There are important health tips for lawyers and practitioners to observe. We have reports of lawyers and even judges slumping and dying suddenly in court and their houses.
These health tips for lawyers is important because the law profession (both the bench and bar) is a sedentary profession. Judges and litigation lawyers sit for hours in court to conduct the business of the day. Even when they retire to their chambers and law offices, the sitting continues.
These sedentary lifestyles eventually take a toll on their bodies and cause a lot of health problems which sometimes end in death or permanent disability.
Also, the law profession can be psychologically and emotionally sapping, especially for lawyers. Many lawyers make the mistake of getting emotionally involved in matters they handle for their clients which leads to emotional stress with its attendant consequences.
A study published by the Journal of Addiction Medicine, reported significant levels of anxiety, stress and depression among lawyers. Also according to the World Health Organization, depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
So how can legal practitioners maintain good physiological and psychological health while doing their jobs? The following are some health tips for legal practitioners.
Set Healthy Boundaries.
Many of the stress that some lawyers go through are self-inflicted. Lawyers make a living by trying to solve other people’s problems.
Every human being has some kind of problem ranging from financial, family, relationship, economic, and health problems.
Many lawyers make the mistake of adding other people’s problems to their personal problems. Big mistake!
A lot of lawyers get so emotionally involved in their client’s case that they find it difficult to sleep at night. This has caused many lawyers to develop depression and high blood pressure due to other people’s problems.
Smart lawyers know that there is no case worth losing your health or life. Once a lawyer dies or is incapacitated, the client simply takes the case to another lawyer.
Therefore, set healthy boundaries in handling matters for your clients. Be professional and separate your client’s matters from the rest of your life.
If there is a group of people who are guilty of inactivity, it is lawyers and judges. As observed earlier, the lawyer’s work is mostly sedentary. Lawyers spend hours every day doing paperwork on tables in their offices. When they go to court, they also sit for hours except when they are addressing the court.
The health problems caused by inactivity have been the subject of many studies. The truth is that a lack of exercise gradually kills the body and mind. One excuse that many lawyers give on their inability to exercise is that they are too busy. According to them, squeezing exercise into their already busy schedule will be almost impossible.
Lawyers who have this mindset think that exercise is not as important as the matters they are handling. But they are wrong. People who do not find time to exercise will sooner or later find out that they can no longer accomplish much.
Nobody has more time than the other. You create time for things that are important to you. You don’t have to exercise like Olympic athletes. Any little exercise is better than no exercise at all. And you do not have to go to the gym or outside to exercise. Little walks and stretches in the house will yield great health benefits.
More and more lawyers are joining the profession every year. The legal space is becoming more competitive. The pressure to survive and succeed is leading to depression and other mental health issues for so many lawyers.
Lawyers can help themselves by seeking creative ways to be relevant in the legal space and earn decent living. For example, you can learn how to build a legal writing career, and also review legal books.
Socialize and Get Interested in People.
The health benefits of constantly keeping in touch with your friends and family are enormous. Unfortunately, many lawyers forget this very important duty.
The pressure to meet up with deadlines and other legal demands has caused anxiety and depression among many legal practitioners.
Legal practice has become so competitive and there is a monumental increase in the lawyers’ workload. This has led to a situation where lawyers spend most of their time dealing with clients’ work while neglecting to take care of themselves.
Socializing with family and friends is a great way to vent concealed emotions. It is also while interacting with other people that you get new perspectives on matters you are working on.
It is a common sight these days to see lawyers with a lot of wrinkles and frowns on their faces, and who look much older than their age. It has been said that nothing will make you look old sooner than tension and fatigue.
A lot of people especially lawyers, have this erroneous belief that work needs a feeling of serious effort and endeavor, else it cannot be considered as work. You only need to see some lawyers at work in their offices. Their frowns, scowl, and tense muscles leave them fatigued and spent at the end of the day.
To stop the negative tension and fatigue, lawyers should learn how to relax. A relaxed lawyer is a better and more productive lawyer.
There are so many ways to relax, therefore learn the ones that work for you. You can go see a movie, hang out with loved ones, read good books. I recommend ‘How To Stop Worrying And Start Living’ by Dale Carnegie. Click to read a beautifully written review of ‘How To Stop Worrying And Start Living’.
Lawyers can also consider travelling, vacationing and ensuring they are relaxed even while working.
Get Adequate Sleep.
Experts have recommended that adults should get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. This is to enable the body to fully recover from the day’s stress and pressure.
Resist the temptation of bringing your office work home, and working till late in the night. When you deny your body the adequate sleep it deserves, it is only a matter of time before it breaks down.
Smart lawyers have found a way to get a little nap even in their offices. Finding time to nap for just a few minutes in the office has the power to repair your body and prevent fatigue.
Avoid Drug and Substance Abuse.
In a bid to keep up with the high demands of the legal profession, some lawyers have turned to drugs and other substances to help them relax and be more productive.
For some lawyers, alcohol, caffeine and nicotine are their substances of choice. Others prefer stronger substances. But these substances have been shown to harm rather than help our bodies.
Lawyers get a lot of money for their hard work, but unfortunately, many lawyers forget to find time to eat healthy foods.
The brain, which is one part of the body constantly engaged by lawyers in their works, needs proper foods to function effectively. Eating the right foods not only keeps the whole body rejuvenated, but helps clarify our minds and thought processes.
At the end of the day, what counts is not the amount of money you were able to amass, or how successful you think you are as a lawyer. Any lawyer that neglects his/her health will ultimately notice a reduction in the quality of his/her life. Such a lawyer is a failure.
Henry Frederic Amiel was right when he said:
“In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties”.