LAAC members have recently expressed a desire for LAAC to share more self-care trainings and resources. So welcome to our new monthly Self-Care Corner!

 August 2019

As legal aid attorneys and advocates a lot of unexpected things can be thrown our way and spiral our pre-planned days into chaos. While we cannot predict when this will happen we can set ourselves up for success with a little pre-planning.

For this month’s Self Care Corner, LAAC Staff recommends checking out Breathe magazine’s, “The Stress Less Special.” Here are a few helpful tips from Breathe to set yourself up for a calm morning:

  1. Go to bed tidy

    • Put away that pile of clothes you’ve been ignoring, or clean those dishes piling up in the sink. Ending on a positive note will help you feel less stressed in the morning. Hopefully you’ll feel less rushed with no mess to slow you down.

  2. Switch off

    • Blue light from phone, or computer screens can interrupt your quality of sleep. Find a routine to unwind before bed that doesn’t include technology. Perhaps read a book for fun, or light a candle and practice deep breathing.

  3. Sleep well

    • If you find yourself worrying about your to-do list, keep a pencil and paper (not your i-phone!) by your bed to write down any concerns to address in the morning. 

Remember to breathe throughout the day. The weight of the world is not yours alone to hold.

July 2019

It’s a beautiful and busy summer, and while self care is always on our minds, there is no specific self care content for this July.   Please feel free to browse through the archive, and remember, it’s award season! Please submit your nominations for this year’s Loren Miller Award here by July 22nd. Let’s celebrate all the amazing work our community is doing!


June 2019

No self care corner for June. Congratulations again to all the 2019 Awards of Merit recipients (view the announcement here)! Happy pride month!


May 2019
In  Jeena Cho’s article in the ABA Journal  on lawyers, mindfulness, and rethinking reactions to stress, she discusses the fact that, in our often overwhelming profession, we might not feel like we have the skills or tools to deal with our anxiety and stress that arises on a daily basis.
We can try to build a practice of mindfulness to allow ourselves more options than just automatic thoughts and behaviors.  Check out the article to learn more about interrupting the steady pattern of anxious thoughts and the ways that we can intentionally create a new normal of thoughtful responses and reactions.
April 2019
Spring cleaning time is here! This might not feel like a self-care action to everyone, but like Marie Kondo says, “The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living in that environment.”  We hope you can make some time for yourself this month and declutter the house, spruce up the yard, or start that 30 day cleanse you’ve been putting off.
March 2019
Spring is here! One of the best ways to care for yourself is to get outside and have some fun.  Check out an outdoor movie, or participate in the Holi Color Festival happening throughout the state, or hit the trails and warm up under the sun.  Just remember to hydrate and protect your skin. And have fun!
February 2019
Rain or shine there’s wonderful community events upcoming in February including for Black History Month.
The Oakland Museum continues to host Friday Nights at OMCA, with after-hours museum access, off the grid food trucks, beer, wine and food and more. Presently, on display is the Black Power exhibit showing in the Gallery of California History, more information available here.
Family fun at Friday Nights: take place at OMCA every Friday night, from 5 to 8 pm, features free hands-on art workshops for all ages, and select Fridays feature story time with the Oakland Public Library from 6 to 6:30 pm.
January 2019

Many of us make resolutions in the new year – some are intention-setting for a happier and less busy life, while some may be as specific as reading a particular number of books.

One that Salena, LAAC’s ED, recommends, is to seek and share things that make you happy.
So, Salena is sharing this AMAZING video of Katelyn Ohashi on UCLA’s gymnastics team, which is making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter. Her joy is contagious.
December 2018

In an effort to make our workspaces as inclusive and diverse as the communities we serve, consider de-Christmas-ing your office year-end parties. We recommend this article on Holiday Party Planning in the Diverse Workplace!

We hope that you all take the long, relaxing breaks that you NEED after this tiring year. Check out these articles on navigating the winter break and returning to work with minimal stress:
November 2018

As winter approaches, the days are growing colder, darker, and shorter. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself!

One thing that comes up every year is cold and flu season.  Protect yourself from sickness by following these steps.

LAAC tip: Sanitize your phone! We bring our smart phones everywhere, and often forget that they need to be cleaned too.

Many people are impacted by Seasonal Affective Disorder. While it may not get as cold in most of California as it does in other parts of the country, the change can still make a big impact on us. Avoid the winter blues by soaking up the sunlight when you can, making an effort to spend time with loved ones, and making sure you use your weekends to decompress and enjoy your leisure time – not responding to emails!

October 2018 – LAAC’s Halloween  Self-Care Corner
What’s with the teal pumpkins?  It is important that individuals with food allergies, or those that may need or want candy alternatives, are included in Halloween festivities. Check out the Teal Pumpkin Project to learn more!

