Burn Bright - Not Out!

Burn Bright - Not Out!

Written By: Michelle Taylor
Edition: October 2020

“We need to change the delusion
that we need to burn out
in order to succeed.

We have a much better understanding
of the battery status of our iPhone
than the state of our own wellbeing.”

— Arianna Huffington, speaking at the BlogHer conference in July 2014.

In October, we ran a series of ‘Burn Bright’ Masterclasses with Donna Smith from Odonnata.  The virtual masterclasses were well attended by members of our Society and Nottingham Junior Lawyers Division.  

The quote above is so true, we do know how much battery power we have in our phone compared to ourselves.  We are all guilty of putting our needs to the bottom of the list for others, those others being our employers, clients, family, and friends.  We are always there first if someone needs us but, when we need time for ourselves, we struggle to book the appointment with ‘me’.

Donna Smith began each session asking the participants three questions:

1. Do we feel overwhelmed?

2. Do we feel drained?

3. Do we feel unable to meet constant demands?

If the answers to all the questions were yes to these questions, it is most likely that we heading to burn out at some point.

So what is burn out?

“a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress”

In 2019, Junior Lawyers Division launched a survey on Resilience and Wellbeing and here were some of the findings:

  • 1 in 4 respondents were experiencing either severe or extreme levels of work-related stress.
  • 5% of respondents had experienced stress in their role.
  • 1 in 15 junior lawyers (6.4%) have experienced suicidal thoughts, in the month leading up to taking the survey.
  • 48% of respondents stated that they had experienced mental ill-health (whether formally diagnosed or not) in the last month. This is a substantial increase on the 38% reported in the 2018 survey.

    Download the full survey here

    In March 2020, the CIPD, launched the results of their survey Health & Wellbeing in the Workplace.   Once again, here are some interesting results from the respondents:

    • 60% of the respondents said heavy workload is the top cause of stress.
    • 37% of the respondents have seen an increase in stress-related absence over the last year.
    • 60% of the respondents have reported an increase in common mental health conditions.
    • The top two causes of stress are heavy workloads and management style.

    Download the full CIPD survey here

    On Friday 10th October, we acknowledged World Mental Health Day 2020  and this year’s theme is ‘mental health for all’.

    During these unprecedented times, where we find ourselves working from home, facing a pandemic, job loss, increased pressure to meet constant demands, it is our mental health that suffers – so we need to act now!

    Here are some useful links and articles to read:

    Mental Health Organisation – What are mental health problems?

    The Law Gazette

    Men & Mental Health by Umar Kankiya (20 May 2020)

    Moving mental health to the top of the legal agenda by Melanie Pritchard (18 May 2020)

    Coronavirus Q&A:  Junior Lawyers & mental health by Charlotte Parkinson (7 April 2020)


    The Legal Mind: New episode on digital wellbeing

    How to reduce your stress by building resilience

    Recommended reading from Donna Smith, Burn Bright & not out!

    • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey 
    • The Compound Effect - Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success by Darren Hardy