Attorneys often maintain a hectic and stressful schedule. There are long days and weekends full of work. The frequently involves multiple deadlines, and because of the pandemic, the work is often in isolated circumstances. Some Bar Associations are reporting higher percentages of depression, anxiety, and addictions within their membership since the pandemic started. These are all evidence that our mental health needs attention.
Most attorneys I talk to feel they are handling all the stress and all other mental health issues such as mood disorders like depression and anxiety just fine. They fail to stop and ask themselves what they are doing to support their mental health. Just like your physical health needs attention, your mental health needs attention also.
Everyone wants good mental health. When you’re working 60+ hours each workweek and work full days on the weekends, it’s not easy. It’s important to take a moment to look at yourself and ask whether your mental health needs attention?
Stress is one of the factors that can lead to depression and anxiety. Lawyers live under a lot of deadlines, real and self-imposed, that cause stress. The legal profession changes due to the pandemic are causing more stress.
7 ways attorneys can improve their mental health by relieving stress, improving their mood, and releasing anxiety
- Get Plenty of Sleep – I’m a big believer in getting adequate sleep. National Sleep Foundation guidelines recommend between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. It’s important to get quality sleep so you can function through a long and complex day.
- Nutrition – Eat Healthy during a break from Work. I recommend that you take a break from work for every meal of the day, and there should be at least three meals. It’s best if you stay off electronics while you eat unless you’re reading or listening for relaxation.
- Spend time with your Friends and Family – Both family and friends are important. Take the time to cultivate your friends and extended family through text, zoom, and other communication sources during the pandemic.
- Exercise – I don’t need to say much about exercise. Like sleep, I believe that exercise is critical. Whatever form of exercise works for you, do it regularly.
- Manage Your Stress by taking time to Unplug – Take time to meditate. Use your time to turn off electronics for 2 hours before bed to help you relax. Find your times and take your times to unplug.
- Be Kind – Being kind to others. Demonstrating compassion for others and gratitude for all the blessings we have been given helps our mental health.
- Avoid Addiction – Alcohol and drugs are seductive. Alcohol is particularly. It often starts as a social drink with co-workers. As time goes on you, look forward to that drink as a time to relax away from work. Then, it becomes a necessary way to relax after work.
Then there are times you sneak a drink at lunch when times are very stressful. Sooner or later, you are drinking on your weekend days. It’s a seductive but very destructive drug. If you feel you have issues, AA is a place to go. There are alternatives, but whichever program you choose, I’d suggest you get professional help.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. As you learn to take care of your physical health, you need to remember to take steps to check-in and make repairs to your mental health. Don’t try to go it alone. If I can be of any help, please sign up for a free 30-minute call at www.tanadaughtrey.com/meet.