Mental Health: Supporting Your Wellbeing
In Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May 2021), FLiP’s Co-Founder and Consultant Gillian Bishop shares her thoughts on how the beauty of nature has supported her wellbeing during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
What a year it’s been! I have not been in my office for over a year and when I do go, it will have been 15 months without commuting, without meeting clients and colleagues face to face, without impromptu lunches and without chats in the kitchen making coffee. How our world has changed.
Everyone agrees that this most recent lockdown has taken its toll. If the first lockdown was hard, it was at least a new experience and it didn’t last so long. There was a sense that “we are all in this together” and that people were looking out for each other a bit more. Meanwhile, we soon got used to Zoom calls, online court hearings and working from home. But since the start of this most recent lockdown with the disappointment of Christmas being scaled down, with the weather cold and the days short it has seemed like an eternity.
I am though writing this on a bright sunny day, warm enough to sit in my garden looking at the spring flowers in their colourful array. This has made me think back over the time of pandemic at what has sustained me when so many of the usual pleasures have not been possible at all – like live theatre – or not as much – like going out for a meal with friends.
What has sustained me, I am reminded by the tulips and the bluebells, is nature in all its grandeur. I live in a rural town with a wildfowl reserve so I am more fortunate than many. I can walk to it from home and be there and back in 90 minutes. Some days it has taken much longer! The flexibility of my days, without the daily commute, have enabled me to do this regularly. Some days I have literally felt my mood and heart lift, my soul sing because the beauty of what I saw made me pause and wonder. I saw the reserve and its lakes in all seasons, all times of day and in all weathers. Each visit was different. I amassed over 3000 photographs! There was so much to see – the changing colours, birds nesting and, eventually, goslings and heron chicks amongst others – and so much to hear – the astonishing bird song, the breeze in the trees, the lapping of the water. If the lockdown got to me then it was hard not to be cheered by a visit to the lakes. With few planes in the sky, the air was so fresh.
I am, of course, looking forward to getting out and about again, going back into London, seeing colleagues and clients in person and getting back to “normal”. Except I hope that there is a “new normal” where the time to stop and stare is not lost; where the realisation that to continue to help others, we must look after ourselves first; and that this is not an optional extra but a necessity. I am also looking forward to my next visit to the lakes where I will calm and clear my mind; where I am able to see and hear close up the colours and songs of our planet; where I can be mindful and “be” well.
Gillian is a founding partner of Family Law In Partnership, setting it up in 1995 to provide a client focused service. For 30 years Gillian has pioneered the essential skills training for family lawyers and this remains a passion. Through FLiP Faculty Gillian is involved in the supervision and wellbeing support of family lawyers.
At FLiP we take a unique approach to family law. We balance our exceptional legal expertise with care and compassion, delivering intelligent and creative solutions while carefully managing any emotional impact. We have developed a wellbeing hub to provide our clients with support and a space for reflection whenever they need it. If you would like to learn more about how FLiP can help you, please contact us below.