The Value of a Pause: how I found peace in chaos.
For anyone pursuing a career in the legal profession, the period just before Christmas can be equally joyful as it can be dreadful. Full of deadlines, client queries, bills to be raised and all else in between. A demanding prospect on many levels.
It is almost a certainty that matters both crucial and minor will come to either a hectic conclusion or will be not be prioritised until the New Year, reasonable clients being paramount, of course: either way, the pressure is on.
I can only speak for myself when I say that being in the thick of a chaotic pre-Christmas period is not a healthy environment to be in, regardless of position in a company and no matter how much experience you can have under your belt.
Stress is a silent presence that can be carried like a weight in secret, and the legal profession is not an exception to this. It is in this vein that I applaud the Law Society's move to establish the mental health Wellbeing Hub, a place where important resources are published for any solicitor who may be struggling at any stage of their professional life.
You can find more information at the following link: https://www.lawsociety.ie/Solicitors/Representation/wellbeing-hub/about-wellbeing-hub/
This week, while in the midst of working on several matters that were time sensitive, I was almost driven to the point of a stress -induced memory blank where my tasks for that afternoon left my mind for a few moments.
Yet even as I felt myself beginning to slide into fearful panic, on the verge of breaking down in tears, I had to literally stop what I was doing, and sit down at my desk to take a pause.
Taking that pause may have saved me from taking a dangerous step towards genuine mental burnout. It was the opportunity to find and steadily repeat a mantra, a positive affirmation and a personal, undeniable truth, 'I have made it another day. I am still here. I will see this through.'
Nothing catastrophic happened because I took this pause. It was a much needed one: a pause to take twenty deep breaths. A pause to rest my eyes after being glued to a computer screen for hours. A pause to feel my feet on the floor. A pause to appreciate the quiet, without ringing phones or loud conversations.
My brain immediately rebooted itself, the anxious ache in my chest lessened, my thoughts cleared and I returned to my appointed tasks with a measure of renewed energy. Truth be told, I could not wait for that day to be done, and my mental health had been suffering, but I was able to find some bright spot to keep myself going. It was the image of home, of a peaceful time ahead, a chance to slow down and truly appreciate the presents, the food and the joy of Christmas that I had almost forgotten in the whirlwind of work.
In this pause, it was a personal choice to go the route of inner peace rather than resentment and anger. It would have been very easy to rage, to throw my hands up and say 'I don't care!', but the memory of the Christmas message of love and forgiveness rang true in that moment.
So I would say this to anyone facing similar pressure at this time of year, who are at the end of their rope, either at the hands of superiors, clients or forces outside of the workplace: take that pause to come back to yourself, either at work during a quiet moment or at home where you feel secure, whichever suits you better, to be mindful that you are a human and not infallible, to reconnect with what you find most important in life.
It does not erase the mountain of work left to do before business finishes up on the eve of Christmas, but at least you can remember that this too shall pass.
Even better, a pause can be taken to walk outside, breathe in the crisp Winter air and see the bright, glittering lights of Christmas decorations. A cup of hot chocolate with extra marshmallows wouldn't go amiss, either.
Or even a large C Breeze smoothie from the Jump! Juice Bar with plenty of Vitamin C. I am all for healthy choices, especially in the season of overindulgence!
On that note, to all my readers, new and old or anyone who may have stumbled upon this blog completely by chance, I would like to wish you all a safe and merry Christmas, and many positive wishes for a happy new year 2020.