As the events surrounding the coronavirus pandemic unfold, it is likely that your stress and anxiety levels increase. Life has changed over the past few months and as businesses get hit, your stress level is bound to sky-rocket during these uncertain times. While you may be taking enough steps to protect yourself and others during the time of coronavirus, it can be easy to forget your mental health, which is just as important.
As a Lawyer, you may already have a fair amount of idea as to how stressful work can be and with the added pressure of survival of your law firm, it is understandable if you feel overwhelmed, confused, sad, lost, or angry. However, the sooner you learn to deal with these emotions, the sooner you will be able to take back control of your situation.
Here are some Stress Management Tips and Tricks to help you get through this stressful time:
Limit Your Screen Time
It’s time to cut down the amount of time you spend watching news and reading articles and scrolling through social media. It is probably something you feel compelled to do to stay up-to-date with what’s happening. But watching too much news on TV and reading too many articles online about the pandemic can cause you to have elevated stress levels without you even realizing it. You’ll soon start to feel overwhelmed or feel depressed if you keep listening to reports of death tolls every few minutes. Keeping your TV on, in the background while you work is a bad idea! Decide when to watch the news, say once or twice a day to get the latest information, and then resist the urge to read news articles or watch the news for the rest of the day.
We have all received an occasional WhatsApp or Facebook forward from a friend or a message in a group which we were quick to believe, only to realize that it was fake news and just a rumor. While it is true that social media platforms are trying to curb the spread of fake news, it’s still possible for a wave of misinformation and rumors to spread. Businesses can collapse, stock markets can crash because of such forward messages. It is important to make important business decisions only after thoroughly verifying the source of said information. Don’t blindly believe a forward that claims to be a notification from the Supreme Court or the Government. Always cross-check the information from trusted websites and sources before making decisions for yourself and advising your clients.
Practice Good Self-care
During this stressful time, it is easy to have a laid back attitude with regard to self-care. It is important to look after yourself. Your mental and physical health will play a key role in keeping your business afloat.
The following are some self-care practices that you should not ignore:
- Take Regular Breaks– Don’t let the work completely consume your day. Take breaks at regular intervals. Make time for your hobbies. Watch a TV Show you like and relax from time to time during the day.
- Eat Right– High-stress levels can affect your diet and your metabolism. You could be stress eating or not eating at all. Neither is good. Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet is key to keep your body and overall mood stable.
- Stay Hydrated– Dehydration can aggravate your stress. So make sure to drink a minimum of 2 to 2.5 litres of water every day. Drinking enough water will enable your body to function correctly.
- Sleep well– It is easy to form an irregular sleep-wake cycle when you have flexible work hours. However, this can be detrimental to your health. To function properly and manage your stress it is important to get a minimum of 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at your best.
- Exercise Regularly– While gyms around you may be closed, it is still important to take some time for exercise. You could try some yoga poses and meditation to reduce anxiety and stress
Establish a Routine
It can be tempting to stay up all night and wake up in the afternoon, throw something into the microwave and eat an unhealthy meal, but if done over a period of time can be very bad for your overall mental and physical health. It is important to plan your day ahead. Make To-do lists and plan your goals for the week. Schedule a time to wake up, plan your work hours, plan your breaks, and even plan your meals and self-care routines. This should help establish some certainty during the COVID-19 pandemic and put your worrying stressed mind at ease.
Improve Your Work from Home Practices
We have swiftly gone from working from our offices to working from home. And while going fully virtual can come naturally to tech-savvy people, it can be quite an adjustment for Lawyers, who spend most of their time in Courts and in-person with clients and colleagues. It can be hard to stay connected with your clients and co-workers. Furthermore, overcoming the challenges to maintain an overall high productivity level can be frustrating. Getting your work done as planned can give you a sense of satisfaction that will keep your anxiety and stress at bay.
These are some work from home practices that you can follow to ease into working remotely:
- Establish Your Work-Space– A clean and organized work-space can get you feeling motivated and ready to work.
- Plan Ahead– It is okay to take it one day at a time but you must not lose sight of the long term. Do take time to plan next your week, month, and the quarter from time to time.
- Follow your Schedule– Make sure you follow your to-do list and stick to a fixed schedule and work-timings.
- Dress Right– Continue to perform your self-care routine and dress right. This will boost your overall performance.
- Check-in Regularly– Check-in with your clients and co-workers regularly so they feel reassured and motivated.
While it is important to stay connected with your clients and your co-workers being a lawyer, you also need to stay connected with your friends and family. Humans are social animals and we all need a bit of social support from time to time. We are hardwired in a way that social-distancing and isolation can often aggravate our anxiety and stress. So it is important to make time to have regular phone chats and video calls to stay well connected with each other.
Manage Your Finances Better
It is possible that money is tight right now and that causes major stress in your life. Here are some ways you can manage your Finances during this crisis:
- Manage your Expenses– Examine the changes in your expenses and re-allocate your spending on essential items. Avoid all non-essential expenses for now.
- Start a side hustle– As a Lawyer, you could take up more cases that you would have otherwise passed up or you could start a side hustle by becoming a temporary guest online law lecturer. You could also consider writing Legal Editorials for websites as a guest writer.
Focus On the Things You Can Control
When your mind starts working overtime and you find yourself thinking about all the things that could happen, then try to focus on the things you can control. Wash your hands, follow social distancing protocols, do your part in keeping your business afloat, eat and sleep right, and stay hydrated. A lot of things are going to be out of control in the upcoming months, including how long this pandemic is going to last. The best thing you can do is make a plan for what you can and hope for the best for what is to come.
Following these Tips, and Tricks should help you cope with your stress, keep you calm and focused and add a sense of normalcy to your days. If you feel overwhelmed, take time to rejuvenate your body and mind. Don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help if you need it. After all, we are all in this together.