Even in the best of circumstances, getting arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of DUI can be remarkably stressful. In addition to the embarrassment and stigma associated with a DUI arrest, you also may face the very real prospects of fines, license suspension, jail time, and in some cases, the possibility of getting fired or being disqualified for certain types of work.
Facing just one of these possibilities is enough to wreak havoc on your mental health; with a DUI arrest, you may face all of them. While a good attorney can help you navigate these difficult waters toward the best possible outcome, you may need to practice a bit of self-care while working through the process. Let’s explore some practical strategies and tips for managing stress in the aftermath of a DUI arrest.
Put the Event in Perspective
You may be facing some very tangible challenges in the upcoming weeks, but take a step back and realize you’re not the first person to be arrested for DUI, and you won’t be the last. And while we can’t make predictions in these cases, the worst-case scenario rarely comes to pass, especially if this is your first offense. Facing a DUI charge is not the end of the world; it is a moment in time. And if you allow yourself to see, and to plan, beyond the moment, it can also be a turning point for a better future.
It might seem a bit cavalier to suggest taking a jog as a means of dealing with anxiety—but physical exercise happens to be a time-tested stress reducer. Exercise can reduce the levels of stress hormones like cortisol while releasing endorphins that can help relax you and give you better sleep. Workouts that involve both mind and body can be doubly helpful in this regard. While you await the outcome of your DUI charge, let’s look at a few examples of workouts you can do to keep stress in check:
• Cardio exercises—Activities that raise the heart rate and respiration can be particularly effective as stress reducers. For an extra boost, focus on cardio exercises that you consider fun or bring enjoyment. If running feels like a chore, for example, try dancing, swimming, roller blading, cycling, or aerobic sports like basketball or racquetball.
• Yoga—A great mind-body activity that the Mayo Clinic says is excellent for reducing stress.
• Pilates—This activity combines deep breathing with target muscle strengthening exercises that help relieve tension.
• Tai chi—This non-competitive martial art combines slow, controlled movements with deep breathing for excellent relaxation.
• Gardening—Yes, gardening can be a workout, and what’s more, many people find working in the dirt and nurturing plant life to be quite therapeutic.
A word of caution: Not every exercise regimen is right for everyone, so be sure to check with your doctor before starting any form of workout plan.
Mindfulness is the act of being mindful or aware of the present moment—something we often neglect in our daily lives, but which can go a long way toward managing stress. A variety of mindfulness techniques have become quite popular in recent years for this very reason. Many spiritual traditions naturally incorporate some of mindfulness through meditation or other practices, but you can utilize mindfulness techniques independently of any specific tradition. Some common ways to implement more mindfulness into your life:
• Mindfulness meditation—You can practice meditation in a group setting or by yourself, for as little as 5-10 minutes at a time, within or apart from any specific belief system. Many people find popular smartphone apps like Calm or Headspace to be quite helpful.
• Deep breathing—Deep breathing exercises not only can bring you into the moment, they can help slow your heart rate when you’re feeling anxious. A common practice is to inhale slowly to a count of four, then exhale slowly to the same count.
• Journaling—If the above exercises don’t suit you, or if you simply want another outlet, the act of putting your thoughts to paper can be equally therapeutic as a mindfulness exercise. Think of it as a sort of “brain dump” that allows you to process your anxious thoughts.
For best results, mindfulness should be come part of your regular routine, just like a workout—however, one of the best advantages of these techniques is that they can be utilized anytime you feel anxious or stressed—from the moments following an arrest to any moment where you feel anxious about the outcome of your case.
Best of all, unlike working out, these techniques can be implemented in the moment any time you feel particularly anxious.
Talk to a Professional
If a DUI arrest has left you feeling traumatized, or if you’re simply having trouble reconciling your anxiety because of an uncertain future, there’s no shame in seeking help from a mental health professional. Not only can talking to someone help alleviate the anxiety of the moment, but various therapeutic approaches like psychodynamic therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy can help you identify and correct certain negative factors in your life that may have led to the DUI incident to begin with, reducing your chances of a reoccurrence once you come through the immediate situation.
Work with an Experienced DUI Attorney
All other stress relief techniques aside, if you have been arrested for or charged with DUI, the entire experience can be made less stressful by hiring a compassionate attorney to help walk you through the process. We can help you through the difficulty of a Los Angeles DUI arrest. If you need legal counsel, contact our offices today.