Finding your bubble: What attorneys need to do their jobs and be OK

Woman sitting at desk in office and thinking while working on laptop

As an attorney at a solo or small law firm, finding balance is challenging. You’re always trying to manage doing what you love and helping clients against growing your business and balancing the books. While you may be accustomed to embodying phrases like “making it work” and “wearing many hats,” the truth is you don’t have to do it all on your own. It’s possible to balance your professional efforts with personal fulfillment — and it all begins with regularly taking time to check in with and take care of yourself.

Here are some tips that can help you find the middle ground between your life and practice:

Take care of your mental and emotional health

The pressures of heavy workloads and meeting client demands often lead attorneys to burnout. Try establishing boundaries between yourself and clients to ensure that you don’t take on more than you can handle at one time. Set aside specific blocks of time in your day dedicated solely to self-care such as going on a walk, meditating, or engaging in other activities that help clear your head. 

Solo and small law attorneys also face the challenges of working alone, which can be isolating and quite overwhelming. Luckily, building a network of friends for social support can be beneficial to your emotional well-being. Whether you have colleagues at your firm to lean on or friends outside the legal sphere, developing relationships with people you value and trust can provide you with much-needed emotional support.

Additionally, attending events such as conferences or seminars related to your field can provide valuable insights into how other attorneys manage their work-life balance while connecting you with potential mentors who have already been through similar experiences. 

Tend to your physical health

Over time, stress can seriously and negatively affect not only your mental and emotional health, but also your physical health. According to the Cleveland Clinic, chronic stress is linked to serious health conditions including heart disease, cancer, and lung and liver ailments.

To help combat the negative effects of stress, keep your physical health at top of mind. Do your best to eat well, get enough sleep, and move your body daily. Exercise can help alleviate stress levels and improve cognitive function; even short walks during lunchtime can make all the difference when it comes to managing workloads effectively. 

Also be mindful of any negative behaviors that may be impacting you physically. Overeating, smoking and excessive drinking can increase your risks of developing serious health conditions and diseases.

Take stock of your financial health

Economic worries are a cause of concern for many people, law firms included. Concerns about money create stress that in turn can raise your blood pressure, keep you up at night, and lead you to make unhealthy choices. If your firm has experienced financial highs and lows, it’s important to formulate a strategy for how to move forward.

Get in touch with your accountant or financial advisor and take time to fully understand your financial big picture. If necessary, figure out where you can trim costs. When it comes to attracting and communicating with prospective clients, what marketing initiatives make sense? Be sure to explore your options. Digital marketing tactics like legal directories, blogging and social media advertisements are more affordable options that typically yield higher ROI.

When it comes to your health and general well-being, everything is interconnected. Things that are happening in your professional life are bound to bleed over into your personal life and affect your overall health and happiness. But remember that in order to be the best lawyer you can be, be certain that you’re attending to your needs as a human as well.

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