Season 1, Episode 011

In this episode of Legally Blissed Conversations, we are joined by Laura Kelley, a practicing immigration attorney and managing partner at Duque, Kelley and Associates PLLC. Laura is a Professional Certified Coach and Mindfulness Instructor whose aim is to help attorneys find joy, balance and harmony in their practices and lives. She frequently presents at various bar associations around the country in order to promote attorney wellbeing.




 Instagram: @thejoyfulattorney


DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases, it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.

Suzi: Today, I have Laura F. Kelly, Esquire. She is a professional certified coach and mindfulness instructor whose aim is to help attorneys find joy, balance and harmony in their practices and lives. She’s also a practicing immigration attorney with LFK immigration. She is the chair of the AI la South Florida and AI la Central Florida Health and Wellness Committee and a member of the AI la national law, your well being committee in Miami Dade Wellness Committee. She also frequently presents at various bar associations around the country in order to promote attorney well being. She’s also a Girl Scout leader. I’d love to talk about that. That’s amazing. And you can find more information about Laura and her work at the joyful And I will have that down in the show notes. So thank you so much for being here today. Laura, welcome. So tell me all the things why law, why law? Why did you go to law school?

Laura: Well, thank you for having me. It’s an honor. I’m really excited to be here. Why law school? Oh my gosh. I always wanted to be a lawyer. I was one of those people who as a kid, just I don’t know, I think my mom implanted that in my brain actually. Because we didn’t, I didn’t No lawyer, any lawyers. I was the first person in my family to go to college, and certainly the first person to go to law school. But my mom had always told me you would argue with the devil if he came and told you that the sky was green? And I was like, Yeah, I would because the sky is blue. And she’s like, Yeah, but everybody else will be running away. And I was like, Oh, that’s not an option. Yeah, so I yeah, I always knew I want to be a lawyer. There’s really nothing else I wanted to be until I became a lawyer. And then I was like, Oh, wait.

Suzi: When When was the point when you’re like, holy shit, I am a lawyer. And I need I need some some assistance in the like mental health well being space or like, when did you first start recognizing that as an issue with like, not only maybe yourself but other women, female attorneys that you were working with?

Laura: Well, I have to say I’ve always struggled with mental health issues. I want to say that, you know, I think it’s really important to be open about that. Because there is so much stigma. And it’s, you know, I think that there’s a lot of shame involved in any kind of, of illness, but especially like mental health. So I struggled in law schools, really the first time I was like, Hey, this is something’s not working here. That was first year. And truth be told, I, you know, after after taking the bar exam, and I so I graduated in 2006, took the bar exam in 2006 in California, and I decided to run away. I took the bar exam, and then I moved to Spain.

Suzi: I love this story. This is fascinating.

Laura: So I moved to Spain and lived in Spain for about seven years. And I was I was a lawyer in California, so I passed the bar. But I was living in Spain, and I ended up getting a Master of Law in EU law in Spain, and ended up doing antitrust law. I was gonna say in Spanish antitrust law in for the European Union and Spain. But I wasn’t an attorney in Spain. I was an attorney in California. So I you know, my my, you know, career trajectory was very limited in Spain. I speak Spanish sections, right, those pesky jurisdiction, like navigate. Well, and also the language like I was not I’m not a native Spanish speaker, I learned most of my Spanish in Spain. But writing legal writing is something that is, you know, very different in Spanish. So unlike English where we have like the plain English movement, Spanish is as complicated as it possibly can be in legal writing. Yeah.

Suzi: Okay. Okay. So that’s like another level, right, like, level of complexity to kind of an already complex situation.

