Category Archives: Books I Love

February Oil Protocol and Self-Care Workshops

Welcome to February!

This new month brings with it a fresh look for Brighter Focus, as we unveil our new logo created by my talented and intuitive dear friend, Makenna O’Keeffe

 

brighter focus yellow background with green mountains, blue river, and orange sun. tag: february 2021 self-care

Look for this beauty to be popping up on social media, in emails, and on our websites – give it a like and let us know what you think!


February 2021 Self-Care at Burnout Proof Academy

We’ve been busy creating new burnout support offerings, and are so excited to share them with you! 

Burnout Proof Book Club

The long awaited Book Club is finally here! Join us for this deep dive into a foundational and transformational Burnout Proof text:

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

burnout proof book club, burnout: the secret to unlocking the stress cycle tag: february 2021 self-care

This course is available on-demand, so you can read along at your own pace and go deeper in the online discussion forums. We’ll do a live discussion through zoom on April 28, 2021 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm pacific – I hope to see you there! If you can’t make the live discussion, the recording will be posted so you won’t miss a thing.

Register Here

 

Self-Care Spotlight | Juggling: How To Learn About Daily Life Through Circus Skills

self care spotlight juggling life, how to learn about daily life through circus skills live in the burnout proof collective facebook group february 11th 2021 4 pm pst with sandra leith. tag: february 2021 self-care

 

Self-Care Spotlights are returning to The Burnout Proof Collective Facebook group! I’m so excited to kick off a new round with Sandra Leith, sharing her passion for juggling and how we can use circus arts to practice flexibility with LIFE.

You can catch her live broadcast in the group on Thursday, February 11th, at 4:00 pm pacific.

Healthy Boundaries has a new look!

 

After hosting the live Healthy Boundaries workshop in November, we’ve been editing and processing of the 2-hour long video to get bite-sized chunks you can stream on-demand. Online activities get added, captions are created, and now we’re ready to share the finished product with you!

You can begin the new + improved Healthy Boundaries workshop today!

Register Here

 


Who’s ‘we’?

You may have noticed that Brighter Focus is now a ‘we’ – I’m so excited to introduce you to the organizational brain behind Brighter Focus, Courtney Williams. She keeps all of our projects running on time, and has added so much joy to the process!

woman with husband and four kids standing in front of a christmas tree, tag: february 2021 self-care

Courtney began her virtual assistant journey in August of 2019. She’s an Enneagram 2 so helping people brings her so much joy! When she’s not helping Brea manage all of her projects, you can find Courtney snuggling with her 5 kids on the couch watching Disney movies, drinking sweet tea, and eating chocolate. 

Courtney also has a website where she talks about her grief journey of losing her 4-year-old son, Sam in 2017. You can read her story of loss and hope at www.unlockingjoy.com.


February Oil Protocol

February Oil Protocol. Oregano - crown of head. Lemon Eucalyptus - solar plexus. Siberian Fir - tops of shoulders. Petitgrain - soles of feet. Sandalwood - heart space. Neroli - inside wrists. @brighterfocus tag: february 2021 self-care

February entered with fresh hope and much work to be done. The focus is on embodying qualities of focus, perseverance, and wisdom – while gathering comfort and gentleness for ourselves. It can be a tricky balance some days!

As you apply these oils, bring your attention to your senses:

  • Inhale the fragrance of each oil separately, and the combinations
  • Feel your own touch as you apply them to your body lovingly
  • See the colors of the bottles and the amber drops of liquid
  • Set intentions with each oil application, grounding yourself in what you know to be true

Here are some properties of each oil*, to inspire your intentions:

  • Oregano – humility and non-attachment
  • Lemon Eucalyptus – comfort during rapid change
  • Siberian Fir – grief, perspective, adaptability 
  • Petitgrain – cultivating healthy traditions and connections
  • Sandalwood – spiritual clarity
  • Neroli – empathy, cooperation, resilience

*From Emotions and Essential Oils: A Reference Guide for Emotional Healing


May this new month bring you comfort and continued growing self-awareness. May you feel the strength to persevere in the work that’s yours to do, and may you know the grace of rest and joy. 

I’m so glad to be on this journey with you.

Signature: With love and bright focus, Brea. tag: february 2021 self-care

2020 Year-in-Review

photo grid showing top 9 instagram photos of 2020 tag: 2020 year in review

Top 9 Photos of 2020

2020 Year-in-Review

Favorite Quote

If we don’t wrestle with anger, we never get to the heartbreak. and if we don’t get to the heartbreak, we don’t get to the healing.