Need some ideas for Halloween themed treats and food? Check some out here and here.
Halloween & The Workplace find helpful tips here.
Halloween is a community celebration that allows people to dress up in costume for fun. However, Halloween costumes that rely on racial or ethnic stereotyping, cultural appropriation, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, or ableism perpetuate the systematic oppression of many marginalized groups. Read more on the topic here.
September 2018
Many legal aid attorneys who are also in the care-giving role for young children (as parents, aunties or uncles, or guardians) struggle daily with with the drama of getting their young children out the door and then turn to work that can be just as stressful.
There are a lot of parenting books that can offer tips, but Salena, LAAC’s ED, recommends No Drama Discipline, which you can also get from your local public library or as an audiobook for your commute. “What I like about No Drama Discipline is that the authors recognize the need for adult self-care so that we can better interact with our kids. I’m so tired of the daily fight over putting on shoes, and the strategies in this book may actually help me be a better parent AND arrive to work not already frazzled.”
(Psst… skip the monthly cost of audiobooks and get audiobooks and ebooks for free with your library card by downloading thLibby and/ or Hoopla app on your smartphone!)
August 2018
Here are a few of LAAC’s feel-good pop culture picks for a pick-me-up as summer comes to an end.
Podcasts (Recommender)
  • 2 Dope Queens (Salena & Lauren)
  • 99% Invisible (Lorin)
  • Bon Appétit (Zach)
  • Invisibilia (Safia)
  • Modern Love (Lauren)
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour (Jasmine)
  • RadioLab (Lorin & Salena)
TV Shows (Recommender)
  • The Backyardigans! (Salena and her kids)
  • Chef’s Table (Zach & Lorin)
  • The Good Place (Lorin & Jasmine)
  • Speechless (Lorin)
  • Queer Eye (Lauren, Jasmine, & Safia)
Music (Recommender)
  • Lungs (album) by Florence and the Machine (Lorin)
  • Lovers Rock (album) by Sade (Jasmine)
  • Sing to the Moon (album) by Laura Mvula (Lauren)
  • Take Care (album) by Drake (Zach)

July 2018

This month’s self-care corner is brought to you by LAAC’s high school intern, Kaden!

Did you know there are levels to the type of care we give ourselves? This article lays out five levels of self-care: (1) physical, (2) intellectual, (3) social, (4) spiritual, and (5) mental/ emotional. We know that the newscycle is taking a toll on you and your clients. It’s important for ALL OF US to focus on self-care.

Here are 5 self-care tips for each ‘level’ of care: 

1) Dance! Even if it’s just for a few minutes each day. It will get your heart rate up and put a smile on your face.

2) Keep your mind active by doing crosswords or solving puzzles. Everyone has a Rubix Cube hidden somewhere in their garage, pull yours out and have a go!

3) Laugh. It’s such a cliché, but laughter truly is the best medicine. You don’t need to have a massive group of friends in order to be social; just being around one person you absolutely adore is enough to make you feel good.

4) Identify what’s important to you. What changes do you wish to see in the world? What actions do you think you could do as an individual to help with that? – Oh wait, you’re a legal aid advocate. You’re already doing this! Good job!

5) Notice when you use the word ‘should.’ Using it frequently invites feelings of pressure around perfectionism and disappointment in ourselves in others. Be aware of opportunities to frame conversations differently such as “it might be helpful to …” “it could be fun to …”
June 2018

It has been a long, difficult, and frustrating week for a lot of us in the legal aid world. While we all try to work round the clock to ensure fair and equal access to justice (and basic human rights) for our clients, it is so important to avoid burnout.

We highly recommend you read ” Self-Care Strategies for Survival: Sustaining Oneself in Social Justice Movements” from the CompassPoint blog, written by LAAC’s new Program Attorney, Lauren Lofton.

A highlight:  “Even as the popularity of the word self-care has risen, I have observed that many people around me have stopped believing in the value of the practice.”

May 2018
Our self-care tip of the month comes from our new program attorney, Lauren Lofton!

As the weather begins to warm up try having outside meetings! If it’s accessible for your office, you might even try walking meetings. This could be a great way for employees to get more sunlight, fresh air, and a change of pace from the everyday office setting.

Here are some things to consider having on hand if your office starts doing outdoor meetings.

  • Keep a scent-free sunscreen in the office
  • Make sure everyone brings a water bottle
  • Have a large blanket to put down for all to sit on
  • Keep a pair of comfortable shoes in your office (this is also important to have in case of earthquakes!)
  • Bring snacks!
April 2018

Thank you to Yolanda Jackson from the Bar Association of San Francisco for sharing these great resources for coping with vicarious trauma!

March 2018
    • LAAC Directing Attorney, Lorin Kline, has a very important recommendation: “No social media or news before 9am or after 9pm!”
February 2018
  • Meditate! If you’ve been thinking about adding meditation to your day, but you’re not really sure how, we recommend trying out an app like Headspace. You can try it for free, and it’s one of likely hundreds of meditation apps, but our staff likes that there are simple options at different lengths, like a mediation for a 10-minute run, or a 3-minute meditation to wind down your day.