Across industries, employees report occasional feelings of exhaustion, stress, and helplessness. Taken together, these feelings are more commonly known as – “burnout.” While burnout can affect an individual in virtually any position, legal professionals are particularly vulnerable due to their high-stress and intellectually demanding caseloads.
To help you avoid burnout, we asked members of our staff to put together a list of tips for long-term success!
#1 – Look for opportunities for flexibility
Which of your tasks are the most stressful? Prolonged stress is a recipe for burnout. Fortunately, small changes can provide a sense of much-needed relief. For example, many associates notice that flexible hours and the ability to work remotely can dramatically decrease feelings of stress. Reduced or modified schedules improve morale quickly. In fact, the simple act of asking for accommodation and receiving it may be incredibly healing.
#2 – Asses your priorities
Burnout often occurs when you are feeling unfulfilled and overwhelmed. Unfortunately, people typically avoid addressing the root cause of those feelings. As time passes, your priorities will naturally evolve. The things that were most important to you at 16, no longer hold the same weight in your late-20s. If you avoid figuring out your priorities, you’ll never be able to address that lack of satisfaction. When you sit down to figure out your main driving concern, you could find that it is your family. Simply by spending five or six more hours with them, you can keep your career and stave off burnout.
#3 – Practice open and vocal self-care
The legal industry is in the midst of a mental health crisis. Burnout, systematic overworking and a host of other problems have plagued the field for decades. By addressing the problem with others in your firm and particularly with management, you can create an ongoing organizational conversation. This conversation may also help you develop a sense of community with your peers, who are likely facing similar challenges.
The truth is, it’s possible to work hard without overworking yourself. Hard work is fulfilling, but overwork is a recipe for burnout! Of course, despite your best efforts, it may be difficult to spark broad change at your firm right away. In those moments, try to remember, even small steps are still positive steps when they lead in the right direction. Lastly, ensure that you are attending to your own mental health before everything else.