-Lama Rod Owens, Love and Rage

Things Our Family Loved Doing Together

boy with gray sweatshirt and blue sweatpants standing in front of a fireplace with a tv on top holding a tablet, reading, tag: 2020 year in review

Kaden Open Mic 2020

  • Playing D&D
  • TV: Bob’s Burgers, Blackish, Ted Lasso
  • Walks in our new neighborhood
  • Snuggling on the amazing giant couch
  • Watching the birds and squirrels, trying to befriend the crows
  • Singing along to Hamilton (still!)
  • Re-reading the ‘Shit Kids Say’ list
  • Playing Superfight
  • Watching Couper watch ‘his show’ (the fireplace)
  • Happy Hour with Gramma Patti and Poppy
  • Monday Night Open Mic
  • Table Topics questions during dinner
  • Family Snapchat group
  • Sharing Daily Sky Pics

Books Read

My goal was that over 50% of my books read this year be written by authors who were not cis white males. I got to 69%! Working on increasing this percentage for 2021. 

Are you a book-lover? Connect with me on Goodreads!

  1. Pilgrimage of a Soul, Phileena Heurtz
  2. The Book of Job
  3. Sulwe, Lupita Nyong’o
  4. White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo
  5. Change-able, J. Stuart Ablon
  6. Breaking Up With Sugar, Molly Carmel
  7. 2020 My Shining Year Life Goals Workbook, Leonie Dawson
  8. Outrageous Openness, Tosha Silver
  9. Fasting, Feasting, Freedom, Kim Smith
  10. Animal Farm, George Orwell
  11. Drop The Stones, Carlos A Rodriguez
  12. The Enneagram of Belonging, Chris Heurtz
  13. The Enneagram of Belonging Workbook
  14. You Were Born for This, Chani Nicholas
  15. The Bright Side of a Broken Heart, Michelle D’Avella
  16. Untamed, Glennon Doyle
  17. Self-Inflicted Wounds, Aisha Taylor
  18. Psalms
  19. How to Be An Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi
  20. Let It Out: A journey through journaling, Katie Dalebout
  21. True Self, False Self, Richard Rohr
  22. Prayer: Forty Days of Practice, Scott Erickson + Justin McRoberts
  23. Burnout: The secret to unlocking the stress cycle, Emily and Amelia Nagoski
  24. The Little Book of Letting Go, Hugh Prather
  25. Getting to Center, Marlee Grace
  26. You’re a Miracle (and a pain in the ass), Mike McHargue

Most Influential Book I Read

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle book cover. Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. Emily Nagoski, PhD. Amelia Nagoski, DMA. tag: 2020 year-in-review

Get the Cliff’s Notes/warmup version from Brene Brown on Unlocking Us.

Favorite Show of The Year

This was another spot-on recommendation from Brene Brown, heard on Unlocking Us.

Ted Lasso

Most Played Song

You Say, Lauren Daigle

Favorite Podcast

I couldn’t choose just one!!!

Favorite Musical Discovery

The Highwomen


What were your favorites of 2020?

black night sky with a full moon Tag: 2020 year in review

Photo by Neven Krcmarek

January Oil Protocol + Workshops at Burnout Proof Academy

Burnout Proof Bootcamp – January 2021 Interpreter Self Care

2020 is officially over, and here at Burnout Proof Academy we’re welcoming in 2021 with a commitment to caring for ourselves and cultivating our support-systems. 

crackling campfire with hot orange sparks coming off against the dark blue night sky and black silhouettes of trees in the background "burnout proof bootcamp, make healthy habits stick, 1.5 GS RID CEUs, online, self-paced, self-care for sign language interpreters begins jan 13th www.burnoutproof.me" tag: january 2021 interpreter self care

Burnout Proof Bootcamp begins January 13th!

Explore the roots of your burnout and build habits of resilience, while connecting with a nurturing and supportive community.

Created for interpreters, teachers, parents, and anyone who finds it easier to care of others than to care of themselves, Burnout Proof Bootcamp is a self-paced self-care intensive that offers 1.5 GS CEUs through RID, and has the power to change your life.

From past participants:
“Strongly encourage everyone to take this workshop!  Life changing!”

“The flow and order of the workshop/course was spot on. The timing and the ability to take it at your own pace is exactly what we need as busy interpreters!”

