There is no denying that being a lawyer is a stressful job. Between deadlines, billing pressures, and client demands, lawyers are often pulled in a million directions. That doesn’t even include staying current on the law itself.
To say that the profession can be overwhelming is putting it mildly. Studies have found that depression among people in the law profession is almost four times the rate found in the general population.
Knowing that such a high-powered career can take its toll, lawyers need to find ways to manage stress. Here are some tips for finding ways to fit stress management into your busy days.
1. Pinpoint Your Stressors
One of the first steps in stress management is identifying what stresses you out. The triggers are different for each lawyer depending on work habits, caseload, and type of law practiced. Stress for a criminal defense attorney will be different from a class action litigator.
Pay attention to your environment when you feel stressed. If your organization or billable hours are the cause, think about how you can manage these at work. If you worry about clients, focus on the things you can control rather than the things you can’t.
2. Exercise and Eat Right
You undoubtedly heard that exercise and eating right will improve mood and reduce the effects of stress. Make these two things a part of your everyday lifestyle, and you are guaranteed to feel better.
Find a colleague that will walk with you during lunch breaks. Keep protein-rich foods like nuts at your desk to boost energy, drink water, and avoid unhealthy snacks. Don’t skip breakfast, the most important meal of the day.
3. Set Limits
Passion fuels the legal industry, but it doesn’t have to be all-consuming. Learn to set limits, both with your clients and with your workplace. If you need to put in long hours, try to limit this to only a few nights per week.
Lawyers are known to be obsessed with perfection. You know what you are capable of and can ask yourself what amount of work is realistic. If you overdo it, it becomes counterproductive.
4. Do Something You Enjoy
Take your mind on a mini-vacation during the day. Whether it is watching a 30-minute comedy on Netflix or doing FaceTime with a friend, allow yourself to do something other than law when the days are long. It gives your brain a chance to recharge.
5. Breathe and Let Go
Being a lawyer is an adversarial process. You may find that you relive lost cases or become angry over outcomes. These can build up and become a source of stress.
Be mindful of your frustration. Take a deep breath and count to ten. You can also use apps for guided relaxation.
Make It a Habit to Manage Stress
Reading these stress management tips is one thing. Putting them into practice is another.
You can use these tips to prioritize your wellbeing. The more you can fit small changes into your daily routine, the better you will manage stress.