Most legal workplaces bring with them demands, complexities and variable amounts of psychological stress by virtue of long working hours and the resulting physical stress.
As much as organisations have a responsibility to minimise unnecessary stress and create healthy work environments, individuals within those organisations have a responsibility to themselves to be psychologically fit and resilient.
Our attitudes, our mindset, how we speak to others and what we tell ourselves, as well as the way we behave towards others and ourselves, have an effect on how we experience our workplace. Below we identify a number of initiatives that individuals can take to increase their resilience and to remain psychologically healthy in the workplace.
1. Own responsibility for self-management
2. Understand how your workplace operates and be clear about your job description and range of responsibilities
3. Don't be reticent to ask for advice or guidance
4. Consciously establish a balance between work, relationships and leisure for your working week and year ahead
5. Don't take on too much and don't be afraid to say "no"
6. Identify what you find to be stressful and what you find to be gratifying in your work and work relationships
7. Establish a confiding or mentoring network for yourself
8. Actively de-stress through regular exercise, yoga, meditation and engaging socially with others
9. If you are feeling stressed by work, contact your Human Resources Department. If you are a sole practitioner or work in a smaller work environment, seek help through a mentor or your GP
10. Monitor yourself for evidence of being stressed; poor sleep, needing sleeping pills, or "uppers" and "downers", drinking too much, being irritable, getting into arguments at work or at home, "feeling flat", or feeling as though you are living "Groundhog Day"
11. Learn about and use cognitive and behavioural techniques when you feel you are stressed, anxious or depressed
12. Seek professional help from your GP, clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, or access online assistance as listed below
13. Take breaks from work; make those long weekends 4 days (rather than 3) and schedule more frequent, shorter holidays rather than holding out for too long before taking a break