handle stress

 

Marc LambertAttorney and legal analyst Marc Lamber leads the dynamic injury law team of Lamber Goodnow at Fennemore Craig in Phoenix, AZ. Marc founded the Plaintiff Personal Injury (PI) practice at the firm, and he has spent the last 27 years developing and honing it, representing a multitude of accident victims and their families resulting in hundreds of successful outcomes. Throughout those 27 years, Marc has figured out how to maintain a sense of wellbeing and balance in what’s notoriously known as one of the most stressful industries. Here are his essentials:

1. Exercise
“I start my day early at the gym, and still arrive early at the office,” says Lamber. “I prefer intense cardio and bodybuilding, but it’s important to do whatever works for you —walking, hiking, running, yoga or swimming. The key is to make time to stay in great shape if you really want a long career as an accomplished attorney.”

2. Outside Interests
“If woodworking or playing the electric guitar in a band is your thing, don’t stop doing what you love just because you’re spending countless hours as a lawyer,” says Lamber. “Special interests can actually enhance your career.” How so? Studies have found that having hobbies can make you more successful and can greatly reduce stress.

3. Relaxation Techniques
“Deep breathing during the day—which can sometimes mean just stepping outside of the office and walking briskly— along with more advanced practices like meditation and yoga are all great for legal professionals,” says Lamber. “You can’t make all of the stress go away, but you can manage it in a way that’s much healthier than the risks of depression and substance abuse.”

4.  Dinner at Home 
“My attorney father taught me this one: Be home for dinner— at least once a week,” says Lamber. “Put it on your calendar. Schedule it, just like any other priority during your work week. Then, go home and have dinner with your family, friends, or loved ones.” It’s critical to connect like this.  In fact, researchers at Brigham Young University found that having a family meal helped working parents reduce the stress from long hours at the office.

5. Non-Legal Friends and Family
“It’s important to have a network of folks outside of legal peers who you can talk with and socialize without having to talk about legal issues,” says Lamber. Hanging out with colleagues is great, but if they are the only people you spend time with then you’ll likely spend the vast majority of your time away from the office talking about, well, the office.

6. Professional Mentor
“At every stage in your career, I highly recommend having a mentor that you can talk with,” says Lamber. “This professional sounding board can make all the difference in the world.” One study found that having a mentor reduces the odds of having stress or experiencing burnout. As the study author, Lebena Varghese, a doctoral candidate at Northern Illinois University at the time said, “This study illustrates that mentoring can serve as a crucial intervention, which can reduce the intensity with which individuals with vulnerable personality traits react toward stress and the adverse consequences of job burnout.”

7.  Pets
There’s a mountain of research that shows that having a pet can help reduce stress and improve health in some many ways. For instance, one study found that when dogs simply gaze at their humans, the humans, in turn, experience a spike in oxytocin, the feel-good hormone. “Dog therapy indeed works for me,” says Lamber.  “I have two dogs—and the unconditional love that animals can provide can be ‘chicken soup for the soul’ for any lawyer after a long day at the office.”

8. Nutrition and Sleep 
“Some sports trainers will tell you that your diet and getting enough sleep are possibly more important than your workout routine,” says Lamber. “Again, if you want a long career, being selfish in these critical areas can provide huge dividends on the back end.”

9. Vacations or Stay-cations
“I love to travel, but if you can’t get away, even a weekend stay-cation can help you and yours relax, rest, and rejuvenate,” says Lamber. Other lawyers agree—it’s critical to take a break once in a while.

10.  Philanthropy or Pro-Bono Work
“The clichés are true: when you help someone in need—especially with your legal knowledge— it sometimes helps you even more,” says Lamber.