Managing stress as a law student or lawyer

Managing Stress: a quick guide for the aspiring or practising lawyer

Introduction: Managing Stress

Whether you are still at law school or practising as a lawyer, stress is something that you will undoubtedly face at some point so managing stress is vital. The feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure and not being able to cope has an effect on both your professional and personal life. Stress can affect your morale, your confidence, your productivity at work but most importantly, it can affect your relationship with your family and friends.

There are libraries full of books on “self-help” and “managing stress” and a multi-billion pound industry exists in the form of motivational speakers and self-help gurus! It’s easy to read about how to manage stress but when the deadlines are looming and your lecturer, boss or client is waiting for a piece of work, how do you manage?

Talk To Someone

Most organisations have some kind of structure in place internally to help people to manage workflow. If you’re worried and you can’t cope, you should speak to someone to address the issue. Maybe it’s a case of speaking to the friendly Partner down the corridor at your firm, maybe you need to speak to a colleague or friend or maybe you just need to speak to someone completely unconnected.

The most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone – managing stress is easier when you share how you feel with other people.

Sleep Well

It sounds like an odd one and certainly not one to do at university or work but a good night’s sleep when you are really under pressure and not being productive can really help. Put your phone to one side, listen to some relaxing music and try to remove the thoughts that are in your head – these are simple yet effective ways of managing stress.

Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post, has been a big advocate of getting more sleep and has linked success to getting an adequate amount of sleep each night. Of course, we hear examples of famous world leaders such as Margaret Thatcher who survived and ran a country on just a few hours of sleep a night. Some people might be productive after just a few hours of sleep but others need a lot more; it’s important to do what works for you!

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Doing regular exercise can help to take your mind off the stressful task that you are working on. Exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym or lifting weights; it can also be just a quick walk around your building and then returning to your desk. Next time you’re in the library trying to digest a really complex case that just isn’t going into your head, take a break and get some fresh air.

If you have a little bit more time, why not try a new class? Seen that new dance class that always looks fun? Give it a go one evening and take your mind off things.

Create A System

Often, we are our own worst enemy when it comes to managing stress. Whilst we sometimes have to deal with situations that are out of our control, it is important that day-to-day control of our life rests in our hands. Create an easy-to-understand and efficient system at work to help you to manage all of your tasks. Don’t rely on your university or employer to create a system for you because it will be generic and might not suit your style of working.

One of the best tools in your arsenal to help you to manage stress is a diary. Keeping track of deadlines, setting reminders and writing things down can really help you to manage your time better.

Keep Calm

There are times in all of our lives when we feel under pressure. However, the most important thing to remember is to stay calm. If you’re feeling stressed, it is likely that someone has also been through the same situation and managed to get through it in the end. Don’t waste your time worrying about the situation: it is far more useful to focus your energy on resolving the issue.

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