Attorney Wellness, Tips for Relieving Work-Related Stress
While the legal profession opens the door to a highly rewarding career, many attorneys can find themselves suffering from physical and mental health issues caused by high levels of stress and burnout.
Attorney wellness is increasing become a significant issue. According to a recent ALM Mental Health Survey, most legal professionals believe their mental well-being is worse off as a result of their chosen career. The survey found that 31.2% of respondents feel they are depressed, 64% felt anxious. Nearly 10.1% of respondents indicated that they had an alcohol problem.
Excessively long workdays, confrontational interactions, demanding clients, phone calls and meetings and inactivity caused by sitting at a desk for hours are all factors that contribute to the decline of the physical and mental health among legal professionals.
Achieving a healthy work-life balance under these circumstances isn't an easy task. Just ask, Attorney and World Champion Hall of Fame powerlifter Robert Herbst.
Herbst, a practicing lawyer for more than 20 years, has created a website dedicated to attorney wellness says there are several reasons why lawyers are more stressed-out than people who work in most other fields.
"To be blunt, lawyering is a very stressful profession, and having the outlet of exercise, which reduces the effects of stress such as anxiety, depression, heart disease, and high blood pressure, is essential. During my career, I saw that while I stayed in good mental and physical health due to athletic interests, many of my colleagues were suffering. Today more lawyers are dying of heart attacks and other stress related illnesses. Lawyers have much higher rates of suicide than the general population. I looked around me and realized I have the answer," Herbst said.
Herbst says a healthy diet, daily exercise, proper hydration, and plenty of sleep are critical to improving healthcare outcomes for wellness goals of attorneys and other legal professionals.
Manage Excess Stress With Exercise
Exercise is the most critical factor for attorney wellness because it reduces stress. Herbst says that confrontationist professions such as law activate the body's fight or flight response.
While the fight or flight mechanism is intended to help the body cope in emergencies, in legal work, the stress of emails and court meetings results in the body perceiving a perpetual threat. And this effect causes the body's stress levels to spike and build up over time.
Herbst says that regular exercise reverses the effects of the fight or flight reflex. Whether it's powerlifting, a long run after drafting a contract or a friendly tennis match with colleagues, physical exercise helps reduce your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar.
Exercise also causes your brain to produce endorphins, which are chemically similar to opiates and stimulate the brain's pleasure centers, which help you to feel happy and less anxious.
Sedentary Nature of Legal Work Poses Significant Health Risks
Herbst says that sitting at a desk all day only makes matters worse. "Lawyers sit all day typing on the computer, talking on the phone, and attending meetings. Unfortunately, research has shown that people who sit for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity have a risk of dying similar to the risks posed by obesity and smoking. Sitting too much itself also causes heart disease, cancer, and diabetes." Herbst, stated in a recent blog post about dedicated to attorney wellness.
Why Hydration is Essential To Attorney Wellness
Herbst says that most lawyers are probably dehydrated. The fact remains that more than 60% of the US population is dehydrated but may not know it.
That's because most people don't know that losing just a scant amount of water between 1%-2% can cause your body to become dehydrated.
Even small fluctuations in fluid loss can cause dehydration and lead to muscle weakness, cramping, lowered blood volume, higher blood pressure, and decreased mental function due to reduced blood flow to the brain.
That's why dehydrated professionals experience an increase in fatigue, difficulty concentrating, headaches, impaired memory. These symptoms ultimately result in reduced productivity and focus.
"I know regardless of my sports performance or what kind of exercise I'm doing. Whether it's tennis, running, powerlifting or even just walking, my body will lose fluids, and it's going to need to rehydrate. Similarly, sitting at a screen in an air-conditioned or heated office will cause you to become dehydrated. For me, Hydrus is the most effective way to re-establish hydration," Herbst said.
Water Alone Won't Get The Job Done
It's essential to know that hydration isn't about just drinking more water. As a matter of fact, following the commonly offered advice of drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day is misleading. Your hydration needs are dependent on body weight, medical conditions, medications and other factors.
And just boosting your intake of water doesn't ensure that the electrolytes and nutrients are adequately absorbed into the bloodstream, interstitial cavities and cells.
Proper hydration involves maintaining a daily hydration routine that can help you physically and mentally achieve your best.
Herbst says Hydrus has helped him maintain his daily hydration needs and gives him a significant energy boost, whether he's at the office, in court, or powerlifting at the gym.
Hydrus is formulated to deliver the electrolytes your body needs more effectively than drinking water alone. Unlike other hydration products, Hydrus contains Nanosomes or small hollow sphere-shaped molecules that encapsulate electrolytes and water made of phospholipids.
Compared to other hydration drinks, studies show that the science in Hydrus delivers about 50% greater water and electrolyte absorption than traditional sugar-electrolyte drinks.
Hydrus is sugar-free and sweetened with Stevia, so it will not make you crash like coffee and other sugar drink options that might be reaching for to fight the afternoon slump.