Sahrish Nadim, is one of our Trainee Solicitors at Thompson Smith and Puxon. In this blog, she shares some tips for how she takes care of her mental health whilst juggling a busy schedule of work, training and hobbies.
As any trainee (current or former) will know, the moment you start your Training Contract, your time becomes valuable. And you are reminded of just how precious it always was. So when you add on the stress of orienting yourself in a new seat every six months, studying the LPC alongside it all, and a comically busy home life – plus the occasional hobby or six, for good measure – it is very tempting to hit ‘overwhelming’ on the stress scale and operate from there permanently.
Of course, that would be exhausting, and is entirely unmanageable. If anything, one advantage of being a trainee is that you finally have an opportunity to test run all the different work styles and organisation methods you’ve heard about, and see which ones work best for you. It is no secret that my life as a trainee is currently being organised by a spreadsheet, and the wonderful convenience of a drop-down list. Select, sort and go!
Putting my love of admin aside, however, I believe that the key to caring for your mental health is to create ease for yourself in however many ways you can, without becoming unrealistic.
Before I began my training contract, I started by sorting out what my main ‘group’ of priorities were going in, and pre-warning my closest people. Without sounding too militant, I know that my Training Contract and my LPC are top priority for now. This doesn’t mean I must neglect the other equally life-affirming things in my life – but, where there was clash in my diary, I knew that this wasn’t always a 50-50 choice. If anything, acknowledging this has served to relieve some of the guilt I (still) feel. This certainly helped me when I made the choice to wind down my tutoring and editorial freelance roles before starting as a trainee solicitor.
It also helps, I find, to factor in a nap time. It sounds ridiculous, as a grown up, but it’s a way of ensuring that you allow yourself to be tired. Whether you actually nap is entirely optional.
Other than that, organisation as my cornerstone. The spreadsheet we’ve covered, but just making sure that my home routine and space works for me is vital. For example, back to basics: I will never leave my bed unmade. I like knowing that even if everything else goes tail up that day, my bed is exactly the same. You should never feel guilty for indulging yourself, but to me, it is much more important to find your own practical self-soothing routines that exist in the day-to-day, and leaves Future You with a little more peace than before.