Laura: Exactly. And. And it’s funny because I had gone to law school initially wanting to be a public defender. So I wanted to do criminal law. And then I found myself in Spain, doing essentially corporate law, like, what am I doing there? So that was the first real point in my career where I was like, what’s what, what is going on here. And by that time, I had gotten married, and had decided that I wanted to have a child, and really needed to figure out where the next stage of my life was going career, career wise, because I didn’t see a long term future in Spain, as much as I did end up loving the work that we were doing. It wasn’t what I went to law school to do. And I didn’t feel like I was honoring my purpose. So what I ended up doing is after our after getting married, and 2012, I did my first immigration case for my husband. So he’s, he’s a British citizen. And I started that, that process with him. And about 30 days after we started that application process, I found out that I was pregnant. So then I ended up giving birth of my child in Spain. And literally 12 weeks later, my husband had his visa, and we moved to the United States.

Suzi: And here you are, y’all go to Florida. Did you move directly to Florida?

Laura: We did we Well, we did move directly to Florida, he had a job offer here. So it made sense for us to come here, even though we had no family here, just a few friends from the industry that he was in. So it was crazy. But you know, and I was, as you know, the jurisdiction issue. There, you know, exactly. So it’s like, I’m a California licensed attorney, with experience in EU antitrust law. You know, there’s not a lot of demand for an EU antitrust lawyer in the United States.

Suzi: That family law, those family law skills, right, like, having to pick up rule against perpetuity, he’s again and having, like, horrible flashbacks.

Laura: Well, the beauty of being an immigration lawyer is that I didn’t have to take the bargain again. So I was like, This is what I’m gonna do. Hold up. Yeah.

Suzi: I’ve learned something new. I mean, I learned new things all day. So you didn’t have are all you all the time? What you didn’t have to take the Florida bar to get to to be able to do immigration law to practice immigration. 

Laura: Before the agencies, you do not need to be licensed in the state that your practice doing it. Now some states? Sorry, yeah. Oh, say that’s exactly your mind’s blown.

Suzi: Yeah. That’s amazing.

Laura: Yeah. So there’s some states that regulate the, you know, regulated differently. I think there’s one state in which they want you to be barred if you’re practicing any kind of law in their state. But when I initially started, I put a caveat at the end of my signature line, basically saying, I’m only I only practice immigration and nationality law, and then I’m barred in the state of California.

Suzi: That’s federal based. Right. So that makes that makes a lot of sense. Okay, so that’s good. So you were able to do that and you got your you kind of, I guess, got like, you’re really good first foray in that by having your husband as your first client, I presume, did not sue you for malpractice. So yeah. Still there, right.

Laura: He’s a citizen. Now. He’s gone. 

Suzi: All the way. 

Laura: All the way up? Yeah.

Suzi: Okay, cool. Cool. So you should like give you some kind of bonus. Right? So that’s amazing. Okay, good. Good. So you you’re back in Florida, you’re back in America after being in Spain. And you’re setting up your practice your immigration practice. So that’s not that’s not really criminal law. So are what how are things going at that stage for you?

Laura: Well, I would say it’s interesting because there is an intersection of of immigration law that it with with criminal law, and it’s we call it CR immigration. So it is it actually is quite, there is an element of criminal law there and there’s a you know, social justice is involved in it. So I felt an immediate sense of purpose. And I when I, I initially, you know, I want to clarify something that they immigration law is more than just Practicing before the agencies we also practice before the federal courts. So both the district courts and the appellate courts, so to get in many jurisdictions and Florida as one of them, the Southern District of Florida, you do have to be barred in the state of Florida in order to practice before that court. But at that time, I wasn’t doing that that work. And yeah, I felt at that time, I felt this love for immigration, even though I can completely admit that I became an immigration lawyer out of convenience. 

Suzi: It was I speak Spanish, and I didn’t have to take another bar exam thing wrong with that, trust me.

Laura: But I found a purpose, I found a purpose there. I really did. And I started doing a lot of detained work. So that’s very, you know, criminal based, most of it is not all of it. There are some, you know, quite a few actually non criminal, foreign nationals that are detained. But I really loved the speed of that work, the immediate kind of gratification of that work. And immigration law, unlike other areas of the law goes fast, at least in the detain setting. So you see, you know, you it works through much more quickly than you would see it in in other areas where you’re waiting, you know, years for a court date.

Suzi: Right, right. So you get that satisfaction, right? A lot faster in this area of the law.

