Attorneys, especially at the more junior level, notoriously have a hard time saying no. While it’s obviously important to keep your employers happy, it’s equally as important to set limits and boundaries for yourself in order to prevent burnout. Try to set realistic goals for your work, rather than expecting perfection in everything the first time you do it. You also need to prioritize sleep for your own wellbeing – it can be easy to get sucked into the all-nighter lifestyle if you’re not careful. Being aware of how you’re expending your physical and emotional energy can put you in a better position to recognize stress when it starts to take over.
If you’re a lawyer and you’re feeling stressed out, rest assured you’re not alone. Lawyers consistently report higher rates of stress and burnout than most other professions. The good news is that there are easy and healthy solutions for combating stress and getting yourself on a more relaxed path. The following tips and tricks for stress management are the best way to start de-stressing today and avoiding burnout down the road.
Stress Management Tips
The legal profession is an inherently stressful one, and you may never be able to eliminate stress entirely. Too often you’re trying to do too many things at once without relying on the various tools and coping strategies that can help ease the burden. Learning to manage your stress can feel like a losing battle.
Fortunately, is that it doesn’t have to be. By focusing on how you react to inevitable stressors, you can minimize the time and energy stress takes from your life, avoiding potential burnout in the process.
Working in law makes it easy to become tied to a desk – the whole day might go by before you realize you’ve barely moved. Exercise is key to reducing stress levels and has the added benefit of getting you out of the office. Establish a weekly workout routine and try your hardest to stick to it. If you really can’t get away on certain days, at least make a point of getting up and moving around or taking a walk around the block to clear your head.
This one may sound hardest of all, given how many of us rely on caffeine to get through our days. Nonetheless, caffeine is a stimulant, and stimulants can cause or add to anxiety, which isn’t ideal when your goal is to reduce stress. In general, always be aware of what you’re putting into your body and how it may be affecting your overall stress levels or your ability to cope in natural ways.
Meditation usually draws mixed reactions. To many, including logic-driven lawyers, it may seem dubious or frivolous. Nonetheless, scientific studies have shown that meditation can help to reduce stress, improve emotions and focus, and have an overall positive physical effect. Even if you don’t have time for a lengthy meditation session each day, try to at least sit still and clear your mind for a few minutes. Over time, you might find yourself better able to focus when stressful situations arise.
Busy lawyers may laugh at the notion of hobbies but having interests outside of work is crucial to reducing stress levels and attempting to create a work/life balance. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant or time-consuming – it could be as simple as making time to read (non-legal material, of course), having a standing movie date, or taking a class once a week. And use that vacation time! Everyone needs to refresh once in a while.
This can be the hardest one of all. Not only can it be difficult to recognize when you need help, lawyers are also not usually the best at asking for it. If you’ve followed the steps above and are listening to yourself and your body, you’ll be in a better place to understand when it’s telling you that something isn’t right. When you realize you’re experiencing more stress than usual, take extra time to focus on your stress-management strategies. Try to find a mentor at work or a network of supportive colleagues who you can turn to when you need that extra encouragement to step back and find balance. Chances are, they’ll need you to return the favor at some point. Also be sure you’re taking advantage of all the outside resources that are available to help you take unnecessary work off your plate.
Lawyers are particularly susceptible to stress and occupational burnout, and Veritext is here to help. With a vast range of products and solutions designed to make lawyers’ lives easier, Veritext is your go-to court reporting agency when you need to rest easy and know that everything is being handled the right way. Contact us today to see how Veritext can help remove some stress from your day-to-day routine!