Balance Goals & Planning Reflection & Mindfulness Work|Life Balance

Self care isn’t selfish. It’s essential

Ever feel like you were falling behind in all the important areas of your life? As the pace of work shifts into high gear in autumn it is all too easy to get trapped in survival mode – just working to make it through each day and pushing aside your own personal priorities and objectives.

I have had many lawyers tell me they feel they are failing at both their jobs in life – as parents and as lawyers. One thing I know for sure is that this feeling of falling behind and of failing at those things that are most important is shared by many professionals.

To be the best we can be, it is essential to parcel out time to take a deep breath, let go of stress, and return to center. I have two friends who are currently balancing busy professional practices while mothering children who are living with life threatening health challenges. The way these mothers survive is they schedule regular time each day to do those activities that provide them with stress release and re-charge their spirits. For one it is a daily yoga practice. For the other it is taking a long walk with the dog each day. What these woman both know is that these activities are not selfish breaks from their work. These are essential coping strategies that allow them to be at their best for their families and with their clients. Every day counts.

Don’t wait until you are faced with life-altering challenges. Develop a habit of taking care of yourself and matching your actions to your values and priorities. My October column for is about taking action in three ways:  First, put the oxygen mask on yourself. Second, take time for some reflection to connect your values with your actions.  Third, automate and create processes to support you in making time for what is most important.

About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.