November: Getting Stress-Free in Time for the Holidays

Overcome the Stress Status Quo: Simple Solutions to Bust Stress and Increase Productivity
By guest blogger, Stephanie A. Williams, Esq., CPT, CHHC, of the Maine Bar

A couple years ago, I found myself at the bottom of a bottle of wine, attempting to erase the day full of obstinate opposing counsel, a too-long hearing, and an email inbox overflowing with demands. I paired my alcohol with a side of something boxed and processed and finished the meal with a dessert of self-loathing. Not surprisingly, at the time, I suffered from regular migraines, incessant heartburn, and, as a result, I practiced law inefficiently and less effectively. Finally yielding to my inner get-this-stress-thing-under-control voice, I underwent my own brand of medicine, evaluating my lifestyle and health habits, and made a plan to prioritize my health and reduce my stress. Funny thing happened when I did that: I became more focused and efficient, or, in other words, a better lawyer. 
Because I know I’m not alone in my desire to maintain excellent health and focus, I pre-sent a few of my favorite ways to stay healthy and on the ball. I suggest implementing a   couple methods at a time and maybe slowly introducing others - you don’t need additional stress! 

  • Set 3 + 3 Goals. My Rule of 3 + 3 is by far the most effective tool in my stress reduction arsenal. For each day, week, month, and year, write down 3 tasks you will complete for your legal practice or personal life. These tasks should be (1) specific, (2) concrete, and (3) small(ish). For example, one daily goal task should not be “draft motion for summary judgment”. Although specific and somewhat concrete, that task is not small. Consider instead goals such as “drafting argument section” or “ draft affidavit to the motion”. Taking small, specific bites out of your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly to-do lists reduces overwhelm and stress. Additionally, you feel accomplished when you complete your three tasks, which guarantees you will become more productive overall. 
  • Cook Once, Eat Twice. Or three times. Maybe four. Preparing meals at home ensures that you eat the most nutrient dense food while controlling unwanted and un-necessary ingredients from entering your diet. This combo translates into maintaining energy and focus throughout the day, leading to increased productivity.By cooking dinner on a weeknight and doubling or tripling the recipe, you also reduce stress because you know what’s for lunch, dinner, or both, the next few days. Twofer!

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Stephanie A. Williams, Esq., CPT, CHHC practices law part-time as special counsel for an international law firm, having joined that firm in February 2016 after working as shareholder and director of a Maine-based law firm. Stephanie’s passion, supporting her colleagues to get real about stress reduction and achieving their health goals, turned into her business,, in January 2016 (and, yes! Stephanie’s law firm knows about her biz and is very encouraging). When Stephanie’s not in court or helping to heal her colleagues, you can find Stephanie running, paddleboarding, traveling the world, playing with her dog, or hanging out with her husband and family.

Tips from the South Carolina Bar:


Kaitlyn Swicegood, of Charleston, SC

“The first place my tension and stress goes--the shoulders. It hangs out under the shoulder blades and up into my neck. I know it's time to chill when they flare up. This is an awesome way to open up. Where do you store your tension? #tension. #stress #shoulderopener #twist #bind #yoga #swicegoodyoga #livingabovethebar”


Suanne Ansari, of Suanne Monica Ansari, LLC

“As many solos, I find it challenging to fit in a vacation and find the next best thing is a day riding my road bike on the scenic trails at Kiawah Island. I'm getting in a great cardio workout, and melting stress away spending the day outdoors in nature.”