America is working less right now, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. But my lawyer friends seem busy. Stay at home orders haven’t reduced productivity pressures, particularly now with the economic pressures placed on firms and clients alike. Hard work remains the norm. When balanced with rest and pleasure, hard work can be satisfying.

Working too hard, however, poses psychological and physical health difficulties. Stress depletes our concentration. We find ourselves irritable and blue. Our mood and reactivity begin to negatively impact personal and professional relationships. Stress also weakens our immune systems, leaving us vulnerable to illness, from headaches and indigestion, to heart disease. Overwork further diminishes sleep and is associated with an increase in workplace accidents and reduced job performance. Being rested and relaxed, on the other hand, increases productivity and performance (Burke, 2008).

But does knowing this make a difference?

What’s Happening and What’s Behind It?
Is work becoming so much a part of life that withdrawal from work leaves you with “leisure sickness,” feeling emotional and physical symptoms similar to withdrawal on vacations and weekends?

When you leave work or go on vacation, does work stay at work?

How are you separating work and life, when you are working at home? Is work creeping past personal boundaries?

What’s the motive for hard work?

Is getting ahead or materialism driving your work ethic?

Research suggests “materialistic” individuals report lower scores on happiness, life satisfaction, and both mental and physical health; and that “materialism” is associated with lower levels of affective commitment, intrinsic and extrinsic satisfaction, job and career satisfaction; and higher levels of burnout (Burke, 2008). To manage such drives, depth psychologist Carl Jung advised clients to slow down and “decently go unconscious,” stopping the “droning buzz of information that floods our mind” (Johnson, 2007. p. 74).

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) would invite us to employ Wise Mind, or a balance between purely rational and emotional thinking. DBT recommends that when you begin to feel overwhelmed or frazzled, you focus on “Just this one moment, just this one task.” You remind yourself that your only requirement in the moment is to do one thing, which you continue to repeat until the task is complete.

Tips to Managing WLB
o Take regular, short breaks, even if it seems counterintuitive. Get up and move and try to do something fun. What it is does not matter so much as what it is not: more work.

o Be conscious of your calendar and home engagements before committing.

o Take the time to exercise, eat well and socialize with family and friends you love. They are your resource and battery charge. Notice whether social activities allow you to rest and relax or become more “work.” Choose rest & relaxation.

o Find the part of the work you enjoy most, do best or where your talents are rewarded, and negotiate for more of that and less of what you don’t want to do.

o If considering an exit strategy, give thought to how you can use your present situation and skills in the future, envisioning more satisfying work-life scenarios and possible transitions.

o Consider meditation or Imaginal Reflecting to recalibrate, maintain inner peace, and seek new insights and solutions. A sample reflection follows.

Imaginal Reflection – Work/Life Balance
1. Bring yourself into a relaxed, still position (seated or standing), allowing all thoughts, noise and distractions to flow in and out of your awareness, without grasping or attaching to them. Just relax and let your breath and thoughts flow.

2. Notice your breath. Become connected with your breath, very gently, very slowly, paying attention both to the breath in, and even more slowly to the breath out. Continue to let thoughts and images flow freely, noting your awareness of them as they come and go. Allow yourself 2-3 minutes of easy, paced breathing.

3. Once quieted, see if you can find where the conflict or tension rests in your body. Imagine its position in your body, its weight, its size, its nature. Get present to the quality and feel of the sensation? Notice if it is heavy, or hot, or tense, and what thoughts and images arise. Continue to breathe mindfully. Let the thoughts and images and sensations come and go with the breath.

4. While continuing to practice mindful breathing and awareness ask yourself:

a. What am I doing that doesn’t feel right?

b. What do I need?

5. Allow your entire body and mind to dwell quietly in these questions. Remember to breathe deeply and let all thoughts, images and body sensations appear and disappear freely, without trying to understand or conclude anything. Maintain mindful awareness as you listen deeply to your inner wisdom and what arises. See if you can shift thoughts of doing to thoughts of being.

6. You may want to journal any insights or responses that arise.

Contact Carla:
Carla Barrow, a marriage and family therapist intern, is also an AV-rated commercial litigator Mid-life, she decided to pursue her dream to become a psychotherapist, integrating wisdom from years of workshops, yoga, journaling and therapy. She now utilizes her passion as a new kind of Counselor, one integrating the healing arts. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she meets with clients using teletherapy. During Lawyer Well-Being Week, May 4-8, 2020, attorneys can contact her to schedule a 45-minute tele therapeutic chat for $25. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Carla at, or by calling 786-708-1724.



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