It’s the most wonderful time of the year…or is it?
In the midst of the holiday season, the never ending circle of gift-giving, holiday parties, and activities can also lead to stress and anxiety. Plus, if you’re a part of any law practice, you deal with the end-of-year madness of the legal profession. The holiday season can lead to an abundance of almost everything leaving one feeling drained rather than filled with love and cheer.
When it comes to attorney wellness, the legal profession has been slow to come to terms with its own self-destructive tendencies. Lawyers have tolerated or even celebrated overworking creating the excessive “power-through” culture. In a study conducted in 2016 by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, mental health problems were shown in high rates across the board. This can be exacerbated by the holiday season.
Below are five ways to help combat stress during the holiday season (and really, any time year-round):
- Set your priorities: Determine what activities create the most positive impact in your life and eliminate the others. This is especially important during the holidays, when events, requests and traditions can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
- Learn how to say no: Don’t overextend yourself – physically or emotionally. Being more selective means you’ll fully enjoy the events you do choose to attend. If you can’t miss an event, think about attending for a short period of time and then excuse yourself. You can always send a small thank you letter to show your appreciation for being included, or show the hosts you appreciate the invitation by sending a small thank you.
- Take care of your body: The holidays can be a period of over-indulging. An extra glass of wine here, a few of your favorite desserts there…go for it- but also don’t forget to Get Up and GO after you treat yourself! Take a walk during lunch. Plan to attend a group workout or better yet organize one for the firm. Meditate to center yourself again. Putting in the time to move will leave you happier, more productive and increase your energy.
- Set a schedule: Putting your plans on paper can show you in black and white how realistic they are. Start by scheduling your biggest priorities. From there, you can eliminate the less important activities that follow. Charting down and being honest about your time will allow you to see if you’re trying to pack too much in.
- Breathe: This sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes we forget to take a deep breathe and relax. Make sure to make time for yourself, and find activities that alleviate stress and allow you to enjoy life. After all, the holiday season only comes once a year!
However you choose to spend your time, remember to consider the things you are thankful for. It’s all about perspective. Happy Holidays!