Thomas Scott Edwards Shares How to Avoid Burnout as an Attorney

Don't let the importance of your work stop you from taking care of yourself.

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

Being an attorney is one of the most exhausting, demanding professions out there. If you aren’t intentional about avoiding managing job-induced stress, lawyers will eventually find themselves burnt out. Here are some tips you can use to avoid burnout as an attorney.

  • Practice Self-Awareness

Mindfulness is not just for yogis; it simply means being aware. As a lawyer, you must practice mindfulness and self-awareness. Instead of pushing aside your feelings and neglecting your needs, you must take the time to be aware of them. If you’re going through a particularly busy time at work, pause during the day and consider how you’re feeling. If you’re overly stressed, take a break. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re tired, make a mental note get to bed earlier. Being aware of your feelings is one of the best ways to avoid burnout.

  • Exercise

If you don’t have a workout routine already, it’s time to put one in place. You probably think that you don’t have time to exercise, but even 20 minutes a day is beneficial to reducing burnout. Daily exercise will help you to manage stress and feel more energized throughout your busy day. It also does wonders for your mental health. Working out will also help you to stay healthy and to thrive as a person and as an attorney.

  • Get (and Keep) a Personal Life

Many attorneys sacrifice their personal lives to achieve more success. If you work the equivalent of two full-time jobs, however, you’re going to burn yourself out twice as fast. Keep boundaries on your time. Don’t give up your personal life for the sake of your career. Give up the belief that you can’t be successful without being available 24/7. Go out with friends, spend time with your family, and unplug at set times throughout your day. Also, don’t forget to spend some time alone as needed.

  • Know the Signs of Burnout

Lastly, one of the most effective ways to avoid burnout as an attorney is to learn the signs and be able to recognize them in your own life. Some signs that you may be nearing burnout include physical and mental exhaustion, cynicism or disengagement with work, and a lack of focus. If you start feeling as if tasks you once completed with ease are now arduous, you may be on the road to burnout. 

If you think you’re close to burning out, talk to someone. You may need to take some time off to recover. You will also have to learn how to manage your stress more effectively, going forward. 

No matter what anyone says, burnout does not have to be part of your life as an attorney. If you practice self-awareness, take care of your body, enjoy a social life, and be aware of the signs of burnout, you can thrive in both your career and in life.

You might also like...


Overcoming Burnout: It’s Not Just About Having More Resiliency

by Dr. Tomi Mitchell

How to Prevent Burnout in 5 Easy Steps

by Oscar Segurado, MD, PhD

Mindfulness As A Tool For Stress Management

by Dr. Tomi Mitchell
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.