For lawyers, it is not uncommon for us to have a lot on our plate – juggling a heavy caseload, marketing, law firm admin, management of teams, not to mention our home lives. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with responsibilities and for a lawyer, burnout can be the end result. It’s fair to say that self care for busy people can take a bit of creativity.
Our busy schedules as lawyers can get in the way of taking care of ourselves, but if we don’t make a conscious effort, it can actually make things worse. Neglecting our health and wellness can have real consequences for your mind, body, and work-life.
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Lawyers, in particular, can be too independent and feel like they have to do it all themselves. When I was in practice, I would often pretend that I was doing better than I was, for fear of people thinking I couldn’t cope or wasn’t good enough. Like I couldn’t hack the job.
One of the best things you can do for your mental health to avoid lawyer burnout is to learn to spot when you’ve got too much on your plate and it’s time to call for backup. You can use this tip in all areas of your life – work and home.
Do you need an extra hour in the morning to squeeze in a trip to the gym before getting to the office? Ask your husband or wife to take a turn getting the kids ready for school a few times a week. Do you need help getting a case ready for trial? Reach out to paralegals or other solicitors in your firm to see if anyone has the capacity to help.
Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, it shows that you know how to maintain a to-do list and keep yourself from getting burnt out.
Choose a Few Go-To Meals
One of the fundamental basics of self-care is to eat well and pay attention to your nutritional needs. Eating well isn’t always easy when you’re busy.
If you can come up with a handful of go-to meals that you can use if you’re too tired to even think, this will help to keep you away from the takeaway menus. Try to keep it simple and packed with ingredients like fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and protein. Even better, try and have a few made up in the freezer to heat up on challenging days.
Having your go-to meals chosen reduces the stress of trying to work out what you can eat to best fuel your body.
One of the reasons we often neglect our self-care is that we lack self-awareness. Taking a few moments every day to check in with yourself and listen to what your body needs is the key to looking after your overall well-being.
Meditation is one of the best ways that you can tune into your intuition and listen to what your body is craving. Some of the most successful business people in the world say that meditation is a fundamental part of their day. Short bursts can be helpful if you struggle for time – 10 minutes during your lunch break, or at the end of a long day.
Most of us do not get enough water throughout the day. I know when I was working in practice, I would often go the whole day on tea and coffee and only realise at the end of the day when my head was thumping.
Dehydration can really affect our decision-making abilities and cognitive functioning, as well as leading to a lot of medical complications. Keep a bottle of water on your desk and try and sip it regularly through the day.
You can also increase your hydration by eating your water through more water-dense foods, like cucumbers, strawberries, tomatoes, melon, and spinach.
I’d love to know – what is your go-to tip for self-care when you are really busy?
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