By Bethany Pierpont, Regional Director of Helix Bar Review Engagement
Applying for law school is stressful. Attending law school is stressful. Graduating, taking the bar and finding a full-time job? Yep, you guessed it – stressful. Add the everyday stresses on top of that, and you’ve got a recipe for burnout. The stress of constantly being in a high-pressure environment, of always having to be “on” and always having to perform at the top of your game can quickly wear you down. Here are a few tips to help you manage stress, avoid burnout and successfully make it to the other side of law school.
Go to your happy place.
Before you started law school, you likely had at least one hobby that you enjoyed in your free time. Whether that was knitting, walking your dog, going for a run, meditating or just chilling on the couch watching your favorite show, you had activities that made you happy. One way to avoid burnout is to find time to get back to that happy place. Even if you can only fit 10 minutes a day into your schedule to do something non-school-related, just for fun, it will help to combat burnout. Is your happy place baking in the kitchen? Then take some time over the weekend to bake your delicious pastries – it will likely bring your roommates joy, too! Does connecting with family and friends improve your state of mind? Stay in touch with your network! By doing things that bring you happiness and relaxation, you’ll be less stressed and ready to approach your studies with a fresh mind and positive attitude.
Get good quality sleep.
You may be thinking there’s no time to sleep when you have 30-page papers due and 100-page assignments to read, not to mention keeping up on your outlines and practice questions. However, getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to maintaining balance in law school. Create a dedicated sleep space and pre-bedtime routine to get your body ready for rest. This will help you settle down and fall asleep more quickly so you can make the most of the hours you have. And getting enough sleep will allow your brain the rest it needs to continue to learn new information each day. Check out one of our recent blog posts about the importance of sleep when preparing for bar exams.
Don’t overextend yourself.
Early in the fall semester, your law school may hold a student organization fair. Avoid the temptation to join every group that piques your interest. If you’re trying to keep up with class, stay on top of outlines, study for midterms and finals AND participate in five student organizations, you will most likely be overwhelmed. In law school, you can do anything you want, you just can’t do everything. Your time each day is finite, and you’ll need to prioritize and make decisions on how best to use it. Be aware of what you need to get done each day/week/month/semester and budget your time accordingly. Find that balance that works for you to keep you engaged in your studies while also peppering in enough fun activities to recharge your batteries.
Law school is a high-pressure environment, and as a law student, you may feel the weight of always having to perform at your best. Managing your commitments, making time for quality sleep and taking moments to de-stress will help you stay healthy and avoid burnout. Trust me, the stress and pressure you may experience is all worth it!