Announcing the Winners of the NCBA YLD COVID-19 Wellness Challenge

From April 1 through May 3, the North Carolina Bar Association Young Lawyers Division at the direction of Lisa Arthur launched a wellness challenge to promote and celebrate the wellness initiatives of young lawyers across the state in the face of the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Each week, lawyers shared their wellness activities in a Strava club and encouraged their peers to do the same. To support wellness in the profession, the YLD agreed to award $75 gift cards to a small business of a young lawyer’s choosing. Today, we recognize the winners and the small businesses the winners support.

Week 1 Winner = Kimberly Hicks

Kim Hicks, an attorney at Legal Aid, took the Week 1 prize after participating in and sharing more than 20 wellness activities in the first week. Here is Kim’s description of the wellness challenge and its impact on her:

I’m a Northeastern N.C. girl through and through—I grew up in Northampton County, and currently live in Bertie County. My husband, Zach, and I decided that we had two options as to how we were going to use the extra “free” time that social distancing was giving us. Either we could binge-watch all of our favorite shows and movies, or we could use the opportunity to get fit.  Before quarantine, we were spending about a half hour per day doing some form of exercise—stairs, walking, or using our set of hand weights. Once Justice Beasley’s order confirmed that I would be working from home for the foreseeable future, we stepped things up. Every day I try and get in at least 15,000 steps, and we spend at least an hour in physical fitness. Three days a week I am retraining myself to run, and three days a week are set for weight training and using our quarantine purchase of a rowing machine. We definitely benefit from living in the country and having a large field/parking lot next to our home. Honestly, this quarantine has made me realize how much time I was spending not taking care of myself!

Kim is supporting Harrison’s Grocery, which as she describes it is the “only business located in [her] immediate community.” Congratulations, Kim!

Week 2 Winner = Sean Herrmann

Sean Herrmann is an employee-side labor and employment attorney in Charlotte. He won the Week 2 challenge after registering more than two wellness activities per day over a seven-day period. That’s one way to stay sane! Here is Sean’s description of the wellness challenge and its impact on him:

That was a tough week! Without question, cycling and running have helped keep me in check recently. COVID-19 has meant the cancellation of large swathes of our lives, and that which has not been cancelled has been put on pause. There’s something comforting about knowing that I am lucky enough to get out outside and move every day. But, like everything in 2020, it’s more complicated than that. On the one hand, riding my bike on nearly car-free roads is pleasant and safe. On the other, it serves as a reminder of the virus. That reminder is healthy. Sheltering in place may be unpleasant for me, but for others the present is downright terrifying. I am privileged. I’m healthy, working, and spending quarantine with my wonderful wife. I would never tell someone else how to cope right now. This is tough, and it’s much more difficult for some than others. And everyone handles stress differently. But for me, running and cycling and the daily routine associated with both help tremendously. It’s been great to see what everyone has been up to on Strava, and I’m glad folks have been able to find an outlet.

Sean is supporting Uptown Cycles in conjunction with his award. Congratulations, Sean!

Week 3 Winner = Will Quick

Will Quick, a commercial litigator at Brooks Pierce in Raleigh, dominated Week 3 with a variety of activities. If there were an award for creative integration of wellness within the family unit, Will likely would win that award, too. Will’s Week 3 efforts included yard work, toddler picnics, and his usual, weekly 10 PM three to five mile run. Below is Will’s description of the wellness challenge and its impact on him.

I’ve always been a pretty avid runner—though I’ve never been into really high mileage.  I’ve managed to continue my 3-5 miles a day (or actually night since I usually get my run in around 10 PM) during the pandemic.  For me, a run at the end of the day when no one is around (which is even more true right now) is the best way to de-stress and clear my head before bed. What’s changed during the pandemic is that I’m supplementing those evening runs with lots more walks and short bike rides with my two boys and wife.  While a lot is chaotic and stressful with two working spouses and two boys under 4 years old under the same roof, the little moments, including picnic walks around lunchtime really are cool!

Will is supporting Logan’s Garden Shop in conjunction with his award, a tribute to his newly acquired green thumb. Congratulations, Will!

Week 4 Winner = Lisa Arthur

Lisa Arthur, an employment and municipality attorney in Greensboro, outlasted the competition in Week 4, through an array of runs and walks. During the wellness challenge, Lisa was best known for her morning five-mile runs. Below is Lisa’s description of the wellness challenge and its impact on her:

Staying healthy has always been a part of my daily routine, but it has become even more important during the quarantine. I work out by running regularly (both short and long distance), training for half marathons and marathons, participating in a boot camp program for cross training, and doing yoga.

Lisa is supporting Runner Dude’s Fitness in conjunction with her award, a local running store serving the Triad running community. Congratulations, Lisa!

Overall Most Consistent Participant = Chynna Smith

Chynna Smith, a Raleigh young lawyer, is the winner of the overall most consistent participant. Chynna participated in and shared wellness activities every week. The frequency of her participation increased throughout the challenge, and she frequently encouraged the activities of others. In describing the wellness challenge’s impact on her, Chynna explained:

The wellness challenge helped keep me motivated and focused during the April stay-home order. I would get out with the family and go for walks around the neighborhood. The challenge helped me take a step back from the fast-paced reality of life and really enjoy the moments I got to spend with my husband and baby girl.

Chynna is supporting Paintbase Nails in Raleigh in conjunction with her award. Congratulations, Chynna!

Please take a moment to send a note of congratulations to these winners in conjunction with inaugural Lawyer Well-Being Week, which concludes today. Each of these lawyers stepped up and stepped out to improve the well-being of themselves and, in turn, the profession. Finally, thank you to every lawyer who may not have participated in the challenge, but who continues to prioritize your personal well-being. While we would love to hear about, and share, your initiatives, please know that your commitment is critical to improved well-being in our profession.