By Sophie Howell
Life as a trainee solicitor can be an incredibly stressful period during ordinary times but Covid-19 has meant these stresses have been heightened. It’s therefore vital that law firms and their trainees recognise the importance of mental and physical wellbeing, especially during the current crisis.
In this edition of the LSP blog we talk to a number of trainee solicitors from across the UK about their key tips on how to keep on top of both your physical and mental wellbeing as a trainee solicitor.
‘My tip would be – Set your alarm early, and get straight out of bed – no more snoozing! This will make you feel great for the rest of the day (though not necessarily in the moment), and will give you more time to get some exercise in before work. The day can easily run away from you, so getting your exercise in first thing is a good way to make sure it happens. Stick to a routine and you’ll definitely feel the physical and mental benefits – I certainly have!’
‘One thing I really struggle with is switching off when I’ve finished working; when work and home have been combined into the same place during the pandemic, I found I wasn’t actually giving myself time to relax or take a break from work. So, one thing I did to help my mental well-being was use this app called ‘TimeTune.’ This allowed me to block my time into chunks throughout the day; for example, I’d be working on a task for a client between 9-10am, I have a meeting 11am-midday, exercise 7pm-8pm and so on. This allowed me to actually fit in time to work and relax. Without writing this all down and planning my time visually, I tend to just carry on working and lose track of time. So therefore, blocking my time in this way really helped. This consequently helped me with my physical well-being too, as I was able to fit in time for going for a run or doing a home workout’.
‘My wellness tip for working from home is to ensure that you are separating your work life from your personal life. One of the main issues is that you don’t have the delineation between your office and your home. Having your small room act as your bedroom, living space, and home office all in one is really not ideal. I would recommend separating your spaces as much as you can. If you have a living room or kitchen that you can sit in, make sure that you are taking your breaks in that room, away from your desk, so that you can truly switch off and rest. Even if you don’t have a separate room, you can put away all your work equipment when you are done for the day so that they are out of sight. I keep my laptop, keyboard and notebooks in a box under my desk to create that separation at the end of each day.’
My key tip is ‘I try and keep in touch with my fellow trainees to keep the social contact going, carve aside some time for breaks even when things are quite stressful, make some time for prayer and work out a few times a week. I also try and keep my workload in check to the extent possible and communicate where there’s a lot on’.
Trainee Wellness Tip Takeaways
Whilst life as a trainee solicitor is often stressful it is important to take care of your mental wellbeing and find ways to manage stress levels. There are many different ways to achieve this whether it be using an app which takes a proactive approach to mental and physical wellbeing, keeping fit, networking with other trainees and friends or simply just taking a break to focus your mind on something non-work related. As doing so will not only allow you to get the very best from your training contract and but also help you in your future legal career.