stressed face

Do any of these sound familiar – competing deadlines, too many “top priorities”, billing hour targets, client demands, juggling the responsibilities of being an employee and parent, caring for elderly parent, or insufficient time to get everything done?

Learning to manage stress effectively is important. To counter the negative effects of stress, consider the following key strategies:

  1. It may sound somewhat simplistic, but a key way to counter stress is to relax. Our brains can’t generate a stress response at the same time as a relaxation response. When we take time to relax, we start to release “happy hormones” into our blood, which can radically improve health and productivity.
  2. The second way to ward off the negative effects of stress is to change how we respond to stressors. For instance, by negotiating a reasonable timeline to complete a task, we reduce the stress associated with a task. Change what you can, accept what you can’t.

Understanding & Preventing Burnout
Burnout has been defined as the consequence of severe stress and high ideals and from working too hard, too much and for too long. Years of long hours and extreme workloads combined with an emotionally demanding job and pressures to excel can take their toll on a person’s overall health. Burnout can also occur from feeling trapped in a job one dislikes or in which one has lost or never really had interest. This includes doing work which does not align with one’s values.

Physical signs and symptoms

  • Feeling tired and drained most of the time
  • Getting sick a lot
  • Frequent headaches, back pain, muscle aches
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits

Emotional signs and symptoms

  • Self-doubt, feeling as if you’ve failed
  • Feeling helpless, trapped and defeated
  • Detachment, feeling alone in the world
  • Loss of motivation
  • Increasingly cynical and negative
  • Having less satisfaction and pride in your work

Behavioural signs and symptoms

  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
  • Taking out your frustrations on others

You can prevent and counteract the effects of burnout by practicing self-care.

Self-care refers to activities and practices that we can engage in on a regular basis to maintain and enhance our health and well-being. Examples include eating healthily, taking vacation, getting enough sleep, making quiet time for self-reflection, or staying connected with important people from your life.

What gets in the way of self-care?

  • Perfectionism
  • Underlying cultural norms
  • Competing priorities
  • Habits
  • Abusing substances

Make self-care a priority and incorporate activities that nurture your body, feed your mind and support your spirit into your daily rituals

Homewood Health™ provides the confidential Member Assistance Program (MAP) for Ontario lawyers, paralegals, judges, students at Ontario law schools and accredited paralegal colleges, licensing-process candidates, and their families, with financial, arms-length support from the Law Society of Upper Canada and LAWPRO. To learn more about the MAP, please visit or call 1-855-403-8922.

Categories: Wellness and Balance