3 simple ways to boost your mental well-being
Managing stress and mental well-being is something that all companies should make a priority, but for lawyers, it’s especially important.
Per the 2018 Legal Trends Report, the average full-time lawyer works nearly 50 hours per week—75% of lawyers surveyed for the report also reported working outside of regular business hours, and 39% said that this negatively affected their personal lives.
That heavy workload can make maintaining positive mental health a challenge, but there are some quick and manageable tips that all wills and probate lawyers can use today that will have an impact.
Here are three things you can do today to promote positive mental health:
- Streamline, don’t multitask
Beginning in the trainee years, many solicitors absorb the lesson that to work effectively, they need to be multitasking. However, research in recent years shows that not only is multitasking an ineffective way to work, it’s also damaging to the brain. Negative effects observed include impact on short-term and long-term memory and decreased grey matter in brain areas that are associated with emotional regulation, motivation, and cognitive control.
Instead of multitasking, look to streamline how you work. One way of doing this is to use a timer to block out times for specific tasks. You will also benefit from grouping similar tasks together during your day, and trying to work on one task for an extended period as much as possible.
Using a timer can help you stay focused, and there is a benefit to your work too: tracking your time in real time ensures that billable work isn’t lost. Technology can help with this. For example, Clio’s easy-to-use Timekeeper makes it simple to track time from wherever you are and immediately assign time entries to a case.
- Examine your thoughts as a solicitor
When times are stressful, it’s easy to believe that any negative thought we have is accurate–but examining and analysing those thoughts in the moment often proves the opposite.
For instance, imagine you are on a weekend outing with your kids, at a park, when you begin to worry about whether you should have hired a particular new associate and whether he capably represented a client in a hearing last week.
That worry might lead you to have thoughts like these:
- I bet he didn’t prepare enough.
- I bet he did a terrible job.
- We’re going to lose that case.
- That client is going to be really mad.
- I hired the wrong person.
If and when this kind of thinking occurs for you, employ your legal skills to challenge that thinking, as you would if a client were speaking to you. If it were a client, you might advise that these thoughts, in that moment, have no proof and are purely speculative. Using this kind of impartial analysis can often free you from the unpleasantness and anxiety generated by thoughts that have no proof.
- Consider mindfulness
The practice of mindfulness has gained increasing popularity in recent years among legal professionals. Using simple daily techniques to increase your mindfulness has been shown to improve overall mental health and wellbeing and to make practitioners more resilient to stressful periods.
As part of its Innovate Legal Online Workshop series, Clio put together the Introduction To Mindfulness, which you can view for free.
In this one-hour session, available to view on demand at a time that suits you, you will learn:
- What mindfulness is and why it is important.
- How to understand the origins of stress.
- How we can train our minds to master our inner states—our emotions, reactions, and responses to change and difficulty.
- How to scientifically understand mindfulness.
- How to practise experiential mindfulness.
- How to apply mindfulness and mental health techniques.
This article was submitted to be published by Clio as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.