Health and Wellness

The effect that sitting has on your ability to breathe is a serious and underappreciated problem.  In fact, it’s so underappreciated that you probably don’t even realize it’s a problem for you at all.  Don’t believe me?  Just think back to any day this week between 3 and 4 p.m. in the afternoon.  Imagine how you felt at this time.  Extremely tired? Perhaps a little bit dizzy? About ready to pass out on your keyboard?

Although your symptoms could be attributed to the burrito you ate for lunch, or the fact that you pulled an all-nighter drafting an overdue motion for summary judgment, another possibility is that you simply aren’t breathing enough.  As a result, your body may be starved for oxygen.  But why does this occur?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Feeling Sedated? Get Your Blood Oxygenated!”

Perhaps the single most underappreciated problem with the practice of law is the physical discomfort that comes from sitting for 10 to 12 hours each day.

If you’re like me, your problems begin within just a few hours of getting settled at your desk. As early as mid-morning, you start to experience a dull ache between your shoulder blades.  By lunchtime, this ache has turned into a throbbing pain that is creeping up your mid-back and into your shoulders and neck.  Next thing you know, it has engulfed your entire upper body, and by the time you’re ready to leave for the day, it has even spread to your lower extremities.  After limping your way home, things have gotten so bad that you have no choice but to curl up in fetal position and have a good cry.  Sound familiar?

If so, I have good and bad news for you.  First, for the bad news: from an anatomical perspective, your pain is inevitable.  Indeed, as it probably has become obvious to you, the human body is not meant to sit in a chair all day…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Does Your Desk Job Hurt? How To Prevent Pain Associated With Sitting”

Ed. note: Please welcome Elizabeth Adams, who will be covering health and wellness in the legal profession. You can read her full bio at the end of this post.

Ever feel like your brain is going to explode from too much information? I don’t mean too much information in the qualitative sense (e.g., information about your husband’s gastrointestinal problems or your boss’s sex life). The TMI I’m talking about is quantitative, like you literally have too much data in your short-term memory bank.

If you practice law, it’s likely you have suffered a quantitative TMI crisis at one point or another. It happens when your brain is forced to process more information than it can handle, perhaps because you have pulled an all-nighter to meet a filing deadline or because a partner has asked one too many questions about a case he just handed you.

Regardless of the cause, the feeling of information overload is unmistakable: your brain is completely overwhelmed, and you may start to confuse information or forget it entirely. Add fatigue and a couple cups of coffee into the mix, and things can get really ugly. You become irritable and withdrawn, snarling at anyone who dares to enter your office.

At a certain point, if you want to avoid a complete mental meltdown — not to mention a reputation as the crazy person who is always muttering about filing deadlines in the hallway — you must do something to slow down and de-clutter your mind. But what, exactly, can you do?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Too Much Information? Time For Meditation!”

Ed. note: Please welcome Elizabeth Adams, who will be covering health and wellness in the legal profession. You can read her full bio at the end of this post.

It’s virtually impossible to get decent advice about whether to go to law school.  On the one hand, you have advice from non-lawyers, like your mom, who will promise you that even if you don’t like it, you can do anything with a law degree.  On the other hand, you have advice from actual lawyers, who will tell you the exact opposite.  I, like many others, made the decision to listen to my mom rather than the many, many practicing attorneys who warned me about the realities of the profession.  Although this somehow seemed like a rational choice at the time, I realize, in retrospect, I should have taken the advice of counsel.

It’s true, being a lawyer is hard. Even on a good day it is both extremely boring and highly stressful — a unique combination found in few other jobs.  Equally troubling to me, however, is the toll it takes on your body. Indeed, recent studies have shown that sitting as much as lawyers do is bad for the body, and the physical effects of sleep deprivation are well documented and pretty serious.   Of course, I don’t need scientific studies to confirm what appears obvious to me on a daily basis.  Many lawyers I encounter seem perpetually exhausted and sort of sickly.  Some are much worse than that, appearing as if they are in need of urgent medical attention.   Lawyers, it seems, are literally dying at their desks…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Think Your Job Is Killing You? How To Survive The Profession In 3 Easy Steps”

Key to writing a self-help piece? Pictures of bland smiling people.

Self-help books are amazing. So simple, so pedantic, so lucrative. If I could muster enough “human compassion,” I’d get in on that action. But, as is I’ll have to stick with mocking dumb lawyers online. It’s a living.

A self-help book for lawyers is out and boasts some advantages for lawyers choosing to live a “wellness” lifestyle.

If you’re wondering what “wellness” means, it’s kind of a catch-all pop psych term for “not being a f**kup.” Glad I could help out….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “6 Benefits Of Legal Wellness — Whatever That Means”

Notice how this is a child? Don't act like a child.

True story: when I was a lawyer, sometimes I’d leave work and fantasize about jumping in front of a slow moving bus or cab and getting injured. Not enough to be in a life-threatening situation, just serious enough to be put in some ward of the hospital where my doctors wouldn’t allow me to do any more work. I knew just having a “note” from the doctor or being “sick” wasn’t enough. If you could see, you could review documents. So I needed an injury where somebody would prevent my employer from making me do any more work.

And an injury that was serious enough to allow me to quit would have kept my parents off my back. That’s the real business. If I had gotten, say, my left arm chopped off (I’m right handed), I figured I could credibly explain to my family that I had “a moment of clarity” and didn’t want to “waste my life in an office” anymore. Then I wouldn’t look like a “quitter” to my friends and family, and I’d look almost heroic for efforts to overcome my new disability. It would have worked!

I never did it, obviously. Eventually, I realized that quitting my job and dealing with the disappointment of my family and the unfounded perception that I “couldn’t cut it” from my friends was way more intelligent than cutting off my arm. And I think history has proven me right.  For instance, I have two arms, which is awesome.

But I thought about it — you think about all kinds of crazy things when you feel overwhelmed with work. It seems like a Brazilian university student took her thoughts a step further. To avoid completing her dissertation, she faked getting kidnapped….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Would You Do To Avoid Doing Homework? Would You Get Kidnapped?”

From time to time we have the opportunity to talk about how massively unhealthy Biglaw jobs can be. Lawyers don’t get enough sleep. They take drugs to stay awake. Sometimes they even have panic attacks when they find themselves back at work right after a holiday.

Work/Life balance is not something they teach in law school.

That’s a reality that novelist Jonathan Lee knows all too well. The author of the critically acclaimed Who is Mr Satoshi? used to be a lawyer with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in the U.K.

Now, Lee is writing on the Huffington Post, and he’s sharing some of the details from his “Magic Circle” lifestyle to make a point about professional environments that are damaging to your health.

Lee might be fighting the good fight, but working a Biglaw job is kind of like smoking cigarettes: everybody who has one knows it’s bad for them, but they just don’t care at the moment….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Former Freshfields Barrister Wonders If Your Biglaw Job Is Making You Sick”

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