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After the Bar

Personal & Financial

How New Lawyers Can Maintain Wellness Routines

Eric Liberatore

Summary

  • Busy professionals can set SMART wellness targets by finding ways to make their goals more achievable and realistic.
  • You may be able to create more time for your wellness by harmonizing your goals with your overall productivity.
  • Wellness goals can become draining when they are adopted for the wrong reasons. Don’t use wellness as an excuse to be toxic toward yourself. If health has led to negative attitudes or behaviors in the past, consider a wellness resolution about your overall philosophy.
How New Lawyers Can Maintain Wellness Routines
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Practicing as a young lawyer can seem like it leaves you no time for your health. Adding new wellness routines―or attempting to restart old ones you might have paused―may come across as impossible with so many competing priorities and so little time. With the right approach, though, your pursuit of professional excellence and personal health do not have to clash.

Set Wellness Goals the SMART Way

SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Naturally, when you know what you want to accomplish, how to tell if you are accomplishing it, that you can accomplish it, and when you will accomplish it, you are more likely to succeed.

Busy professionals can set SMART wellness targets by finding ways to make their goals more achievable and realistic. For example, you can open up new options with equipment like balance boards or bike pedal exercisers that go under your desk and are designed to make more types of exercise realistic while working. If a fast-paced environment makes it harder to eat lunch the way you hope to, focus nutrition goals on breakfast when you might have more control of your schedule, making the goals more achievable. You might even try to shape your workplace culture to support employees’ wellness better, expanding what might be possible with your current job.

Keep your goals lowercase smart, too. What might seem like small wellness adjustments can have big implications. Talk to your medical providers before starting new exercise routines, changing your diet, or making other health-related decisions.

Leverage Productivity Benefits

Just as SMART planning means your work does not need to be at the expense of your health goals, your goals do not need to be at the expense of your work. In fact, you may be able to create more time for your wellness by harmonizing your goals with your overall productivity. While individual results vary, some people find yoga, tai chi, and  mindfulness exercises helpful in facing the day or reducing fatigue. Working out in nature can also stimulate mood and mindset. Nutritional neuroscience may be a topic worth discussing with a professional; certain foods believed to affect energy or focus could inform dietary goals better suited to your life than simply cutting out carbs or calories.

Likewise, don’t forget that your wellness goal can be improved sleep or your mental well-being. The health benefits of either can have work benefits, too.

Whatever works for you, wellness approaches that increase your personal productivity are the easiest to fit into a full schedule as a professional. The time you spend on them ultimately gives you time back by boosting your energy, focus, or mood to get through work tasks more efficiently.

Reexamine Your Reasons for Wellness

On the flip side, wellness goals can become draining when they are adopted for the wrong reasons. Don’t use wellness as an excuse to be toxic toward yourself. No one’s health is improved by hating themselves, turning hobbies into a source of stress, or using measurements that incentivize extreme approaches and potentially dangerous goals.

If health has led to negative attitudes or behaviors in the past, consider a wellness resolution about your overall philosophy. Resolve to value yourself and celebrate your body’s capabilities rather than judge your appearance or focus on your limitations—endeavor to learn a new activity in a fun or collaborative setting instead of a competitive one. Embrace the role mental health plays in your overall well-being and base your goals on what makes you feel good about who you are rather than treating goals like a “fix” to a problem you perceive with yourself. When pursued for the right reasons, wellness becomes a welcome break rather than a source of pressure or discontent that adds more stress to an already busy life.

Perspective may be the key to success―and the change of perspective itself might be the most powerful thing you can do for your wellness.

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