Young Lawyers Division, 0816 UTBJ, Vol. 29, No. 4. 60

AuthorJaelynn R. Jenkins, J.

Young Lawyers Division

Vol. 29 No. 4 Pg. 60

Utah Bar Journal

August, 2016

July, 2016

Fit2PracticeUtah: A Health and Wellness Initiative

Jaelynn R. Jenkins, J.

If you haven’t already heard, members of the legal profession rank as some of the most depressed professionals in the nation – a sort of “lawyers’ epidemic,” if you will.[1] Common symptoms of this epidemic include fatigue, interpersonal sensitivity, hostility, excessive drinking and or drug use, suicidal ideation, appetite loss, racing hearts, increase in miscarriages, ulcers, coronary heart artery disease, hypertension, and a cacophony of additional and equally undesirable manifestations.[2] With such a lengthy list of these professional “opportunities,” it is no wonder that the ranks of lawyers are filled with the unhappy, and where empirical and experimental evidence shows that “being unhappy or unsatisfied with one’s professional life is correlated with risky or unethical and unprofessional behavior,”[3] this is an epidemic that cannot be ignored.

In an attempt to address these issues head on, the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) of Utah is pleased to announce its yearlong initiative – Fit2PracticeUtah. This program, modeled after the ABA YLD’s Fit2Practice, is a health and wellness initiative that seeks to educate and inform young lawyers and the legal community about the professional benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and encourage lawyers to make one small change. The initiative highlights four areas: sleep, nutrition, fitness, and mental health for the following reasons: 1. Sleep improves memory, the quality of work product, sharpens attention, increases productivity, spurs creativity, boosts moods, and builds a stronger immunity. All desirable benefits for a fatigued lawyer.

2. Proper nutrition contributes to heart health and brain health, reinforces the immune system, and provides fuel to perform daily tasks. What you eat will also influence your mood, improve concentration, alertness, productivity, and problem-solving skills. Noticing a pattern?

3. Improved physical fitness means better concentration, sharper memory, faster learning, prolonged mental stamina, enhanced creativity, and lower stress levels. Yet another list of traits every lawyer craves.

4. Finally, the benefits of improved mental health or “mindfulness” results in an increased ability to regulate focus and emotions. Increased...

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