By Mag. Tiffany U. Vivo, Marion Superior Court
The practice of law is demanding. If you’re in the business of family law, you’re faced with unique experiences that make the practice even more challenging and downright exhausting. It is this exhaustion that leads to burnout and for some, a cynical view of family law.
Taking the time to stop and breathe is necessary. Here are a few things you can do to help manage the stress and hopefully, prevent burnout:
- If you’re someone who habitually stays at the office way past closing time, make a promise to stop working and leave by a reasonable hour. For some, that could be 6 p.m. For others, maybe a little later. Whatever you decide, allow yourself enough time to go home, unwind and enjoy the rest of the evening. Unless there’s a pressing deadline, the work will be there tomorrow.
- Put your electronics away at home. Much like parents are discouraged from allowing their children to become addicted to electronics, you too should not allow yourself to become enslaved to checking your phone for work-related texts or emails, or taking a call after hours. Unless there’s a deadline or a true emergency, it can wait until tomorrow.
- Allow yourself to be in the moment. Enjoy the meal with your family or friends. Go for a walk with your spouse. Play with your children. Read that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand. Work out. Clean your house or simply do nothing but shut your brain off. Whatever it is, don’t allow work to slowly invade your thoughts.
- Try to take regular trips to “go away” such as on quick weekend getaways. There’s something about leaving the jurisdiction and having a change of scenery that helps untangle the mind. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Be sure you don’t allow too much time to pass in between these trips because the goal is not to wait until you’re at your wits end to do something about it. Make sure you apply #2 and #3 during these trips.
- Say “no” and limit your commitments. If you’re over-extended and have found yourself a member of every board, organization or committee, it’s okay to graciously decline. It’ll free up your time to do other things for yourself mentally and physically.
Giving yourself the chance to step back is good. You’re not only doing yourself a favor, but your clients as well by taking a break. You’re giving yourself a chance to regroup and recharge. When you do this, you become more focused and on top of your game. You’re in a better mood and feel good about yourself. These positive effects result in productivity and overall better performance for your clients.
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