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Diffuse Stress Instantly and Incorporate Daily Self-Care

Pilar G Kraman

Diffuse Stress Instantly and Incorporate Daily Self-Care
Liubomyr Vorona via Getty Images

Due to the long hours, high stakes, incivility, and near constant adversarial work, the practice of law is inherently stressful. You, however, have control over how you feel, react, and repel (rather than internalize or pass on) the stress surrounding you.

Below are tips and suggestions for incorporating mindfulness into your day and how you can diffuse a stress reaction (such as an increased heart rate) instantly.

When You Need Immediate Help or Have Five Minutes or Less

  • Take several deep belly breaths. Focus on your breath.
  • Take notice of how you feel physically. Acknowledge the feeling, then let it go.
  • Change your perspective and position; adjust your posture (stand up, sit down, move).
  • Center yourself—feel the weight your of body in your chair or the feeling of your feet on the floor.
  • Set an intention.
    • Daily—what energy do you need to make it through the day (focus, calm, etc.) and how will you remind yourself of your daily intention?
    • Situationally—before walking into a meeting, take a moment and think about your purpose and your client’s goals. How best can you meet those goals?  You can even set reminders to re-focus yourself on those goals.

When You Have 10 Minutes or More

  • Guided meditation.
  • Take a walk.
  • Start a gratitude journal or a daily gratitude list.
  • Quick stretch or exercise.
  • Set a reminder to move more.
  • Call a friend.
  • Ask for what you need (e.g., associate help, technology help, time off).

Planning Ahead: When You Have an Hour or Beyond

  • Start a regular exercise regime.
  • Engage a nutrition coach or personal trainer.
  • Learn more about emotional intelligence.
  • Get a massage.
  • Get organized or declutter your space.
  • Engage a life coach, executive coach, or therapist.
  • Volunteer for a local organization.

Despite the unavoidable pressures and anxiety of our chosen profession, you (yes, you!) are in control of how you feel. In fact, research has shown that just 30 seconds of deep breathing can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. As you can see from the suggestions above, normalizing the notion of self-care and minimizing stress reactions does not have to take time or money. By following these suggestions, you will be better able to manage stress in the moment and set yourself up for a more successful and happier life as a lawyer.