It can be hard to imagine pausing for a break—let alone a nap—during a busy law school semester. But there’s a hard truth integral to your success: You need to rest.
Sure, you’ll pull the occasional all-nighter making attack outlines or quizzing your classmates before an exam. But you absolutely can’t run on empty—not as a law student and not as a lawyer.
In October, we focus on mental health (especially on October 10, when we honor World Mental Health Day), and rest is a nonnegotiable aspect of wellness. So, while you’re developing your studying routines and building your lawyering skills, it’s critical that you also spend time creating your version of rest.
Let’s put this month to good use and start learning how to rest your mind and body. Here are four tips to help develop your rest practice and set you up for success.
1. Be a pragmatist, and use rest as a tool.
Remember that rest is a tool for your success. Let your desire to succeed guide your efforts, and keep in mind that rest is absolutely necessary to your goals.
2. Schedule rest.
If you find it hard to get yourself to stop working or to forgo a social obligation, then be careful to schedule rest alongside your classes, your studying, and your time with friends and family. Open up your calendar and schedule some time each day—even 30 minutes—to take a power nap. It’s much easier to avoid guilt (as you should) when you’ve accounted and planned for your break.
3. Experiment with different types of rest.
There are tons of ways to rest. Need a creative kick? Try water colors or a coloring book. Do you feel socially overextended? There’s nothing wrong with alone time. Is your brain overwhelmed by school or your workday? Throw on some reality TV. And when in doubt, that power nap is always there for you.
4. Tell people you’re resting.
It’s not rest if your phone is blowing up with texts and calls—that’s just a slightly quieter version of chaos. You are absolutely entitled to rest, and you need your loved ones to support your venture. Let them know when you’ll be out of circulation for a bit, and don’t hesitate to put your phone on DND.
Mental health resources at New York Law School
NYLS has a number of options to support students in addition to a staff of deans who are available for support. Students experiencing stress, anxiety, or other emotional challenges may reach out to the Office of Student Life and/or NYLS’s licensed clinical social worker, Sophia Soloway, to schedule a virtual session.