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Mental Health Days

When was the last time you took a mental health day? A day to completely disconnect from work, house chores, and any stressful activities. If you’re like many of my lawyer colleagues, the answer is “never”. It’s time that you rethink the time you take off of work. 

Most of our jobs have some form of PTO for sickness and vacation. Still in 2023, many fail to acknowledge that mental health and wellbeing are important parts of our job. We need days to recover from the stress and overwhelm of being a lawyer. We need days to truly do nothing, or at least only relaxing activities. 

Burnout in the legal profession is as real as it gets. I write and speak on it often. I’ve experienced it myself. When I feel so physically and emotionally drained because I’m moving nonstop, constantly trying to be productive and mark things off the to-do list. It’s unhealthy and can lead to physical illness. 

One way to avoid that burnout is to schedule mental health days. Find a day on the calendar that is clear or at least light in meetings/events so you can block it off. Take the time to yourself. Do not fill it with other things that you’ve put on the back burner. Read a book. Do a puzzle. Binge watch TV. Do something that allows you to completely disengage from the never-ending list of things to do and projects to tackle. 

Taking a mental health day is a way to prioritize yourself. When you put your own health and wellbeing first, you show up better for your clients, colleagues, and friends. You also let your employer know that you will not sacrifice your own wellbeing for the sake of the job. No one should. 

It will be uncomfortable because it goes against our need to accomplish things and the people-pleasing mindset to be as responsive as possible. But it will be worth it. You will feel better. You will do a better job at work. You will be a better partner/friend. Take a mental health day and let me know how it goes. If you need an accountability partner, let’s talk coaching.