The legal profession, with its long hours, late nights, and high tension, can quickly lead to burnout among attorneys. If lawyers ignore the signs of stress, it can threaten the quality of their work and have a significant impact on their health and well-being. Studies by John Hopkins University and the National Institute of Health have found that lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to experience depression than other professionals and that 18% of currently practicing lawyers experience some symptoms of elevated anxiety.
Attorneys can better manage their work-life balance by building healthy habits such as better sleep, improved nutrition, more physical movement, and occasional “brain breaks” from their computers. Fortunately, there are a variety of apps that can help attorneys to stay on track and improve both their mental and physical health. All it takes is the right technology, and a few minutes a day.
Apple Health, S Health.
Before you start scrolling through the App Store on your smartphone, check for pre-installed apps that will track your health automatically. Apple Health for iOS and S Health for Samsung will monitor things like steps, heart rate, sleep, and even your headphone audio levels (to make sure you are not damaging your hearing).
The Breathe app, which comes pre-installed on Apple Watch, prompts users to take some deep breaths in order to improve their focus and reduce their stress and anxiety. It’s an easy and quick way to take a break and collect yourself. Users can access the app as-needed or set daily reminders for some customized breathing and relaxation practices.
Calm: For Mindfulness and Meditation.
Mindfulness can be a powerful tool for dealing with stress and anxiety, but unfortunately, busy attorneys may not have the time to take a full yoga or meditation class. This is where the Calm app comes in handy. It provides guided meditations, anywhere from three minutes to 25 minutes in length, to help you relax and de-stress. There are also Sleep Stories, voiced by Matthew McConaughey, Stephen Fry, and other expert storytellers. Calm also features Masterclasses, a Daily Calm Program, and soothing Soundscapes.
Endomondo: For Fitness.
You may have heard that sitting is the new smoking, and attorneys are notorious for spending most of their day in front of their computers. It’s important to keep your body moving; regular physical activity can boost your mood, increase energy, and even help you sleep. Endomondo is a fitness tracker that will help you set fitness goals, prompt you to get up and away from your desk chair, will offer sample exercises, and it also keeps track of your progress. If you need help with accountability, there’s also the option to link with friends.
Headspace is a popular meditation and mindfulness app, led by a former Buddhist monk. Users spend ten minutes a day listening in to their bodies and clearing their minds. With Headspace, the goal is to improve users’ attention span and level of alertness, as well as calm them down and reduce stress when needed. The guided meditations can be done anytime, anywhere – which is appealing to busy attorneys. There are also mini-meditations, SOS sessions, and a library of special-topic guided meditations.
The MyFitnessPal app has been around for several years – and for good reason. Dubbed the “World’s Largest Fitness Community,” MyFitnessPal is a platform for health-conscious individuals to engage with one another. The app features food tracking, detailed nutritional information, recipe ideas, exercise tracking, and water intake. You can log your meals and workouts, chart your fitness progress, and share your journey with the community of users. MyFitnessPal is user friendly and integrates with more than 50 other apps.
Shine is a self-care app that is focused on mental health. Every morning, users begin with motivational texts, a self-care strategy tip, and a selection from the self-improvement audio library. The goal is to start the day with all the tools you’ll need to take care of your mental well-being. The Shine app also features mindfulness challenges, calming sounds, bedtime stories, and a section for community questions and discussion.
Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds.
Getting enough sleep is crucial for your mental and physical health. Sleep affects your mood, energy levels, productivity, and your level of stress. If you’re struggling to get some shut-eye, try the Relax Melodies app. It offers more than 160 sleep sounds and brainwaves, everything from water to traffic sounds. With Relax Melodies, you can also set sleep reminders and timers for the sleep sounds.
For those who want an analysis of their sleep habits, the Sleep Cycle app takes a tech-related approach to sleep stats. It provides graphics and statistics on items such as how long it takes to fall asleep, time sleeping, heart rate, snoring patterns, and weekly averages. Sleep Cycle uses sound analysis to track user’s movements in their bed. The app also features relaxing sounds, sleep stories, a smart alarm clock, and upgraded analysis, such as how nutrition and weather affect your sleep patterns.
Attorneys are competitive by nature. So why not try an app that combines that sense of competition with a desire to form healthy habits? The Streak app motivates users to develop a healthy habit (ex: quit smoking, exercise more, meditate daily, spend time away from the computer) and then tracks your progress. If you complete your To-Do list, your “streak” is extended; if you don’t, you have to start over from square one. With Streak, you can track up to 12 tasks every day, with customizable icons and visual themes.
Under the current health conditions, many attorneys have made the switch from workouts at the gym to workouts at home. These are great for convenience, but sometimes it can be difficult to stay motivated. The Wakeout app offers hundreds of exercises for those who are tight on time but trying to stick to a fitness regimen. Users can search for workouts based on time, energy level, and location. So next time you have a 10-minute break between Zoom calls, Wakeout will help you find the workout that’s right for you.
You probably already know how important it is to stay hydrated throughout the day. But we’re guessing that you could use a few reminders. Attorneys have busy workdays, and it’s entirely possible to get through your schedule and realize that you haven’t had a drink of water yet. (Sorry, but coffee doesn’t count). The Waterminder app helps you track how much water you drink during the day and also notifies you when it’s time to take another sip. You can also set hydration goals and earn badges for your progress.
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