Laura: Yeah. And at the time, when I started practicing was during the Obama administration. And towards the end of the Obama administration, we really had a lot more tools that we could use to help people in difficult situations without a change in the law. So it was it was it was an interesting time. Okay, yeah. 

Suzi: So at what point did you at what point? Were you interested in coaching, and specifically, like, ultimately getting a certification with Life Coach School, and all of all of that good stuff that goes along with that?

Laura: Okay, so that’s, yeah, this is so much, there’s so much here. I, so I was practicing, initially with a firm, and I wasn’t wasn’t happy with the way that firm was run in terms of like, ethics. And, and it really scared me. So I, you know, after consulting the California Bar ethics line, I decided, you know, what, I’m gonna go on my own and run things like, you know, I felt that they should be run. Right. And so I was solo for several years. And then in 2016, I was renting space with another immigration attorney, and we decided to merge. I’m sorry, 2016. No. 2019 excuse. So, either it’s already, yes. Everything before 2020. It runs together. I don’t even know.

Suzi: The before times, right. Before times, yeah.

Laura: So speaking about, like we were, you know, we had a kind of a double whammy. We were dealing with the Trump administration. And the pandemic, shortly after we merged our firms together. And it was it was rough. I would say the lat the from 2017 to 2019, those those two years were extremely difficult for all immigration attorneys. And I struggled, I struggled with mental health. I actually got sober in September of 2019, because I felt that I was using alcohol really as a as a, you know, self medication, basically, to deal with the stress. And I had been at that point, seeking coaching. And so I joined the Life Coach School has a program called scholars. And it’s like self coaching, where we would get little booklets and go on coaching calls and actually get coaching once a week. And it really, truly transformed my life. 

Suzi: I sorry,no, you’re doing No, I’m curious. Did you use their programs? Like stop over drinking specifically to help you because I’m stop over eating stuff over drink? Because I’ve kind of gone through some of those programs.

Laura: Okay. Um, no, I didn’t use stop over drinking, by like the program itself. By the time that I actually stopped drinking and to kind of recognize that as a problem. I had already gone through the other programs. And so for me, it’s like a seamless transition. And I’m fortunate in that I the drinking was kind of a symptom, not the illness. And I found I didn’t need to do a program on the drinking. It was. I’m so grateful that it was effortless to stop drinking. In 2018, but, but there were other things that I had to work through and continue to work through, you know, that the self coaching helped. And so that pro these, you know, the programs that Brooke Castillo created of, you know, understanding that it’s our thoughts, not our circumstances that create our feelings, which drive our actions to produce our results was like,

Suzi: blank, mind blowing, blowing, game changing?

Laura: For sure, for sure. Yeah.

Suzi: So how are you integrating that work initially into like your everyday life and or practice?

Laura: Well, basically, what I was doing was, you know, doing a lot of self work, doing doing what she calls, thought downloads, so you know, basically getting my thoughts onto paper, working models, figuring out what my thoughts were really gaining awareness. And at this time, I’m also into meditation. So I’m going to let a meditative work, and a lot of, of the coaching work. And those two things are really very integrated. Buddhist psychology. And mindfulness meditation, also has a space as in cognitive behavioral therapy, what coaching is really based on is this idea of your thoughts, getting awareness of your thoughts, will allow you to achieve whatever you want in your life, getting awareness and being able to make those changes to your thought, to your mindset is really where everything flows from. So I was integrated in every everything I did at that point. But I wasn’t necessarily interested in coaching, it just was what something I use in my personal life to have a have a better life. And then the pandemic hit. You know, and I was like, Oh, I just, I realized that. I, you know, I wanted to, I wanted to, to help people the same way that I had been helped. And so I decided in March of 2020, to get certified. And I had to wait until September. And by the time September 2020, rolled around, you know, we had been almost, you know, I guess six months into the pandemic, and we are facing a very contentious election. And then for immigration attorneys, you know, that election, really, you know, had weighed heavily on us, because it wasn’t just politics. For us, it was the the future of our profession, and our clients. And that, that I’ve, I felt in a lot of other colleagues felt that that hung in the balance. And, and a lot of us were really suffering with that, in addition to having all these tools that we had previously had, stripped away and in practice just became extremely difficult in 2020. And I initially started coaching, because I wanted to do wellness coaching, particularly around weight loss and exercise. Because, you know, that’s, that’s where that’s the programs that I had worked with Brooke and I had a lot of success, I had lost 50 pounds, and kept it off. And, yeah, and discovered that I was an athlete at, you know, 38 athletes and all of us there, there really is, I did not know that. But it turns out. And so that’s why I was like, oh, you know, this can really change people’s lives to recognize, you know, how to get control of our eating habits, because the motions and eating and exercise are all so wound together. And so that’s what I had initially wanted to coach on. And I had started coaching on that topic, previously. But But once we were getting into the last months of 2020, particularly September, October, I recognized that it wasn’t just me who was suffering, my colleagues were suffering. And I decided that this is a really great way that I can help my colleagues is by by using my coach certification in a way that would benefit them. So I started in December by creating a six week burnout course, for attorneys to get the tools to manage their their thoughts, first and foremost, their time, their boundaries, self maintenance practices, so that they could be more resilient in the face of these challenges that we were having in that in that in that year. That’s what started at all.