“Brea is a masterfully mindful instructor/ coach! Such great tools, resources, guidance, nudging, and support throughout the course!  So helpful to be able to complete it at one’s own pace.  Inner work does not follow a schedule or deadlines.  THANK YOU!”

Click here to get all the details and register

Saturday School is on Hiatus

In October and November of 2020 we hosted two Saturday School workshops: Burnout Proof Academy | Saturday School. tag: january 2021 interpreter self care

Self-Care for Stressful Times

Healthy Boundaries for Interpreters

These 2-hour sessions gave us a space to connect, learn, and practice together – and they’re both now available on-demand!

In 2021 I want to try something different!

Building a strong community of heart-centered folks who are committed to caring for ourselves so we can take better care of each other is a top priority at Burnout Proof Academy.

To that end, we’re going to kick off 2021 with a high-connection offering:

Burnout Proof Book Club

I’ve been dreaming of hosting a book club for quite a while now…A space where we can learn together through reading new and transformative burnout-related books, discuss them in an informal and fun atmosphere, while getting CEUs!

If this sounds like your jam, add your name to the list so you can get all the details as soon as they’re released.

Our first book will be the must-read, can’t-put-down:

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle
book cover. Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. Emily Nagoski, PhD. Amelia Nagoski, DMA. tag: january 2021 interpreter self care

I’m so excited for this fun, new way to connect and grow together!!! Don’t miss it!

January Oil Protocol

Welcome in the new year and solidify your intentions with this nourishing oil protocol.

pink and white flowers with green leaves in the background "january melaleuca - neck to sacrum along spine, clove - soles of feet, myrrh - navel, arborvitae - solar plexus to heart, neroli - heart to throat, juniper berry - forehead, cypress - top of head, wild orange - inside wrist creases" Tag: january 2021 interpreter self care

Oil Properties + Affirmations

Melaleuca – energetic boundaries – “I release what’s no longer serving me.”
Clove – boundaries – “I ground and support myself with healthy boundaries.”
Myrrh – nurturing – “I invite deep nurturing.”
Arborvitae – divine grace – “I receive divine grace.”
Neroli – shared purpose + partnership – “I open to the web of life.”
Juniper Berry – the dark – “I’m willing to stay with myself through the darkness.”
Cypress – flow – “Life is dynamic and I flow with it.”
Wild Orange – abundance – “I give thanks for the abundance in my life.”

brown dirt road winding off into the distance with green grass on either sides and mountain range in the distance with white clouds in a blue sky Tag: january 2021 interpreter self care

Photo by: Jason Abdilla

 

May this new year open many possibilities in your life. May it bring you closer to yourself and those you love. May it deepen our ability to care for ourselves and each other. 

With love and blessings,
Brea

Dear 2020: A goodbye letter

Dear 2020,

Thank you for your lessons.

stacks of journals on a multi-colored pink, orange, blue, green cloth with February, April, August titles showing tag: dear 2020

My 2020 Journals

You taught me:

  • To listen more deeply – to myself and others.
  • My needs can be an offering and opening to greater connection.
  • I am human – I can’t be everything to everyone, and I don’t have to be good to be loved.
  • Body first, business second. -Kate Northrup
  • I am not responsible for others’ growth, I’m only here to love them through it.
  • I cannot tell the future.
  • I’m willing to live with myself, no matter what. I look forward to living with myself, no matter what.
  • To live my life, let my kids live theirs, and love them fiercely while doing it.
  • The best-case scenario is just as likely as the worst. Believe in it.
  • WHEN YOU’RE STUCK: Drop down into your body. Feel. Listen. Move. Turn it over. Offer it up. Do the work that’s yours to do. Let God do theirs.
  • I am a human, standing on a dog, standing on a crocodile -Mike McHargue, You’re a Miracle (And a Pain In The Ass): Embracing the Emotions, Habits, and Mystery That Make You You
  • To pay attention to and care about how I FEEL.
  • That when I imagine a future where I get sick and die – I’m living into a scenario that is out of my control. When I imagine a future where I keep showing up to what is, with gentleness and care for myself, I feel so much less anxiety. I’m living into a scenario that is within my control.
  • If we don’t wrestle with anger, we never get to the heartbreak. And if we don’t get to the heartbreak, we don’t get to the healing. -Lama Rod Owens, Love and Rage

Thank you for the joy.

