Millennial Women

Health & Wellness: Combating the Stress of the Job

Elise on why health and wellness matter: In today’s hustle and bustle of work, family and other obligations, our health and wellness can quickly fall to the back burner.  It is easy to plummet into unhealthy habits during long days at the office, especially when donuts, candy, cookies and other temptations are so easily accessible. Being a lawyer is stressful and demanding.  Maintaining a well-balanced healthy lifestyle is so important and can help you stay focused, feel energized, and be prepared to take on the unexpected challenges faced throughout the work week.  Below are a few wellness suggestions that you can incorporate into your busy week.  Most importantly, it’s best to find a stress reducing activity that you enjoy and can easily add to your daily or weekly schedule.

Melanie’s take: A great way to keep your mind and body healthy, even with a job as demanding and stressful as being an attorney, is through an early morning workout class, like CrossFit or other another group fitness program.  This is not only a great outlet to improve your physical health through cardio and strength training, but it gives you the opportunity  to  start your day with a good burst of endorphins (hello Elle Woods!).  Even better, a morning workout class gives you built-in time to socialize and clear your mind before you have to dedicate it to work during normal business hours (and later).  To make time for this, I go to a 6 a.m. class every day.  I may come into work a bit later, but my work product and overall happiness are immeasurably improved, and I’m ready to face the unexpected challenges that seem to arise daily.

Perhaps the most important way to care for your body and mind, however, is as simple as getting enough sleep more often than not.  In this profession, contingencies are often unavoidable, and you will sometimes have to work late into the night, or start in the wee hours of the morning.  But that does not change that, most nights, you should focus on getting at least a good 7 hours of sleep.  This will keep your mind sharp and body functioning at its peak.

Lindsay’s take: Even for those of us who aren’t quite up for going to CrossFit at 6 a.m. every day, Melanie makes a good point. Sometimes just getting up and moving can make the biggest difference. Yoga can be a great way to do this. In fact, Melanie, Elise and I have gone to a couple yoga classes together, and we’re attending a session on relaxation techniques this coming week. For anyone who sits at a computer for an extended period of time, back, shoulder and neck pain can be a real problem. Yoga, or simply doing certain stretches—can help combat muscle tension in your back, shoulders and neck that can put you at risk of developing headaches. A couple down dogs and cat/cow sequences can make you feel like a new person! And that’s only going to take a couple of minutes. If a class isn’t easily accessible, workout phone apps or even YouTube can provide some great options.

Another small change that’s relatively easy to make is keeping healthy snacks at your desk. I have an “emergency snack drawer” filled with snacks that have actual nutritional value. I’ve got granola bars, almonds, freeze dried edamame, and some dried fruit. That’s not to say you can’t snag a piece of cake when Jane Doe down the hall is retiring, but it does mean that when you’re trying to power through an emergency project and you find you’re hungry, you’re not having to track down the vending machine for snacks that will give you a sugar high—then low—and leave you feeling ultimately worse and more distracted.

Our challenge this month—including to ourselves—is to implement one small change in our normal schedules to improve our overall wellness. Will you join us? What change will you be making in May?

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