Memorial Day Reset: Permission to relax to bolster performance and well-being

happiness holidays mindset self-care

How to embrace rest to be at your best!


As Memorial Day weekend approaches here in the United States, many of us in the legal profession are gearing up for a much-needed break. This long holiday weekend isn't just a time to honor and remember those who have served; it's also an opportunity to recharge our own batteries.

For lawyers and legal professionals, who often face high stress and demanding workloads, rest is not just a luxury—it's a necessity.

Let’s take just a moment before the weekend kicks off to explore three significant benefits of rest for our personal and professional well-being, backed by compelling data, and offer you three practical ideas for disconnecting and truly resting this weekend.

The Benefits of Rest

1. Enhanced Work Performance

A well-rested mind is a sharp mind. Numerous studies have shown that adequate rest significantly boosts cognitive functions, including memory, decision-making, and problem-solving abilities. According to research from the National Institutes of Health, individuals who get sufficient sleep perform better on complex tasks and have better attention and accuracy rates. For lawyers and legal professionals, this translates to producing higher quality work, drafting more precise documents, and making more strategic decisions.

2. Improved Relationships

Rest also plays a crucial role in our relationships, both personal and professional. Sleep deprivation can lead to irritability and decreased emotional regulation, which negatively impacts how we interact with others. Studies show that individuals who are well-rested exhibit more empathy, patience, and better communication skills (Curious about the research? Here are the links to a couple of fascinating studies: HERE and HERE). This is essential for building strong, positive relationships with colleagues, clients, and loved ones. Taking time to rest helps us be more present and engaged in our interactions.

3. Better Physical Health

Chronic stress and lack of rest can take a toll on our physical health, leading to issues such as hypertension, weakened immune function, and increased risk of chronic diseases. The American Psychological Association highlights that regular rest and stress management can significantly reduce these risks. By taking this long weekend to rest, you’re not just recharging your mind but also giving your body a chance to heal and rejuvenate.

Three Ideas for Disconnecting and Getting Real Rest

1. Digital Detox

Consider a digital detox this weekend. Set boundaries for work-related communications and limit your screen time. Disconnecting from emails and social media allows your brain to relax and reduces the constant influx of information and stimuli. Use this time to engage in offline activities like reading a book, going for a walk, or simply enjoying nature.

2. Prioritize Sleep

Make sleep a priority over the long weekend. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and consider taking naps if needed. Create a restful environment by keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Avoid caffeine and heavy meals before bedtime, and establish a relaxing bedtime routine to improve your sleep quality.

3. Engage in Relaxing Activities

Find activities that help you unwind and bring you joy. Whether it’s spending time with family, indulging in a hobby, or practicing mindfulness and meditation, choose activities that allow you to relax and disconnect from work-related stress. Physical activities like yoga or a gentle hike can also be incredibly restorative. And have some fun! Play a game of bocce ball in the backyard or enjoy a campfire. Give your mind a well-deserved rest!

Embrace the Unofficial Start of Summer

Memorial Day weekend is often seen as the unofficial start of summer. It’s a perfect time to enjoy the outdoors, soak up some sun, and give your brain the break it deserves. By embracing rest and relaxation, you’ll not only feel more refreshed and rejuvenated but also enhance your work performance and relationships. Your work, your colleagues, and your loved ones will all benefit from a well-rested you. So, take this long weekend to truly rest and recharge—your future self will thank you.

What about me? Usually, I’m at the cabin with my family on Memorial Day weekend. But this year is a little different - we have two graduating high school seniors and family coming into town for the graduation ceremony and party next weekend, so I’m at home getting ready. Here’s my commitment to you: I’m going to find some pockets of time in the midst of all of that busyness to rest and relax, likely by having a fire in our backyard fire pit, sitting in my gazebo with a cup of coffee, and taking a walk around the lake.

What about you? What will you do to relax a bit this weekend before jumping into your short and (likely) jam-packed workweek next week? Hit “reply” and let me know. We can be accountability buddies for getting some rest this weekend!

By integrating the practices I mentioned above into your long weekend, you can return to work next week with renewed energy and focus. Remember, rest is not just a break from work; it’s a vital component of your overall well-being. Enjoy the holiday, and here’s to a summer filled with balance and well-being!

Wishing you a restful and rejuvenating Memorial Day weekend!