I found joy in:

  • Deep cleaning – like, on hands and knees with a toothbrush

    middle aged white woman with short brown hair wearing a white mask on her face Tag: dear 2020

    The Necessary Accessory of 2020

  • Long baths and lots of oils
  • Family TV watching: Ted Lasso, Bob’s Burgers, Blackish
  • Long walks
  • Exploring my neighborhood
  • Rhythms + Rituals – the daily chore list, morning meditation, evening gratitude, following the lunar cycle
  • Playing games – Superfight, Monopoly, Life, Cards Against Humanity
  • Happy Hours with my parents
  • Zoom dates with friends + family
  • Naps
  • Completing my stress cycle – swamping, jumping, shaking, breathwork
  • Being home
  • Watching shows with Chris: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, United Shades of America, Better Things, One Mississippi, Schitts Creek
  • Naps
  • Podcasts – Dolly Parton’s America, Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us, Morgan Harper Nichols
  • Sunday Sabbath and State of the Unions
  • Activism – writing, texting, calling, giving money
  • Biden/Harris winning the presidential election

 


Thank you for the space to grieve.

I grieved the losses of:

  • Hugs
  • Grandma – even though she died in 2019, I felt the loss more deeply this year
  • Spending time with my siblings and their children
  • Traveling – to see Chris’ family in Boise, Oregon Country Fair, Brownlee, the beach
  • George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Riah Milton, Dominique Remmiefells
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • John Lewis
oregon state capital building with a smoky, hazy, orange sky behind the building Tag: dear 2020

Oregon State Capitol in Smoke

Thank you for the teachers and mentors.

I welcomed new teachers and mentors:

  • Rachel Cargle
  • Morgan Harper Nichols
  • Colleen Jones
  • Prentis Hemphill
  • Sarah Gottesdiener
  • Marlee Grace
  • Emily and Amelia Nagoski
  • Alex Elle
  • Drew Hart

 

My 2020 contained so many FFTs (F**ing First Times – thank you, Brene Brown, for this descriptive term) – so much tragedy, loss, confusion, and struggle. It also contained magical synchronicity, unexpected joy, opportunities for rest, and deepened connection.

May we tuck away and integrate the lessons that are ours to carry forward, and may we leave behind what no longer serves us, as we cross the threshold from one year to the next.

car rear view mirror showing a snow capped mountain range in the mirror with evergreen trees lining the road behind the car Tag: dear 2020

Photo by Jack Hodges

If you’d like support as you reflect and process all that you’re leaving behind in 2020, I made you this free Reflection Guide.

I’m wishing you joy, peace, and rest – dear one. Here’s to continuing to show up for ourselves and each other in 2021.

With so much love,

Brea

December Oil Protocol + Classes

Welcome to December, love! We made it! 

Use this month to take stock of how far you’ve come this year. Over the course of the month I’ll be posting prompts for reflection and ideas for rituals that can support us.

May we take the lessons that are ours to carry forward, and leave the rest in 2020.

pink background with blue snowflake december on guard | soles of feet, myrrh | sacrum, wild orange | navel to solar plexus, fennel | elbow creases, siberian fir | tops of shoulders, douglas fir | heart to throat, lemon | temples, frankincense | top of head, cup hands and inhale Tag: december 2020 interpreter self care

December Oil Protocol

December is a time for reflection and introspection. It’s a time to gather the lessons we learned over the course of the last year with curiosity and compassion. 

Use this oil protocol to support your meditation and intention toward forgiveness, responsibility, and generational healing.

On Guard – Protective Blend – healthy boundaries, a sense of being protected and reinforced

Myrrh – The Oil of The Mother – a sense of safety in the world, healthy attachments, trust, and groundedness

Wild Orange – playfulness, creativity, joy

Fennel – taking responsibility, claiming oneself, developing a strong connection with one’s body, healing shame

Siberian Fir – forgiveness, generational healing, perspective, and wisdom

Douglas Fir – learning from the past, generational healing, renewed energy for a new chapter

Lemon – clarity, focus, supports thoughts which contribute to well-being

Frankincense – The Oil of The Father – truth, release lies and limiting beliefs, a sense of discernment, protection, and valuing oneself

Apply daily before meditation, journaling, bathtime, bedtime, or any other reflective practice.

Burnout Proof Academy Upcoming Workshops + Updates

We’re taking December off from Saturday School at Burnout Proof Academy. Thanks to everyone who attended November’s Healthy Boundaries LIVE workshop. It was a success! We had a wonderful turnout and so much rich discussion! It’s now available as a self-paced online course – you can get all the info and register here.

