In this week’s episode of The Law Practice Doctor, Sam Gaylord interviews Paula Davis-Laack who is a former practicing attorney turned writer, publisher and media contributor about burnout prevention and stress resilience. Her articles have appeared in the Huffington Post, US News World Report, and Psychology Today. She is the founder and CEO of the Davis-Laack Stress and Resilience Institute. During this episode Sam and Paula discuss what causes burnout and how prevent it.
Main Questions Asked:
- What causes stress and how can one avoid it?
- How can we fix the issue of burnout?
- What are the first steps to tacking burnout?
Key Lessons Learned:
The 3 Dimensions of Burnout
- Chronic low energy
- Exhaustion and feeling like you can’t get the energy to get motivated.
- Having a hard time getting asleep staying asleep and waking up not feeling refreshed.
- This is not simply having a tired week but happens over a period of time.
- Everyone and everything irks you or rubs you the wrong way.
- When lawyers know you are too cynical then you really must be!
- Feeling like you can’t produce the results you were once able to.
- The sense of connection or engagement is just not the same.
Lawyers and Burnout
- If you notice any of the above there can be a sense of relief and that there is a real issue.
- There is still reluctance for people to admit they are going through burnout as the fear is that you might be perceived as not being tough or serious about your career.
- Lawyers are trained to avoid and not to talk about these issues.
- Resilience is a person’s capacity for stress related growth.
- How can you get good at stress and be made better so that you are growing from it instead of crumbling from it?
- Practice Safe Stress
- Incorporate more positive emotions into your diet
- Incorporate mindfulness strategies and techniques
- Figure out a different mindset when it comes to stress
- Build More Motivation, Engagement and Energy
- When you suffer burnout it means that you are unplugging from the things that give you energy.
- Being a FAT Thinker
- This is all about turning the inner critic in your head into your inner coach.
- Learn how to think better under stress and pressure and challenge.
- Maintain High Quality Connections With Other People
- Improve your Meaning Quotient
- What gives you meaning and home.
- Lawyers are trained pessimistic thinkers so over experience a lot of negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, and frustration.
- If you are within 10 feet of someone look them in the eye and give them a smile. If you are within 5 feet of them say hello.
- We are becoming a society so focused on looking forward to the future we forget to enjoy and have an appreciated of the moment we are in.
- Start chipping away at exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy.
- Do an energy audit and list how are you spending your energy at work and outside.
- Assign percentages to each task.
- What can you do to get your energy back can you delegate, change or modify?
- Inject more moments of positive emotions during the day. This will give you energy and combat cynicism.
- Find the good stuff – at the end of the day think about a couple of good things that happened and why they are important. People who do this exercise report less depression, better sleep, improved relationships and higher life satisfaction.
- We need to take breaks every 90-120 minutes in order to stay in peak performance.
- Chunking time is a great strategy to helping people be more productive and manage time.
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