Is Court Reporting Hard? Yes, but here is how to handle stress.
Is Court Reporting Hard? The truth about stress.
We all get stressed out and handle stress in different ways. But did you know stress can actually hurt you? As a court reporter, you handle multiple stressors each day—and we are here to help you conquer stress. A day in the life of a court reporter can include long days (often sitting in the same position for hours), different client personalities and moods, fraught witness testimony, multitasking, and the pressure of deadlines. And you are always expected to be on your A-game.
A study from Ohio State Universityfound that dealing with constant, long-term stress can actually change your gene activity. Your body may think you are under attack. The genetic changes from stress cause cells to fight an infection that doesn’t really exist, leading to an increase of inflammation linked to a variety of health problems. So is court reporting hard enough to quit? No, but you have to be equipped to handle the challenges.
Tips for Handling Stress on the Job and Off
STOP STRESS ON THE JOB
Take a break: No matter how busy you are, sometimes you have to take a breather. Step away from the problem, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You’ll come back feeling refreshed. It's also proven that breaks increase productivity and make even monotonous days easier to handle. Some proven ways to really step away:
- Take a walk and leave the building
- Get a coffee, tea, or juice from a local cafe
- Go outside and look at nature (even just watching the clouds)
- Pet an animal if one happens to be around
- Listen to some of your favorite, uplifting tunes
- Smell the roses--or any favorite scent
- Talk to a coworker about anything but work
- Take a little space alone to meditate for a few minutes
Stretch: You have been sitting in the same position for hours. When little breaks happen during the deposition, stand up and stretch or walk around the room. If standing isn't a possibility, stretch in place. Or, try tightening every muscle group, holding it for a few seconds, and releasing.
Look up: Literally, look up. Focus is an incredible talent that separates the champions from the chumps in court reporting. However, it's important to pause every once in a while. This resets your mind, breaking you out of blanking out.
Communicate: Let your employer and colleagues know if you are feeling stressed. They may be able to help. If you have problems outside of work that are impacting your stress level, like illness or family emergencies, keep your workplace apprised.
Be reliable: It may not seem like something that can reduce stress, but being on-time, reliable, and a pleasure to work with lifts the mood by reducing stress on those working with you. They're more likely to listen and give you the space you need to secure your own well-being. Courtesy is contagious.
Mindfulness: It's all the rage, but it's also a lot of help. Practice being in the moment so that stressors can drift away. Work can be a sanctuary and busy days go by fast. Find little moments of Zen throughout the day.
DE-STRESS OUT OF THE OFFICE
Exercise: Find an activity you enjoy – ride a bike, take a yoga class, or jog with your dog. Group classes can also have the benefit of shared motivation and socialization. It isn't about having a beach body. Physical exercise releases endorphins and increases your overall health and vigor. Even taking regular walks before work, at lunch, or after you leave the office can help. Opt for walking instead of driving whenever possible.
Trust your rituals: Find time for your favorite soothing routine. Some great, simple de-stressors:
- Take a long hot bath with candles and you-time once a week
- Put together a positive playlist
- Schedule a bimonthly spa treatment like a manicure or massage
- Make a regular sports appointment with friends or partners
- Watch the game, whichever game your into
- Enjoy family time. Work isn't everything.
Treat yourself: We all need a little TLC from time to time. Take time out to do the things you enjoy. Put it on the calendar. You can schedule much needed "me time" that the whole family knows about, or recharge socially. Here are a few little rewards that can create some levity:
- Plan an outing, like to a museum or movie
- Game night with friends or family
- Get into a group, like a trivia night, book club, or activity group
- Crafting and hobbies
- Day trips once a month
- Finding your favorite restaurant
- Taking yourself (or a loved one) on date-night
Welcome some humor: We tend to catastrophize when in crisis. In other words, whatever it is that is causing our stress is all we see. Although your stressor may seem like the end of the world, laughing through the stress is a fabulous coping mechanism. Laughter lowers levels of cortisol, adrenaline, and epinephrine, which are all stress-aggravatinghormones.
Cannot laugh at the problem? Put on your favorite comedy and butter up some popcorn. Spend some time with your favorite tike; they can teach you to be silly.
Eat well: Healthy eating benefits your overall lifestyle. During stressful times some of us turn to food as a comfort mechanism while others don’t eat at all. Both make you feel worse. Choosing to eat healthy keeps you focused and makes you feel better all around. Pack lunches ahead of time.
Get out of your head: Keep your mind busy with an activity that does not relate to your stress inducer. Sometimes listening to other people or borrowing someone else's perspective with a good book or film can take us away from our own overwhelming feelings. It can also provide great catharsis.
Find a friend: Venting to a close friend or colleague who understands your situation can help put you at ease. Just make sure you’re there for them when they’re going through a rough time.
Be Good to Yourself
Stress is a part of life and it can help us grow and learn. However too much stress can cause significant problems for the body and mind. Stress causes our bodies to prepare for action. If we don’t take action, the stress response can create health problems, like increased blood pressure. Not having healthy ways to handle stress can also lead to more serious mental health problems, like alcohol dependency or depression. Be aware of your own stressors and find a way to work through the issues in healthy ways.
"Is Court Reporting Good for Me?"
Court reporting is a challenging career that comes with tremendous benefits. It's a great fit for someone with a natural intellectual curiosity and who is interested in being in the thick of things. Because court reporters require skill, focus, and endurance a good court reporter is highly valued and very employable. Be realistic and ask yourself "Is court reporting right for me?" If you can meet deadlines and thrive in a highly professional environment you may have an excellent career opportunity. But, be sure in court reporting, or any job, to be prepared to handle the daily stressors that can lay siege to the best of us.
If you’d like to work for a court reporting agency that understands the stressors associated with the job, join our team here.