Law is a high-stress and high-volume workload that is ripe for burnout. The issues that many people are facing throughout the modern workforce are present in droves in the legal field. Long work hours, constant urgency, poor work-life balance. Burnout is nothing new, but it has definitely worsened in the last few decades. Dan Lukasik is a well-known legal professional who runs Lawyers with Depression, a website dedicated to mental health among law practitioners.
The website lists 10 milestones for lawyer burnout
- Inadequate breaks and rest
- Idealistic standards
- Constant low-grade stress
- Lack of help and assistance
- Chronic fatigue
- Strong feeling of responsibility, even for things out of your control
- Guilt for missing personal events
- Heavy job and family expectations
- Inability to say no
These are very common in the field, and important to work towards avoiding. If you notice that you are starting to feel a number of these milestones in your life, try out the following tips:
Delegate responsibilities – Not everything has to fall on your shoulders. It’s important to recognize when and where your major support lies, and rely upon it. We often are pushed to be in control of everything, or legal dramas showcase the worst of the field, but people are people, and we’re all in this together
Set Boundaries – Don’t let your work take over your life. It’s important to have strong boundaries in all professions, but law can be particularly invasive on your life. Make it clear that once you are at home, you are no longer working. Emergencies happen of course, but make it clear when work over-reaches.
Learn to Say No – In a competitive industry like law, we often take on far more than we are reasonably able to take on. It’s important to work hard, but keep yourself as a priority. Don’t let yourself become a doormat.
Take Time Off – The most important thing is to treat yourself from time to time, and de-stress. It can be almost impossible to leave work for any extended period of time, but even just a long weekend here or there can make all the difference in your mental and emotional health.