We recently heard from Meg Reid, a penultimate LLB/BA student at Deakin and host of the podcast When It’s Falling Apart, on tips for managing mental health and wellbeing. These tips are about how you can look after yourself and dispense some self-care when life becomes a bit stressful.
Here at Leo, our staff is made up of not just lawyers but many other professionals – People & Culture, Accounting, IT and so on. What we loved about Meg’s discussion is that it is timeless and applicable no matter what stage of life you are and no matter what your vocation.
While study and working can be intense, and this year of all years has been difficult, it is incredibly important to make sure you look after yourself during these times – prep not for the exam sprint but the long haul. We hope you enjoy these highlights so beautifully developed by Meg:
‘Being human is all I need to be’ – Rugare Gomo
Your self-worth is not predicated on external results. You can choose how you define yourself. External results and success, whether that may be top exam marks or a clerkship at a top law firm for example, does not have to define you if you do not achieve them. Remember that at the end of the day, success is what you make of it and your self-worth as a human doesn’t rely on this. So, take the pressure off yourself by challenging what the typical route to ‘success’ looks like and focus instead on what makes you happy.
Bookend your day
Bookends provide stability to books stacked, stopping them from toppling over. In the same way, by bookending your day with rituals to begin and end your day, you can provide support and control back to your day. You can control the start and end of your day with daily rituals, creating a routine and consistency. For instance, you may choose to start the day by reading a book, going for a run, or meditating, and ending the day by reading a book, listening to a podcast, or journaling about your day. This helps provide structure and lets you control part of your day.
Eat the frog
You’ll often have tasks that you put off beginning and procrastinate from, which can lead to panic and anxiety as deadlines fast approach. But as Mark Twain puts it, “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning”, meaning you should always make the start towards those tasks, be it exam study, an assignment, or applying for a job. By procrastinating and putting it off, you only increase the potential for stress.
You are the CEO of the business of YOU
It’s important to remember our own values and make sure they align with our goals. Understanding that pulling back the effort by 10% from a goal that will not define you and does not align with your values can be an important step in looking after yourself and maintaining your wellbeing.
Be a human being, not a human doing
Often, we are so focused on what we are doing, we forget to also consider what we enjoy doing. It is important to be who you are and not just be the culmination of what you are doing. You are more than just what is presented on your resume, so it’s important to take the time to do what you enjoy doing too. So you need to build in the activities you enjoy doing too – the things that make you who you are: build activities in your routine that bring you joy. This will help reduce stress levels. This may be things like playing sport, watching your favourite TV show, or going on a picnic with friends.
Wellbeing is such an important part of maintaining a successful career in the law. For this reason, offering a support network is key in our PLT program. Book a time to chat with us to find out more.