A career in law is eventful, demanding and (hopefully) long and prosperous. To be as effective in your thirtieth year as your third, you need to take steps to prioritise your recovery and longevity in the industry.
Contrary to what Instagram and diet culture say, you do not need to run 90 minutes every day and eat strictly keto to benefit your health. Instead it is the tiny habits, implemented over a long period of time that will make the most impact. Here are four simple ways that you can begin to improve your recovery today.
Move your body
Movement improves blood flow, which drives oxygen to heal the injured/sore area and removes metabolic waste, while also stimulating the healing of tissues. One of the most common complaints of pain in lawyers and office workers in general is lower back stiffness and soreness. One thing that a sore back hates more than anything is extended sitting time at a desk, which is a vital component in your career.
Movement is key to not only avoiding this back pain but improving it once it arises. The good news is, any movement will help with healing sore muscles.
Practical tip: Take a 15-minute walk outside for your lunch break. Try to spend five minutes of that at an increased speed.
Stretching is so easy and accessible that it is hard to believe the incredible benefits it can give office workers. Not only can it decrease pain and increase your range of motion in the area (lessen stiffness), stretching can also increase your energy and pull you out of that 3pm slump.
Practical tip: Take 60 seconds to watch this video which provides three effective stretches you can perform at your desk.
Increase sleep quality
Exercising breaks down muscles; sleep builds muscles. Athletes who chronically under sleep (6 hours or less per night is considered sleep deprivation!) are 70% more likely to suffer from physical injury than those who prioritise consistently getting 8+ hours of sleep per night. Decrease in sleep also lowers your mental performance, stifles creativity and, unsurprisingly, makes you far more prone to mood swings.
In fact, just one night of lowered sleep resulted in increased heart rate and higher blood pressure.
So what does it look like when you decide to spend the night at the office, catching just a couple of hours of sleep on the couch? Sadly, catching up on sleep is a myth. You cannot cram your sleep into weekends and holidays and expect your health and performance not to be impacted.
Sleep quality is also vital, not simply time spent in bed. If nothing else, sleeping between 10:00pm and 2:00am is vital to ensure our circadian rhythm stays on track.
Practical tip: Turn your phone off by 9pm to ensure you are ready for sleep by 10pm. Where possible, try to sleep in your own bed in a dark and quiet room.
You might be familiar with macronutrients in food, or “macros”, which often relates to calorie counting where you split foods into carbohydrates, proteins and fats. You might be less familiar with the term micronutrients.
Micronutrients are all the goodies in foods, like vitamins and minerals.
Without going into too much detail, your need for micronutrients from certain foods is why it is not always suitable to cut entire food groups from your diet. Although it may result in weight loss, it is less obvious to see the detriments caused by the loss of certain micronutrients.
Practical tip: Eat whole foods wherever and whenever possible, and at least three times a day. Ensure your plate always has a mix of colours because that means you are getting a mix of micronutrients.
You do not need to choose between progressing a career in law and your own health. Any effort to implement these steps into your day will have a positive impact on your longevity in your career.
If these seem simple to you and you would like a greater challenge, please feel free to get in touch at email@example.com.
Ellie Bowden is the Owner, Manager and CrossFit/Nutrition Coach at Cultivar Health in West End. Ellie was admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2018 and has worked as a legal officer at the ODPP and WorkCover Prosecutions.
1Fisher, J 2019, You Snooze, You Win – Why organizations should prioritize having a well-rested workforce, Deloitte Insights, viewed 15 April 2021 <https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/focus/behavioral-economics/sleep-benefits-impact-employee-performance.html>