The good news is there are all sorts of resources to help you manage your stress.
The first is your friends, classmates and colleagues. They are dealing with many of the same stressors as you are, and can at the very least sympathize. (And simply sharing your stress with others actually helps to mitigate it.) But they may also have learned some important stress management techniques that you can use.
The second great resource is your friends and family members who are not applying to law school, not law students, not lawyers. Law world has a way of taking you in and isolating you from the non-legal world. As a good friend of mine told me—and this remains some of the best advice I ever got about law school—“Don’t just maintain, but actively cultivate your friendships outside of law school—you’re going to need them.” I had no idea what she meant at that time (she was in law school, and I wasn’t yet), but she was right. Your non-law-student friends and family members can keep you grounded and help you remember who you were before you started “thinking like a lawyer.”
And then there’s professional support. For some, the stress, anxiety and even depression that first the application process, and then law school may bring out or exacerbate is such that help from a mental health professional is advisable. If you’ve struggled with mental health issues in the past, or if you suspect that you might be facing some now, don’t hesitate to seek help. The University Health Services’ Center for Counseling and Psychological Health offers a full menu of mental health support services, and at a much lower cost than you’ll pay when you’re out of school.
Finally, there are a number of organizations, websites and book that offer stress management assistance, both for everyone and for lawyers and law students in particular. The list below is a preliminary one. Don’t hesitate to recommend others for addition here.
Center for Contemplative Mind Law Program—The Law Program explores ways of helping lawyers, judges, mediators, law professors and students reconnect with their deepest values and intentions, through meditation, yoga, and other contemplative and spiritual practices.
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers—LCL (Massachusetts) assists lawyers, judges, law students and their families who are experiencing any level of impairment in their ability to function as a result of personal, mental health, addiction or medical problems.
Books, Blogs and More
(Amazon links do not indicate an endorsement.)
The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law
Lawyers with Depression—Great collection of resources for law students and lawyers dealing with depression.
A Terrible Melancholy: Depression in the Legal Profession—A 30-minute documentary produced by the creator the Lawyers with Depression website and blog, and distributed by the Erie County (New York) Bar Association. Click on the link to watch it free online.
David Shearon, “Why Thriving is Hard for Lawyers” and “Nine Pathways to Lawyering (and Living) in the Thriving Zone”, Tennessee Bar Association. Two great pieces on the special challenges for lawyers, and the ways in which to overcome those challenges.
Tyger Latham, “The Depressed Lawyer,” Psychology Today, May 2011
Leslie A. Gordon, “How Lawyers Can Avoid Burnout and Debilitating Anxiety,” ABA Journal, July 2015. Lots of great information, resources, recommendations in this article from the ABA Journal.