Have you ever felt so stressed that you lie awake at night unable to calm your thoughts? It seems like this is an all-too-common occurrence in our world. A survey done by the American Psychological Association found that stress keeps 40% of adults up at night. The Mental Health Foundation reported that 74% of adults in the U.K. were so stressed in the last year that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
With April being Stress Awareness Month, I want to touch on this topic and offer some tools to call upon to manage stress. Especially for my clients who are going through a very stressful time, having healthy strategies to cope with changes and big life events is essential.
Managing the mental aspect of stress is the first step. Try to focus your mental energy on something other than the stressful trigger. This can include trying to minimize the trigger by looking at the big picture and not losing the forest for the trees.
Something my mom, Bernice, taught me is to consider the big picture importance of what’s stressing you out. Ask yourself: Will this matter in one week? How to help you realize that whatever is stressing you out isn’t worth the mental or emotional energy.
Many of my clients come to my law office and are almost debilitated by what they are feeling. They sometimes appear to be physically sick from the stress of what decision to make or from thinking about any stressors that lie ahead. They feel paralyzed. I often remind them that they will be in a completely different situation in one year. As hard as it may be to believe right now, they will look back on this day and wonder, “What was I so stressed about?” Focus on living your best life and remember: If the stress is coming from not living your best life, you have the ability to change that.
Managing stress also involves having healthy physical outlets. I often go for walks with my family around my neighborhood or on nature trails to unwind. For my husband and law partner, getting out on the ocean with his father and friends is the best outlet. I take my mind off stress by playing with my animals. Breathing exercises can also be really beneficial, especially in moments where emotions are running high. When my kids are upset, I tell them to take a deep breath to help them relax. Sometimes counting to 10 is really helpful. If I’m feeling stuck or unsure what to do, taking a deep breath and conceptualizing stress leaving our body always helps.
Of course, there’s nothing quite like humor to cut through a tense situation. Levity makes us laugh at ourselves and brings us back to earth. If you need a reset or just a laugh after a long day, turn on a song that you can’t help but dance to — it’s a great way to turn your mood around, and you’ll probably find yourself laughing after a of couple minutes.
Have a happy month and remember to check in with yourself, take a deep breath, and laugh.
By: Ashley Dillman Bruce, of Bruce Law Firm in West Palm Beach and Wellington, a law firm focused only on divorce and family law.
Bio: Like all other moms, I wear lots of hats. From getting the kids ready for school in the morning, feeding my animals, meeting with clients looking for a better life, to heading up everything household-related, I feel like I do it all. What I enjoy most during the day (of course besides seeing my family) is meeting with clients at my law firm, Bruce Law Firm. I practice law with a team of divorce lawyers in West Palm Beach and also handle family law in Wellington. Many of my clients are women in search of answers and ultimately a better life. What I enjoy is providing the tools for these women to live, what I like to call: The Best Life. One of my favorite things to do is to compare the person who I meet with for the first time, to the person at the end of their divorce case. They seem like two completely different people. Their evolution of self-confidence and control over their own life is amazing. It truly inspires me to continue helping people.
On the weekends, you can find us spending time with the rescue animals at Delmar Farm, enjoying our own rescue horse who we board, checking out Wellington’s food trucks and concerts on Thursdays, the Royal Palm Beach Green Market, Scott’s Place and Shark Wade Park playgrounds, and scurrying the kids to and from their sports and events. During the winter and when we are not camping in our travel trailer, we enjoy spending Saturday nights at the Winter Equestrian Festival. We also have a strong love for the City of West Palm Beach, as that is where I fell in love with my husband, who asked me to marry him on the docks downtown, and so we often visit the Green Market and enjoy walking up and down Clematis and Rosemary Avenue.
For more information about Ashley and her law practice click here.