Attorneys work hard.
This is an incontrovertible truth.
If you happen to be one of those hardworking attorneys, it’s important that you take time to play hard as well. Striking balance between work and play can be difficult. It takes courage and a willingness to say “no” when the occasion calls. For instance, if you cannot handle taking on yet another case, it’s time to get real with your colleagues and let them know you’re overloaded.
An excellent attorney becomes only a “good” attorney when stretched too thin.
You want to maintain your status of excellence, so you need to be aware of what you can and cannot handle.
The main point here is: you are not a robot and you should not be treated as one.
That said, making sure that you let loose every now and then can be a healthy way to keep your excellence in check, and one of the best ways to do that is to take your vacation time.
There have been a number of studies backing up this idea. Vacation is considered by some researchers to be “recovery from work” – a vital period wherein we, as humans, take time to let our brains heal from constant overthinking and overstimulation. One study found that “repeated or prolonged physiological activation may disturb an organism’s precarious homeostatic (sympathetic – parasympathetic) balance which will manifest in chronic overactivity or inactivity of crucial bodily systems (e.g., the immune system).”
What does that mean?
No vacation = overactive immunity.
This is likely due to prolonged and chronic periods of stress without restful escape.
Another study by Canadian researchers Joudrey and Wallace reported that “active” leisure pursuits (such as golf!) and vacations helped buffer or decrease job stress among a sample of approximately 900 lawyers. Moreover, British researcher, Scott McCabe, has stated that vacations’ “personal benefits have been found to include: rest and recuperation from work; provision of new experiences leading to a broadening of horizons and the opportunity for learning and intercultural communication; promotion of peace and understanding; personal and social development; visiting friends and relatives; religious pilgrimage and health; and, subjective well-being”.
So, the next time you’re thinking about chucking the vacay for another 60 hours in the office, you might want to rethink that decision. After all, a well-rested, re-energized attorney is much better than a brain-dead, overly fatigued attorney.
Now close this article and go schedule your vacation, my friend!
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