Wrapping up courses is our focus for December. If you are enrolled in a course that you would like CEUs for in 2020 and you haven’t yet completed and received your certificate – the deadline for completion is December 14th, 2020.

Looking Ahead to 2021

Our community has grown so much in 2020, and I’m so excited for all that’s in store in 2021. More opportunities for connection, learning, and self-reflection abound!

multi-colored confetti in the background with an orange square on top, stack of 3 books "burnout proof book club" Tag: december 2020 interpreter self careBurnout Proof Book ClubBurnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

We will be kicking off the year with the inaugural gathering of our book club! This book is foundational to everything we practice, so I hope you’ll join us. Add your name to the interest list here to be notified of important dates. Get a copy of the book to prepare!

I needed the paperback and audio versions of this one, it’s just that good.

 

teal blue circle with a pink and blue backpack and yellow hearts "burnout proof academy saturday school" Tag: december 2020 interpreter self careBack to Basics Saturday School LIVE Workshop – tentative date sometime in February 2021

Kickstart your new year by getting back to the basics with us! We’ll explore the foundational self-care practices of getting enough sleep, daily movement (aka: exercise), drinking enough water, and eating food that supports our well-being. Make sure you’re on the mailing list to get info about this workshop!

 

Burnout Proof Collective Gatherings

Our private Facebook group has grown so much closer in the last few months, and I’m so excited to deepen those relationships in 2021!! We’re working on plans for potential lesson units, virtual social gatherings, skill sharing, and mentoring. If you’d like to be a part of the fun, make sure you’ve joined the group here and turned on notifications!


pink heart with pink lines around the heart Tag: december 2020 interpreter self care

Subscribe to our mailing list so you don’t miss an ounce of self-care goodness!


Wishing you peace and joy and rest this weekend, friends! Until next week.

xo,
b

Pull the Weeds | Self-Care Strategies for Fear part 5

This is part 5 in a series on Self-Care Strategies for Fear. You can find part 1 here, part 2 herepart 3 here, and part 4 here.

painting with black, red, and white smears with the quote "All war belongs on paper" by byron "katie" reid Tag: reappraisal self-care strategies

Image by Jolenee Born

Thoughts can grow like weeds

In our minds, unchecked thoughts can grow like weeds. It’s so easy for them to be constantly playing in the background, orchestrating and puppeteering our decisions and behaviors, rarely questioned or examined…flying under the radar. 

Try this experiment now: take your attention from reading these words and turn it toward your mind. Become aware of your thoughts – the steady narration that’s happening in your mind. What’s it saying? 

All of the ideas and beliefs you’ve soaked up since childhood are still operating today in the depths of your psyche as your operating system. Many of them are flat-out lies. This inner narration is programmed by your operating system. As you bring your attention to your inner narration, you have the opportunity to uncover your own operating system and the beliefs that undergird it.

Some of mine that I’ve discovered over the years:

“I’m annoying. No one wants to listen to me.”

“People who are angry are dangerous.”

“Any noise in the night is definitely someone breaking into our house.”

“No one will ever really understand me.”

“Prioritizing myself and my own needs is selfish.” 

 

Reappraisal Self-Care Strategies for Fear

blurry black and white picture of a person wearing a shirt with a fuzzy collar holding head, closing eyes, and screaming Tag: reappraisal self-care strategies

Photo by Callum Skelton

Thoughts, running wild and unchecked in our minds, are tricky and cunning – but thoughts on paper are lifeless and still. Getting these thoughts out of your head and onto the page is one of the best ways to weed your garden.

Once they’re on the page, ask them some questions. In mental health coaching we call this “reappraisal.” This is an opportunity to look again at something you took to be 100% true without really questioning it – or – at something you learned during a different time in your life when this belief helped to keep you safe, but maybe now is outdated and not as useful.

Ask:

“Is it 100% true?”
“Whose yard am I in?”
“How do I feel when I’m believing this thought?”
Name the emotions and sensations.

You can tell a weed based on its effects on your life. Weeds zap our energy. They contribute to us feeling disempowered, anxious, depressed, and unmotivated. Examining the truth of these thoughts and their effects on your body, mind, and spirit is a major step toward cleaning up your garden and freeing up your energy.

Questioning our thoughts and re-appraising their usefulness and truth can be difficult, especially if the beliefs were planted long ago or have trauma associated with them. Be very, very gentle with yourself as you do this work, and reach out for support if you feel scared, overwhelmed, or stuck. Having a neutral and steady person with you as you weed your garden can be so helpful. 

