Monthly Archives: September 2020

16-Second Stress-Relief for Sign Language Interpreters

Where do you hold tension and stress in your body, and what do you do to relieve it?

Image: mural painted in bright colors blue and red, of a man with an open mouth and hands by his face. The photographer's note reads: When we visited Utö, the most outer island of this beautiful archipelago in the place we call Finland, I allowed myself to be guided by the incredible energy of Inca, the daughter of the family we were visiting there. She took me to a series of abandoned bunkers from the times this island was a military strategic point and there I found this graffiti that represent very well the feeling of all that has to do with military, war, conflict and drama. With love from Korpo. Tag: stress-relief interpreter

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

Whether you’re in wildfire land, hurricane territory, or somewhere in between, you’re likely feeling tension and stress in your body.

Tension is energy trapped in the body.

Potential movement that, on its way somewhere else, got stuck. Tension signifies the places in our bodies where we’re resisting reality internally, but not yet moving to act in a helpful, empowering way externally.

Internal resistance opposing external stagnancy can create a fixed mindset, sense of disempowerment, and bodily discomfort. It often feels like we’re gripping something tightly.

Stress-Relief for Interpreters: Move the Body, Free the Energy

Movement can be a powerful tool for healing, when we’re suffering from tension and stress.

This can look like: shaking – parts or all of your body – gently or vigorously, bouncing, dancing, stretching, massaging, scraping, pleasuring, flexing, and so much more.

In order to tend to our tension, we must first know it’s there. Developing mindful awareness in your daily life can help you to become more responsive to your body’s cues so that these spots don’t stay stagnant for so long. 

Breathing is an accessible and easy way to bring gentle movement into areas of tension. Here’s one quick and powerful way to do it, even while interpreting.

Triage Care: The 4×4 One-Breath Body Scan

This practice is a combination of two techniques. Let’s look at each separately first.

Part 1: Square, Box, or 4×4 Breathing

This breathing technique has many names, because it’s just that good. And it’s super-simple. Square Breathing stress-relief for interpreters. Image: solid teal background, white square outline with arrows pointing clockwise and a countdown timer from 4 to 1. Every 4 counts, different words are highlighted. Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out. Hold.

  1. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4.
  2. Hold that breath for a count of 4.
  3. Exhale through your nose or mouth for a count of 4.
  4. Hold empty for a count of 4.

That’s it. 

Practice this a few times, syncing your breathing pattern with the visual, and you’ve got it. As a side note, notice how your body feels after a few cycles of this breath.

Part 2: Body Scan

Typically the body scan is taught as a longer relaxation experience – and it’s fantastic as that. When my kids were little, they would ask me to guide them through this as they prepared for sleep. A good body scan can take 10 minutes+ to go through, and can leave you feeling as soft as warm putty when you’re done. It goes like this:

  • Get centered and grounded. Feel your connection to the surface beneath you. Feel it holding and supporting you. 
  • Bring your awareness to the top of your head, feel your scalp, forehead, face, jaw, ears, and back of head. Notice any area of tension and let it relax. Don’t force, just allow.
  • Slowly move your awareness down your body to each part, one after the other – noticing any tension and allowing it to release – until you get to your toes.

This practice can take as long as you want it to. It’s especially good during a long break or just before bed. But sometimes we need more frequent and short ways to care for ourselves.

Here’s where the triage care magic is: put them together.

  1. While inhaling through your nose for a count of 4, let your awareness scan your body for areas of tension. As you practice this, the breathing + scanning becomes more automatic – it might feel clunky at first. That’s ok. Over time you’ll get to know the areas where you hold your tension, so you can hone in on them more quickly and easily. When you find those areas of tension, start directing your breath right into them, like a funnel. Find the center of the tension and imagine that you’re filling it like a balloon with healing, supportive oxygen.
  2. Hold that breath, letting the oxygen do its work in each area of tension, for a count of 4.
  3. As you exhale through your nose or mouth for a count of 4, allow each balloon to deflate, carrying with it the tension that was stored in that muscle. 
  4. Hold empty for a count of 4, focusing on the relaxation of each spot.

If you take 4 seconds with each part of the breath, this has taken you 16 seconds.
Can you take 16 seconds to care for yourself a few times today?

Tag: stress-relief interpreters. Image: black circle outline remains static, while inner blue-filled circle expands and contracts in the 4x4 rhythm  


Monthly Live Burnout Proof Academy Workshops are in the works!

In case you missed it, registration is open for Burnout Proof 101! This one-hour live webinar will be a great introduction or refresher to some of the foundational Burnout Proof practices like:

  • solidifying new habits
  • making time for yourself
  • prioritizing joy
  • the magic of budgeting your energy
  • why boundaries are so essential to good self-care
  • how to feel better about saying “no.”

September 30th is the only time I plan to teach this class live, so don’t miss it!


The Secret to Triage Care

Triage care isn’t helpful if you don’t practice it. This is where your habit-solidifying skill comes in! BJ Fogg, habit-creation researcher and founder of Tiny Habits, teaches a simple three-part approach to making healthy habits more automatic:

Cartoon drawing of a person lying on their stomach on the ground. Thought bubble above first image says "I should really do some exercise.". Second image shows person with arms outstretched to reach a bag labeled "snacks", with a thought bubble above that says, "That'll do." Credit: Gemma Correll Tag: stress-relief interpreters

  1. Make your new habit tiny – 30 seconds or less. Our 16 second one-breath body scan fits the bill!
  2. Anchor it to an existing habit – brainstorm some current habits or things you do daily automatically. For example: turning off the morning alarm, hitting ‘start’ on the coffee maker or teapot, using the restroom, washing your hands, turning on the computer, listening to the phone ring on a VRS call, waiting for a consumer, sitting on hold, brushing your teeth, or pulling up the covers at night. There are a million more. Pick one and use it as a trigger to remind you to do your one-breath body scan. For example: When I push the button to turn on my computer, I do my one-breath body scan.
  3. Celebrate – just like clicker-training a puppy, every time you complete your tiny habit – celebrate! This gives you a cascade of feel-good hormones that rewards your brain and brings you joy, making it more likely that you’ll remember and be willing to practice your habit again.

