7 takeaways from Loio’s webinar on lawyers’ well-being

Lawyers face a lot of stress. They deal with complicated cases, communicate with difficult people, work long hours, and drown in the oceans of documents. And they are often so busy that they forget to take care of themselves. We want to change this narrative, and help lawyers make their well-being a priority.  

So, to promote the importance of self-care for legal professionals, we at Loio invited two brilliant mental health experts to speak at our webinar on October 28. At this event, we have shaped the attainable ways to improve your well-being as a lawyer.  

We were honored to have such warm-hearted professionals as speakers at our event:

Olivia Vizachero, a lawyer, certified life coach, “The Less Stressed Lawyer” owner.

Angela Han, a lawyer, certified life coach, personal trainer, “Fit to Practice” podcast host, and a mom. 

This webinar was a wellspring of self-care and work efficiency tips for lawyers. But if you didn’t make it to the event, don’t get discouraged! We have put the most valuable insights into this article for you. 

Enjoy! 

1. What does self-care really mean? 

Our speaker Olivia defined self-care as putting you and your well-being first every step of the way. And the problem many people have with this notion is that they treat self-care as being selfish. We’ve been always taught to put other people’s interests above our own, so it is quite a big challenge to acquire the seemingly opposite approach. 

However, as both of our speakers agreed, putting your well-being first is good not only for you but for other people too, though it may seem unobvious. Here is how Angela Han put it: 

I’d like to borrow a phrase from one of my mentors, Mel Robbins. She said that being selfish is being selfless because taking care of ourselves means taking care of everybody else. It’s hard to wrap our minds around this. How can a spa day be beneficial for anybody else? But when we look at the long term, we know that when we are in the right place physically and mentally, we are able to serve others in the best way possible.

2. How should you deal with stress?

Learning to cope with stress is also self-care in some way. But, as Olivia emphasized, it is not only important to deal with stress intentionally, but also get to the root cause of that stress. 

Olivia distinguished two main roots of stress: it is always either a thought you’re thinking or a feeling you’re unwilling to feel. In both cases, you need to find out what you’re thinking or feeling about whatever circumstance you’re encountering and address it.

To deal with stress in the short term, our speakers recommended trying to do immersive activities that require your full attention. These can be reading, cooking, playing video games, or whatever you enjoy doing. 

However, to deal with stress on a substantial level, you need to work on the root cause of it. You can do this either by yourself with help of the resources available on the web, such as podcasts or books on psychology, or by approaching a life coach that will help you identify your blind spots.  

In fact, what many people do to avoid stress is procrastinating or, conversely, doing things that appear to be productive but don’t really make a change. For example, scrolling the Instagram feed or making tons of to-do lists could also be responses to stress. Thus, it is essential to analyze yourself to find out why are you doing certain things and what are your immediate reactions to different situations. This is the only right way to actually cope with stress but not just pretend you overcame it. 

3. What is the rind mindset for lawyers to be healthy and fulfilled? 

The first advice our speakers shared on this matter is to not promulgate the belief that we always need to be working. Such a mindset justifies the overwork and makes it honorable to dissolve in your job. So, to make a real step towards sound mental health, you need to accept that being an everlasting workaholic is not the only right way to live your life. 

Another insight Angela shared on the webinar was the fact that some lawyers stick to the idea of perfection in every detail, which leads them to the conviction that they always have to be superhumans. So, whenever they make a mistake or underperform in a certain way, they feel like they will be judged by other people. The right mindset here would be to distinguish yourself from other people’s opinions and recognize that your values don’t necessarily need to align with theirs. This means, you are not bound by any external expectations and are free to act however you feel right in a particular situation. 

4. What are the red flags indicating you need to start taking care of your mental health?

Our speakers outlined several signs which indicate that you’re burned out: 

  • You are becoming non-functional. For example, you are at work, but you just can’t make yourself start working, or it is very hard for you to get things done. 
  • You are procrastinating. This means you spend more time bluntly scrolling your social media or can’t stop watching TV shows and return to work. 
  • You are constantly tired. Even if you’ve rested. Or are resting right now. 

It all boils down to a condition when you know there are things to be done but you are unable to execute them. So, if you’re in a place that is paralyzing not just you but your entire life and people around you, this is probably the right time to ask for help. 

5. How to stop procrastinating

The only right way to deal with procrastination is, again, addressing the root cause of it. To stop procrastinating, you need to discover the feeling or thought that makes you do these certain things. 

And there can be a variety of reasons. For instance, you could be confused because of not knowing where to start. Maybe, you are afraid of failing a certain task, and in order to escape this fear, you forcibly postpone it. 

After you’ve figured out what drives your procrastination, you can come up with an actionable plan for addressing this driver. For example, if the reason for your procrastination is that you don’t know where to start, you can craft an outline of your work. If you are feeling overwhelmed, fragmenting the tasks into different sections and working on them one by one could help. If the root cause is that you’re afraid you lack the competence and knowledge required to do something, you might want to conduct preliminary research to gain some confidence. 

All in all, the best way to overcome procrastination is to address the underlying reason that stands behind it. 

It is also important to remember that it is okay to feel bored and lack the motivation to work on certain tasks. So, if the underlying cause of your procrastination is boredom, you probably should try to gag and go through the discomfort. 

6. What are the ways to make your routine more fulfilling? 

The piece of advice our speaker Olivia shared for making your routine more enjoyable was to take control of your schedule by making decisions ahead of time. Thus, you will save a lot of energy that would have been spent on making decisions in the moment. 

Planning your week in advance and putting all of your plans on a calendar would save you a ton of nerves and make you feel much more confident as you move through the week. It is also important to review your planning models regularly, to know if a certain schedule works for you or not. 

7. Time-management tips for lawyers 

Following up on the previous topic, our speakers discussed how should a lawyer actually stick to their plans and manage their time efficiently. 

For example, what should you do if you’re invited to an unexpected meeting, but you planned to focus on contract drafting today? Olivia shared a great tip on that matter: 

I teach my clients to define what an emergency is in a way that you could check a box whether a certain situation qualifies or not. If it doesn’t, it should never be accommodated same day. If you take unscheduled calls and respond to emails at unscheduled times, you will never take control of your calendar. If it’s not an emergency, try to schedule it for the day when you can work it into your plan. And for emergencies, it is advisable to decide how many emergent things come up throughout the day, and build in flex time in your day so you would not be double-booking yourself.

Olivia also shared her top-3 steps towards efficient time management she usually shares with her clients: 

  • Reclaim control of your calendar. This means you are got to stop taking unscheduled calls and going to unscheduled meetings, just as was mentioned previously. Set up clear boundaries around your time, and don’t let other people interfere by scheduling events for you. 
  • Plan your schedule accurately. Even though it is very hard to estimate how long you are going to spend on a task, trying to do so is very important to come up with a realistic and actionable plan. Olivia advised doubling your estimated time first to get the most accurate picture of your future workload. 
  • Honor your plan. This tip is divided into three sub-steps: start on time, work without interruptions, and end on time. Though it may seem quite obvious, usually these parts are the hardest to execute. However, getting used to such a model will make your planning efforts pay off. 

However, as both of our speakers agreed, even if you are used to strictly following your schedule, it is important to check up with yourself from time to time, making sure you feel that you’re doing the right thing. And if you understand that two additional hours of sleep could be a better idea for your health today, then don’t hesitate to adjust your plan to your immediate needs. 

That’s it! For getting the most out of our fruitful discussion and the Q&A session with Angela and Olivia, check out the webinar recording below:

If you want to get even more tips for your mental stability and gain a better understanding of the current mental health issues in the legal profession, check out our mental health guide!

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