How to Battle Burnout in the Legal Sector

By nature, lawyers are destined to be workaholics. This means at some point during their career, they will eventually have to battle burnout. When the adrenaline of getting a new case loses its luster, long hours at the office are taking their toll, and every task feels like it may tip you over the edge, you may be at the brink of burnout. By definition, burnout is complete and utter exhaustion of the mind, body, and spirit. If you are teetering on the edge, here are some tips to help you make it through...

Tell-Tale Signs of Burnout

There are a few factors that may help you determine if career burnout is creeping in. Here are a few of the most tell-tale signs of imminent burnout:

  • If you are overly critical or cynical when speaking with co-workers or clients
  • If you have a hard time dragging yourself into the office every morning
  • If your appetite has changed
  • If you lack satisfaction when you complete tasks
  • If you rely on alcohol or drugs just to help you make it through your day
  • If you are having trouble sleeping or your sleep patterns have dramatically changed

Not only are some of these signs of burnout disturbing and disruptive, they can also affect your work performance and your relationships with coworkers and family members. It’s important to realize that everyone is different in how they react to stress. In order to determine if you are experiencing burnout, you must look inward and self-evaluate. If you aren’t acting like your normal self or others are telling you may need to take a break, you could be in the thralls of burnout.

Get Your Work-Life Balance in Check

In order to combat burnout, you must have support from your loved ones. A lawyer’s schedule can be especially hectic, so it is important for you to set time aside for yourself and your family.

Experts state that exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress. This is due to the fact that endorphins are released into your body when you exert yourself physically. These endorphins promote a state of well-being and help you to relax after rigorous activities. To help release tension, try taking an exercise class at your local gym once or twice a week to start. If hardcore exercise isn’t your thing, then try yoga or Tai Chi.

Spending time with loved ones can also help you relieve stress and gain a more positive perspective on things. Even something as small as meeting up with a friend for lunch in between client meetings or court can help. Talking about how your feeling with someone you trust can help boost your mood and also give you peace of mind.

Get Involved

Your day to day at the firm can be emotionally exhausting. The cases that you may be dealing with could be morally difficult to handle. This can cause serious burnout and negatively affect your mood and demeanor. If you are able, you may want to consider taking on some appellate work or pro-bono work for a cause you believe in.

This type of work can help to renew your love for what you do. As an attorney, you can help others that may be in need. Working for a cause can help you once again get emotionally invested in your job, isn’t that why you became a lawyer in the first place, to help others?

Burnout is unavoidable in the legal sector; it’s how you handle it that makes all the difference. Remember to call for back up from friends and family when you need it. When you feel like your career has no meaning, give it meaning - use your talents to help others.


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