Celebration Partying GIF By Booksmart Tag: stress-relief interpretersHere’s three resources for practicing triage care and solidifying your new habit:

  1. This is not business as usual | Self-Care Strategies for Interpreting During a Pandemic
  2. Make Time for You – online self-paced course to help you build your self-care habit 5 minutes a day. 0.3 CEUs.
  3. Put On Your Raincoat: Energetic Protection for Sign Language Interpreters – online self-paced workshop worth 0.5 CEUs – includes a 7-day mindfulness practice.

I’d love to know:

In what areas of your body do you hold tension, and what helps you to soothe it?

The equitable world we are creating begins with treating ourselves well. Thanks so much for being here with me, on this journey to taking better care of your precious self.

 

Channel The Fire | September Oil Protocol

The fires have come to Oregon.

As we were fumbling through logging into new Chromebooks, many in the Pacific Northwest faced smoke and evacuation warnings on Labor Day. Fires are spreading up and down the coast from Washington to California. 500,000 people in Oregon have evacuated their homes as of today.

Many parts of the area surrounding Portland are currently evacuating. If you’re affected by smoke or fires, please be safe and practice your triage self-care. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. May we find peace and hope amidst the urgency of this emergency.

Download the Red Cross Prepare! Resource Guide

The Red Cross is doing amazing work supporting evacuees and I encourage you to donate if you can.

Summer + Mars

This transition from Summer to Fall, in Chinese Medicine, is characterized by a shift from Fire to Earth, bitter to sweet, roaring to humming. Summer is making it known that his work is not yet finished. He has more to say.

In our personal lives we may be feeling more agitation, more challenge, more heat. Astrologically, we are approaching a period of intense “fire” energy. Chani Nicholas, astrologer/activist/badass, is one of my favorite teachers. She has this to say about fiery Mars, who’s currently in a very active and influential position:

“Mars is always here to remind us just how much power we do have; when and where we let bitterness, envy, or hatred poison our interactions; how we might learn to work through conflict without betraying our dignity; and how to stay in the battles that cry out for us to join. Mars is sharp – we can either use it to help us hone our skills or do damage. To use these tools wisely takes work, but you are ready.” – A Note About Mars Retrograde 2020

Essential Oil Self-Care for Interpreters

Anger is a tool I’m learning to wield. Like fire, it can feel unpredictable and scary.

The burning fire of rage within us can feel like a toxin in our bellies, threatening to combust. But when we can discern its message for us and let it spur us to action, it becomes a powerful force for change.

So, dear loves, I made us a protocol for this intense fire season. Use it when you need some extra love, use it daily to stay grounded and connected to yourself and your source as the (hopefully metaphoric) fires rage around you. Use it to remind yourself that this too shall pass, and that there is much wisdom, grace, and support for us here – even in the darkest of moments.

Check out the video below for more info on this protocol + support for the physical and emotional effects of the smoke and fires.

Channel The Fire. melaluca, top of head. myrrh, sacrum. black pepper, third eye. wintergreen, solar plexus. arborvitae + cardamom, navel. juniper, across chest. bergamot, across forehead. clary sage, third eye. cedarwood, chest. lime, inside wrist creases. @brighterfocus . tag: essential oil self-care interpreter.

Melaleuca – strengthen boundaries, improve resiliency, and stop betraying yourself.

Myrrh – connect with nurturance, know that everything will be ok, foster healthy attachments.

Black Pepper – uncover the root of the issue, unmask, see through the BS.

Wintergreen – release control, surrender to the process, open to new possibilities.

Arborvitae – tap into security and strength, trust the emotional process.

Cardamom – be with anger, harness patience, see the big picture.

Juniper – dispel fear and anxiety of the unknown.

Bergamot – foster hope and courage during times of despair, see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Eucalyptus – embrace self-care, raise your standards, don’t give up on yourself.

Clary Sage – clear creative blocks, embrace your highest gifts + purpose, expand your vision for the world.

Cedarwood – receive support, feel emotionally connected to others.

Lime – harmonize and integrate all of the oils, seal with expectant joy.

This video guides you through the whole protocol + includes some simple practices for dealing with physical and emotional effects of the smoke. Join us in The Burnout Proof Interpreters Collective Facebook group to catch future livestreams!

If you need help getting certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils, just send me a message

Upcoming Workshops

Burnout Proof 101 September 30th 5 pm pacific | 8 pm easternBurnout Proof 101. $10 0.1 CEU. The first step to taking better care of your precious self. Burnout Proof Academy. Online. Self-Care. CEUs. burnoutproof.me/p/burnout-proof-101. Interpretek is an approved RID sponsor for Continuing Education Activities. This General Studies program is offered for 0.1 CEUs at the Little/None Content knowledge level. @brighterfocus

Join me in Burnout Proof Academy for a simple + potent one-hour Burnout Proof 101 webinar. You’ll get 0.1 GS CEUs and you’ll be on your way to taking better care for your precious self. This workshop is happening soon, so don’t wait!

Register Here

 

Resources + Tools to Go Deeper