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Really? A Philodendron?

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Contributing Author: Kirsten Pabst, NDAA Well-being Task Force Chair I was on my treadmill, watching scenic videos, and catching up on my “Listen Later” files and came across a TEDx Talk by a Scottish doctor named David Reilly, called Human Healing Unlocked: transforming suffering into wellbeing . He was talking about when it comes to healing how humans could learn from plants. I’d never thought about our wellbeing in the context of horticulture, plus I had 15 more minutes to burn, so I gave it a listen. Photo Credit: Pixabay Dr. Reilly emphasized a plant’s inherent drive to live and thrive and reminded listeners that seeds, which had been ...
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Contributing Author: Members of NDAA’s Well-being Task Force Photo credit: Philip Steury/iStock At a recent task force meeting, one of our members asked whether we’d read a particular book that the member found inspirational. We soon began bouncing around titles that we found enlightening or useful on our own wellbeing journeys. We quickly agreed it might be useful to compile and share our current favorite titles and hear what recommendations you would add to the list. Here are some of the books that made a difference for us. Kirsten Pabst, Well-being Task Force Chair, Missoula County Attorney, Missoula Montana: Dare to Lead , ...
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Contributing Author: Wendy L. Patrick, Deputy District Attorney, San Diego County (CA) Photo credit: tommaso79/iStock P rosecution work is characterized by stress and unpredictability — both of which can lead to negative emotions, which in turn can lead to interpersonal difficulties and unhealthy methods of coping. Wouldn´t it be great if there was a way to counteract the emotional toll suffered by working under constant stress and improve your attitude? Good news: research shows that for many people, improving your mood can be as simple as changing your routine. Mood Matters Remember those clever rings that many of us grew up ...
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Contributing Author: Lou Anna Red Corn, Fayette (KY) Commonwealth Attorney Photo credit: Ridofranz/iStock Y ou already know about exercising discretion, exercising independent judgment, and exercising diligence in the pursuit of justice. We all recognize these exercises are fundamental, but what about exercise in general? The pursuit of well-being is multi-dimensional. This means that well-being includes emotional, occupational, intellectual, social, spiritual, and physical well-being. Regular physical activity or exercise contributes to each of these components. In the last few years, we have come to recognize that well-being is ...
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Contributing Author: Elizabeth Ortiz, APAAC Executive Director, Phoenix (AZ) Photo credit: jacoblund/iStock (Or … everything I needed to know about wellness I learned in kindergarten) I reached (another!) milestone birthday in 2021. As has become our custom, I celebrated in big and small ways with friends. Those celebrations meant so much to me. The import of this birthday, perhaps amplified by the pandemic, caused me to reflect on how much I value the friends who have provided a daily lifeline and supported me in my quest for wellness. Upon reflection, I realized that this support is not new to my current (mid-life) friends. Throughout ...
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Take A Spiritual Walk

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Contributing Author: William P. Ring, County Attorney, Coconino County Attorney’s Office (AZ) Photo credit: peterschreiber.media/iStock In 1704, the Colony of Connecticut established the first prosecutorial office with express standards for the character of the prosecutor: “Henceforth, there shall be in every county, a sober, discreet, and religious person appointed by the county courts to be the attorney for the Queen, to prosecute and implead in the law all criminals and to do all other things necessary or convenient as an attorney to suppress vice and immorality.” — John J. Douglass, Ethical Issues in Prosecution, National College ...
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Contributing Author: Kirsten Pabst, NDAA Well-being Task Force Chair There is no shortage of bad-meeting memes. “There goes an hour of my life I’ll never get back” “I survived another 60-minute meeting that should have been a 30-second email” or my favorite: “So, in conclusion, we didn’t really need this meeting but I got my power fix for the day” We’ve all heard the phrase death by meetings and in our profession it’s a real thing. As the pandemic-related, zoom-facilitated ability to meet without even being in the same room overtakes our calendars, our time to do all things other than work-talk seems to be dwindling. Photo credit: ...
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Contributing Author: Lou Anna Red Corn, Fayette (KY) Commonwealth Attorney Photo credit: Chinnapong/iStock I t’s January and you know what that means? It’s National Oatmeal Month according to the internet. I’m not sure if this is a real thing or not, but since the point of making healthy change is associated with the new year — and eating whole grains is healthy — let’s go with it! When it comes to “poor food choices” as a group, prosecutors during a big trial are in a league of their own. Take a moment to recall what you ate during your last jury trial. If you started your day with a pop-tart, guzzled a cola during lunch ...
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Contributing Author: Joyce E. Dudley, District Attorney, Santa Barbara County (CA) Photo credit: RomoloTavani/iStock As 2021 comes to an end I find myself counting my blessings even, or perhaps especially because of the difficult year and job that we all share. Everyone reading this article knows how helpless a crime victim can feel; be they an actual victim, the loved one of a victim or someone whose fear of crime keeps them isolated. Every day we see the devastating effects of crime and the toll it takes on our communities. After almost 32 years of doing this work I also understand the impact it has on all of us and our ...
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Contributing Author: Wendy L. Patrick, Deputy District Attorney, San Diego County (CA) Photo credit: Hermes Rivera/Unsplash As prosecutors, we have jobs that require us to view explicit, often very graphic, unsettling evidence. You can’t simply avert your eyes because a child’s safety is at stake, and a criminal must be brought to justice. Nonetheless, there are ways to guard your senses and your sensibility in strategizing how to work sensitive cases. You don’t want to have these images pop up and one of the video clips start running through your mind at the family dinner table, causing you to become quiet and withdrawn. On the other hand, ...
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Contributing Author: Meri Althauser, Workplace Wellness Specialist, National Wellness Institute & Resilience and Thriving Facilitator, Organizational Wellness and Learning Systems Photo credit: iStock Photo If it seems like these days more people than usual are stressed, hard to get along with, or quick to get petty or selfish, you’re not alone. A common stressor that comes in high on the list of attorney stressors is dealing with difficult people. I’m surprised each week with the new things folks devote their mental energy to. Did I really go to law school to help people spend three attorneys’ time arguing about meeting at the south ...
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Contributing Author: Meri Althauser , Workplace Wellness Specialist, National Wellness Institute & Resilience and Thriving Facilitator, Organizational Wellness and Learning Systems Photo credit: DimaBerkut/iStock As we go back to work, it’s not uncommon to be fearful of the future: of going back to… “THE BEFORE.” We were scheduled to the gills. We didn’t see our families. We worked without pets and children and didn’t cultivate sourdough starter in order to throw it out weeks later. (Okay maybe that one is less important). Here are five quick activities to identify the Pandemic Pros and to make plans to keep them in your routine even ...
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Two Handles

