Long hours, hard work, strict deadlines, high quotas and big responsibilities – all in a day’s work for a lawyer. It takes drive and ambition to get through the day, but it takes resilience to make it through the career. The often-trod path is the in-house route. Of course, this option has its advantages and may provide a greater degree of flexibility to allow that work-life balance we so desire, but effective management of your own mental state is a crucial skill to learn for a truly happy working life.
Above the Law recently spoke to Mark Yacano, a career lawyer and host of the podcast ‘Erasing the Stigma: Conversations About Mental Health’, to get his unique insight on strategies to have a long, sustainable and most importantly, happy, career.
According to Mark, “Although a lot of focus is on the issues that lawyers in firms face, the problem goes beyond law firms.” Mark says, “In-house attorneys often have as much work (and stress) as their law firm counterparts but with fewer resources. We see a lot of lean legal departments these days with gifted lawyers working under constant stress.” To add to this, Mark suggests that it is the personality characteristics of lawyers which make them statistically less likely to seek help. “As someone who personally has faced mental health issues, I jumped at the chance to join my MLA colleagues in contributing to the dialogue,” Mark explains.
Mark has 6 tried and tested life-strategy tips for maintaining your inner-peace and living a happier, healthier life.
- Fill your body with premium fuel
Mark says, “For me, eating right means avoiding binges at multiple food carts when I am stressed. Attempting to digest hot dogs, pretzels, and gyros within ten minutes of each other is a short-term high. You feel much worse afterward.”
Makes sense, right? It can be a lot harder to run when you’re full of chocolate!
- Mix things up
Mark travels a lot, and one thing he has learnt is that being in new environments can feel great. To this end, Mark says “When I travel, I try to mix things up because I think it makes the grind of being on the road less stressful.” “I have found that failing at yoga in a place where you know no one is liberating. Going to different restaurants and trying new dishes is a great way to avoid the rut of (over) eating the same thing.”
- Order NICE stationery and a fancy pen
People like notes and they remember them. Marks advises, “Getting a handwritten note is a nice surprise these days. They are memorable because they are rare. They also humanize the author and make a relationship.” That is why he insists that traveling with notes, stamps and a nice pen is a must!
- Stop Talking to Yourself
“An enormous amount of our stress comes from the inner dialogue we have with ourselves,” according to Mark. He continues, “Unfortunately, the inner dialogue usually isn’t a pep talk but an often-incorrect narrative about who we are. We often talk to ourselves more harshly and less respectfully than we talk to others.”
- Watch Feel-Good Movies, Often
Mark recommends watching the classic, hallmark movies. “You can watch them all year round, and they always have the perfect ending! Who hates a movie where everyone is happy?” Mark explains. After all, there is a reason why these movies resonate across generations.
- Learn to Cook to Build Great Relationships
Mark says, “Cooking not only helps you sustain life, is a way to learn, create, and to bring people together.” He explains, “Having grandparents who were in the restaurant business, I grew up with a great view of how food can bring people together. My mom still has people in for dinner weekly. My wife and kids all cook. It is a common bond that ties us together. Great relationships can come from time spent at the dinner table.”
From all of us at Route1, we hope you have a fantastic holiday and start 2020 fresh, clear, and ready to tackle the new year. We will be here and ready to find you your next dream job, so get in contact with our Engagement Team if you want to start 2020 with a positive change in your career!