Disclaimer: I’m a paralegal, not an attorney and cannot give you legal advice. Nothing on this website is meant to be legal advice, and there is no guarantee that the information on my blog will work for your individual situation. Please consult with an attorney if you have questions about your individual situation.
If this is your first visit to my website, welcome! My name is Christine Springer and I'm the founder of Desert Edge Legal Services and the author of the content on this site.
I've been a paralegal for a long time, and I've seen the effects of stress on clients. Family law is a doozy, but of course, there are other kinds of legal proceedings that take their toll. Foreclosure is another frightening and triggering legal process that can be overwhelming.
I am not a therapist or a counselor. I offer this information from a place of compassion. I encourage you to seek out a counselor or therapist, especially if you are dealing with trauma.
Here are some tips on dealing with the stress and uncertainty of difficult legal proceedings:
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Practicing mindfulness through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or other techniques can help reduce stress and increase feelings of calm and focus.
I like an app called Insight Timer, because it's packed with free meditations, quiet sounds and supportive content. I also like to listen to ASMR and guided meditation on YouTube.
Insight Timer will continue to play if you turn the screen off. YouTube does not – that's probably the only issue with using YouTube. It's not a deal breaker for me, but you might want to pick up a sleep mask if the light bothers you.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is crucial for your physical and mental well-being. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night and establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
Prioritizing your sleep means that you de-prioritize other things, like staying up late to watch TV and other distractions.
For me, getting enough sleep is my #1 priority if I am having a hard time. I scale back on my plans and projects and sleep as much as I need to while I'm going through a hard time.
Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Even a short walk or gentle yoga practice can be beneficial for your mental and physical health.
Obviously, you must know thyself, and you know what you need to eat.
My plan includes skipping the carbs, sugary sodas and drinks. I have a Sparkel machine and drink filtered sparkling water I make at home. I have a Doulton water filter (same concept as a Berkey) and filter my tap water. I also don't use flouride toothpaste and I will eventually get filters to remove flouride and arsenic from tap water.
I cannot digest many vegetables so I don't eat as many of those. I'm a fan of the Paleo diet and have been flirting with carnivore. I have settled on prioritizing meat and fats, with smaller amounts of the vegetables that I can tolerate.
I had a huge garden last summer and dehydrate just about everything to make it shelf stable. I don't have a lot of freezer space. I make a lot of my own ingredients myself.
I feel best when I eat beef, fish, eggs, butter and cheese. Chicken is OK, but beef helps me feel very grounded and I sleep better.
Coffee is a functional beverage for me. I have Bulletproof Coffee almost every day with grass fed butter and MCT oil (C8, caprylic acid, it helps with focus, concentration and burns fat), a homemade version of Dandy Blend for liver support and detoxification (I make my own blend because Dandy has grains in it) and collagen (unless I am fasting).
I do not use canola oil or any other vegetable oils because they are inflammatory. Inflammation makes you feel tired, stiff and sore, which is not what you want when you are going through a stressful time.
It may also aggravate depressive feelings. Depression is an inflammatory condition, and if you are eating a lot of junk food, it could make you physically feel worse.
Connect With Others
Although you may need to prioritize yourself, don't entirely shut out your friends and family if they are supportive of you genererally. They can provide emotional support and help you feel less isolated during this challenging time.
Be kind and compassionate to yourself as you navigate the legal process. Don't judge yourself for any negative emotions you may be feeling, and practice self-care activities that make you feel good.
Choose Things That Make You Happy
I used to save funny memes I got from Facebook, and I'd look at them and laugh when I was having a bad day or a rough time.
You might not feel like being happy, but it is a choice.
Let your friends drag you out for dinner once in awhile. Get your hair done, go see a movie and prioritize feeling good. These things can provide a much-needed break from the stress of the legal process.
This too shall pass, and when it leaves your life, you will still be here.
Like it says in the Bible (many times....close to 500 times in the KJV):
It came to pass. It didn't come to stay. Don't get too hung on identifying with what is going on, because it's not meant to stay.
Get Help from a Counselor or Therapist
I'm not a therapist. I'd say I'm trauma informed, so if you feel overwhelmed by the situation, please get help! Legal proceedings can be difficult, especially if you are also dealing with traumatic past events.
I had a fantastic experience with therapy in my late 20's, and it gave me the tools to get through everything difficult: The Great Recession, dealing with family estrangement, reclaiming my sovereignty and healing from codependency, just to give you some examples.
There are more things that have happened to me, but I refuse to be a victim.
What also helps me is the knowledge that my traumatic past makes me uniquely equipped to manage the uncertainties in life. We're in a time of rapid change, and as we've seen, there are a lot of people who just don't have the life skills to cope.
I've been through so much sh*t in life, and things still scare me but I know I will find a way to get through it.
I also remind myself constantly that I am not a victim. These things are in my experience to help me. They are happening for me, not to me.
That's not to say that I don't feel that way for awhile. I allow those feelings and then they usually go away. Usually, I wake up the next day and I already have a plan for how to move forward.
Staying stuck in victim mode is like giving your power away. It can paralyze you.
I overthink a lot of things given my trauma, but I do my best to see where I am staying stuck in victim consciousness daily.
It takes a lot of guts to see yourself as you really are and without judgment.
Difficult times can be good teachers if you can become aware of what is going on, see how you are showing up, and working to change it.
I hope this helps you :)