Women In Wellness: Brooke Aymes Of Gaining Grace On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Wanda Malhotra

Wanda Malhotra
Authority Magazine

--

Take Care of You and Your Family First — It is cliche but it is hard not to feel loyal to our employer despite that being the one place where we are somewhat replaceable.

Today, more than ever, wellness is at the forefront of societal discussions. From mental health to physical well-being, women are making significant strides in bringing about change, introducing innovative solutions, and setting new standards. Despite facing unique challenges, they break barriers, inspire communities, and are reshaping the very definition of health and wellness. In this series called women in wellness we are talking to women doctors, nurses, nutritionists, therapists, fitness trainers, researchers, health experts, coaches, and other wellness professionals to share their stories and insights. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Brooke Aymes.

Brooke Aymes is a licensed clinical social worker and licensed drug and alcohol counselor currently running her own telehealth practice that offers therapy services to individuals, adolescents and couples in NJ, DE and FL. When Mrs. Aymes is not working, she is balancing her own wellness and long-term recovery from addiction as well as maintaining her relationships as mother and wife.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

At age 23 I woke up, looked in the mirror one morning and caught a glimpse of myself that was devastating. I was living in South Florida, was addicted to opiates and just felt completely empty inside. I decided that day that my life needed to change and started making the plans to do so. I moved home to New Jersey a few weeks later, became sober and enrolled back into college. I graduated with an MSW, became a dually licensed therapist in New Jersey and started a family.

In 2020, I decided to open up my own private practice that was dedicated to helping women incorporate more wellness into their lives through therapy services. My life would not be where it is today had I not made a decision to become well and I have dedicated my work to helping other women do the same all while balancing the many hats that we wear as Mothers, wives, daughters and sisters.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

The most interesting story definitely comes from my experiences during the pandemic. I was working as a Clinical Director at a substance use facility at that time and I was navigating running that facility during a pandemic which looked like quickly creating new policies and procedures, quickly transitioning facilitating group therapy sessions via zoom and navigating how to help people completely virtually in an effort to keep everyone safe. During this time, the company decided to let me go after being with them for several years. I was completely blind-sided and crushed.

A few weeks later, I found another Clinical Director position at another substance use facility and quickly started working through the pandemic again being an administrator of a facility. That facility had a few cracks in the administrative structure and I was let go again after about six weeks.

Getting let go of two jobs in a two month period of time had me feeling rejected and had me questioning my career choice. I had to ask myself questions like, Are you even good at this? Is this what you are made for? Are you cut out for this?

After I moved through the uncomfortable feelings from all of that, I opened up my own practice. The main lesson that I learned from this experience was that I was not going to let others define my success and continue to define the capacity in which I could help others.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

A mistake that I made when I was first becoming a therapist was that I felt like I had to know all of the therapy books from cover to cover. I thought I needed to know all of the clinical jargon like the back of my hand. I would get caught up in imposter syndrome and get stuck in my own head which prevented me from being able to be authentic. I learned that when I let go of that and was able to be my most genuine self that I was able to help people in a much bigger capacity and that my personal and professional experience was valuable.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

I work with individuals, adolescents and couples managing mental health struggles and addictions. I love working with women who are managing anxiety and dual-diagnosis. If I can help one person to live with more peace then I feel like I am making the world a better place. Living in peace rather than anxiousness is rebellion in our society these days.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?

1 . Be Mindful of Nutrition — Our bodies cannot function at a full capacity when we are not fueling them properly. When we eat a ton of processed, unhealthy foods that can cause us to feel fatigued, bloated and lead into further depressive symptoms. We feel better both physically and mentally when we fuel our bodies with foods that are packed with the right nutrients.

2 . Have a Sleep Routine — Sleep Matters. Social media before bed can increase anxious thoughts and make it more difficult to fall asleep. When we are tired we are more likely to feel more irritated, less motivated and more likely to look to sugar to fuel ourselves which makes us feel worse. Again, all of these things can lead to further anxiety and depression all from just not getting enough sleep. A good sleep routine looks like, taking a shower and reading a book before bed each night.

3 . Move Your Body — Exercise is a self care activity that offers instant dopamine which is instant gratification. Exercise promotes a happier mood and decreased anxiety. It also helps us to feel more confident within ourselves regardless of how our bodies change which helps to improve our quality of life and our most valuable relationships.

4 . Decrease Substance Use — Mind and mood-altering substances can have a negative affect on our emotional, mental and physical well-being. For example, Alcohol is a depressant which means that consuming alcohol can increase our depression and anxiety for days following consumption.

5 . Quiet Your Mind — This one is really life changing because our society does not promote living in peace. Find the activities and the places that help you to quiet your mind and begin incorporating them into your everyday life to naturally feel more peace, more gratitude and more joy. Activities that help people to quiet their minds are being in nature, going for a hike, camping in the woods, watching wildlife, moving their body outside or at the gym, taking a hot bath at the end of the day, listening to music, cooking a good meal, etc.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

The movement would be challenging people to quiet their minds and experience more joy throughout each day. Most of our lives are built around responsibilities rather than finding joy so if we challenge ourselves to shift that we can change everything.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. Setting Boundaries with work does not make you unreliable — This was very difficult for me balancing corporate positions while being a Mother. Boundaries protect our mental health and the relationships that are most valuable to us.
  2. You Help People By Just Listening — I thought I needed to know all of this clinical jargon when I first started but really I just needed to be my most genuine self and to be actively listening. When I am doing that, I naturally incorporate therapeutic modalities and help others.
  3. Take Care of You and Your Family First — It is cliche but it is hard not to feel loyal to our employer despite that being the one place where we are somewhat replaceable.
  4. Don’t Forget to Take Care of You — It was easy in the beginning to put my own self care aside to continue to show up for others. I have learned along the way that when I take care of myself first everything else falls in line naturally.
  5. Be Yourself — Also sounds cliche but it is easy to get caught up in fear of judgment and try to be something that we are not for others to like us. Again, when we stay true to ourselves the universe rewards us in abundance.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental Health is dearest to me because of both my personal and professional experiences.

What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?

My website is: www.gaininggracellc.com

Instagram: @gaininggracetherapy

Tiktok: @brookeaymes

Facebook: @gaininggracellc

Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.

About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at CrunchyMamaBox.com.

--

--

Wanda Malhotra
Authority Magazine

Wellness Entrepreneur, Lifestyle Journalist, and CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living.