Suzi: Yeah, so let’s talk about burnout. out? That’s yeah. So I mean, we could go on a lot of directions. Because I mean, I think setting boundaries can be just just that one change, right. And learning how to actually set boundaries is a form of self care. I mean, that’s that’s a wonderful topic. I think also, though, that burnout is something that so many lawyers are facing, right? Like not, not just immigration attorneys, like from every, from every, like walk of life in terms of lawyers, male and female. So how are you specifically helping attorneys address burnout?

Laura: Well, so there’s I mean, burnout is a multifaceted issue. So there’s not one particular thing that causes burnout. One thing that I you know, there are different ways of practicing. And there are different, you know, they’re big law attorneys, small law attorneys, government attorneys, you know, agency attorneys, whatever, there’s, like, the whole gamut of different kinds of attorneys. But I think you’re right does no matter what area we’re in, we sit tend to be experiencing a great deal of confusion, overwhelm, you know, burnout, however, you want to describe that that sense of, of, you know, Dread walking through the door.

Suzi: The Sunday scaries. And you heard people will talk about the Sunday scary,

Laura: I have not, but I like that I like about it, right? 

Suzi: That anxiety that you’re getting before, you can’t even like really put your finger. I mean, maybe there is like a big, you know, meeting that you have that week, but it’s just that overwhelming sense of anxiety that you have before you start your week.

Laura: Yeah, the pressure, you know, the like, oh, that notification that pops up, you know, there’s so much there’s so much there. And so, you know, one of the things that that I really focus on is initially is time management, because I think so many attorneys, I mean, none of us really were taught how to manage our time, nobody is taught how to manage our time.

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Laura: We we do our best and we think we’re doing the right thing, you know, we create lists, we, you know, use post its we use all these things that actually end up making our time management, more complicated, and, and actually produce more overwhelm. So the one of the things I like to do is tease apart different, I would say, maladaptive strategies to managing time, and really say like, this is, this is the way that I’ve transformed my time management. And, you know, I give tips to other attorneys to use the same skills now. You know, people have to use what works for them, and it’s not a one size fits all package. But I do think that we have, you know, these strategies that just don’t work for us. You know, I have a lot of a lot of clients who use their email inboxes as to do lists. That’s not the ideal way to do your tasks is not ideal. 

Suzi: Never one the email is not that inbox is not your to do list.

Laura: Yeah. 100% I mean, it’s it mean the the the number one problem with an email inbox is that every time you go back to it is you’re going to have more emails. And I actually think one of the number one causes of burnout and overwhelm for attorneys is actually decision fatigue. So I mean, and we sometimes it’s so pervasive that we don’t even realize that we have decision fatigue, but essentially decision fatigue is is is being exhausted because of all of the different decisions you have to make and decisions are just thoughts. But you know, that’s not a net neutral situation. Thinking and overthinking and planning and deciding it actually burns a lot of our energy through our brain, it saps our energy. That’s why we can sit at the computer all day long, not exercising anything else but our fingers, and be completely and utterly destroyed. It’s because our brain has been working all frickin day.

