Walking Into a Better Law Life

I really hate how much a 25-minute walk in the morning turns my mood around. There, I said it! As a coach, I’m all about tools to improve your life and get you moving forward toward your dreams. I feel like I should be enthusiastic and positive about the ones I know that work, like exercise,

professional woman walking on city street

I’ll bet she sees something more interesting than whatever is on your screen at the moment! Though I might suggest taking the sidewalk instead of the middle of the street.

I’m just not that into walking. The movement itself does not thrill me. Unlike my new love, tai chi, which is graceful and flowing; I just adore it. Or like some of my old loves, horseback riding and dancing. All about flow and grace and harmony, some of my most favorite things.

But this morning, it was finally sunny and heading toward warm for the first time in a while, my mood was crashing, and I knew I needed to rebalance those pesky perimenopause hormones by moving. So I did. I went for a walk.

I am very fortunate that my street is pretty interesting for me. I love gardening, and there are lots of nice gardens along the way to admire and inspire. Plus the singer in me loves hearing the birds chirping like mad to catch up on their chatter lost to nasty weather lately. It is a feast for some of my senses, and I do try to really observe, notice and appreciate what’s around me. In other words, I am present as I walk.

Which brings me to the actual point: Be present in your life, even during stuff you don’t love. And find ways to embrace the good things in your life.

Shift Into the Present and Out of Worry

The more ways you find to be present in your life as it happens, the less time you spend on energy-sucking things like worry. You also make your life richer, by being in the moment and adding to your experience library.

I usually see the opposite of being in the moment at health clubs: People are plugged into TVs, music, or audio books so they can avoid the feeling of being in their body, and also to avoid contact with those around them.

If your workout is so unpleasant that you need to numb out to get through it, maybe it’s time to choose something you inherently like the feel of.

Fight Perfectionism With Your Body

Especially for lawyers, many of us love, love, love to be in our heads and not so much in our bodies. Maybe we were the klutzy kids in school. Maybe we haven’t found the form of movement that brings us actual pleasure. Maybe a lot of pounding physical movement is simply too much stimulation for most introverts. Whatever the reason, many lawyers tend to avoid the physical. Exercise is usually one of the first things to go when the work demands really ratchet up.

Lawyers also tend to bring their perfectionistic tendencies into their views on exercise. Shocking, right? If they can’t do a full hour of a complete and demanding workout, they won’t do one at all. This is one of they myriad ways that lawyers are brittle and not resilient. The all-or-nothing attitude leads to important but not urgent stuff simply not getting done. You don’t make progress toward your dreams, because you can’t have the whole enchilada right off the bat, instead of getting started with the tortilla chips and salsa.

Might I suggest a short walk, without a phone or other distractions? Look for at least 5 things that interest your eyes, catch your ears, or offer an interesting texture (and touch them if possible). Pay attention to anything that delights your soul, even if it’s no more than a violet. Practice being present in your own life. Just ten minutes a day can really make a difference. And yes, you can actually spare ten minutes. Whatever grind-away time you lose, you’ll make up for in increased efficiency. I promise.

Jennifer Alvey is a recovering lawyer who helps unhappy lawyers find joy in their present, whatever its challenges. And, she coaches them on how to increase that joy in their life and work. Contact her at jalvey@jenniferalvey.com for a discounted sample session to see what that’s like.

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