There's no doubt that lawyering is stressful. And it can be even more stressful for solo practitioners, who often don’t have much of a safety net or support team.
Stress is bad in and of itself, but it can also lead to other problems, both mentally and physically. Here are a few tips to ease stress and boost mental health.
Learn to Relax or Meditate
If you've never tried meditating, you're late to the party. It might feel silly at first, but that's usually because people don't know what they're doing until they've let themselves (and their cynicism about meditation) go. If you've given meditation a try and it just didn't cut it for you, try doing something active to relax and destress.
Surround Yourself With People
While you may like to work alone, you shouldn't do everything alone. If you don't have a staff, consider joining groups that require regular attendance. These can be community boards, nonprofit groups, trade groups, or recreational sports leagues. Making friends and personal connections helps to keep you happier and grounded in the community, and regular, non-work-related activities help keep you accountable to that community.
Get Professional Mental Health Help
As an attorney, you should be able to detect when a client may need mental health treatment. You've probably done at least a few CLEs on detecting substance abuse and mental health issues, so if you notice yourself exhibiting some of the signs you've been trained to clue into, don't hesitate to get yourself to a mental health professional to figure out what is going on. If you can't remember the last time you didn't drink after work, or the last time you were truly happy, consider scheduling at least monthly or quarterly check-ins with a counsellor.
Although solos are usually reluctant to accept help, it is important to take care of mental health issues before they evolve into debilitating problems that could irreversibly harm your clients and practice.