Everyone occasionally feels frustrated, depressed and dissatisfied. But when someone experiences depression or burnout, these negative emotions become chronic and last for weeks or months. There is only so much psychological energy to get through the day, and work may completely deplete this energy. When this happens, work performance is further reduced in terms of quality and quantity. The lack of emotional energy makes it harder to deal with personal relationships and one may become frustrated and easily angered with family and friends. Judges or lawyers experiencing burnout may find themselves wondering "why bother?" about work that previously invigorated them. Even the word, burnout, implies that at one time they were on fire, but the flame has now flickered.
Burnout has been called a "romantic disorder" because it is characteristic of a work ethic admired in the legal culture. Long hours and a selfless dedication to work - to the exclusion of self-care - can lead to burnout. In a North Carolina bar survey, 36 percent of judges and lawyers surveyed had not taken even a one-week vacation in the previous year. Learning how to manage stress and improve self-care is critical to preventing burnout. This, in turn, can help minimize the effects of depression.
The stresses identified in the survey are:
Audio of Interest
What Lawyers Need to Know About Suicide During a Recession: Prevention, Identity and Law Firm Responsibility (Free MP3 Audio Download)
Faculty: Joan Bibelhausen, Bill Kane
Date: May 6, 2009
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