Suzi: I mean, our brain part like, does it no burn calories? It does. As I say, I feel like I’ve heard that I can be completely making that up. But yeah, I feel like I’ve heard that your burn your brain like literally burns calories.

Laura: So, yeah, because it needs it. So our brains apparently, you they’re like, three to four pounds, depending on the person, I guess, depending on the size of our heads, size of our brains. But they are our brains actually burned like 25 are utilized. Let me say that 25% of our energy consumption in our bodies. 

Suzi: Yeah, that’s crazy. I remember the first time that I really had that awareness of decision fatigue. And I think it I think it had to do with like, What are we having for dinner? And I was like, I was at like, flip the desk point, right? Where I was, like, you know, I don’t give a like, I can’t make the decision on what to eat for dinner, like someone just make this decision for me. Right. And I remember thinking, like, I’m just exhausted from having to make decisions. And I’m thinking that, like, because of the pandemic. You know, we have a career where it is so decision making heavy like we’re caught, we are constantly trying to navigate work, but then you saw the pandemic on top of it. I mean, your might you’re having to solve like, well, do I go into the grocery store? Do I wear a mask? Like, shit? Should I be washing my hands? Like after I touch it? You know what I mean? Like, you’re always if you have children, like double the decision making tag that’s required for all of that. So that’s, that’s really fascinating. So how do you work with clients on that? Is it is it primarily helping them bring awareness to, to that, specifically, for sure, awareness is key. 

Laura: But also, it’s how can we look at our time management, look at our organization, and really figure out how we can minimize the number of decisions we make in a day. So for example, the whole thing about the email as an as an as a to do list is really key to kind of understanding this. So if you’re using your email as an inbox, I mean, excuse me, your email inbox as a to do list, every time you go back to your, your inbox, you have to now decide what to do next. Right. So every single time, so you have to reprioritize you have to make these quick decisions. But not only that, you’ve been you’ve been added new tasks, because it’s like, Okay, now, am I going to respond to these emails, before I do the next tax I have to do, when am I going to respond to these emails, there’s just, you know, obviously, the brain is an amazing information processing, you know, tool, but at the same time, you know, it becomes it becomes so intense and so intensive, that it consumes a lot of our energy. So when you can utilize time management tools that reduce that those decisions and kind of create blocks of time where you can work on one particular thing really, truly focus and, and trust in yourself that everything can be handled, when it’s appropriate, takes a lot of that, that that decision making out of the process, you can plan things ahead of time developing that trust, so that you can kind of use that energy you would spend, like figuring things out, actually working on the task. And what ends up happening is the task that you’re working on, ends up being done in a better, more productive and quicker way. You know, when we truly focus, we expend that energy where we need it. A lot of benefit comes from that not only in mental health, but just in our quality of work. Sure, sure. 

Suzi: And our focus team and our self esteem. Yeah. So this is this is really good. So let me ask what is your favorite time management tip or tool that that you could share?

Laura: Okay, my favorite tip and the tip that I live by is block scheduling. And so that’s one of the things that I teach in my course and in my webinars and if somebody works with me one on one is block scheduling for attorneys. And so block scheduling is essentially getting rid of your to do list are before before you get rid of it, you need to put the tasks on your calendar and then you get

Suzi: freaked out about getting rid of to do lists, right like all these I may personalities are like no.

