Seven ways lawyers can de-stress from work
Working long hours, managing overwhelming workloads and dealing with sensitive matters are still as prevalent within law as they ever have been. So, it’s no surprise that stress levels are at an all-time high and managing that can feel like a losing battle!
Fortunately, help is at hand. By implementing healthy coping mechanisms for the daily stressors of being a lawyer, you can minimise the toll stress can take on you. Here are seven ways to help de-stress from work:
It may sound obvious, but how often do you prioritise work over all else? This can be a major cause of stress and can ultimately lead to burnout. Making time for self-care and the activities you enjoy is essential for maintaining your mental health and doing your job well. It may be as simple as taking a walk in the fresh air while listening to your favourite podcast, or cooking up that comfort food classic you’ve perfected. As long as it's something you enjoy doing that gives you pleasure, the positive afterglow effect it can have on your psyche is tremendous.
Use meal prep services
If you regularly find your fridge empty after a long day at work and are relying on Deliveroo, chances are you are not getting in your 5-a-day, and you are noticing the piling costs that are incurred when you order takeaway regularly. It is a well-known fact, and for good reason, that eating a balanced diet can reduce the negative effects of stress on your body, improve your mood and help you to better cope with stress.
Consider signing up for a meal prep subscription service to ensure that you are eating healthy, nutritious meals every day. You will come to find that meal prep services are considerably cheaper over time than the equivalent takeaways you normally get.
Cut down on caffeine
Evidence shows that moderate caffeine intake increases focus, however, if you're drinking multiple cups of coffee (or energy drinks) every day, it might be time to cut back. Too much caffeine (more than four cups of coffee, according to the NHS) can lead to anxiety, exacerbate stress and drastically affect your sleep. Avoid drinking caffeine after 3pm and consider switching to a decaf alternative for your afternoon pick-me-up.
Implement good sleep hygiene
Talking of sleep, getting a good night's kip is an essential component for reducing stress. Not only can a lack of sleep lead to serious health problems, but it can make you irritable, unfocused and less productive. Implementing good sleep hygiene, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time each day (even on weekends) will help on your journey to improve wellbeing.
Use your holiday
Lawyers are often guilty of not taking enough time off work. However, research shows that taking regular holidays can improve your physical and mental health. Whether it’s exploring a new country or staycationing at home, holidays allow you to disconnect from work and recharge your batteries. It is also your prerogative to take holiday leave, so never feel guilty for doing so. If you’re unsure about how to reduce your stress levels, take some time off and use your holiday allowance!
Read for pleasure
One of the simplest ways to disconnect from work is reading (non-law-related) books for pleasure. Reading fiction allows you to take a break from the demands of work, relax your mind and lose yourself in another world. Research has shown that reading can improve memory, creativity, and empathy levels. Pick a book you want to read, not one you feel like you should read, and you’ll find yourself switching off from work and the world for a while!
Talk to someone
If you’re struggling with managing stress and feeling overwhelmed, one of the most effective things you can do is to talk to someone about it. Whether it is a friend, family member, a colleague or a professional therapist, the act of talking to someone you trust releases endorphins, the mood boosting hormone, and there is also a very real truth to the feeling of having taken a weight off your shoulders simply by sharing what you’re worried about with others.
These seven examples are all great ways to help yourself relax and ultimately manage your stress. The key takeaway to consider is that by allowing yourself to unwind, relax and do things that you enjoy, you will soon notice a tangible difference in the quality of your work, your health and your overall attitude to the work-life balance.