Self-Care 101: How to Avoid 1L Burn Out

It’s no secret that us millennials are obsessed with self-care. Whether we’re celebrating Treat Yo Self Day, or indulging in a purchase we probably can’t afford, we’re willing to splurge if it’s for our own benefit. That is until you start law school.

As a law student, it’s almost impossible to turn off your “Lawyer Brain.” What is lawyer brain? Lawyer brain is a term that describes the way law students and lawyers relentlessly analyze everyday situations through a legal lens.

In the grand scheme of things, having lawyer brain is great. It means that you are officially starting to think like a lawyer and understand the law. On the other hand, your lawyer brain can easily suck the fun out of everything from your favorite TV show to a casual hang out with friends.

Don’t ask me how this happens, it just does.

By now you already know how stressful being a law student is going to be. You’ll have to balance a busy school schedule with reading assignments, exam prep, finances and searching for a job (not to mention trying to have a life).

It’s easy to burn out in law school, especially as a 1L. Here are some ways to avoid it.

Get Healthy

Making a point to focus on your mental and physical health can have a lasting impact on everything from your energy level to your first-year grades. Yes, really.

The first-year of law school is all about the race to the top of the class. That means that you must summon the energy, and will, to push through the reading assignments and create stellar outlines that will carry you through the finals.

How do you do that? Not by eating food that depletes your energy. Or spending so many hours in the law library that you’re no longer recognizable.

Eating healthy and maintaining a regular workout routine will help you stay focused and pump endorphins through your body to keep you motivated. Sometimes after a long day, it’s best to drop the books and hit the treadmill for thirty minutes to clear your mind and start fresh.

Surround Yourself With Positive People

According to Psychology Today, emotions are contagious. And according to every law student ever, law school is stressful.

Sorry, I don’t have a citation for that one, but it’s probably true.

Surrounding yourself with positive people will help enhance your own outlook on life. It’s easy to get sucked into the doom and gloom of law student life, especially come final exams. Try creating a positive support system of family, friends, and colleagues that you can lean on when you’re feeling down (or too exhausted to go on).

When you feel like you’re about to burn out, it’s important to remind yourself of why you decided to go to law school in the first place. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and every day you’re one step closer to it. Keep your goals in mind and try to stay positive throughout your journey to legal practice.

Join a Study Group

In law school, you’ll be competing against everyone in your class. But that doesn’t mean you should become a loner.

In fact, creating or joining a study group can help you get to the top of the class and give you an excuse to interact with human beings (not just the staff at the law library).

By joining a study group, you’ll have the benefit of sharing your notes and outlines with like-minded students who might have a better understanding of the material than you.

Study groups also allow you to network with other students and build friendships and connections that may be helpful in the future. Having a group of friends who are digesting the same curriculum as you can be extremely helpful in the first year of law school, especially when you feel like you’re about to crack.

Make a Point to Be Social

The key to becoming a top law student is creating a weekly routine that allows you to stay ahead of your reading assignments while also making time to outline and review, every step of the way. But it’s not all about how you tackle your assignments. You should also remember to pencil in time to have a life.

It’s easy to get sucked into the fast-tracked schedule of a busy law student and forget to make time for human interaction. This is a surefire way to burn out before you can say “yes, please” to your future summer internship.

Making time for social activities is a great way to de-stress and remember why you started law school in the first place. Find a stress-free social activity that works for you and pencil it into your schedule.

Get Creative

Being creative is a great way to reduce stress and stay focused.

According to an article by Entrepreneur, “By focusing intensely on a creative task, you can achieve the state of ‘flow,’ the term coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and which is typically defined as the optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.”

You don’t have to be artistically inclined to get creative. Just find something you enjoy doing, (even if you’re bad at it), and set an hour aside to do it. Your brain will thank you.

Don’t Forget About Me Time

Self-care is all about you, (duh). Don’t make the number one mistake most law students make and forget to add “me time” to your busy schedule.

Law school is a dangerous balancing act that can wear you out quickly (especially if you’re a working part-time student). Make sure to stay in contact with yourself and do things that make you happy.

Pick up a low maintenance hobby that forces you to shut down your lawyer brain and spend some time with the person who needs it most: you. Low maintenance hobbies include yoga, meditation, hiking, drawing or playing an instrument.

Sometimes, you just need to veg out on the couch for a day and binge watch Netflix until your eyes are red. That’s okay too, just make sure to do it in moderation.

Create a 1L Game Plan This Summer

Don’t risk falling behind in the most crucial year of law school. Attend a Law Preview 1L summer prep course this summer and get the tools you need to become a top law student (and avoid burning out).

As a Law Preview student, you’ll learn: 

  • How to manage your time effectively
  • Exam taking strategies that work
  • Core 1L material from top law professors
  • Legal writing and research tips and tricks
  • What to expect in law school and more

Learn how to become a top law student with live, live stream and on-demand law school prep courses.