You’re on what’s supposed to be on a relaxing vacation. You planned to recharge and come back to the office ready to take on the world. But you just can’t take it easy, knowing the emails are still coming in, the clients want answers, and deadlines are waiting for you.
Sound familiar? With technology keeping email at our fingertips and our laptops connected anywhere in the world, it can be hard for anyone to truly relax on vacation. But for lawyers, it can seem almost impossible.
Vacations are critical for mental health though, especially if your job is high-stress. It’s been scientifically proven vacations reduce physical symptoms of stress up to five weeks after, reduce the risk of heart disease and lead to better sleep overall. In one study, failing to take miss just one year of vacation in five years put subjects at a higher risk of a heart attack.
So what do you do when you want to take a vacation but you feel like there’s just too much work? The below strategies can make it possible to get away and truly enjoy it without thinking constantly about your cases.
Go during the slow season
If there’s a certain time of year that’s slower than others, try to schedule your vacation during that time. There’s likely to be less on your plate so you’ll be minimizing the workload in the weeks leading up to and after your time off.
File a notice of unavailability
Let your staff, clients, and opposing counsel know as far in advance as possible that you won’t be in the office. This can help to prevent matters from being scheduled during those days and also prompt everyone to send you anything they need to be addressed before you leave rather than while you’re away.
It also means you can start blocking off any important deadlines for the dates immediately following your return as well. Giving yourself a few days to catch up instead of having two court appearances scheduled for the first day you’re back in the office.
(Try to) Schedule time to turn off
Depending on your schedule and firm, it can be hard to completely shut off during a vacation. It’s likely you’ll still need to be accessible by cell phone and email. Rather than spending all day wondering when the phone calls will interrupt your relaxation, schedule a certain time each day.
For example, you can schedule a morning call with your paralegal from 8 to 9 every morning. If something comes in during the day that can wait until tomorrow, it goes on the list to be discussed the following morning. This way cases are still moving forward, clients are getting answers and you can enjoy the rest of the day without worrying about it.
Take shorter vacations
You don’t need to take a full week off to feel the benefits of a vacation. Just a few days off can help you get some separation from the stress of the office. Take a long, restorative weekend. One or two days out of the office can be a lot easier to prepare for than a whole week.
Maximize your relaxation – and take that vacation!
For your health and your sanity, make sure you’re taking vacations. For lawyers, it’s not as simple as just putting in the time with HR. It requires some preparation so you can truly decompress while away, but it’s worth the extra work to truly get some quality relaxation in.
It’s time to go look up some flights and book a trip!
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