health authority’s COVID-19 hotline.
Even when some things are out of our control, there are always things that we as individuals and communities can control.
Wise words from Deschutes County Public Health Authority.
- Follow physical health recommendations made by the experts.
- Read tomorrow’s post on suggestions for how to work remotely.
- Schedule phone calls and other social and professional connections as noted above.
- Review and prioritize work to do on specific files. Make a to-do list, then transfer the to-dos to your calendar by scheduling appointments with files to get the work done.
- Remember to make time on your calendar to do admin tasks like billing. Set aside dates/times to get statements out. Feeling guilty about billing clients right now? Offer payment plans. You have a family to support as well.
- Address concerns about getting new clients by revisiting your marketing plan. People still need legal advice, perhaps more so now. Be creative. Change up how you meet, interview, and collect documents. Use technology whenever you can. When you can’t, seek out alternatives. They may not be ideal, but if they work, so what? For example, sending a non-tech potential client a postage-paid manila envelope to obtain papers. (Remind clients to let mail sit without physical contact to protect their health, then take your own advice. The virus survives on surfaces for varying amounts of time. See tomorrow’s post on working remotely.)
- Most trials and hearings are postponed until June 1, 2020. Statutes of limitation and rule-based deadlines are likely to be suspended. Our Chief Justice is seeking legislative authority to do this now. Video and phone appearances are likely to be the norm in the near future.
Tips for Parents from DCPHA*
Remain calm and reassuring. If true, emphasize to your children that they and your family are fine.
Make yourself available. Let your children talk and give them plenty of time and attention.
Talk to children in language they can understand. The CDC suggests telling children that, from what doctors have seen so far, most kids aren’t getting very sick. In fact, most people who have gotten COVID-19 haven’t gotten very sick. Only a small group have had serious problems. Keep the conversation going. Make time to check in regularly as the situation develops. Take cues from your child if they become afraid or overwhelmed offer comfort. If you need help, seek professional health.
Avoid language that stigmatizes or assigns blame. Remind children that viruses can make anyone sick, regardless of a person’s race, ethnicity or national origin. Monitor television viewing and social media. Try to limit children’s exposure to media and talk about what they are seeing. Use only reliable sources of information.
Teach strategies to prevent infection. Remind children to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs) when they come in from outside, before they eat, and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing, or using the bathroom. Find more information, visit this resource.
Maintain healthy behaviors and household routines. Serve nutritious meals, encourage adequate sleep and exercise, and maintain household routines to the extent possible.
When to Seek Help
Seek help if you’re struggling with persistent inability to sleep, increasing drug or alcohol use, an overwhelming sense of depression or panic, urges to harm yourself or others, or an inability to take care of yourself or those who depend on you.
Find help in your area
Find online help or crisis services here.
Reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1.800.273.TALK (8255) (available 24/7).
All Rights Reserved 2020 Beverly Michaelis with enormous appreciation to *Deschutes County Public Health Authority for their helpful words, suggestions for parents, and inspiration to write this post.