Colorado Supreme Court

Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel

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Taking Stock in 2022

By Amy Phillips, MBA, LCSW, LAC, Colorado Lawyer Assistance Program


The past few years have been difficult to process. Most of us have been required to focus outward on the external, often frantically addressing issues at work and at home. This external focus has made it difficult to look within and address our own personal needs. While it might seem overwhelming during turbulent times to add one more thing to our "to-do" list, setting aside time to get clear on our focus and create a plan of action makes the chaos easier to deal with. Taking stock of what areas in our lives are depleted can help us dedicate time and focus to the people and activities that increase our resilience when things go sideways.

One way to do this is by utilizing Dr. Bill Hettler’s “Six Dimensions of Wellness”, a holistic model for wellbeing developed in the 1970’s, which was adopted by the Colorado Supreme Court’s Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being. This model presupposes that our emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual health are all equally important factors in leading a healthy and fulfilling life. This model has been expounded upon over the years by many, including Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy’s work that focused on creating a plan of how to capitalize on the people, actions and things that are most crucial to our fulfillment and use this to address where we are depleted in the areas of wellness.

Hyatt and Harkavy suggest examining the dimensions as a layered circle, like an onion. In the center is one’s core of physical, intellectual, and spiritual wellbeing. The second tier includes closest personal relationships, such as partner(s), and dearest familial and social relationships. The furthest circle out would include career, hobbies, community connections, financial wellbeing, etc.

I was drawn to this model due to its simplicity in breaking down the dimensions of wellbeing in a realistic and actionable manner. Essentially, you first identify the most important people and activities within the circles that are crucial to your own health and sustainability. Then, think about each of these items as a bank account, with balances in the positive or the negative. We must take stock of these areas to identify what has a “positive balance,” and what has a “negative balance”. For example, if my relationship with my partner and my love for hiking were items I identified as crucial, how much focus, time and energy have I been putting into those? Is this account in the positive or negative? Once this critical reflection has taken place, I can then intentionally tend to the areas I identified as important to me. Placing focus on what is important to us helps us develop resilience to cope when we experience events in life that drain down a particular account (think the sickness of a loved one or loss of a job).

When our accounts are depleted, and we feel exhausted or overwhelmed, it is easy to forget the resources, practices, rituals, or routines that make us feel better and increase our well-being. Though the change and unknown are not behind us yet, it is time to take stock of what is important to us now so we can keep our “batteries charged” for whatever lies ahead. The time has come to learn what works now, giving ample space for patience, for self and others, and then to reconnect.

This requires the agility to approach our future from a both/and lens. Reconnecting with loved ones and mourning losses. Honoring the past and rising up to cast aside what does not work or does not reflect who we want to be. Finally, we know that a hallmark of chronic stress and trauma exposure can be a tendency to isolate, which is compounded when the need to physically distance from a public health perspective exists. It is normal that we have all drawn inward in some way that has cast the people or things which fulfill us to the wayside.

With that in mind, what or who do you need to reconnect with? Is it:

The time to replenish those accounts is now.

Contact your free and confidential Colorado Lawyer Assistance Program if you would like support in identifying your wellbeing priorities, or to receive a referral to a behavioral health clinician for support along the way.