Wellness Tips For Lawyers From Leading Legal Educators
For many of us, it’s been a difficult transition since the COVID-19 pandemic. We have learned how to deal with virtual schooling, remote work, constant childcare, and a lack of face-to-face human interaction. Juggling all of this means that occasionally, we either forget to prioritize our mental health or just don’t have the time to do so. To make your mental health journey a little easier, we’ve compiled some helpful mental health tips. Take some time to read through these tips and try them out in your day-to-day.
Introduce Self-Care Into Your Routine Gradually
Trying to figure out where to start on your mental health journey can be daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Instead of tackling everything all at once, attorney and coach Paul J. Unger recommends creating an Action Plan and incorporating new self-care routines on a weekly basis. For example, during Week 1, try focusing on bettering your sleep: go to bed at the same time every day, create a going-to-bed routine, try not to use screens in bed, etc. During Week 2, continue to upkeep your new sleeping habits, but try incorporating another self-care routine, like meditating for 15 minutes every day. These Action Plans can be specific to you and you should create them in a way that fits into your current lifestyle and focuses on self-care items you’d like to work on.
Plan Something to Look Forward To
These days, it’s hard (and ill-advised) to plan something as big as a vacation or a get-together with friends and family, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan something else to look forward to. You could plan a stay-at-home date night for you and your partner, or plan a picnic for yourself in a local park with your favorite meal. Whatever you plan, having something to look forward to leads to positive anticipation, which counteracts boredom and can reduce depression and anxiety.
Get Regular Physical Exercise
Exercise to reduce anxiety and depression isn’t a new concept, but it can be hard to make time for it while juggling our other responsibilities and trying to stay home as much as possible. Regardless, getting even 10 to 15 minutes of physical exercise every day can release endorphins, reduce negative thoughts, and help you gain confidence. If you can’t get to a gym or don’t feel comfortable going out for a run or walk, try doing some mat exercises like yoga or pilates at home.
Plan Your Whole Week
On the same day every week, try planning out the next seven days. This will help you manage your time better and prevent distractions during the week, and can also help you clean out your workspace, review all of your upcoming tasks and deadlines, and stay focused on goals, all of which can help reduce anxiety and overwhelming feelings during the week.
Make a Gratitude List
One of our faculty members recently shared an amazing tip - make your computer password a reference to something you love, so you always remember something good when logging in. It can be really hard to remember the good things when you are encountering a barrage of scary news, your practice is overwhelming, your clients are suffering, or your business is slowing down and you are worried about finances. But there are always good things happening as well. Check in with yourself and reflect on what you are grateful for: your partner, your kids, some time to yourself. A really great TV show, good food, or a friend who shared a funny meme? Write it down and check in when you are feeling down.
Do Something For Someone Else
We are social creatures, and we thrive on two things: meaningful connection, and feeling useful. Check in with your friends and your community to see how you can contribute.
For more wellness tips, check out some of our CLE programs on improving attorney wellness.
Last updated on May 9, 2023