Find your A game this February

Posted in Blog on 21 Jan 2017

We’ve all heard of Blue Monday and at times January can feel like the most depressing month of the year.

However, research we have undertaken for our 2017 Salary and Benefits Benchmarker has revealed that nearly 8 in 10 Solicitors and legal professionals have partnership and business leadership aspirations. If you are one of them you cannot afford to tread water for another month.

Recruitment Consultant Rachel Marshall offers five tips to help ambitious legal professionals finally ditch the winter blues and find their A game this February.

1. Make Your Environment Brighter

Increasing your exposure to natural light can help you increase your alertness and energy levels. Simple steps such as venturing outside at midday, opening blinds, using mirrors to reflect light and sitting closer to windows can go a long way towards maximising your exposure to natural light. If your office or home environment is dimly lit, consider buying a light therapy box to compensate for the lack of natural light.

2. Socialise

Socialising can be as effective as exercise in lifting your mood and relieving stress. If money is tight, arrange to meet your friends at a free event or attraction, or consider hosting a potluck party instead of going out. Taking advantage of free or low-cost fitness taster sessions can also help you socialise on a budget.

Expand your network by volunteering in your community. One way to volunteer your time and skills is to join a time bank. Time banking allows you to earn credits for volunteering and use those credits to get help with something you need. For example, Solicitors could offer an hour of legal advice in exchange for an hour of language tuition from another member of the time bank.

3. Exercise Regularly

Exercise triggers the release of chemicals called endorphins, which boost your mood and increase your energy levels. If long hours at work make exercising difficult, try exercising in short bursts before work or on your breaks. One of the best ways to exercise at work is to keep fitness equipment, such as small hand weights and resistance bands, in your desk drawer and use it between meetings or tasks or while on your breaks.

4. Get Back to Kitchen Basics

The pace of life should have returned to normal for most legal professionals in January, with weekends offering considerably more free time. Use one hour of your weekend to look at the food items that are seasonally fresh in your local grocer or supermarket and create a menu and shopping template for the week. When you only shop once or twice during the work week, you're less likely to be tempted by take-out and you save time otherwise spent wandering around the store, unsure of what to purchase.

This also lets you visualize the kinds of foods you're eating on a weekly basis before you purchase or prepare them -- a helpful tool if you are really keen on adding more vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins to your diet.

Have a busy work week ahead? Use Sunday to make one or two "big batch" meals, get the slow cooker out and throw together a stew, soup or casserole that you can also use as leftovers for lunches. Also great in a pinch? A rotisserie chicken from the store that you can shred for wraps, salads and soups.

5. Maintain Healthy Habits

Following a healthy diet can help you boost your mood and combat lethargy over the winter. Be sure to include plenty of foods that naturally contain or are fortified with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Research reveals that these two nutrients may increase your levels of serotonin, a chemical that helps regulate your mood.

Not only are dark, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach in season during the winter, but they're also insanely healthy for you. If you're not a fan of seeing these greens next to your protein on a dinner plate, sneak your daily allotment of vitamins into a juiced beverage or smoothie. Start your morning with a quick concoction that is loaded with Vitamin A and potassium, and is kind to your liver and kidneys -- two organs that may have taken a beating over the winter months. Beware of store-made juices that are prepackaged; while they may save you time, you'll lose steam by consuming extra sugar and preservatives.

Beating the winter blues is easier than you might think. By following these tips, you can boost your mood and overcome the personal and professional challenges that 2017 might bring.

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