Resources for working with your thoughts

  1. How to Deal with Anxiety from The News – NPR Life Kit
  2. The Work of Byron Katie
  3. Get it Off: What to do when your work gets stuck to you – Burnout Proof Academy course
  4. All or Nothing Thinking – The Life Coach School Podcast episode #325 
  5. The Calling – Greatest Hits log exercise – Rha Goddess

Tiny Action

This activity comes from Burnout Proof Bootcamp

Create a note on your phone titled ‘Thoughts’ or something more creative! If you prefer pen and paper, grab a 3×5 card or pocket journal to carry around with you this week. 

When you notice a thought that accompanies stressful feelings (like the kind we talked about last week), make a note of the thought word-for-word – as if you’re narrating. At the end of the day, your list might look like this:

screenshot of iphone screen notes app with black background and white text: Thoughts Maybe she didn't hear me? Maybe I wasn't clear? This is my opportunity for connection with her I have to take it. She needs me. She might not be OK without me. I can put off what I need for just a minute. I don't want her needs to seem unimportant to me. She doesn't care about my needs. I've taught her not to care about my needs. This is my fault. I feel so stuck. I want to be able to do this on my own but I'm scared. Something bad might happen. But I shouldn't need someone to do this for me. I have so much to do this week. I'm already tired and the week has barely started. Tag: reappraisal self-care strategies

Next week: Plant new seeds

Once you’ve pulled the weeds, don’t leave bare ground to erode or to become re-infested with weeds. Next week we’ll look at how to identify and intentionally cultivate the helpful thoughts.

Reflection

Let us know in the comments:

What helps you become aware of unhelpful thoughts?

cluster of bright blue flowers with a purple center with blurred background of greenish-brown grass Tag: reappraisal self-care strategies

Photo by Selma Rizvić

Tend Your Feelings | Self-Care Strategies for Fear part 4

This is part 4 in a series on Self-Care Strategies for Fear. You can find part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 here.

Tiger laying on the ground with stars above its head. Six circles of varying colors with words inside: Text: Emotional Regulation 101 @seerutkchawla, Name it, Accept it is happening, Pause, breathe, delay response, Self-soothe, Be curious, compassionate, honest, Allow it to run it's course, Tag: tend feelings self-care strategies

Emotional Regulation 101 @seerutkchawla

Tending Feelings Self-Care Strategies for Fear

As you’re spending time in your garden, you’ll notice uncomfortable emotions. This might be one reason you struggle to make time for yourself.

Emotions can be very inconvenient, downright painful, and at times excruciating. 

Emotions are also called feelings, because we feel them in our bodies. Feeling things in our bodies is something that Americans in general, and white Americans 🙋 in particular, often avoid. This avoidance of feeling our feelings is at the root of many of our distraction-techniques and addictions.  

How emotions relate to burnout

The first warning light that signaled my burnout was physical pain. I was unable to sleep, run, play with my kids, do yoga, or even brush my teeth without shooting, aching, burning pain in my wrist, arm, shoulder, neck, and head. I tried all the typical physical healing modalities I had access to: supplements, physical therapy, diet, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture treatments. 

It wasn’t until I explored my experience of the pain with my own coach, that I began to uncover the years of emotions that were just sitting in my internal waiting room – begging to be heard. Together in that safe container of support, we made space for guilt, anger, sadness, regret, feelings of unworthiness, fear, and finally hope, joy, pleasure, and love. 

Emily and Amelia Nagoski wrote a whole, amazing book on this subject. They say, “Emotions are tunnels. If you go all the way through them, you get to the light at the end. Exhaustion happens when we get stuck in an emotion.”

Let that sink in.

Blue, green, yellow, brown, purple background with a heart shaped gray key at the top. Text: The stress itself will kill you faster than the stressor will - unless you do something to complete the stress response cycle. While you're managing the day's stressors, your body is managing the day's stress. It's absolutely essential to your well-being that you give your body the resources it needs to complete the stress response cycles that have been activated. Quote by Emily and Amelia Nagoski. Authors, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. Unlocking Us: Podcast with Brene Brown. Tag: tend feelings self-care strategies

Quote by Emily and Amelia Nagoski @brenebrown

Exhaustion happens when we get stuck in an emotion. 

Emotional exhaustion is one of the hallmarks of burnout, according to Herbert J. Freudenberger who coined his definition in 1974. Emotional exhaustion is described as, “fatigue that comes from caring too much for too long.” 

