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In the last edition of Views with Veta, I  wrote about the various hats we’re now  wearing — from executive to pet groomer to hair colorist — as we work from home during the global pandemic that has unfortunately  redefined  our “new normal.” In times like these, when our homes are our offices, classrooms, entertainment venues, restaurants, and more, it is especially crucial that we do not get so consumed with caring for others that we fail to carve out time for ourselves. 


Self-care requires self-action 
We all know it’s important to take care of ourselves by getting enough exercise and sleep, eating right, and having regular health check-ups. But are we also taking time to feed our “souls” by reading a good book, listening to our favorite music,  or allowing time to daydream? In today’s busy world, activities like these that support our own “self-care” can seem like an overindulgence. 

Self-care is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.” I feel like this definition perfectly sums up how we must approach this moment in history in order to survive and mentally and physically, thrive. 


Taking care of self

With days that are filled with so many competing priorities and responsibilities engaging in acts of self-care may feel easier said than done. I hope that sharing my personal efforts to make my own self-care a priority will help you find ways to make yours a priority too. 

Getting my mind right 
My self-care routine starts with my mental health; putting myself in the right frame of mind for whatever the day brings. First and foremost, this begins with writing in my gratitude journal each morning over a cup of coffee. These precious few minutes of quiet time allow me to reflect on the many things for which I’m thankful. This includes all the wonderful experiences and people who are part of my life — both past and present. Sometimes I journal about the things I look forward to, be it a vacation, a play I’ve been wanting to see, or an upcoming virtual conversation with family or friends. 

This gratitude journal is an important part of my day and fuels my ability to focus and remain hopeful. It’s easy to feel disheartened by all the news of people who are sick, losing their jobs, or simply not able to get the things they need to be OK because of the impact of coronavirus. Putting all of that aside to focus on being grateful for my “here and now” can truly be therapeutic. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or fearful because of all the negative news, I encourage you to try keeping a gratitude journal. It doesn’t have to be a long entry, or even a daily activity. You could start with writing down one thing you are grateful for today and building day-by-day from there. Perhaps you'd like to begin your journey with this free online Private Gratitude Journal from

Making my workouts more satisfying 
Many of us have had our routines interrupted, to say the least. If you are used to going to the gym before or after work, or typically enjoy a mid-day workout with coworkers or friends, you may have found it difficult to workout at home. One fun way I’ve enjoyed continuing to get my exercise is through gardening. Anyone who has pulled weeds, pruned hedges, raked and mulched beds, and planted flowers knows how physical gardening is. Plus, my yard has never looked better. Being able to enjoy a day outside working in the sunshine is a simple pleasure that I have grown to treasure.

And, for those not-so-sunny days, I purchased a small treadmill as to not miss a beat. In fact, I promised myself to walk on the treadmill at least 15 minutes each day. So far, so good! Walking is a very simple way to get in exercise and clear my head of all the “clutter,” at least for a little while.
Organizing while nesting
 The need to declutter, especially being home 24/7, has made me more conscious of my environment and to want my time at home to feel more satisfying. All those nagging household projects that I never “found” time to get around to doing — like cleaning out a closet, redecorating the powder room, or boxing up items for the trash or donation — have all started to get done. Given how heavy those boxes for donation can be, it is also proving quite the weekend workout. But most of all, crossing these tasks off the “to do” list has offered a comforting sense of accomplishment and control. 

Achieving a sense of balance and control
In times like these, when so much is not within our control, not even when we can leave our own homes, seeing a once messy closet now perfectly organized, or a flower bed completely clear of weeds, provides a strong sense of  satisfaction. As the sweet smell of lilac blooms reaches my porch, this spring, I am truly enjoying the fruits of my labor, and I can’t wait to watch the rest of my flower beds blossom in the sunshine. We can plant a seed, help it grow, and enjoy its beauty, all on our own and in our own time. 

What is self-care, for you? 
Each of us will find our way to personal self-care through different actions. But it is essential to find small ways to check in with ourselves, to carve out a little time just for us. 

Whether you choose to write in a journal, take a walk, drink coffee in the early morning on your porch or enjoy a bubble bath — whatever allows you a quiet time to breathe and not think about all the things going on in the world, even if just for a moment — do it. We all need that chance to slow down and renew ourselves through self-care in order to get through the demands of the day, week, or month. 

I’ve shared a few of the ways that I keep myself mentally and physically well. How are you practicing self-care? I would love to hear your tips and share your suggestions with the ACC community!

Further, many of your organizations are doing innovative things and supporting the legal community and beyond during this time. Please take a moment to tell us about those initiatives, and perhaps spotlight your colleagues. Thanks again for keeping in touch. 

Take (self) care and remain hopeful.  


views with veta logo

Periodically, ACC President & CEO Veta T. Richardson interviews innovative leaders in the business community. If you or someone you know is doing something note-worthy in the legal world or beyond, if you have a story to tell, or if there's a topic you'd like to see Veta explore, we would love to hear from you!

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