1 Comments Published on January 19th, 2015 by Tonya Pierce
Paralegal Tips for Unwinding, Relaxing and Relieving Stress
Take breaks during the dayEating at your desk or quickly downing a yogurt and coffee on the way to a meeting is not considered a break. Taking just a few minutes away from your desk, the phone and others will help you fight stress. Take a 10-minute walk outside or sit on a bench while you eat your lunch. Allow your mind to think about anything other than work and those involved with your work.
Never hit “send” when you are angry or frustratedCount to 10 before you hit the “send” button on your email or texts. It is very easy to shoot off a quick, terse reply when you are frustrated but this often leads to a more stressful situation in the future. Avoid the stress by taking a few deep breaths and re-reading your response. In most cases, you will find that rewording your reply will achieve the same result without creating the potential for more stress.
Honesty is usually the best policyYou may be tempted to tell a little “white” lie to a client who is difficult or an attorney who is demanding the impossible. However, lies usually come back to haunt you. It is much better to say, “I do not know but I will find out” or “No, I have not done that but give me a few minutes and I will have it for you.”
Use your vacation timeBelieve me, the office will not cease to operate if you take a vacation. Your attorney may act as if it is the end of the world but he will survive and so will the other people who come to work each day in your office. Things have a way of working themselves out even though you are not there to push them along. You need time away from work in order to relax and de-stress. You cannot be your best for others if you do not take time for yourself.
Pick your battlesGoing to battle over every minor issue will only result in you being too tired to fight the major battles that deserve to be fought. If you wear yourself out battling issues that are not worth your energy, you will have nothing left when it really counts.
VolunteerHelping others is rewarding and relaxing. You will be surprised at the boost in your levels of contentment, happiness, confidence and self-worth. Positive emotions such as these deter stress and help you cope with stress on a much more positive level. Volunteering also gives you another outlet in addition to work to help people (most paralegals view themselves as “facilitators or helpers”). It also removes you completely out of the legal environment (provided you choose an opportunity that is not law-related) so that you can give your full concentration to something other than your job.
Live a healthy lifestyleOne of the best ways to prevent and cope with stress is to live a healthy lifestyle. This includes getting plenty of rest — working late and going in early will take a toll on your mind and your body. You need to eat healthy foods (do not skip lunch or grab a candy bar) and get enough exercise (make time for the gym or for sports). When you take care of your body, your mind benefits as well. You must take care of yourself in order to take care of others.
Laugh!Laughter is one of the best ways to relieve stress. When you feel overwhelmed, get a cup of tea or coffee, sit down at your desk and laugh for a few minutes. A quick internet search will give you plenty of material (e.g. some of the great paralegal jokes by Stu’s Views.) Paralegals can experience an enormous amount of stress dealing with the objectives and needs of so many people (and that is just on one case – we have many cases). As a paralegal, we tend to want to please everyone all of the time but that is impossible. The best we can do is perform our job to the best of our ability knowing that what we do will make a difference. However, if we fail to take care of ourselves, we will not be very useful to any of the people who depend on us each day.
Tonya Pierce is a paralegal with over 24 years experience in several areas of the legal field (17 years as a bankruptcy paralegal and trustee paralegal).