March 2015

March 2015

By: Eduardo Romero

The practice of law is rewarding for many reasons.  Clients can be very grateful for preparing a will, achieving a good verdict, settling a difficult case with a good outcome, or just providing sound advice and reassuring comments during a stressful moment in their lives. 

Unfortunately, as a profession we too often tend to overlook or ignore the stress in our own lives.  Deadlines, client expectations, and unreasonable opposing counsel, among countless other factors, pose challenges to managing our stress levels and, many times, to our sanity.  Billable hours can add stress for associates at law firms and billable hours tend to add a different set of challenges for those running their own firms. 

Work is not the only source of stress, unfortunately.  Home life has its own set of challenges.  We attempt to nurture and maintain a healthy and emotionally fulfilling relationship with our spouse, and children add to our desire for emotional and financial stability.  All of this can lead to additional stress.  How does one cope with everything, balance everything, or handle everything?  Personally, I run.

I initially started running to lose weight and be healthy in high school.  Law school gave me an opportunity to transform my casual running to more competitive and timed running.  Running helped me focus and organize my thoughts.  I would run in between classes, after class, after final exam.  Running became a habit.  

Eight years after the Texas Bar Exam, I still use my runs to organize my day.  Running helps me focus my thoughts on the tasks I need to handle that day.  I also use my runs to organize my day so that I can accomplish my goals, from meeting a deadline to making sure I make time for family dinner. 

When I started as an associate, among the many challenges was coping with the different deadlines given by the partners.  From being given same-day deadlines to finding caselaw within the hour right before the hearing, my stress levels were challenged daily. 

Drinking was not an option as I needed my brain to function the next day and drinking simply isn’t healthy.  My running routine paid through the first years as an associate as it was a way to focus and decompress.  Our profession, unfortunately, leads many of our colleagues to seek solace in alcohol, prescribed medication, and unprescribed medication.  I’ve been able to avoid detrimental addictions by my addiction to running.

I am not suggesting you start running right now, but I do recommend that you find an activity that works for you, motivates you to continue, and keeps your body and mind healthy.  Consider cycling.  Consider rowing.  Consider hiking.  Or consider CrossFit.  My law firm partner has gotten into the latest fitness craze by challenging other friends to keep fitness goals using Fitbit.  Ask yourself what motivates you to keep your mind and body healthy.  Any habit that keeps your mind and body healthy is worth repeating in the long run. 

Views and opinions expressed in eNews are those of their authors and not necessarily those of the Texas Young Lawyers Association or the State Bar of Texas.

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