No amount of work is worth sacrificing your mental health. Follow this article to get 5 tips on how to strengthen your mental health and help your practice at the same time.
There’s evidence that lawyers are particularly susceptible to unhealthy lifestyle choices. A study conducted by the American Bar Association and Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation revealed that 36 percent of lawyers engage in hazardous drinking or possible alcohol dependence.
You would think that self-employed lawyers, who have more control over their schedule than their firm-employed peers, would find the time to make better lifestyle choices. That’s not always the case.
The additional management and marketing responsibilities, combined with the pressure of making the practice profitable, can distract self-employed lawyers from taking care of their mental health.
Mental health and stability is serious business, and not staying on top of yours can seriously affect both your firm and personal life alike. Here are five ways to stay on top of your mental health and make sure your firm (and mind) are firing on all cylinders.
1. Let things go
There is not a single human being on the planet that doesn’t worry. Even more so, there isn’t a single lawyer in the world that constantly over worry, it’s practically what you are trained to do! But many of your worries come from things that are out of your control. The things that are in your control, you can manage just fine. Don’t let the things that you can’t control take up space in your mind and cause you stress. Focus on what you can affect and go from there.
2. Plan your day and take breaks accordingly
Throughout the day, check in with yourself to see how your day has gone and what you’ve achieved. When you notice that your productivity is fading and you’re spinning your wheels, pause, take a breath, go for a walk, whatever it takes to hit the mental reset button, then once you’re ready, jump back into the task at hand. You would be amazed at the impact a little break can have on your mental health and productivity every day.
3. Control your mental workspace
Controlling your mental workspace is the most challenging part of the time management equation. While modern technology does make it easier to handle some aspects of running a small law firm, it also adds considerable opportunities for distraction.
One of the best tips to help control your mental workspace is to break the habit of constantly checking your email. Schedule a certain amount of time every day to check your email. Avoid the temptation of checking it multiple times during the day. Each time you stop to check your email, you lose work momentum
4. Remember there is nothing to be afraid of
We come across fear every single day. Whether it be from a large presentation or speaking engagement, or something smaller scale like meeting a new client or networking. But for most people, it isn’t the task itself that is so scary, it’s the anticipation that is often the worst part. Then afterward you realize, that wasn’t so bad. So try remembering or training your brain to realize there’s no threat, this will help you switch off the fear response over time. And eventually, those things that you once feared will be a thing of the past and won’t clog your mind anymore.
5. Move forward
Smart and generally happy people experience greater success because they are good gatekeepers of what they allow into their minds. This is increasingly important when it comes to letting past failures or unpleasant client interactions. We’ve all experienced this, but if you’re still obsessing over a bad situation or outcome, you’re choosing the wrong mental path. These situations or events are learning experiences and if you’re going to grow from them and become a better lawyer then you’re going to have to accept this and move on. Let the past be the past and move forward. Your practice and mental health will thank you for it.