Of the three components of burnout, emotional exhaustion is the one most strongly linked to negative impacts on health, our relationships, and our work – especially for women or those aligned with feminine cultural norms. 

Every word of this Brene Brown podcast episode with the Nagoskis describes so beautifully how emotional exhaustion contributes to burnout and what to do about it. This is required listening or reading for every interpreter!
Burnout and How to Complete the Stress Cycle

Feelings always end

white wave crashing onto black rocks beside a mountain with blue sky behind it. Tag: tend feelings self-care strategies

Photo by Jana Sabeth

 When emotions are stored up without acknowledgment or space to be felt, they must get our attention in other ways. It can be so scary to allow these feelings to move through you. It can feel as if they’ll never leave or they’ll consume us – but I’m here to tell you: 

They always end.

 

Just like a wave, crashing on shore, feelings have a beginning, a crescendo, and a receding conclusion. The more willing and intentional we are about giving them space and ways to move, the less backlog we incur, and the more clear, present, and grounded we can be – even through our experience of them.

This Saturday, October 24th, 2020, I’ll be teaching a specific practice for completing the stress cycle and allowing emotions to move through that you can be doing throughout your day. Check out Self-Care for Stressful Times and join us!

Lean on your boundaries

When you first begin feeling your feelings, put some supports and boundaries in place to make it feel safer. Play music that helps you access the feelings that are coming up. Try this song for sadness. This one for anger. This one for disappointment. Make a whole playlist of your own. 

Keep a comfort object nearby – a pillow, soft blanket, or an essential oil. Juniper is especially helpful for fear. Set a timer, and when it goes off switch to an activity that feels comforting and safe.

Reach out to a professional – a therapist, a coach, a spiritual guide. Get support in place so that you can feel free to explore this messy, roiling mass that is our unprocessed emotions.

We’ll be talking more about ways to honor our own boundaries and to build trust with ourselves in the November Burnout Proof Saturday School workshop: Healthy Boundaries for Interpreters. Register to join us here.

Commit to staying with yourself

It can be really scary to feel some of these feelings, or you might not feel anything at all. Whatever you find here as you explore your emotions is a-okay. The most important thing is to stay with yourself. This means:

Don’t judge yourself or your experience.
Be willing to be uncomfortable.
Prioritize time and space for yourself – even if it’s just 5 minutes.
Notice that you’re still here when the feelings pass.
Allow yourself to feel proud of this scary accomplishment.

Resources for Feeling Your Feelings

  1. Burnout and How to Complete the Stress Cycle – Brene Brown with Emily and Amelia Nagoski
  2. The Dark Side of The Light Chasers: Reclaiming Your Power, Creativity, Brilliance, and Dreams – Debbie Ford
  3. 16-Second Stress-Relief for Sign Language Interpreters – Brighter Focus blog 
  4. Trying to Control Your Emotions Might Be the Problem, Not the Solution – Lyra Health blog
  5. Get right with your darkness – Mama Gena blog
  6. Understanding Your Sadness  – Michelle D’Avella YouTube
  7. The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in The Healing of Trauma – Bessel Van Der Kolk

Tiny Action for This Week

Set a timer for 5 minutes and be with your feelings. Maybe you have a certain situation you want to focus on to inspire the feelings, or maybe they’re already simmering at the surface. Just give them space and keep breathing through them.

This may be in your bedroom or bathroom, with the door locked, in your parked car, or outside while walking or running. 

Let us know in the comments:
What helps you access and process your emotions?

9 different colored circles with text inside surrounding a quote in the middle: You might know I'm stressed if... 1. i'm lost in my feelings. i'm twisty and can't get out. 2. i'm lashing out, confronting, protecting fiercely. 3. I'm shutting down, going numb. 4. i'm trying to earn love and acceptance. 5. i'm acting recklessly, i'm moving fast, filling the void. 6. I'm doing and doing, i'm running in circles. 7. i'm taking control. i'm acting in anger. 8. i'm withdrawing, i'm quiet, i can't be reached. 9. i'm anxious, i'm saying things i don't mean. Tag: tend feelings self-care strategies

@keeleyshawart

Next Week – Pull the Weeds

In part 5 next week we’ll explore ways to identify the weeds in our thinking patterns and how to work with them when we find them. Because our thoughts feed our emotions, pulling the weeds helps to reduce how often we go through our stress cycle. 

Until then, take such good 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

 

Self-Care Quickie: Brain Integration | Self-Care Strategies for Interpreters

Brain integration, dis-integration, why it matters to your interpreting and how self-care can help.

