Chronic unmanaged stress can make you unfocused, cranky, and burned out. These simple stress management tips can help improve your bottom line as well as your physical and emotional health.
By Carolyn Ellis, Life Coach and Author
Stress is an inevitable part of life as a family law attorney. Growing online legal services and a burgeoning supply of newly-minted lawyers means there is more competition for securing that next client.
Learning how to manage your stress isn’t just about making healthy choices for your body, it’s about making healthy and effective choices that can impact your bottom line in business. Chronic unmanaged stress can make you unfocused, tired, cranky, and burned out – qualities that will not help you attract new business or opportunities. Here are some simple tips to help you manage stress and can keep your edge in a competitive marketplace.
Dial Down The Adrenalin
Studies show that even just one minute of deep, diaphragmatic breathing can help tame the adrenalin rush that’s triggered when your body gets into “flight or fight” mode. When you’re feeling stressed, or about to be in a pressure-filled situation, take a moment or two to get grounded by taking some slow deep breaths. It helps diffuse some of the body’s stress response so you can think more clearly and keep your focus.
Prioritize Your Physical Health
If you become ill, your ability to hit your billable-hour targets can drop suddenly and drastically because it isn’t easy to delegate or duplicate what you bring to your clients. Prioritizing your physical health means getting back to the basics – such as getting enough sleep and exercise, and eating right.
Keep it simple and take one proactive step towards making improvements in your physical health this week. For example, you could commit to taking a 15-minute walk outside each day. Cut back your coffee intake by one cup a day or forgo the morning bagel on odd numbered-days. Invest in a trainer at the gym to create a personalized workout plan so you maximize the effectiveness of your time at the gym.
Use Your Powers of Observation
We don’t always have control over events in our lives, but we do have control over our response to those events. As a family lawyer, you already have excellent observation skills that you bring to your clients. All you need to do is transfer those same powers of observation to where stress shows up in your life so you can better manage it – or sidestep it completely.
Start by making a list of the top five to ten areas of your life – professional and personal – that are creating stress. Using a scale of 1-10, with 10 being “most stressful”, give yourself a quick self-assessment and identify your highest area of stress. Brainstorm possible solutions to reduce stress in that one area; pick one simple step and implement it right away. Repeat this simple process as often as needed until you have better control over your peak stress zones.
Recharge Your Batteries
Productivity experts know that high performance and optimal productivity can’t be achieved unless energy output is balanced with downtime and energy renewal. In the bestseller The Power of Full Engagement (Free Press, 2005), authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz argue that “full engagement” and sustainable success comes through managing energy – not time.
Break up focused work with short breaks every 90 minutes if possible to stretch your legs or do some jumping jacks. Give yourself some downtime to relax with family or dedicate time to a fun hobby. Even unplugging from electronics for a day on the weekend can feel quite relaxing. Make booking your vacation a priority.
Talk it Out
Lawyers are masters at reasoning and constructing arguments. When it comes to managing stress, seeking help or just a sympathetic ear can remove the pressure of having to figure it all out yourself like you do with your clients. Whether you talk it out with a trusted friend or a trained counselor, giving yourself space to express your feelings can in itself provide a lot of relief.
Carolyn Ellis is the Founder of ThriveAfterDivorce.com and BrillianceMastery.com. She is an award-winning coach, transformational expert, and author of the award-winning The Divorce Resource Kit and The 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting: What to Avoid to Help Your Children Thrive After Divorce. www.ThriveAfterDivorce.com.