Stress written in capital letters underlined with red pencil bearing on paper

How to Deal With Law School Stress in Healthy Ways

Learning how to manage your stress in healthy ways now will give you an insurmountable benefit when you begin to practice law. Law school students, read on!

This article originally appeared on New England Law | Boston's website.

Too much stress—especially the long-lasting kind—is not good. It can lead to everything from headaches and weight gain to heart disease and depression. It can also hurt your memory and cognitive abilities, which is the last thing you want in law school, not to mention as a professional lawyer. First, take some comfort in knowing that what you’re feeling is normal. Everyone is trying to play it cool in law school…and everyone has moments of doubt, struggles with the material, and feels like they’re in over their head sometimes. Second, you need to learn how to deal with your stress in healthy way—and the sooner, the better.

Luckily, there are lots of good coping mechanisms and habits you can develop now as a law student. Best of all, if you learn how to take care of yourself in law school, “you’re going to be a superstar when you get out,” says Barbara Bowe, a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker who works with Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers in Massachusetts. Here's how you can start finding some relief. 

Take 10 minutes

A 10-minute break can make a world of difference, especially if you’re stuck in a rut. Here are some quick and easy things you can do to shake off the stress:

  • Go for a quick walk or jog 
  • Write down or review your to-do list
  • Stretch
  • Meditate (check out apps like HeadspaceCalmMyLife, and Aura)
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Look at funny things (like memes, videos, jokes—anything that makes you laugh!) 
  • Talk to someone you care about
  • Take a shower or bath
  • Hang out with a pet
  • Just close your eyes and breathe 

Don’t be afraid to get help

You don’t need to go it alone, you don’t need to pretend everything is fine if it’s not, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed asking for help when you need it. It’s also important to remember that getting professional treatment for mental health and even substance abuse does not appear on bar fitness results. Your law school should have mental health resources available to you. There are also free mental health resources like hotlines and local support groups. And, of course, your friends, family, faculty, and mentors want to help you too, and a short conversation can go a long way in making you feel better.

Related: How to Ask for and Get Important Help in College

Treat it like another school assignment

You carve out time to do your classwork; why not schedule time for breaks and stress-relieving activities too? Think of it as an important part of your training for the rigors of being a lawyer. Developing healthy coping mechanisms and stress-busting habits requires work, but it’s an effort that pays off in dividends. Law students who are willing to look at themselves and do a deep dive into their mental health and coping mechanisms are better off. 

Prioritize the basics: sleep, diet, exercise

This is basic advice but it bears repeating: getting enough sleep, eating right, and squeezing in some exercise is critical in law school. Granted, finding time to do so may feel impossible, but these are the building blocks for good overall health and worth prioritizing. Always. So bust out those time management skills and do your best to get a little more sleep, do a quick workout, or run to the grocery store for some wholesome goodies.

Related: 3 Easy Ways to Exercise (Without Hitting the Gym!)

Don’t make big decisions

When you’re in a tough situation and stressed out, it’s the worst time to make an impulsive decision, Bowe says. You’re not thinking clearly. Give yourself 24 hours to think things over, talk it out with a trusted friend, write a pros and cons list—whatever you need to do to feel like you’re approaching the decision from a rational place.

Write in a journal

Think journaling is just for kids scribbling “Dear Diary”? Think again. Regular journaling can be a powerful tool for processing your emotions and identifying both good and bad patterns in your behavior. It doesn’t have to take long either. The most important part is sticking with it. Apps like Day OnePenzu, and The 5 Minute Journal can make journaling a breeze.

Keep your eyes on the prize

Why did you want to go to law school in the first place? Whether it’s providing a great life for your family, accomplishing your professional goals, or enacting policy changes, let it motivate you. After all, in just a few short years, you'll graduate from law school and a new adventure will begin.

Related: 10 Easy Ways Students Can De-Stress From School

In law school—and in life—it’s important to remember that you can’t control your stressors. But you can control how you deal with them. Focus on knowing yourself and finding ways of relieving stress that work best for you. With a little time and effort, you’ll learn to manage your stress in healthy and productive ways.

Check out the full article at New England Law | Boston, and find more advice for grad students in our Graduate School section.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
grad school graduate students law law school stress stress management stress relief

About Jessica Tomer

Jessica Tomer

Jessica Tomer is the Director of Communications at the Commonwealth School in Boston. You can follow her on Twitter @JessicaTomer

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Rhiannon Teeter

Rhiannon Teeter

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2012

I have spent a lot of time aggressively searching for scholarships. It was a long and frustrating process until I found the CollegeXpress network. This site made my search so much easier. With the simple check of a few boxes, the site sorted out scholarships I was eligible for and led me directly to the correct websites. Winning this scholarship has definitely given me and my family some financial relief, and CollegeXpress has allowed me to improve my chances of winning further financial aid. Thank you so much!

Sonny Harris

Sonny Harris

College Student

For the entire year before college, I spent a lot of time deeply considering what major I wanted to go into and how to fund my higher education. After a lot of research, I came across CollegeXpress, which helped me ultimately find a ton of scholarships for which I could apply—and some of which I received! If it weren’t for CollegeXpress, I may not have found those scholarships as they didn't appear on any other scholarship search forum. Additionally, I learned more about the options I had been considering for my major through CollegeXpress’s resources. In the end, I chose to major in Computer Science, as it seemed best suited to me and the careers in the field seemed enjoyable, and I've never been more excited to move into my future! Ultimately, I want to thank CollegeXpress for offering their services. I received enough financial aid in scholarships to fund my entire freshman year of college and even got some money refunded which I used to purchase a new laptop, and I bought all of the books I needed for the semester!

Sadie Hartmann

Sadie Hartmann

High School Class of 2021

I'm a senior in high school, and CollegeXpress has helped me in so many ways this year in trying to navigate the process of deciding and committing to a university. The COVID-19 Student Resource Center has helped me many times with the most up-to-date and accurate information, along with financial aid and student life [advice]. During these uncertain times, CollegeXpress has been a great recourse to relieve the stress as a senior. Along with the COVID-19 Student Resource Center, I'm constantly using the extremely helpful tools off the site to aid me during this stressful process. Tools like the lists and rankings of universities have been the most beneficial. I've also used the site to receive expert advice on topics like financial aid. Finally, CollegeXpress has helped me easily apply for several scholarships. I'm thankful to be given the chance to win a scholarship to lessen the burden of my college debt.

Mimi

Mimi

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has provided me with tips that were for college students, but as a high school junior, they were still very useful. Not only that, it also gave me an idea of what to expect when it comes to going to college or already being in college. I want to say thank you to CollegeXpress, and I hope you continue the wonderful tips until I hopefully get into college and throughout my college journey.

Lexie Knutson

Lexie Knutson

High School Class of 2021

This whole website has helped me overcome the attitude I had before. I was scared to even approach the thought of college because it was so much. I knew it wasn’t just a few easy steps, and I panicked mostly, instead of actually trying. Without realizing it, CollegeXpress did exactly what I usually do when I panic, which is take it one step at a time. With college I forget that because it’s more than just a small to-do list, but this website was really helpful and overall amazing. So thank you!

College Matches