attorney burnout

Did you know that lawyers suffer from depression at a rate 3.6 times higher than that of other professions? It’s true. Practising law is stressful and demanding and the constant high pressure to improve with the same resources day after day leads a lot to attorney burnout. Here are 2 essential ways that attorneys can avoid this fate.

A quick insight into attorney burnout

“Attorney burnout” refers to a prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal job stressors and is characterised by three symptoms:

  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Depersonalisation
  • A reduced sense of personal accomplishment

Practising law can lead many attorneys to run themselves into the ground but it’s important to note that just because professionals within the law industry are more susceptible to burnout, doesn’t mean that everyone will suffer from it.

2 ultimate ways attorneys can avoid burnout

If you feel drained and unable to give anything even before the day begins; if you feel disconnected from other people and resentful of them, if you feel ineffective at work and like any results that you do achieve are not meaningful, you may be experiencing attorney burnout. Here are two ways to avoid it and overcome it if you are already experiencing the symptoms:

Work smarter, not harder

Many attorneys think that they need to work harder and longer to achieve what they want but that’s just not true. By working smarter, you can actually reduce your hours to a “human” workweek. Here are a few ways that you can do that:

  • Rediscover your why and identify the work that you have a passion for.
  • Eliminate the areas of the law that drain your energy.
  • Focus on your strengths and what you enjoy and delegate the rest.
  • Start saying no to work of low value.
  • Drop something before taking on something else.
  • Drop difficult, time-consuming or unprofitable clients.
  • Prioritise, break your tasks up into small manageable chunks, and work on the hardest tasks at your most productive times.

Prioritise self-care

Many attorneys feel like they never have enough time. They often sacrifice their own health, especially when it comes to sleep, eating, and exercise, in an attempt to power through and get work done. In reality, this actually has the opposite effect. Scheduling in time for yourself throughout your day can re-energise and refocus your mind whilst also making you happier and healthier in the long run. This has a great impact on your productivity and motivation and ensures that you work effectively and efficiently. Here are a few ways that you can take care of yourself:

  • Get enough sleep to let your brain recharge.
  • Exercise regularly to relieve stress.
  • Meditate daily to develop a positive, growth mindset.
  • Never take work home, use that time to be with your family.
  • Schedule vacations in advance and switch off completely.
  • Socialise as much as possible both in and out of work.
  • Open up to someone who you can trust.
  • Utilise lawyer assistance programs at your firm or consult health professionals for help.
  • Spend some time thinking about what you really want. Could changing roles or careers be the best move for your health?

Avoid and combat attorney burnout

Just because practising law is stressful and you’re continually pushing yourself to deliver and satisfy the demands of the industry doesn’t mean that you are inevitably on the path to burning out somewhere down the line. If you implement these 2 strategies in your everyday life, you can always be sure of how you’re feeling and what changes you need to make to avoid attorney burnout.

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