Looking for some immediate stress relief? You’re not alone. Lawyer stress management is a perpetual issue at law firms.
Firms expect attorneys to work long hours on highly contentious cases while still making time for things like business development and community service. With all this constant pressure, it can be hard to find the time for a spa day or a round of golf, let alone a much needed vacation.
Nonetheless, we all know that stress – especially prolonged stress – is bad for us.
Stress has been linked to numerous health conditions including heart disease, headaches, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, and even the common cold. Therefore, it is critical for lawyers and other legal professionals to find quick stress relief activities to get them through the day-to-day grind.
Below you’ll find seven immediate stress release tips you can start using from the office today. (P.S. You don’t have to be a lawyer to use these instant stress-relief techniques.)
#1: Use stress-relieving essential oils
Aromatherapy is a common, if slightly controversial, stress relief tool.
The effectiveness of essential oils as a treatment for stress and other ailments will be debated by the medical community for years to come.
Proponents of essential oils swear that they are some of the very best treatments for stress relief available today. Given how easy they are to use and the low chance of negative side effects, it may be worth the investment to try them out within your office.
Some of the most popular scents for stress relief include: lavender, lemon grass, yuzu, bergamot, ylang ylang, and orange.
To get the stress-relieving benefits of these oils, you can either sniff them straight from the bottle or put them in a diffuser to gently mist your office space throughout the day. Some people like to apply essential oil tinctures to their skin, too, but make sure that you use a solution designed for that — don’t apply undiluted oils.
If you share office space, make sure you check with others around you before you bring a new scent into the room. What can be soothing and pleasant for one person might be an irritant for another.
#2: Put a foot massager under your desk
People often think of full-body massages as a form of stress relief (and for good reason), but did you know that a simple foot massage can both cut stress and boost energy?
The good news is you don’t need another person to give you a quality foot massage.
With the wide variety of commercially-available foot massagers on the market these days, you can simply park one under your desk and use it as an easy stress relief tool any time you’d like.
If you don’t love the feeling of a foot rub, you can also find massagers for your back, shoulders, or even full-body massagers that fit into your desk chair. We’re not saying you should ask your firm to get a high-end massage chair, but we’re not telling you to not ask, either.
#3: Five minute meditation
Meditation has long been used to calm the mind and refocus the brain away from stressors.
Moreover, some experts believe that meditation can actually reverse your body’s stress response, thereby not only calming you in the moment, but helping you to stay calm throughout the rest of your day.
In recent years, meditation has gained popularity among people from all walks of life. As a result, there are dozens of five-minute meditation videos available online that you can launch from your desk anytime you need them.
If you’re new to the practice of meditation, guided videos are a good place to start.
Keep in mind that there are lots of styles and strategies for meditation. Some people like grounding meditations that are designed to help you connect with yourself in the moment, and others prefer visualizations that focus on a specific subject or stressor. You might like music in the background, or you may prefer silence.
Experiment with a few different meditations to find one that feels right for you. Eventually, you may find that you don’t need to use a video to find a mindful, relaxing space.
#4: Pick up a coloring book
Yep, you read that right.
Many people still associate the act of coloring with being a small child. The truth is, however, that coloring can be a very relaxing activity for adults.
Think about it.
When you’re coloring, you don’t really have to analyze anything of substance. All you have to do is pick a color and stay between the lines. Before you know it, you’ve made something beautiful, which can also have a calming effect on your brain.
In case you’re still not convinced, check out some of the adult coloring books on the market that are designed specifically for stress relief.
#5: Take a walk
Any law firm dedicated to lawyer stress management should mandate that its employees get up and walk around at least three times a day.
The truth is, walking is one of the most immediate stress relief techniques known to man. It’s also great for your physical health, and regular walking makes you more resilient in the face of stressors.
Walking is known to boost endorphins, calm the mind, and improve mood. Plus, getting away from your office for a bit gives you time to let go of stress.
As an added bonus, regular walks may actually help you lose weight. Doctors say that just 30 minutes of walking can burn up to 150 calories. Over time, that could mean that you also get to stop stressing about your weight, too.
#6: Laugh more
One of the easiest and most enjoyable stress relievers is laughter.
Aside from just being fun, laughter has several immediate benefits to your health. These include muscle relaxation, stimulation of your internal organs, and, importantly, reduction of stress.
So, why not close your office door, do a quick search on YouTube for your favorite comedian, and give yourself a ten-minute laughter recess? If you work from a shared office space, make sure that the videos you pick are work appropriate.
Don’t have a favorite comedian?
There are literally thousands of comedic videos floating around the internet just waiting to be discovered.
#7: Connect with others in a non-law sort of way
Part of the stress of law firm life is the inescapability of it all.
You sit at your desk all day working on your caseload.
You walk down the hall and someone asks your opinion on a case they’re handling.
You go home at night and a relative calls asking for legal advice.
Sometimes, it seems like the only thing anyone wants to talk about is the law. Even if you love your career, it’s exhausting when you feel like you can’t think about anything else.
You know what can relieve that stress? Connecting with other people in a positive, genuine way.
Put down that brief and phone a friend. Chat about something other than the law for a while. In my experience, the sillier the topic, the better — might I suggest some ridiculous reality TV show?
Whatever you do, just escape from your reality for a little while. It’s sure to have a stress relieving impact on your day.
Stress management matters
Lawyer stress management is something all law firms need to take seriously. Burnout is more than just an inconvenience: it’s a serious health risk.
If the above stress relief techniques work for you, by all means, share them with your colleagues.
In the best case scenario, all the lawyers in the firm would start practicing some of these techniques, the firm would become a nicer place, and that, in turn, would further reduce your stress.
Even if none of the options listed here sound like they’re up your alley, give them a try. You might be surprised at the result.
One final suggestion: bookmark this post so you can find it again next time you feel like you need to blow off some steam. Having it on your favorites bar might even serve as a reminder to take care of yourself during the day.