May is Mental Health Month, and law firms and legal departments can benefit from paying attention to mental health needs. Law can be a stressful profession, but building simple mental health exercises into your day can help you manage stress and stay on top of client needs.
Here are seven ways to improve mental health and reduce stress:
By paying attention to your breath, you bring your mind back to the present moment, placing stressors in perspective and carving out a quiet space from which to make more considered decisions.
Start by simply being aware of your breath. Then, focus on breathing from your diaphragm, pushing out the stomach rather than lifting the shoulders with each inhalation. The simple act of breathing can help reduce stress.
2. Practice mini meditations.
Meditation doesn’t need to take hours of your day. Even three to five minutes can help reduce stress and improve mental health.
Use an app or timer so you don’t have to stress about the clock. Close your office door, and practice taking deep breaths, or close your eyes so you can focus on your inner world.
3. Stand and stretch.
Moving the body helps invigorate the mind. It can help us reframe problems and take a fresh perspective – while also giving tired muscles some much-needed attention.
Stand up and stretch at regular intervals, such as every half hour. Taking a short walk through the office or to the water cooler can also help you break out of a mental rut and refresh your mind.
4. Engage with co-workers.
Even if extended socialization isn’t feasible, small connections help build a better office culture. They also greatly improve our mental health, since humans are social by nature.
Find small opportunities to socialize throughout the day. Even saying hello or taking a moment to deliver a document by hand can help improve mental health.
5. Listen to music.
Music has powerful effects on human emotion, so choosing the right tunes can instantly help reframe your mental energy. Use headphones and load your favorite tracks onto your smartphone so they’re always available.
Tailor your music to the energy you need in the moment. For instance, use classical music to relax or upbeat pop tunes to gain energy.
6. Have a laugh.
Laughing and smiling are instant mood boosters. They tell your brain that everything isn’t deadly serious – there’s room in the world for levity.
Find ways to laugh throughout your workday. Save funny memes in a folder on your computer, watch a silly video or add a joke-a-day calendar to your desk. Anything that makes you laugh or smile can help improve your mental health.
7. Reconsider your goals.
If a task seems daunting, take a moment to look at the goals you’ve set. Goals that feel too large or unattainable are more likely to cause stress.
Instead, break tasks down into smaller, achievable goals. Aim for goals that can be achieved in a timeline that’s long enough to reduce stress, but not so long that you start to procrastinate.
Ease Your Legal Team’s Mind
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