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Contributing Author: Kirsten Pabst, NDAA Well-being Task Force Chair Epictetus — an ancient model of practical resilience — was born a slave, to a slave, in a place that is now somewhere in Turkey. One story of his childhood, relayed by modern day philosopher and host of The Daily Stoic , Ryan Holiday , tells that as a child, a cruel and capricious master bought Epictetus and subjected him to severe abuse. One day, the master grabbed the young boy’s leg and started twisting it with as much force as he could. Epictetus repeatedly said, “You are going to break my leg. You are going to break my leg.” The master continued to twist and the limb gave way ...
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Contributing Author: Anonymous Prosecutor Photo credit: globalmoments/iStock Every day, I think about my daughter being sexually abused. She just turned three in July and I can say with full confidence that she has not been sexually abused. But because of my job, every single day I think about the chance that she might one day be sexually abused. Before she was even born, I vetoed the request from her uncle that she be permitted a sleepover with him when she was old enough. I’ve seen too many of those cases. Because I’ve prosecuted that case where the father molested the child while lying with her in bed at night, I am uncomfortable ...
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Contributing Author: Meri Althauser, Workplace Wellness Specialist, National Wellness Institute & Resilience and Thriving Facilitator, Organizational Wellness and Learning Systems Photo credit: Jared Rice/Unsplash It was the first day of in-person school, 2020. I was both excited for the break and the opportunity for my kids to socialize again but was of course wondering how in the world it would ever work. My 7-year-old was nervous for her first day of school. She grabbed one of her kid’s mindfulness-meditation cards (solve the world’s problems with a deck of meditation prompts for kids! Zen in your house, only $25!) and plopped herself ...
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Contributing Author: John Hollway, Senior Fellow (Positive Psychology Center) & Associate Dean and Executive Director (Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice) Photo credit: pooiekoo /iStock As everyone in every industry struggles with returning to — well, whatever the heck it is we’re going to return to — the question that I, and a lot of the people I talk to, are asking themselves is — and I’m quoting here — “I really want to go back to the office. Except, of course, for the things that I hate about the office. How can we fix those things?” Video platforms have been a wonderful crutch in our time of need (unless ...
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Too Late for a Lifeline

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Contributing Author: Kirsten Pabst, NDAA Well-being Task Force Chair Photo credit: Külli Kittus/Unsplash I was sitting on the couch with my husband and youngest watching the latest episode of The Clone Wars , processing the never-ending supply of new email in my in-box when I noticed the subject line of a new coroner’s report displaying the decedent’s name in all caps, like they always do. But this wasn’t just a name on a document, it was a gut punch. The name conjured an old, wrinkly face and warm smile. I quickly closed my laptop, as if hiding the document would somehow make the loss of my mentor and fellow attorney less real. When ...
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Contributing Author: Mary Ashley, NDAA Well-being Task Force Vice Chair Photo credit: Jazmin Quaynor/Unsplash H ave you ever started a new diet? A new fitness regimen? A new routine of any kind? If so, you know the concept of “today is day one” of whatever your new plan is going to be. Now, have you ever fallen off that new plan, program or regimen? Did you beat yourself up about it? Think you had failed? Never try again? Think again. That was merely one day. With a play on two words, your whole outlook can change. It was during a peer support team training class on psychological first aid that I became familiar with the “one day/day one” ...
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Contributing Author: Susan Broderick, Program Director, NDAA Pictured: Susan & Her Mother A recent survey of lawyers from California and Washington, D.C. confirmed that there are significantly high rates of stress and heavy alcohol use within the legal profession. In “ Stress, Drink, Leave: An examination of gender-specific risk factors for mental health problems and attrition among licensed attorneys ,” researchers found that the legal profession in the United States is in the midst of a “cultural reckoning” related to the mental health and well-being of its members. The survey also indicated that the prevalence and severity of depression, ...
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Contributing Author: Mary Ashley, NDAA Well-being Task Force Vice Chair Photo credit: Aron Visuals/Unsplash It was during a pretty low-key weekend, channel surfing in between the last days of the 2021 Summer Olympic games and sampling some new Netflix when I came across the 2020/2021 National Football League Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies. Ok, I am honestly the last person to have likely landed on that channel, let alone staying on the channel to watch a few speeches. Not to say I don’t like football, let’s just say I’m not an obsessive football season fan. Seeing my beloved Trojans play on a Saturday or two? Absolutely. A chance to ...
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