Over the last few years, I have become more and more aware of the strains and stressors of living life as a lawyer. Our busy schedules and our work with complex cases often means that our self-care can take a hit. I know my own experience, and from talking to my colleagues also, that stress is a real thing that as lawyers we need to manage. This is why I have enlisted the help of mindfulness training specialist Cameron Aggs to do a whole series of mental health-related training dates with our team. Cam is a Clinical Psychologist who specialises in helping lawyers to improve their wellbeing and client engagement skills. My hope is that 2018 is going to see our whole team take their self-care and their work performance to new levels.

So far the thing I have learned about mindfulness from Cam is that I need to be kinder to myself in my inner-dialogue. This is something I think we can all do with support around. As a perfectionist I can be quite hard on myself. Yet with Cam, I realise that I truly am in a relationship with myself, and how I talk to myself matters. Is this true for you as well?

Often times I find that my clients can be very hard on themselves. It is devastating to go through a separation. I should know – I’ve been through one myself. The feelings of failure and guilt and regret can be so hard to overcome. Yet beating ourselves up or endlessly drowning in the misery of it all, as natural as this is, does not help us one bit.

I know it is natural to struggle emotionally during separation. What Cam is teaching us here at Collective Family Law Group is that whether it is the pain of separation or the stress of busy workloads, the key is to be gentle with ourselves and mindful of our inner-conversation. Should you feel like you are struggling emotionally during your separation, and the strain of that seems to much to bear, maybe consider seeing your GP and getting a referral to see a Clinical Psychologist. The fact is, if you are human you will experience some pain in your life. The point is not to live a life without pain, but rather about learning how to deal with it when it comes along. This is why we are working with Cameron – because we recognise our humanness, and I guess for me, I recognise that if I can give my staff the gift of mental health and stress reduction training, then not only will that be good for them but that the flow-on effect to our clients will be noticeable as well.

Caralee Fontenele