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How Can Lawyers & Law Students Prioritize Self-Care?

Self-Care Awareness Month Trivia Question! What do a lot of lawyers have in common with billionaire innovators Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos?

Their work is impressive, but their priorities are questionable. In similar and different ways. Elon Musk is sleep-deprived and friends are concerned. Jeff Bezos sleeps enough, but he’s making headlines for poor working conditions in his Amazon warehouses. They both seem pretty smart and might prevail against any odds — but in the meantime, we can learn from the mistakes they’re making on their paths to full scale market disruption and domination. NEWS UPDATE: Elon Musk agreed to pay $20 million and quit as Tesla chairman in a deal with SEC. (See here.) And Jeff Bezos announced Amazon is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all US employees. (See here.)

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The Problem with Lawyers and Self-Care

Lawyers are not unique in their struggle to prioritize their health and well-being. Many in the helping professions focus on those they aim to help at the cost of neglecting their own needs. It takes time and effort to learn how to prioritize one’s own well-being as an essential element in being an effective helping to others. For those looking for reasons to avoid addressing issues with their own well-being, lawyers can turn to their legal training to help provide justification for their avoidance of self-care.

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Tips for Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene

Getting regular, quality sleep is one of the most important factors in good physical and mental health. Our bodies need sleep in order to repair and refuel our energy. While many of us use caffeine and sugar to replace the energy we should have gotten from a good night’s sleep, nothing can replace the benefit of a night of quality sleep. And while it seems simple, regularly getting quality sleep is difficult to do. Any parent can tell you that a full night’s sleep is more of a fantasy than a reality. However, there are some practical tips (generally called Sleep Hygiene) that can help you improve your sleep experience.

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The Importance of Sleep

It might be obvious to say, but sleep is really important. No, really. It’s really important. We all know that it is important to get a good night’s sleep, yet most of us do not get adequate sleep at night. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep each night. This, by the way, does not count the minutes/hours spent lying in bed awake, reading, thinking about your day, making to-do lists, etc. I have often had the thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I only needed an hour of sleep a night? I could be so productive!” This mentality frames sleep as a barrier to productivity. The reality is, adequate sleep is what allows us to be productive in the first place.

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