It’s hard to find many careers that are more stressful than law. Long hours and excessive workloads are leading causes of disproportionately high rates of stress, substance abuse, reproductive dysfunctions and mental health problems. Of course, for many lawyers, the benefits of practicing law far outweigh the downsides.
Still, for those who may be searching for those benefits, there are some easy strategies that you can implement that will ease the impact of those long days. In a new podcast I’ve just recorded with ALI CLE, I talk about those strategies that can help tame the stress in your workday. You can check out the podcast, which is Episode 8 in the ALI CLE Off the Record podcast series, for free, on iTunes.
Some quick tips for stress reduction.
Since stress affects the body, one of the first things you can do is a quick mental body scan. Simply take stock of where you are feeling tension in your body. Typical stress points are the jaw (clenched) and hands (rolled into fists). Others are the neck and shoulders (hunched up). And then there’s the brow (furrowed). As you notice the bodily tension, release it with your out-breath and imagine you are loosening up those tight areas.
Stress affects our ability to breathe deeply and easily. Shallow chest breathing is a sure sign of distress. A solution is to exhale slowly several times to slow things down which also enables you to take in a nice big in-breath. To make this even more effective, place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Your chest should be still and all the action should be happening with your belly.
Other stress reduction techniques include cognitive reframing (changing perspective), meditation, open focus attention, exercise and sleep.
More tips available for free in the podcast.
To get the full scoop, listen to the podcast my colleague Bill Jawitz and I recorded for you. This podcast is the first in a series on work-life balance challenges for lawyers.
[box]For additional stress-reduction strategies, check out the ALI CLE on-demand video program Stress Management for Lawyers, originally presented on December 5, 2012 and now available 24/7, online.[/box]