“What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when you bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen.”
–Henry David Thoreau
Mental health is a growing concern around the world. Legal professionals are among the most affected by numerous psychological problems like depression, etc. legal professionals are suffering from a psychological problem. The reason for problems may be work-related or personal life problems. Both the divisions are integrated amongst themselves. It is normal to face extreme emotions of being upset, irritated, anxious, angry, and face an existential crisis, suffer from depression. This is not a taboo. Some simple steps if inculcated in day to day life, may make life a happy place and release some stress.
Why is there a need to talk about the mental health of lawyers?
Lawyers and legal professionals are often reluctant to speak about this and seek help. This needs acceptance in society. They do not speak up being afraid of the eyes they will have to face a consequence, how it will affect them in getting clients, the impression it will create. Time and again, numerous surveys have come to the same conclusion, legal professionals suffer from a psychological problem, but very seldom speak about it or seek help. At times talking help, with the near and dear ones, with the counselor, it can lead to some real fruitful results.
It is important to pick up the indirect signs of the degrading mental health of an individual. In India, if a person is advised, “to get some help,” it is often considered as an adverse remark and attracts furious behavior. Such statements in to help the individual, and not defame the person.
Some of the few day-to-day things which will help understand ourselves and then our mental health are jotted down below.
Value your self
Being busy with the daily chores, the thing we forget the most is treating our self with respect and happiness. When we focus on finding the criminal, seeking justice, getting new regulations and proving our point to the world at large, we often tend to overlook our own emotions, stress and give it the least of priority.
It is important to take time for ourselves, and we identify what a person likes or dislikes. Taking up new hobbies, learning new languages, solving some puzzles can help realize some stress and occupy the mind with other thoughts. Increased level of stress and anxiety can cause mental and physical health concerns.
Good to eat and good to drink
- It is important to start the day with a good-for-you-drink. Many people prefer coffee to start with or green tea. This helps starts the day with freshness and helps release stress and build a positive outlook for the day.
- The use of alcohol and other drugs should be kept minimalistic. The reason being if a person is suffering from anything psychological, then they seem to be more inclined towards such substances as they provide for with temporary relief. And gradually, the dependence which is developed gets difficult to deal with.
- Eating healthy and nutritious meals is an important facet. Healthy and tasty food lightens the mood and helps spread smile. It is important to take full course meals. Breakfast is the most important one. Drinking plenty of water helps neutralize the body. Whenever we feel sad, angry, or any extreme reaction, the immediate response is to have some water as it helps to calm down.
- If we often tend to look for good food to lighten up our mood, like biryani and pizza, which is a solution only temporary in nature. This can cause serious effects on the weight of the individual, which needs to be guarded.
Set up a gateway at least once in every month
Traveling rebuilds our soul and mind. It helps us think afresh. Lawyers always having a tight schedule makes it difficult even to smile. In that scenario, at least once a month, there should be a small trip, maybe a road trip to the nearest hill station, or a day of wine-testing. This is the most recommended thing because this gives us a break from all the cases, acts, statutes, and deadlines.
Experiment: Profession and passion
Being a lawyer is our profession, in following which we often forget our passion, which makes us feel dead from inside. Reason being, we forget to do what we love to do. Be it playing guitar, writing some stand-up, attending open mics, trekking, reading books, visiting museums. Passion lets us relive, and we must, must not forget doing it.
Give some colors: Getting some colors in life though painting and coloring the already made paintings helps feel light and smile through the problems. In a monotonous life, colors revive us to smile naturally.
When we have someone to accompany us, play with, have a walk with, and finally cuddle with, things automatically seem easier. And this can be best done by having a pet and showing some animal love. A company and someone to care for gives us a reason to wake up with a smile and releases stress.
30-minute walk to nature
It is very important to be physically healthy to both stay mentally healthy and practice healthy. A walk daily or any form of physical activities like dance, swimming, helps feel rejuvenated. When we exercise, our body releases endorphins – natural opiates that improve our mood and make us feel good. Exercise can also help cognitive functioning – how well we think.
Don’t be too harsh on yourself
Life is a struggle, and you need to push yourself to reach your target. No longer does the proverb “slow and steady wins the race” comes into play. But it is important to understand when you cannot take anymore and need space. This space could be in the form of a weekend gateway or a work-from-home or in the worst-case scenarios, postponement of few deadlines. Take the amount of stress you are capable of dealing with.
Pen down: It is important to pen down what is being felt inside. When we have no one to listen, maybe a diary could be a best friend, as It would listen but will not talk back. It takes all and relieves us. Yes, it is not a solution to solve the problem. But it is a solution to learn to share the problem.
I am writing this to remind you that it is okay. Stress yourself how much you are able to take. Healthy lawyer and healthy practice will lead to a healthy society. Share, smile, and celebrate life.