Laura: But the to do list have a same issue as the email as an email inbox as a to do list. So even if you have a written to do list look, I was a big into lists, I like to say, I’m so into lists that I would add tasks that I already completed that were off the list, I would add them to the list just to cross them off, you know, it’s very satisfying. off that list. Yes. But it’s, but again, every time you go to a list, especially if it’s a handwritten list, right, you have to decide, okay, what next? And how long is this going to take me? And do I need to like move this around, or, you know, what, what, what is the most important thing on this list, it’s just, there’s a lot of decisions to be made. So in my program, I teach to make those decisions ahead of time before the work week starts, figure out everything that needs to be done. So created nice to do list, you get to do the to do list, but then you take each task, and you put it on your calendar in a block, so you know exactly how much time you have to complete each task. And then once once everything’s off the list and onto the calendar, you can cross it off, or you can, you know, tear it up. And and from there, you know exactly what you need to do when you need to do it. And you don’t have to make any more decisions about it. Now, obviously, things are going to come up, you know, you we have to have a certain level of flexibility in our lives. But this takes so much of that decision making energy out of out of out of your out of your day.

Suzi: Yeah. And it’s almost like increasing automation, right, like trying to make things more automatic. So what do you say to the person who says no, no, no, no, they say something along the lines of Well, I still can just commit to what’s on my calendar. Right? Like, or I still? Like I’m still progress. nating or I’m pushing it forward on my calendar, I’m still not really take ticking it off my to do list. Do you have any guidance for someone who may? Or who may have that challenge?

Laura: Yeah, absolutely. Because I mean, those are all limiting beliefs. And like when someone says I can’t, my first thing is like, why would you choose to think that? Right? First of all, yeah, you know, all the things that you’ve accomplished in your life, and you’re telling me you can’t do something with your calendar like, right, you know, that’s a limiting belief. But, you know, I do work a lot with procrastination, I do work a lot with, you know, what that is often is people putting themselves last. Yeah, yeah, you know, we lose a lot of integrity with ourselves. In our lives, we put ourselves last, especially women, we tend to put everything you know, and people pleasing, there’s so many different things and reasons why we find it difficult to accomplish the things that we have set forth, I would say number one is really taking a look at priorities. That is key, are you spending your time in line with what you say is your priority, because if you say your priority is spending, you know, time with your family really being present with your family, but you’re on your phone, scrolling, you know, it’s not, there’s no judgment there, like we all do it, but it’s just about getting real about how you are spending your time. And then recognizing that the solution here is not to cram more things into your schedule. So I’m not saying you know, let’s figure out a way to cram more stuff in there, we have to be clear, when someone’s already having problems getting things done, we have to find efficiencies, we have to find solutions. But sometimes those solutions are going to be things like delegating, sometimes those solutions are going to be you know, simplifying. So, you know, maybe limiting the amount of time we’re spending on social media, maybe spinning, you know, having more boundaries around how clients can contact us, or when clients can contact us. Even, yeah, even boundaries with staff, you know, so there’s a lot of different ways that we can manage that. And, and that’s why as a one on one coach, I work closely with clients to deal with, you know, what are the circumstances? And also what are the thoughts because, again, everything that is a stumbling block, usually starts with that thought process like I can’t, I don’t want to do and I shouldn’t be doing this or that. 

Suzi: That’s always an interesting work. Interesting one to work with, right?

Laura: Absolutely shutting ourselves all over the place. And the self judgment that comes along with the should because with the should is there’s a standard that you are not living up to and because of that you suck, and so we beat ourselves up. And that is not motivating. That’s not motivating. We think that we have to be hard on ourselves in order to succeed but the truth is, the harder we are on ourselves, the less motivated we are to truly change To truly like love ourselves, and I say in my coaching, all roads lead to self worth all roads, for all of us, almost everything comes down to that, when we truly embody self worthiness for ourselves and love ourselves, then it becomes much more effortless to take care of ourselves in these way, in this way, you know, developing those boundaries, you know, it doesn’t mean not being kind, it doesn’t mean not being generous, it means just having that that protection, not only for other people, but for ourselves. Yes.

Suzi: So what do you teach your clients about? Scheduling personal time ahead of everything else on calendars?

