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Springing forward to summer - Tips for remaining resilient in tough times

03 April 2018

Robert Schuller is often quoted with the words "Tough times don't last, tough people do."


Tough or resilient...what's the difference?

Many don't see the difference and often there are significant similarities.

Resilience is more balanced. It recognises that there will be times when rolling up the sleeves and putting your shoulder to the wheel is necessary and, crucially, that may have an emotional and physical price. It also recognises that if you are in, whatever you may be in, for the long term it is essential to take care of your emotional health by achieving some balance in your life and taking down-time regularly.

To sum up you may be tough and you may last but you are likely to pay the price in some way. Whereas, if you are resilient you can stay the course and stand a really good chance of enjoying the race.

In spring many of our clients notice that, as days get longer their clients' days get longer and so in turn theirs do too. The opportunity of more daylight, rather than affording us an opportunity to enjoy outside, means that we get an opportunity to work harder. If that is going to happen or is happening to you, then learning to be resilient is vital.

Your body and your mind don't work in isolation from each other, your health is a form of ecosystem. Work yourself too hard physically and your personal relationships and your emotional health will suffer. Equally, choosing to take care of your emotional health can often involve making healthy decisions about your physical health also.

To help all of your clients and your friends in the legal profession here are some tips to help build and maintain your resilience for the longer days.

Some tips may be familiar. That's because they are sound, relevant advice, but you may have not really taken any notice of them before. Simple changes may be able to improve your resilience.

Sleep

The amount of sleep we get has the biggest impact on our ability to remain resilient in tough times than. While many factors can impact upon our sleep, an intention to get enough is a great start and one missing from many people's lives. Sleep is essential to our memory and cognitive ability as well as our resilience.

  • Aim to give yourself an 8 hour sleep opportunity every night
  • Take the tech out of the bedroom. It interferes with your sleep. Read the research.
  • Develop a relaxing pre-bedtime routine (the key is the word routine). Be that a hot bath, meditation or listening to guided relaxations, training your mind and body to relax before bed is important
  • Reduce your alcohol intake on work nights. Alcohol may help you get off to sleep but it markedly impacts the quality

Stress

Stress will impact your sleep.  It can also impact upon your physical health and if not attended to lead you closer to depression.

  • Don't allow stress to build up. Procrastinating only hurts you. If something needs doing, do it. Try reading Eat That Frog 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
  • Don't let feelings of vulnerability build up inside your head where they can become toxic. Try...
    • Journaling to express your feelings and thoughts and allow yourself to move on.
    • Talking to someone who will listen to you non-judgmentally and will let you work out your own solutions such as a good friend, a coach, a counsellor or a therapist.

Hydration

As little as 2% dehydration can lead to significant negative impact on mental functions e.g. short-term memory, arithmetic efficiency, and visuomotor tracking; motor speed and attention. Even without perspiration your normal daily turnover of water is 4%.

  • Drink enough water to stay hydrated
  • Be aware of the impact of alcohol and caffeine

Exercise

Exercise is great for physical and emotional health. It is a positive sign of self-care and impacts upon self esteem

  • Plan to raise your heart rate for 150 minutes a week with moderate exercise (cycling or walking). That's an absolute minimum
  • Take up a team sport. Combining exercise, competitiveness and being part of a community is great for your emotional health

Challenge yourself when…

  • You find yourself thinking of using the language of the victim. Work out your options, make your choice and own it.
  • You find yourself thinking negative thoughts. How can you reframe them to a positive thought process?
  • When you are putting yourself under pressure to be perfect. No one is perfect. Good enough is the new perfect.
  • You find yourself comparing yourself to others unfavourably. You are your own person with your own strengths, acknowledge those.

Try picking one section and committing to make improvements in that area for the next 30 days and see the difference.

 

Views expressed in our blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Law Society.

Solicitors or their staff can call our free and confidential Pastoral care helpline 020 7320 5795 if they are experiencing personal, financial, professional or employment difficulties. Staffed Mon-Fri 9 -17:00

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Download the Junior Lawyers Division Supporting resilience and wellbeing in the workplace Guidance for best practice

Tags: emotional resilience

About the author

Julian Hall is founder of Calm People and co-founder of Calm Execs and Happiness Quotient. With a background in stress, conflict and anger management he and his colleagues deliver programmes and workshops in organisations of all sizes helping teams remain emotionally strong in times of change.

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