Manikas Law April 2019

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April 2019

Practicing Balance Finding Time to Relax Amid Chaos Criminal & Traffic Defense | Immigration | Personal Injury

As an attorney, I’m often approached by people during some of the most stressful times in their lives. If left unchecked, I would probably bring a lot of emotional baggage home with me. This is something I struggled with early in my career. In stressful times, I would find that I was pretty grumpy and generally unpleasant to be around. I would snap at the people closest to me. I realized I was always thinking about cases or court while at home. This wasn’t the way I normally acted, and it wasn’t fair to my family. When I’m helping families facing separation from a loved one due to a prison sentence or immigration issue, it weighs heavily on me as a father and husband. As I’ve become older and wiser, I’ve learned I need a better way to manage my stress. Statistically, about 80 percent of lawyers are unhappy to some extent, and that’s not a category I want to fall into. I was my own worst enemy. I don’t think I needed to be as hard on myself as I was. I lacked balance in my life. When my wife and I had our children, I didn’t want them to fall into this same pattern of behavior. I wanted to teach them by example. I wanted them to understand that there is a balance between work and life and that it is important to be happy. I ultimately found success, in part, through compartmentalizing my life. When I’m at work, I’m in work mode. One hundred percent of my attention and focus is on my clients. However, when I’m at home, I only think about my family and truly try to live in the moment. Unless there is an emergency, I do not take cellphone calls or answer emails Looking back on my childhood and teenage years, I was a pretty intense kid. In some ways,

after hours. I have found that this not only makes me a happier person, but it also makes me a more effective lawyer during the day because I arrive at work clear-minded and ready to tackle the challenge at hand. My wife and I have also found that one of the best ways to manage stress as a family is to stay active. We love to hike, bike, and do just about anything that keeps us outside and moving. Now that our kids are getting older, we’re hoping to take them on some more ambitious hikes. We always enjoy getting out to Shenandoah National Park. Like most kids their age, my children have grown up with an iPad or game in their hands. Luckily, they’re also happy to go outside — with a little encouragement, of course.

I’ve recently started practicing meditation for personal relaxation. As an Apple product junkie, I discovered the “Calm” app. “Calm” produces daily mindful meditations for newbies like myself, and it helps me find some serenity in the chaos. Until recently, I never realized how much of an impact clearing my mind and taking time to think could have. Since I’ve added meditation to my routine and continue to get outdoors with my family, I’ve found some added relief from the pressures of running a law office and helping clients during their most trying times. I hope you can find a way to destress from the daily pressures of life. At the end of the day, that balance is worth it — and necessary.

-Kyle Manikas

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