Post Authored By: Kasim Carbide
While the pandemic changed how attorneys practice law, it has left fewer options at managing the daily stress of law practice. Pre-Covid times were filled with in-person events, office parties, and meeting co-workers at the local bar to release stress and mingle and network. While alcohol and work parties can be a fun way of relieving stress, lawyers are prone to substance abuse due to the nature of the job, and working from home is the perfect environment to live a healthier lifestyle.
Until vaccinations are widespread, lawyers must learn new ways of coping with stress, while maintaining their mental health and working at home. The following are a few ways of living a healthy lifestyle from home, while maintaining your mental health:
Mindfulness is a simple concept that requires focusing on your breath, and paying attention in a specific way — in the present moment.[i] Studies show that even 5 minutes a day of doing nothing but focusing on your breathing can have physical changes on your body like lowering cortisol and adrenaline levels.[ii] Moreover, these changes can extend to a person’s brain, and specifically, their amygdala – which controls fight or flight response.[iii] In sum, practicing this easy technique can lead to less stress and greater control over primal responses.
Walk around your neighborhood. It’s free, you’ll learn more about your neighborhood, and you’ll get some fresh air. While walking may often appear as the most underrated exercise (since we do it everyday), experts agree that walking can be as good of a workout as running, and it has the additional benefit of boosting your mental health.[iv]
If you live with your partner, a daily walk can turn into a healthy relationship building exercise that allows you to disconnect from our digital life. Keep your phone at home, smell the air (with your mask on), and enjoy the sounds and sights Illinois has to offer. Even if you don’t have a spouse, walking around your neighborhood is a great way to maintain your wellness, and lower your risk of depression at the same time.[v]
Whether you enjoy playing Uno with family, or playing Call of Duty – games are a fun way to distract yourself (and those around you) from the deadly pandemic happening outside your door. Many people now use video conferencing applications as a way of hosting virtual game nights and connecting with friends. Games like Jack in the Box, Among Us, and Ultimate Werewolf provide creative opportunities for having a Friday night party over your internet connection, and often making new friends along the way. Whether you host or attend – make sure to include at least one virtual party into your week.
By focusing on mental health and wellness, lawyers can take the first steps at managing the stress and anxiety accompanying law practice. Don’t wait another day – begin focusing on your health today!
[i] Dr. Job Kabat-Zinn, Wherever you Go, There You Are (APA 6th Ed. 1994).
[ii] Suzanne Craig Robertson, Just Breathe: How Mindfulness & Meditation Can Ease Stress in Your Life and Law Practice, Tennessee Bar Association Law Blog. Available at: https://www.tba.org/index.cfm?pg=LawBlog&blAction=showEntry&blogEntry=25729.
[iv] Brianna Steinhillber, Why Walking is the Most Underrated Form of Exercise, Better By Today (September 2, 2017). Available at: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/why-walking-most-underrated-form-exercise-ncna797271.
About the Author:
Kasim Carbide concentrates his practice in Corporate Law, Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Compliance, and counseling FinTech startups. When he is not reading or billing, Kasim enjoys cooking, watching the Office, and playing Catan with family and friends.