The anxious December lawyer


If you are in this profession and you are not anxious you are a cyborg. The anxiety is particularly bad in December.

Not only do you have all of the work to do, getting your hours in before Dec. 31, and managing impossible December deadlines, but you also have a life outside of the office — holiday parties, shopping, hanging out with friends. Oh, and don’t forget that your family probably wants to see you more than once. December becomes the month of late nights and no sleep, which can lead to increased anxiety and general chaos.

So, how do we lawyers typically deal with all of this?  A few extra glasses of wine, unhealthy food, and procrastinating by binge-watching Nextflix or Hallmark. (If you say you don’t like Hallmark Christmas movies your heart needs work – this includes my husband whom I will break down and make to love them). I admittedly do all of these things to cope, especially red wine this time of year because it’s so good and so comforting in front of the fire.

Despite my being a hypocrite, I would like to propose the following: We say no to some events; make sleep a priority; remember that the gym is your friend; eat a freaking vegetable that is not fried; and do our best to maintain a reasonable level of alcohol.

There are a million articles and theories on how to manage stress and anxiety, some are crazy and impossible, some make sense and some just don’t work. I have tried many of these ideas – no alcohol, mediation, a journal, sleep music, essential oils….the list goes on. After many years of unsuccessfully trying, the one thing that has worked for me is the gym.

My gym is what I call “The Happy Place.” While you are there no one can call you or bother you, work is on pause, and everyone there is on the same struggle bus. Every one of my fellow gym members and the staff are so nice and so supportive. What sold me on it and has kept me coming back are the 45 minute high-intensity interval training classes. I can easily justify carving out time of my day for a good workout.

Most of the time, on the way to the gym, I am convinced it is a terrible idea. Then, when I get there, I confirm this belief. Then, I take the class and decide it was the best idea ever. It’s a process.

Everyone’s solution will not be the same. What works for me will not necessarily work for you. What I can tell you is that finding a healthy lifestyle balance is integral to not feeling like a hot mess every day.

All of which leads me to this: I am very excited to announce that next year, the YLD will be starting a Wellness Committee to encourage all lawyers to find that happy balance.

I will leave you with my current motto: “Be STRONGER than your strongest excuse.”

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