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Wellbeing and stress management, perspective from an Employed Barrister

With over 100 barristers registered to virtually attend the Bar Council’s wellbeing event on 24 February 2021, vice chair Rebecca Dix  shared some tips on how to maintain a healthy way of life and work space.

Rebecca joined the panel, hosted by the Chair, Theo Huckle QC, and leaders in their fields of Crime, Family and Chancery law. The 2 hour session provided an opportunity for the panel to remind barristers, clerks and pupils of the resources available within chambers, the employed bar and our website that provides a plethora of resources that are available for all members of the public to read.

As Deputy General Counsel at the Serious Fraud Office [SFO], Rebecca, referred to the Employee Assistance Programme, a source of support that is available at every employed practice. If you haven’t already looked into this resource please make it your priority to remind yourself of what your company can provide you and those that you manage.  Mental Health Allies and dedicated working groups are also established features of employed practice.

Here are some tips on how to ensure you provide an opportunity for employees to ‘take some time out’:

  • Coffee roulette: arrange randomly chosen coffee dates with people across the office; this could be just once a week or once a month but it provides a great way of taking some time to get to know new people and make a cup of tea/coffee while you do it. I tend to book out 30 minutes to 1 hour to do this every few weeks.
  • Engage with your wellbeing groups, at the SFO we organise a monthly tea and talk session for a wider group, again it often ends up being with people that you don’t ordinarily get a chance to socialise with at work.
  • Organise a virtual quiz or murder mystery.
  • Virtual step challenge [note 10,000 steps should be the minimum one person walks a day].
  • Create/invest in an online stress tool kit tailored to your industry.

Next month will be Stress Awareness month so in advance of that, why not take the time to ‘test your stress’ and consider the recommended ways to manage it. There are a number of these questionnaires on the internet and this is just one of many, Individual Stress Test – The Stress Management Society

The message from Rebecca’s talk was to:

  1. Try to identify your warning signs of stress. [That could be irritability, trouble sleeping, poor nutrition.]
  1. Test your stress with the stress tool kit   [This will provide some ideas on how to manage stress.]
  1. Take action [Be kind to yourself, this will take time; aim for 80/20 success.]

Rebecca is also a member of the Bar Association of Commerce Finance and Industry, an organisation dedicated to the support and education of barristers working in a commercial environment, aiming to promote “one Bar” to ensure that the status and interests of its members are fully recognised and taken into account by the Bar Council and the Bar Standards Board.

The next event organised for BACFI will be 25 March 2021, “The Only Way is Ethics: A presentation on the ethical issues facing the Employed Bar in conjunction with the Temple Employed Bar Forum.” Please see the BACFI website for further details.

 

 

Rebecca Dix is Deputy General Counsel at the Serious Fraud Office

and Vice Chair of Wellbeing at the Bar