Steps to Combat Stress and Burnout
The practice of law is exhilarating, fast-paced, and challenging. But as it is with all exhilarating, fast-paced, and challenging things, it is easy to be burned out, feel stressed, and to start hating your practice. Law firms are responding to this by starting to emphasize the wellness and individual well-being of their attorneys.
Here are a few quick tips that you can actively take to decrease the stress levels and to enjoy your practice:
One of the best ways to do this is to get a hobby. Take on specific “de-stressing” hobbies such as yoga or meditation. Finding healthy outlets to unload stress, recognizing that mistakes are part of life, and learning to prioritize your life are just a few ways you can start decreasing your stress levels. Consider developing and maintaining a healthy exercise and diet.
Draw and Enforce Boundaries
While you can’t always eliminate sources of stress, know that not doing anything about sources of negativity causes wear and tear. By drawing and enforcing personal boundaries, you create emotional insulation. Begin by categorizing what is “work” from what is “you.” Acknowledge when there is overlap, and avoid toxic environments and situations.
Opt for “Optimal-ism”
We can’t just “turn on” the optimist switch; so instead, understand that given your day-to-day demands, you will have to settle with just “good enough” in certain matters. You will not be able to succeed at every single thing. Be an “optimalist” and begin seeing setbacks as a learning opportunity (no—really, start giving reasons why and find an explanation. A simple step can do wonders to your outlook).
If you can’t find something about your practice that you can be grateful for, start with the mundane, routine things. Are you grateful for the smell of the coffee in the break room? The kindness of the staff at your favorite restaurant? A wonderful shower? Or perhaps the fact that your laptop or phone has never broken on you? Then, reflect on why you truly appreciate or enjoy each one. Psychologists have proven that regular “gratitude practice” help individuals combat negativity bias.
When you appreciate the good in your work, you are able to genuinely be more positive, determined, energized, and optimistic. Stress, anger, and frustration cannot coexist with a genuine sense of gratitude.