TESTING…TESTINGDecember 7, 2023
Ensuring the Success of Lateral HiresDecember 19, 2023
Needless to say, being a lawyer is a highly demanding job. Lawyers are typically expected to work long hours and put their client’s needs before their own, which can result in feelings of stress, anxiety, or burnout. Enduring these emotions for long periods can be damaging to one’s well-being and happiness.
In a 2023 study on the link between lawyers’ stress and suicidal thoughts, 66% of respondents said that their time in the legal profession had been detrimental to their mental health, and 46% of them said they were considering leaving the profession due to stress or burnout. Mental health concerns among lawyers are real and need to be addressed.
So, what can you do? Here are a few simple tips and tricks to help you prioritize your mental health while still doing quality work and keeping your clients happy.
Recognize when you are feeling overwhelmed and take a break from your work.
While this may seem simple, it can be difficult to stop what you’re working on. For this reason, it’s important to check in with yourself. Permit yourself to take a breather then get back to work. Try setting reminders to check in with how you’re feeling and take a break when needed, even if it’s just for five minutes.
Get enough restful sleep at night.
Again, this tip sounds simple, but can be a challenge. However, it can be helpful to prepare meals ahead of time, perhaps on a Sunday, to save time cooking dinner after a long day’s work. This way, rather than opting for takeout, you can eat a healthy meal while getting to bed earlier.
Set realistic expectations and boundaries for yourself and don’t overwork beyond what is manageable.
Everyone has done this at one time or another, and I think we can all agree that it never ends well. Typically, a person in this situation will end up stressed out and the quality of work may appear rushed. As a lawyer, managing your time well and setting boundaries is crucial.
What does this mean exactly? An example of setting a healthy boundary could be letting your boss and/or colleagues know that you need 15 minutes a day where you are undisturbed. Explain to them that by taking those few minutes to yourself, you can do your best work with less stress.
Stay connected with family, friends, and colleagues outside of work.
Taking time out of your busy schedule to socialize outside of work is a major component of well-being as a lawyer. Being in the office or in front of a computer for hours on end talking about complex cases with multiple clients is draining, to say the least. Do your best to build time into your schedule to meet with friends or family and have non-business-related conversations. The brain works best when it has time to de-stimulate and reboot if you will.
The bottom line is that lawyers shouldn’t have to compromise their mental health for the sake of their clients or the firm. Unfortunately, too many lawyers end up feeling this way. It’s easy to get caught up in the turmoil of the law industry, particularly when not every firm embodies a culture of well-being. For this reason, lawyers must set boundaries at work to get what they truly need to do their best work. Otherwise, not only will the lawyers’ happiness and well-being decline, but the quality of work and connections with clients will likely decline as well.
The hope looking forward is that more firms will realize the importance of prioritizing mental well-being in the legal industry and how to leverage it into a culture of productivity. Sadly, not nearly enough firms embody such a culture, so lawyers must find ways to vocalize their needs and designate time to care for their mental health.
Can you relate? What mental health hacks did you find helpful? Do you have any tips of your own to share?