I love to be productive, and sometimes that leads me to simply take on too much. My personal inclination is to work (on something, anything) until I absolutely fall over. Staying home for the evening and doing nothing seems like a total waste to me, but you know what, sometimes that’s exactly what I have to do.
Rest and Recharge
I actually don’t know a legal professional that doesn’t have a hard time sleeping. Ask them why, and they say “I can’t get my brain to turn off.” If we all went home and did “nothing” for an hour or two, forced ourselves not to think about work, maybe we could get some nice shut-eye.
Letting our brains calm down after a stressful day is of paramount importance. We need to take this seriously or we risk burnout.
Why Firms Need to Care
This might sound insane, but I’m just going to throw it out there: Maybe firms need to start caring about facilitating “me” time for their lawyers and staff. I’m not saying firms should send out detailed questionnaires every quarter (“Are you sleeping? Are you working too much? Do you feel burnt out?”), but by simply letting their employees know that their sanity is important to the firm, pressure could be taken off the employees’ shoulders. Knowing that taking a “mental health day” isn’t going to get you fired is a huge step (and Lord knows we all need them).
Look at your calendar a couple of months out. Go ahead and take off a Friday. Put it on the books. If something comes up, you can move it, but do everything in your power to keep that from happening. Use that day to get a couple of things out of the way: a doctor’s appointment in the morning, pick up the dry cleaning, do the grocery shopping during the middle of the day, then go do a thing for you. Get that pedicure. Go take a nap (I know you don’t get them normally). Go to the pool. Do something lazy and regenerative.
Treat yourself like you’re important. Because you are.