Many of us consider what foods we eat, what we drink, how much exercise we undertake and numerous other aspects of life in order to reduce our risk of illness. So why do we not take the same care of our emotional health? It is about time we did so?

Asking for help is not easy. Expectations from clients, managers and colleagues are high. However, you will work best when you are at your healthiest. If you feel the balance slip and stress levels increase, you can take some positive steps to realign the balance and restore your wellbeing.

Recognising your own warning signs will allow you to manage your psychological wellbeing and will in time increase your resilience.

Here are a few simple tips to improve your mental wellbeing:

Talk

Talking about your mental health can help you through the bad times. It is not a sign of weakness. Admitting that you are feeling stressed or low and opening up to someone about it is a true sign of strength.

Understandably, in such competitive sector, it may be hard to talk about how you feel at work, however there are many organisations offering confidential support and advice. There is always someone ready to listen and help you.

Time is always at a premium but taking the time to see and speak to friends and family can be a simple way to maintain wellbeing. Work life balance is important and it is great self-care to maintain your life priorities outside your professional life.

Get active

How often do you exercise? When was the last time you tried a new sport or went to the gym? Exercise can make a huge difference to your wellbeing. Could you work physical activity into your work day by reclaiming your lunch break to get some fresh air and go for a walk ?

Healthy food choices can also make a difference. Drinking more water and opting for nutritional lunch options with less sugar and fat content can make a difference to how you feel. Read NHS inform for more tips on keeping active.

Take time for you

Do you use your annual leave entitlement? Taking a break is good for mental wellbeing. A holiday or regular down time is important in ensuring a healthy work life balance.

When on annual leave, make a conscious effort to avoid checking emails on your phone or laptop. Try to keep a clear divide between work and home life. Manage client expectations by only responding to emails and calls within business hours. If you operate outside of these hours, it will reinforce the 24/7 access culture that can exist within legal services.

Take notice

How often do you take notice of the world around you? How often do you take stock of how you feel during your working day? Taking the time to notice a beautiful day, a job well done, a kind gesture or the positive aspects of your life can help promote wellbeing.

Next time you’re feeling stressed in the office take a moment to be mindful or incorporate daily mindfulness practice in your working day. Mindfulness can be a great way to retrain your brain to focus on positive thoughts rather than negative.

You can read more on the benefits of mindfulness and practising mindfulness. Alternatively why not listen to a Lifelink podcast?

Keep learning

Keeping your mind active has a fantastic impact on wellbeing. Dedicate some time to yourself and set your self a challenge outside of work such as learning a new language or skill, reignite your passion for a forgotten pastime or undertake a part time learning course.

Give back

Volunteering and giving back to the community has also been proven to improve your overall wellbeing. There are numerous opportunities to fundraise for charities. You could join a board to utilise your professional experience in a different and fulfilling way or just take the time to do something nice for a friend, colleague or neighbour. Through the Law Society, you can volunteer to mentor a new entrant to the profession. By taking the time to give back, you will feel fulfilled and improve your general wellbeing.

Read more about mentoring opportunities and the Lawscot Foundation on our website.

Helplines
The LawCare logo

LawCare

LawCare provides a free, independent and confidential Helpline for legal professionals and their families. They provide access to practical help and support to legal practioners experiencing stress and ill health or facing redundancy and information for those coming back to the profession after a period of maternity or parternity leave.

Breathing Space

Breathing Space aims to provide an alternative and easily accessible ‘first stop’ service; assistance at an early stage in order to stop problems escalating; empathy, understanding and advice through active listening; hope when none exists; direction for those who do not know where to seek help.

Tel: 0800 838587

Samaritans

Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

Tel: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

LifeLink

A Glasgow based early service which provides support to individuals who have mild to moderate mental health issues covering anxiety, depression, relationship issues and overall low mood and provides support to manage stress. They also offer courses and podcasts.

You can refer yourself to Lifelink or refer a colleague, friend or client.

NHS mental health helplines

Whether you're concerned about yourself or a loved one, these helplines can offer expert advice.