Stressed, Overwhelmed, and Worn Out by Courtney Sharp

Everyone knows what it feels like to be stressed, overwhelmed, and worn out. Even the most organized people have seasons where they can barely keep their head above water. Whether these feelings come from just keeping up with the mundane idiosyncrasies of life or from an intense career profession, our time is often spent managing and controlling these negative emotions that can be detrimental to our physical and emotional health. In law school, the competitive nature of the program combined with the heavy work load lends itself to a “there is always work to do” mentality. While this mindset can be quite productive, it can all too easily suck the joy out of doing anything that isn’t on the “to do list” of the day. Even if I treat myself to an evening away from the books, my mind is burdened with the outlines I should be finishing, review problems I should be doing, and how my competition is gaining an edge on me by working an extra day. We often long for graduation, hoping it will bring mental freedom to our brains and afford us the ability to truly be present in our relationships. In reality, however, the burden of the “there is always work to be done” mentality never goes away, regardless of your profession. Just because this burden exists does not mean that we should succumb to it and let it take hold on our lives- we must prioritize and give effect to what is most important to us in order to salvage both our productivity and our sanity. I learned quickly clerking for Larry Rice that regardless of what important deadline we may be up against or what important event is impending, we always take time to celebrate each individual staff member’s birthday. Our secretary has a running list of every employee’s favorite cake for that very purpose. It drives home the point that our friends and family are a top priority and should be celebrated. In the end, it’s not our appellate briefs or great motion arguments that we will want beside us, but our loved ones. On the same note, Larry always encourages each employee to take an hour for lunch (preferably out of the office). He is a strong advocate for getting some fresh air and getting out of your workspace so you can return more invigorated and with greater mental clarity. Personally, I have realized how truly important it is to take some “me” time to get my mind right, especially in times of high-anxiety. Taking even an hour away from my work to drive down Poplar helps me to appreciate the small things (like happy hour at Sonic), and helps me keep a positive outlook. It’s amazing how my focus will improve after a quick drive listening to my favorite song with a Route 44 Strawberry Water in my hand. Sometimes, even in the midst of the struggle, you just have to treat yourself. Hold fast to your priorities because no matter what season of life you face, there will always be more work to do. The “to do list” will always be there, but your loved ones (and your sanity) won’t be.