By Michael McGuire, Marion County Prosecutor's Office
The day to day life of an attorney is busy, chaotic and stressful, however, that is especially true of family law attorneys. As we enter the holiday season, the amount of stress on our clients, staff and us increases as daily issues involving custody, grandparent visitation, child support, finances, holiday visitation, etc. arise that needed to be solved yesterday when there are only 24 hours in a day. Family law attorneys risk bringing these stresses and anxiety home to his/her family at a time of year when we are trying to enjoy the season with the ones that mean the most to us.
Many states have encouraged attorneys to attend CLE classes that help improve time management, deal with difficult clients and manage stress. A number of companies are now offering employee assistance programs in their benefits packages to deal with these types of issues. There are numerous books and ideas on how we should manage stress in our daily lives. The greater emphasis on the wellbeing of individuals and our colleagues is a terrific step in the right direction however each individual must take that first step. All the various CLEs suggest ways to improve our time management skills or stress levels with different techniques, which is a great way to start, but each person must find his/her own way of handling these issues. The key is finding a way to detach from the job or case for an hour, a day, or a week to re-energize. Some individuals need to take a vacation out of the country while others may need to just read a book, visit with family or go to the movies.
One of the ways to re-energize is realizing that you are not alone in feeling like there is not enough time in the day or week to accomplish everything. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed this holiday season, talk with other family law attorneys! Attend the Family Law Summit & Holiday Party on Dec. 4 to visit with colleagues. Contact the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP, 317-833-0370, 866-428-5527.) As family law attorneys, we resolve conflicts and issues for our clients daily, but we also need to do the same for ourselves. If we are able to find the balance between our work life, family life and personal needs we will be better attorneys for our clients.
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