Sloth is one of those vices that seem fuzzily defined. To some, it’s being lazy, goofing off when there’s work to be done. To others it’s a severe spiritual illness, a sign of someone valuing living in the world so little that they become cold and bored straight into complete inaction because nothing’s worth it. Sloth can even take on a meaning of being alienated, of cutting off from engaging with others because it’s not worthwhile.

Lawyers aren’t connected much with sloth: after all, few think lawyers are lazy folks. But in terms of being uncaring or (dare I say) burnt-out, sloth is a hallmark of mental health concerns for lawyers. Striving for due diligence is rough when the reward for all your hard work is a long time coming if it comes at all, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of just “going through the motions”(pun intended). And that trap can lead to malpractice when you stop doing due diligence, if not the worse outcome of becoming self-destructive.

So how can lawyers avoid this? I’m not going to lie readers, I don’t have a pat answer here. Yes, be diligent and care about your life, but the interplay of concerns Sloth invokes is complex, and I suspect trying to give a one-size-fits all answer is impossible since it has to be personalized to, well, the person. Certainly some people require clinical levels of intervention to find a way back to caring. But, for many, one small starting point seems to be to find the beauty in everyday life. Listen to music, make art- stroll around your community while blowing bubblegum like the sloth at the top of this post (see, I wasn’t just doing it for the pun!)

Because if you can find even one small thing to enjoy the sight of, then bit by bit you can build back up to caring about it. And if you can do that with one thing, then you can build to two, to three, and before you know it, you’ll find yourself finding was to care about your world- and hopefully about yourself too.