If you're a busy lawyer, particularly if you're a busy solo practitioner, stepping away from work can seem virtually impossible. There is simply too much to do and too few people to do it. So you keep working, day in and day out, for years.
Stop. Take a break. Take a vacation. You don't only deserve to escape and relax for a bit, you need to, for the health of your practice.
Vacations Make You a Better Lawyer
You don't have to be a French pensioner to understand the importance of vacations. They relieve stress, improve your health, and allow you to return to work with renewed vigor. And, as Susan Cartier Liebel, founder and CEO of Solo Practice University, reminds us, vacations are an important part of being a good lawyer:
When you are busy and exhausted all the time, you never give your brain a chance to turn off. Like a computer that is never shut down, our brains stop working properly, and take too long to load. There is cognitive decline. What results over time is insomnia, stress which can lead to depression, substance abuse, and even worse.
Liebel cites four reasons attorneys should step away from their desks for a day or two. The first is perhaps the most obvious. Vacations, even staycations, help reduce your stress, with all the related health and personal benefits. Beyond destressing, though, vacations help keep you alive. One study shows that middle-aged men with a high risk of coronary heart disease lived longer when they took vacations.
Vacationing can also be good for your mental health, improving your thinking and creativity.
They can even save your marriage, making you happier, more energetic, and more satisfied with your spouse. And, frankly, a divorce is a lot more expensive and time consuming than a few days in the Bahamas.
Getting Away Without Entirely Letting Go
If, despite all this, the thought of leaving your practice behind still causes you anxiety, here's another argument in favor of vacations: you don't have to fully disconnect.
These days, you can take a cruise through the Arctic and still have access to wifi, allowing you to keep in touch with clients and staff.
We're not saying you'll want to conduct a deposition poolside or anything like that, but you can still maintain a bit of oversight when you're out of sight -- with plenty of time left over for relaxing.