Top tips for managing anxiety when working with solicitors

This content mentions anxiety, which some people may find triggering.

May is mental health awareness month with mental health awareness week falling on 15-21 May. This year’s theme chosen by the Mental Health Foundation is anxiety awareness. It’s in the hope that a nationwide conversation will be kick-started for people to share their common experiences.

Anxiety is something which can affect you physically and mentally. It’s typical that physical symptoms such as headaches, increased heartrate, or breathlessness appear before the mental effects of becoming tense, anxious, and upset. Often if you feel these symptoms, it’s normal to begin to spiral downwards which can lead to feeling overwhelmed and unable to carry out day-to-day activities. Thankfully, it’s something which can be managed. Survivors may feel anxiety when thinking about past experiences, needing to pick up the phone, attending appointments or even just going outside.

When deciding to instruct a solicitor it’s natural to feel anxious especially when you have your initial appointment or telephone call. Taking the initiative to seek help is a huge step to take. Firstly, take a moment to appreciate your bravery and courage. Be proud of what you’re about to do.

To help, we’ve put together a list of some things you can do to address the feelings of anxiousness you may have when going through the legal process:

We’re here to support you. As your solicitors we only want to act in your best interests and assist you in achieving your goals to the greatest of our legal ability. We’re also under a duty of confidentiality – anything disclosed to us is private.

A survivor should remember to breathe. If you start to acknowledge your body feeling tense, then take a moment to breathe deeply. Inhale for the count of three. Hold that breath for the count of three. Now exhale for the count of three. This increases the oxygen in your body, slowing your heartrate and helping any feelings of dizziness. It will also help you regulate your ‘fight-or-flight’ mode.  

Write down what you want to address with your solicitor in advance. Writing your thoughts down can help you order them and make sure there’s nothing missed that you wanted to talk about.

Look after yourself. It can be easy when there’s a large event looming over you to forget small daily tasks. Get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and eat well. When you’ve had a challenging day, remember to reward yourself and do something you enjoy like having a nice meal or watching a film. It can be helpful to reserve some time before and after appointments to prepare yourself and then to unwind.

Challenge your thoughts. This can be the most difficult and engaging part of managing anxiety, but it’s important to try and stop the thoughts from interfering with your routine. When you’re anxious, it can lead to ruminating on things, which turn over and over in your mind leaving us overwhelmed. If you can catch yourself in this cycle and challenge the thought, it can help you accept the feelings and proceed with your day. Is what you’re worrying about likely to happen? Have you had similar thoughts which have not become reality? If your thought is on a legal issue in relation to your case, please contact us for advice.

Finally, it’s always worth reaching out for support. Survivors may feel isolated with their feelings, that no one understands, and they’re alone but having people you can reach out to is important, whether this is a helpline, friend, or family member.


Jessica Nugent-Herrett

Jessica is a trainee solicitor, currently sitting in the Child Abuse department. She is due to qualify in the summer.

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