Laura: What I teach is you put your personal time first. That’s what, that’s what I was taught by Brooke. And that’s what I carry forward in my coaching, you have to put yourself first, you cannot unknow it. I know it’s trite or cliche to say, you know, you can’t pour from an empty cup, and you got to put your mask on first. But like, there was a reason why that’s a cliche, it’s fundamentally through. You serve others, when you serve yourself. So if you are not taking care of you, you really can’t take care of other people. So if you want to be a generous giving person, I think most of us do want that, you have to take care of yourself. And so that means, you know, when someone says, I don’t have time to workout, like, do you really want this for yourself? Like, do you want it, if you want it, then you have to make time for it. And you have to make it a priority. And if you don’t, it’s okay. But don’t hold yourself up to a standard again, the shooting, I should be doing this, and I’m not doing it. You either want to or you don’t. And if you want to, then you do it. And you figure out a way to make it work. And, and it works by, you know, figuring out your time. The other thing I would like to say is sleep.

Suzi: A lovely sleep. So let’s talk about sleep.

Laura: Sleep is so fundamental. And if you want to, you know, the one tip besides Time management is sleep management. And I would say that the to go hand in hand. Because what I suggest my clients do is really figure out how much sleep they need. And not not how much time they survive on. But how much time Yeah, exactly how much time really is going to allow you to be your best, not only the best attorney, but the best version of yourself the best parent, the best mom, whatever you you know, you need that sleep, we’ve there’s so much research on the importance of sleep, in terms of our stress management, our cortisol levels, just everything our heart health. So really, making that time working backwards is fundamental, figuring out how much sleep you need for when you need to wake up, working backwards and finding a time a bedtime. Just like you know, just like we were kids finding that bedtime, and then a wind down period, I recommend a 30 minute wind down period prior to sleep where you get rid of all distractions, all devices, you can read, you can meditate you can just, you know, chill, have a conversation. But you really want to get the devices off, turn the devices off. 

Suzi: Yes, I’ve noticed that like if I in like addicted to reading something on my device, before I go to bed, it’s that much harder for me to fall asleep that night. Like because I’m just more like on it right as opposed to like putting it away for a while.

Laura: Absolutely. Because you get a dopamine hit, you can get a dopamine hit or an a drill and a hit. If you’re scrolling. You know, it seems like I’m relaxing. I’m resting by just aimlessly looking at Facebook. But we know that the reason why you know social media is so insidious. It’s so addictive. And trust me I’m not no judgement I’m there is that we we get the dopamine hit, you know, Oh, I gotta like or oh, this is really great. I love this. I’m you know, I’m liking other things I’m receiving the likes, or we are like this makes me angry. And then we get that adrenaline spike and now our cortisol levels are elevated. And yeah, of course now we’re now we’re at now we are you know, you know, energized and it’s not conducive to us sleeping either one of those things. So it is very beneficial to say you know, I know that iPhones I think androids habit as well your you can set your bedtime and set your set your wakeup time and it automatically, you know, goes into a wind down period where your notifications are turned off and it’s a great, great way to like say okay, this is a time I put my phone away and I have some time to myself to relax, rest and get ready for sleep so that I can have more time more energy to do the things I need to do. On the next day,

Suzi: I love that you work with clients on sleep and sleep hygiene, all that it’s so important. I feel like it’s definitely people mention it. But it’s still overlooked the importance of sleep, right? And people think, well, I’ll just plow through this or like, I’ll have my Starbucks in the morning, and we’ll be all good. But at the end of the day, like lack of sleep. Like for me, it really impacts me after a few days.

Laura: 100%. And the thing is, that’s what we do, right? We, so we are exhausted. So we sleep in. So maybe we don’t, we’re not working out in the mornings when we could be. Because we’re so tired. And you know, it’s a good excuse, like, I’m tired, I’m just gonna sleep in great, but now you’re not taking care of something else that can actually help you sleep. Exercise helps you sleep. You know, but then we get hopped up on coffee. And again, no judgment, I love coffee. But we you know, we’re drinking so much coffee, that we’re, you know, again, coffee is great. But it also contributes to not being able to sleep well at night. So the more coffee we we consume, the more difficulties we have with sleep. But also, it’s it’s an upper and coffee can cause anxiety. And so part of the stress and anxiety that we experience is also exacerbated by the coffee we’re drinking. So we have like some triple Whammies. Here we have. Yeah, we have the not sleeping enough, so we’re already irritable and having elevated cortisol levels, then we’re drinking coffee to compensate. And that is causing us, you know, more anxiety, more cortisol, more adrenaline, and then we’re not exercising to kind of burn off some of that energy. And so we’re just like a bundle of nerves and stress. And then we asked ourselves, why are things not working?

