Lawyer blogger Ruth Carter wrote a couple of years ago, after describing a day off work with her dog: “I suck at relaxing. Too much unstructured time makes me anxious. I have to be told to take a vacation. My therapist suggested it the last time, and my running coach recently told me I need to take a vacation or staycation. (I don’t think I could do a staycation. I can’t keep myself from checking work email if I’m too close to the office.)”
Sound familiar? I’m not sure whether more lawyers go on competitively stimulating vacations, or on no vacations at all. Yet the power of relaxation is known to us all.
Law firms often take into account non-billable activities, such as pro bono or business development, when setting compensation, although (arguably) not often enough. But it is unlikely that any law firm is going to start crediting for vacations taken -- for doing nothing, as it were. However, in her ABA Journal article "Relaxing the anxious lawyer brain takes practice," Jeena Cho wrote that one lawyer shared with her during a coaching call: "I think about getting into a car accident or catch myself checking the weather, hoping for a really bad storm so I won’t have to go to the hearing." No one is suggesting that taking a holiday alone will alleviate this level of anxiety. But it might be a start.
Happy Summer. Try to relax.