And while it is interesting that the current level of stress that lawyers experience has, as the article claims, been around for 25 years, many feel the stresses of legal practice have been around much longer – say for centuries.
Either way, continuous days of 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. work shifts will eventually take their toll on anyone’s life.
In fact, one has no life when the daily commute and getting ready in the morning are factored in to an attorney’s 10 to 12-hour work day.
Or as The Above The Law article states, if a lawyer bills 2,000 hours, they are more than likely working 2,500 hours. And those who bill 2,800 hours are probably working weekends.
So with hours like that, where does sleep come in – because it has to come in somewhere for at least 7 hours.
All-in-all, as the article suggests, with everything calculated, a lawyer probably has less than 3.5 hours of personal time as that can be taken up with non-restful activities like grocery shopping, going to the bank, dropping off and picking up dry cleaning, etc.
You also can’t forget that sleep takes up about 7 hours of your 24-hour day, as well. You probably have a measly 3.5 hours a day for personal time, which is likely further siphoned by chores, errands, etc.
Of course this isn’t to say Biglaw has no redeeming qualities to it.
If anything, a lawyer who is successful within a BigLaw practice can achieve both power and prestige if all goes according to plan.
Nonetheless many lawyers agree there are times when frustration and stress can get the best of any attorney.
This is revealed in how lawyers suffer from depression at 4 times as much as the general population.
In addition, the suicide rate for lawyers is among the highest in the nation – rivaling alcoholics and drug abusers.
Yet Big Law lawyers are paid well, right?
And when you make more than bankers, doctors and consultants in your same peer group, the stress has to be worth it, correct?
It depends on who you talk to.
It also depends upon how you manage your stress.
At some point you will have to put down the legal documents and do something more active than argue with opposing council.
Take lunch for example: Instead of a partner power lunch, use part of your midday hour to do a 30-minute workout. It doesn’t have to involve a gym where you’d be doing a bunch of squats or bench pressing hundreds of pounds.
A walk will do just as well, which can ultimately improve your mood, focus and energy for the rest of the day.
And even if you can’t at least take a lunchtime walk, exercising before or after work can greatly help combat anxiety as it can release serotonin and endorphins which will help you fall asleep faster at night.
It’s easy for attorneys to sabotage themselves when it comes to sleep, particularly if they choose to catch up with personal matters.
Well, this is a bad choice.
Not getting enough sleep can deteriorate your physical health and affect your productivity the next day.
Essentially a downward spiral occurs when a person is sleep deprived.
In the end this makes all tasks difficult, including your law firm-related responsibilities.
Cannabis (THC & CBD)
Okay, let’s grow up here: Weed isn’t all that bad, and if your state allows for you to use it medicinally why not give it a try to relieve some of your stress.
You don’t even have to learn how to roll a joint. The marijuana industry has evolved to where gummies, oils and creams can be as beneficial as the leaf itself.
Research has shown that low doses of THC can help reduce stress and anxiety and also help with sleep.
Sure, overdoing it, however, could have a counter-effect, in which you become lethargic and unable to concentrate.
Otherwise if the idea of smoking marijuana or taking an edible appeals to your stress-related issues, do so in moderation.
Leave work at work.
Don’t discuss work when you are not working? This can lead to more stress not to mention burnout which can be very difficult to overcome.
Even during your lunch, you should leave work out of it. Lunch should instead be reserved for a 20-30 minute getaway in which you recharge your brain.
You should also try to not bring your work back to your home. This will not only affect your mood but could take a major toll on the family. Home is for yourself and your family.
In some ways Tinder, Bumble and Grindr aren’t bad things, particularly if you don’t have the time or the inclination for a relationship other than sex. In fact as the Above The Law article states; some attorneys are better off because of these services.
This is because having sex consistently is very important toward relieving stress.
You should find time to date, socialize and ultimately have sex.
As the article explains, Psychologist Andrew Goliszek says, “Sex is a great way to relieve stress. The benefits include release of endorphins and other hormones that elevate mood, and exercise, which itself is an effective stress reliever.”
Who’s your favorite band? Or, what’s your favorite style of music?
Country, R&B, Classic, Punk, Indie?
No matter what genre you prefer, music is a quick escape from the reality of the moment and can allow you to refocus on the task at hand.
Many relaxing playlists have been created on Spotify and Apple Music that allow people to decompress and relax their mind.
And that type of stress reliever is just a cell phone’s tap away.
With these 6 tips as to how you can relieve yourself of law-related stress, there’s no reason you can’t withstand the usual pressures of being a lawyer, including the occasional 12-hour day.
Just make sure that 12-hour day does not become a common occurrence.
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