Suzi: Right? Okay. So listen here, I do the exercise. I go to bed early, but you are not taking away my coffee.

Laura: You’re, I hear you. No, no, no, no, no, no,

Suzi: all of these things. I do try to cut it off at a certain point, right. During the day. I’m like, you know, not afternoon, it’s not always possible. But um, I mean, I know it’s possible, right? That was just a limiting belief. But yeah, it’s, I think it’s interesting that you that you can work with your clients kind of on on these three different things, right. And it’s like, going in there and kind of helping them break those bad habits, helping them get into like a state where they’re going to bed at a decent time, because they’ve not been jacked up on coffee all day, right? And they’ve had that really good workout. And then the next morning, they feel good enough to wake up at a decent time, right? So they can have that. That intense workout, or whatever, yeah, it’s just breaking that cycle for people. And maybe especially lawyers can be really challenging. 100% I think we’re gonna play right, this

Laura: is how you help people. Exactly. It’s accountability. It’s been there, it’s like showing the way it’s, you know, we, because we’re so used to not having integrity with ourselves. I mean, that’s really what what coaching comes back down to is developing that integrity with ourselves, that developing that self worth saying, I deserve this, you know, I deserve to have that good life. And, and I have to treat myself in a way that ensures that I’m going to have that life that I want. So it’s it’s really working with with those, those mindset issues. And accountability. It’s I mean, that’s it. It’s like, you know, having a partner, you know, as humans, it’s really hard to do things alone. It is hard. And, and having an accountability partner, somebody who, you know, really cares about you and cares about your progress, that’s able to kind of have that perspective. I mean, that’s what a coach is, if you even think about like an athletic coach, you know, it’s an accountability partner like that. Someone who sees a big picture that can call you on your bullshit in a

Suzi: way very loving way correct. But

Laura: we need that I mean, I I’m like I don’t mince words. I’m a very direct person. But listen, you know, that’s bullshit. And you know, that’s shit. And it’s okay no judgement, I do the same thing but let’s find a way that to that serves us and serves our purpose you know, so we have purpose driven conscious lives rather than unconscious you know lives with you know, just basically you know, Groundhog Day reliving the same day over and over and over again and constantly

Suzi: being reactive right being Oh, yeah, if to the inbox

Laura: or at the effect of you know, reactive and at the effect of rather than empowered in control, and calm.

Suzi: Okay, so I love all this. So, I want to be really respectful of your time. Where Okay, first halt. Do I can I ask you one more question? Do you have a couple of minutes? Oh, I have. Yeah. Okay, we’re okay. I need to know our I would like to know what is next for you. And specifically, like with your coaching and working with lawyers, and of course, I would love for people to know where else they can find.

Laura: I constantly try to keep things updated on my website. This is what we always like to have a new free course coming up so people can get the value. I have a podcast that is coming out weekly. And yeah, just trying to let people know that they can have that life filled with balance, harmony and joy. It really is possible even for lawyers.

Suzi: It is possible. It is so possible. So I want to thank you for hanging out with me today, Laura. It’s been so much fun.

Laura: Awesome. Thank you. And you too. I’m so so so excited for you and this podcasts. It’s really wonderful. Thank you so much.

Suzi: Thank you so much for hanging out with us today on legally bliss conversation. If you love this episode, and you want to hang out with other inspiring and light gold female attorneys. Be sure to join the legally bliss community at legally And be sure to follow me on Instagram at Suzan Hixon. See you next time.

Helping Attorneys Find Joy, Balance, and Harmony with Laura Kelley

laura kelley

Mindset, Podcast

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