Although the idiom dates to 1908,1 professionals have been stir crazy long before their 20th century imprisonment in offices. The phrase originates from the slang term for prison, stir, and alludes to prison inmates prone to becoming mentally unbalanced after prolonged incarceration.2
And, sure enough, Monday morning meetings can seem like a jailhouse roll call, and give even the most well-adjusted attorney a bout of cabin fever.
Luckily, lunch hour can help lighten the load for busy lawyers. By making better use of your mid-afternoon break, individuals can improve their workplace productivity, as well as protect their emotional stability. Here are a few ideas how:
Go outside. Even when you can find the local Starbucks in your own office building, find another excuse to go outside. A breath of fresh air, the smell of rain, or the touch of sunlight will help rejuvenate your mind and body.
Vitamin D from the sun can reduce your chances of developing prostate cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, osteoporosis, rickets and other diseases, not to mention impact your mood and positivity.
Get sidetracked. Check the news, update your blog, or find a new hobby. Allow your mind to wander at noon, and by one o’clock you’ll be ready to re-attack whatever brief, filing, or motion still awaits.
Give back. An hour is plenty of time to satisfy your desire to conduct charity work. Try volunteering at your lunch hour by giving blood or working at a soup kitchen. You’ll feel better about yourself and help your community at the same time.
Occasionally, legal work can be disheartening—an unjust verdict, a dissatisfied client, or disgruntled judge can depress the most dedicated defense attorney. So, regain faith in society by dedicating a bit of time to an inspiring cause.
Read a book. Ameliorate your vocabulary and alleviate your stressed mind with a good story, magazine article, or novel.
Unsure where to start? New York Times best sellers sold at your local drugstore are a quick fix for wannabe book junkies.
Play a game. Exercise your mental acuity by playing Words With Friends, Sudoku, or Scrabble. Hone your competitive spirit for the courtroom with a friendly rivalry among family or friends in this lunchtime venture.
Relax. Lunch is a time to forget workplace anxiety. So, get a massage or go to the gym. The endorphins you rouse during your workout at lunch will help you settle down (or settle your case) in the hours afterward.
Call home. Is mom always bugging you to call home more often? Here’s your chance. Take care of all your phone calls and telephone errands during lunch to free yourself up after work.
Fall asleep. If all else fails, use your lunch break to catch a few zzz’s. There’s not a lawyer in the world who is able to claim they are adequately rested. Finally, another way to make use your office loveseat (besides piling up gratuitous paperwork).
1. According to the Oxford English Dictionary
2. According to Wikipedia