Legal Profession Health and Wellness
May 19, 2019 by Lincoln Derr
We live in a stressful world. Heck, most of us who work in the legal field endure stress levels that are of epic proportions…deadlines, demands, and obstacles crash over us daily like a never-ending tidal wave.
Let’s face it, a bullying giant looms large in our life, whether we want to recognize him or not. This giant goes by the name of “Mr. Stress,” and he is a nasty fellow with a nasty mission. Domination and destruction are his goals and he should never be underestimated.
Workplace stress negatively impacts our body, thoughts, feelings, and behavior. It can cause poor performance in all areas of our life and left unchecked can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, insomnia, and chronic anxiety.
Mr. Stress is not our friend!
So, if stress is an enemy of giant proportions how do we gain the upper hand?
Let’s examine the case of David versus Goliath for some guidance.
David, a young shepherd boy, armed only with a stone and a sling agrees to go toe-to-toe in a battle against a mighty, 6-foot-9 Philistine giant named Goliath.
“As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.
So, David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.” (1 Samuel 17:48-50)
Step 1… Recognize the giant.
Face the giant with an action-plan that employs techniques that are strong, and although small on the surface they can inflict the most damage to your opponent’s weak spot.
Step 2…Pick up the slingshot.
Here are a few “stones” you could consider using in your arsenal to fight stress:
Be kind to yourself
Find something to “let go of” and replace it with something helpful. Spend less time on activities that are draining with no “mental” or “health” benefits. i.e., limit time on social media, refrain from political arguments and instead read a good book, take a relaxing bath, or get a massage. The list goes on…
Learn to say no
Believe it or not, it is OK to say “No.” It is acceptable to decline an engagement, project, or invitation. Recognize at times you need to prioritize yourself, your health, and well-being above other’s needs. Realize your “no” could become someone else’s “yes” for success.
Get in tune
Music soothes the soul. Play some of your favorite tunes at work, home, or on your commute. If music isn’t your jam – save your favorite podcast or book on tape to help distract you from negative forces – like traffic and road rage.
Take a break
Seriously, take a nap – it’s not just for babies or the elderly! Take a day off. Give yourself a break. Small comfort breaks throughout the day might do the trick. If you need something more, embark on a bucket-list vacation. We all need time to rest and rejuvenate.
Keep it simple
It is so easy to make assumptions and over complicate things. Life doesn’t have to be so hard. Boil it down and ask yourself, “Will this matter in five years, one year, a month?” When you believe the best in others and aren’t so easily offended, life becomes far less complicated. There is beauty in simplicity.
Studies show that exercise can be a powerful stress-reliever. We’ve all heard aerobic activities are beneficial because they release “feel good” endorphins, but there are many other types of movement that balances out the negative impact of stress by promoting relaxation. Some of the best exercises for promoting relaxation are those that focus on coordination, flexibility, strength, and balance. Great examples: Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Kickboxing/martial arts, and even dancing. If these aren’t your “cup of tea” take a walk and enjoy nature – it can work wonders.(Have to give a shout-out to my employer, who offers monthly yoga classes for all employees!)
There is power in positive thinking. Guard your thoughts and dwell on what is pure, right, and lovely. Find something to be grateful for every day and remember, life is short – don’t waste it with worry and fear.
Heather Brewer gives excellent advice – “Bullying is a horrible thing. It sticks with you forever. It poisons you. But only if you let it.”
If you ignore, dismiss, or deny the bully of stress (over time) you may realize this giant has poisoned your health and dominates your life. Mr. Stress doesn’t have to get the best of you – arm yourself and believe victory is achievable!
All it takes is a little mindful strategy and a few stones.