This information comes from Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, and I teach it to interpreters because it can dramatically alter our ability to attune to ourselves and regulate our emotional responses, attune to our consumers – allowing us to act with empathy and compassion, and it can also strongly impact our consumers’ ability to regulate their emotional responses.

Brain integration has a powerful impact on our interpreting interactions

Start with the hand model of the brain. 3 Parts:
PFC + Cortex – upstairs brain – executive function
Limbic Area – emotions and memory
Brain Stem – fight/flight/freeze, autonomic function

brain integration - interpreter - self-care - flip your lid

Flip-your-lid

When the brain is in integration:
Cortex, Limbic, Brain stem all connected
Cortex is regulating, soothing, and assessing all impulses from limbic and brain stem  areas/downstairs brain.

When downstairs brain overwhelms the capacity of the upstairs brain, cortex tries to hang on, to maintain integration – you know what it feels like when cortex loses its grip – FLIP-LID – in a matter of seconds we have lost our ability to regulate our emotions and behavior.

Disintegration is contagious

When one person has lost emotional equilibrium, it’s much easier for the other to lose it. You may feel this when you are interpreting – especially if it is a topic, attitude or behavior that is particularly triggering to you personally. During times of crisis, disintegration is even more common. 

Good news: Integration is also contagious

Integration is like a muscle, and involves several skills.

Any work that you do to create stronger connections in your brain promotes brain integration and will support you during times of stress and help you maintain integration with others who are experiencing disintegration.

Hand Model of the Brain. Flip your lid. Brain Integration as Self-Care for Interpreters

From: The Whole Brain Child, by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.

Self-care strengthens the muscle of brain integration

  1. In the moment – BREATHE – Deep, slow belly breathing, in and out your nose
  2. Reflective practice – meditation, mindfulness, conscious breathing practice trains the brain toward integration

Three resources for integration practice:

  1. Follow me on Instagram – in my story and highlights I share short mindfulness practices
  2. Self-Care Resource Page – links to free and accessible self-care resources to support brain integration
  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:
What helps you flex your brain integration muscle?

Thanks so much for being here with me. Take good care of your precious self.

Embracing the Darkness

Hello dear ones,

The darkest month of the year is upon us.

This season asks that we get quiet, that we be still, that we allow time for contemplation. Awaiting the return of the light, we are left to sit in the darkness. The dark places we try hard not to see. The places we don’t want to love. The grief, disappointment, fear, longing…these are the places that call out for the flame of our attention. 

Look around you, dear one. Everything in nature reflects this inward journey. Do not fear it. Even though it may look like death – like loss and pain and relinquishing control – this journey actually brings you closer to Life. 

And so we ask, and wait, and listen…

What am I grieving?

What am I afraid of?

What am I longing for?

What pain or discomfort do I resist?

These questions point us toward the cobwebbed corners of our souls that we would rather not sit with. The rooms of our castle, as Debbie Ford describes it, that we lock up and learn to forget. In her transformative book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, she writes:

“The castle is a metaphor to help you grasp the enormity of who you are. We each possess this sacred place inside ourselves. It is easily accessed if we are ready and willing to see the totality of who we are. Most of us are scared of what we will find behind the doors to these rooms. So instead of setting out on an adventure to find our hidden selves, full of excitement and wonder, we keep pretending the rooms don’t exist. The cycle continues. But if you truly desire to change the direction of your life you must go into your castle and slowly open each and every door. You must explore your internal universe and take back all that you’ve disowned. Only in the presence of your entire self can you appreciate your magnificence and enjoy the totality and uniqueness of your life.”

In the cycle of seasons – the death and rebirth of our natural world – we need this time of peeling back the layers, mourning the losses, letting go of all that is ready to transition. It is the only way to make space for new growth. 

And so, with excitement and wonder, I invite you to open a forgotten room of your castle. To sit with yourself and these dim dusty places, and to clear space for your own magnificence. 🌟

xo, Breana


December Oil Protocol. Siberian Fir - across chest. To assist in grieving, forgiving, & letting go. "I release any worry and blame  to my higher power."  Geranium - on heart space. To restore trust and confidence in ourselves and each other. "I can trust myself and others."  Myrrh - in navel. For nurturing, comfort and support. "I receive the nurturing, comfort, and support that shows up today." @brighter

PS: If you need help getting certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils and learning how to use safely use them, just grab a spot on my calendar, I’d love to assist you.