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Anxiety is the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW). It is a chance for the legal community to talk about the common experience of anxiety so that we can all recognise the signs and know where to turn to for support.

Working in the legal sector can be stressful and demanding, and it’s not uncommon for legal professionals to experience anxiety as a result. Anxiety describes feelings of unease, worry and fear. It incorporates both the emotions and the physical sensations you might experience when you are worried or nervous about something. Anxiety is related to the ‘fight or flight’ response – our normal biological reaction to feeling threatened.

Everyone knows what it’s like to feel anxious from time to time. It’s a normal human response to feel tense, nervous and perhaps fearful at the thought of a stressful event or decision you’re facing – especially if it could have a big impact on your life. You might even find it hard to sleep, eat or concentrate. Then usually, after a short while or when the situation has passed, the feelings of worry stop. It’s sometimes hard to know when it’s becoming a problem for you – but if your feelings of anxiety are very strong, or last for a long time, it can be overwhelming. You might find that you’re worrying all the time. You may regularly experience unpleasant physical and psychological effects of anxiety, and maybe panic attacks. 

Recognising the signs of anxiety

Panic, fear, and uneasiness
Sleep problems
Not being able to stay calm and still.
Cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands or feet
Shortness of breath
Heart palpitations
Dry mouth
Tense muscles

Tips for managing anxiety

Focus on the here and now – what is actually happening in this moment. Is there another perspective?  
Talk to people about your feelings – ask them for feedback.
Keep a list or folder of your achievements and look at it when you need to.
Talk to yourself as you would a friend.
Distract yourself from your thoughts – read a book, take some exercise, see a friend, do something you enjoy.

Finding support

If you are worried about your anxiety, or if it ispersistent, it is important to see your GP. Many people find counselling and CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) helps with anxiety. Mindfulness can also help calm the mind – check out the Headspace website or app for more information.

For more information and emotional support call LawCare‘s confidential helpline on 0800 279 6888 or visit

MHAW webinar

During MHAW, on Thursday 18 May starting at 12.30pm, LawCare is hosting a free webinar about anxiety.  During this hour-long event you will hear from a panel of legal professionals, who will share their personal experiences of living with anxiety and their strategies for managing it.

Book your free place here.