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Work-life balance for lawyers can merge leisure with legal learning.
It’s hard to find a lawyer who isn’t teetering on the edge a good deal of the time. Year-end holidays, no doubt, can add to that stress.
Many lawyers, though, have strategies for handling the pressure and returning to a sane place often enough to move forward. But these strategies aren't focused solely on de-stressing. Some of them build knowledge and skills too.
So if you need direction on de-stressing, here are three relaxing (and edifying) hobbies you can squeeze into any day to combat that double-whammy of stress.
Read some poetry, even just a little. The rhyming and rhythm can set you free. The National Association of Poetry Therapy tells us that the healing power of words can be traced to primitive man.
You can even try your hand at writing poetry for the same healing qualities. Of course, you can write about being a lawyer or the law, but if you need to forget that aspect of your life entirely for a time, look to love or nature to carry your stress away.
Writing poetry also excites the creative juices that rarely show themselves in daily legal practice. In fact, becoming a creative poet is one of the keys to becoming a creative legal writer.
Along the same lines, immersing yourself in a good book can transport you from your stressed-out world. Even the reality of non-fiction can take your brain to safer places. Never doubt the transformative power of books.
A cozy night with a lawyer-recommended book might be just the ticket. Try The Story of My Life (the Clarence Darrow story). You may even want to read some lawyer-suggested classics such as The Trial by Franz Kafka or Billy Budd by Herman Melville.
Fiction or non-fiction, books are your springboard to becoming a better-educated lawyer. If you want to relax and learn the law at the same time, try these 100 must-reads about law and social justice.
Maybe relaxing in front of the tube is more your speed. Put your feet up and sip your favorite beverage as you watch Perry Mason, Boston Legal or any of a long list of lawyer-centric shows or movies (e.g., My Cousin Vinny, A Few Good Men, The Verdict). You might get a kick out of pointing out all of the things they get wrong about the law and being a lawyer. There’s nothing like a good laugh to combat stress.
An added bonus—you may even encounter a few snippets that enhance your lawyer skills. Try this list of legal lessons from 12 pivotal movie scenes.
During stress, the brain’s prefrontal cortex goes into overdrive.
“Over time, a high level of demand can decrease memory, halt production of new brain cells, and cause existing brain cells to die,” says Ellen Braaten, PhD, an HMS associate professor of psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate director of its Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds.
Dead brain cells?
Why not save your brain cells by de-stressing.
And while you're at it, strengthen your brain cells with a dose of legal knowledge.