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Well-Being Tips for Law Students & Lawyers to Endure Winter 20-21

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used in place of professional advice, treatment, or care in any way. Lawyers, law students, judges, and other legal professionals in Massachusetts can find more on scheduling a Free & Confidential appointment with a licensed clinician here.

Feelings of isolation and overwhelm were already common in law school and the legal profession before the pandemic. Focus on the keys to your well-being as we approach an ‘unprecedented’ winter.

While these tips were originally written with law students in mind, they’re helpful at any point in your legal career as well.

 

1. Challenges are an opportunity to develop and strengthen personal agency. All life experiences can be used in developing resilience and grit that will benefit you now and later in your career.

 

2. Living with intention is key to motivation. Being conscious and aware of your choices is an ongoing decision to bring a focused cognitive energy to choices you make. When we tap into our deepest intentions, we are more motivated to stay on course, particularly with regard to professional satisfaction — find more here on how working in alignment with your values improves happiness.

  • Ask yourself regularly, “what is my deepest desire for ____” (school/work/relationships). Or “what matters most to me right now?”
  • Assess and remind yourself of your intentions and values often. Intentions keep you on track and help you to meet your goals even during these difficult times.

 

3. Be goal-directed. Identify goals you’ll commit to reaching, and develop discipline that allows you to succeed.

 

4. Create small changes that become habits. Establishing smaller, consistent changes that you can commit to allowing for achievable benchmarks that reinforce behavior. Find more here on why it’s helpful to start small as you approach goals.

 

5. Develop a discipline for self-care; pay attention to your body. Make it a priority to create consistency, conscious awareness, and perseverance in diet, exercise, rest, and relaxation. “The body keeps the score” (Bessel Van Derkolk). Our bodies hold stress and trauma even when we are not cognitively aware of the toll stress takes on us. By engaging in healthy mind/body activities including meditation, yoga, exercise, and healthy eating, our body can be key in healing from overwhelming stress as well.

 

6. Focus on pushing through personal malaise, procrastination, avoidance. Give yourself permission to risk failure, and walk through the fear of “what if???”

 

7. Embrace change, don’t resist that which you cannot control. Loss and pain are unavoidable, but continuing to suffer is optional and comes from resistance to accepting the change and shifting your focus to what’s in your control. Stress hardiness comes from three key beliefs that help people during adversity, referred to as the three C’s:

  • Commitment – remain involved and active in one’s community
  • Control – try to influence outcomes rather than staying passive.
  • Challenge – seeing change as an opportunity for new learning

 

8. Successful law students and lawyers seek help, consultation, and assistance, which is available to law students in Massachusetts for free and confidentially through LCL.

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Written by Barbara Bowe, LICSW

CATEGORIES: Law Students | Well-Being
TAGS: covid-19

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