Bar Blog

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Chairman of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC, on wellbeing and the January Blues

Andrew Langdon QC Chairman of the Bar

Whether the third Monday in January or any other particular day is the most depressing day of the year may be open to debate as fact or fiction. Of course depression, stress, anxiety and other threats to our wellbeing can strike at any time of the year. 

However the reality remains that this is the time of year when many at the Bar are receiving their post Christmas statements, fighting cold weather with immune systems running low, and for the self employed practitioner facing the looming tax man's deadline of 31 January.  

Many at the Bar may be struggling with these pressures, in addition to the demands of practice and so I would like to remind the profession of the useful Wellbeing at the Bar Portal www.wellbeingatthebar.org.uk. Launched last October, has been developed to support members of the Bar and those working with them in managing the demands that practice can place upon them. If you haven't looked at it, please do take the time to do so now. 

The portal contains useful information and guidance on how to seek help for you or a colleague on a number of wellbeing issues that may arise, including help in dealing with financial stress

The wellbeing at the bar survey revealed that financial pressures impacted many of those in employed and self employed practice at the Bar, and with the continuing challenges facing publically funded areas of the profession Bar  Leaders are increasingly mindful of these difficulties.  

Whether or not you feel down at any point in January or on any day of any other month, there are some practical tips for planning and managing your wellbeing on the Wellbeing Portal from 'staying well' to understanding and guidance on other common issues which the bar survey told us practitioners faced. 

We are told that it is also useful simply to remember to focus on the things that matter, and to try and keep issues in perspective.  Trying something new, setting achievable targets to feel a sense of reward, and remembering to look after your physical wellbeing are all simple coping strategies that really work.  

I am proud of the fact that the Bar has the ethos of a collegiate profession. A willingness to listen and to share problems - financial or otherwise - is part of that ethos. It is worth remembers that being able to speak to others about personal difficulties is a sign not of weakness, but of strength.  

For further support see www.wellbeingatthebar.org.uk or contact a member of the Wellbeing Working Group for your SBA/Circuit support.

Andrew Langdon QC, Chairman of the Bar