Are you a burnt out lawyer? Burnout is rampant in the legal profession, so statistically, it’s highly likely—and you are not alone.
I’ve talked with dozens of lawyers who’ve experienced burnout and recovered. In this article, I’m sharing three things that every burnt out lawyer needs to know about recovering from burnout.
Would you rather watch then read? Click below to watch Sarah share the three things burnt out lawyers need to know about recovering from burnout.
Burnt Out Lawyer Tip #1: Quit Your Job
The first thing to do if you’re a burnt out lawyer?
Quit your job.
I say that in jest, sort of.
Lawyers often tell me that they’re burnt out, but that it’s “just their job”.
The “it’s just my current job” mentality tends to devalue your current state, as though it doesn’t really matter. As though it’s not real, because you think it would go away if you left your job.
Burnout is still real, even if it’s “just” caused by your job.
If you’re considering quitting law without another job lined up, here are some questions to ask yourself.
Burnt Out Lawyer Tip #2: You Can’t Self-Care Your Way Out Of Burnout
Burnout is not just about you, and you can’t self-care your way out of burnout. Your environment and your relationships both have a profound impact on burnout.
In Amelia and Emily Nagoski’s book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, they talk about how the solution to burnout is not self-care, but community care—all of us caring for one another.
Self-care—getting enough sleep, going to therapy, making health-promoting choices—is important, but you need more than self-care to recover from burnout.
Your relationships and your environment can contribute both to your burnout AND to your recovery from burnout.
Burnt Out Lawyer Tip #3: Go To Therapy
As lawyers, we have a tendency towards a DIY, “I can fix it” attitude. While this can be a helpful approach in many situations, it doesn’t always work in our favor when it comes to our own emotional, physical, and mental health.
This is a big part of the reason that my most important piece of advice for burnt out lawyers (and frankly lawyers in general) is: go to therapy.
Seriously, go to therapy.
More than any other, it is the one thing that I have seen change lawyers’ lives for the better.
In fact, I often tell lawyers that if they have to choose between therapy and enrolling in The Former Lawyer Collaborative™, then they should choose therapy, hands down.
A therapist can help you dig into all of the important questions that you need to answer in order to figure out the best way to deal with your burnout. A therapist can also help you figure out how you ended up where you are, and what to watch out for going forward, in your career and elsewhere.
If, after all of this, you determine that you need to get out of your job, I have a free guide, First Steps To Leaving The Law, which walks you through the very first things that you need to do if you want to explore leaving legal practice. I also share some of the most common myths that I see holding lawyers back. Click here to sign up and get the guide sent straight to your inbox.
And if you’re trying to figure out whether you’re burnt out, check out this podcast episode where I share what you need to know about lawyer burnout.