Category Archives: Practices

Spend Time In Your Garden | Self-Care Strategies for Fear part 3

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

Image: blue and pink flower border, quote from iain s. thomas Text: And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, "This is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!" And each day, it's up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, "No. This is what's important." Iain S. Thomas. @brighterfocus Tag: spend time self-care strategies

Self-Care Strategies for Fear part 3

Distractions are plentiful in this hurried life. Even when there’s not something important to be doing, our mind grasps at things to occupy it. This is normal. It takes intention, it takes presence, it takes mindful awareness to notice the departure from here + now, and to guide ourselves lovingly back home, to ourselves.

Cultivating a practice of spending time in this garden of your mind + body + spirit is a gift that will keep giving to every iteration of future-you. Every moment you spend with yourself, and every time you’re willing to notice those departures and walk yourself back home, your relationship with yourself deepens and grows and becomes more fulfilling.

Spending time in your garden can look like so many things. The possibilities are infinite. For as many unique minds and bodies and spirits as there are on this planet (and elsewhere?), there are that many different varieties of gardens. So what will yours look like?

white woman with short brown curly hair sitting on blue trampoline holding a journal and essential oil bottle Tag: spend time self-care strategies

me in my garden with my trampoline, oils, and journal

Maybe yours has your journal, trampoline, and essential oils.

… your crystals, yoga mat, and a Redwood.

… your bible, running shoes, and hot tub.

… your puppy dog, pillow, and ukulele.

YOU GET TO DECIDE!

 

 

Whatever your garden includes, it is yours, you can change it anytime you want, and you get to feel comfortable, safe, joyful, and whatever-other-emotions-you-need-to-feel in it!

Finding/creating/making/honoring time for yourself to spend in your garden can be tricky. I find that designating a consistent time has helped it to become a habit that I look forward to and count on. For me, morning time is my garden time – before most of my family wakes up. This practice has also made it much easier to jump out of bed in the morning, because I’m so excited for my special time with ME.

If you want some support, connection, and accountability to help you create a garden-time habit, I made you a Burnout Proof Academy course called Make Time for You!

Some of my favorite resources for spending time in my garden:

  1. M O D E R N W O M E N / v i s u a l m a g i c – moonbeaming newsletter + moon cycle tarotscopes
  2. Chani Nicholas – horoscopes that feel more like therapy
  3. Rob Bell – The Robcast soothes my aching/worried heart
  4. Essential Emotions: Your Guide to Process, Release, and Live Free – formerly Emotions and Essential Oils – my oil bible
  5. The Miracle Morning – by Hal Elrod – where I first learned how fun it could be to wake up early and spend time in my garden
  6. Learn to Love ‘No’: Healthy Boundaries for Interpreters – a blog post I wrote that can help you protect your precious garden-time

Small Doable Action for This Week

Spend 5 intentional minutes in your garden, enjoying your body, mind, + spirit.

woman with curly brown hair sitting in window seat reading a book Tag: spend time self-care strategies

Image by Thought Catalog

Let us know in the comments:

What are your favorite ways to spend time in your garden?
What helps you to prioritize your garden time?

We’re sharing our favorite garden-time activities in The Burnout Proof Interpreter Collective private Facebook group. Come share yours with us too!

Sneak Peek: Be With Your Feelings – part 4

When we allow time to just be with ourselves, it can open the door to unprocessed emotions showing up uninvited or announced. The fear or avoidance of these visitors can keep us from spending time in our gardens.

Next week in part 4 we’ll explore what to do with these feelings that may arise. Spoiler alert: this might become your favorite part of the whole process!

Until next week, dear one, take good care of your precious self….and enjoy it!

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Every single person on this planet matters right now. We are beat down and exhausted. We are tired of fighting and tired of grinding. Getting clear about where you need to spend your energy is essential right now. You are needed, and we need you well. You have a say where you spend your energy and how you fill yourself up. This is the time to slow way down and be very particular about where you are spending your energy. This is the time to push your voice into all the places you've allowed to stay vacant of you. This is the time to harness your gifts and share them widely. It's the time for generosity. The time for resiliency. The time to see that it's up to us and that we are capable. It's the time to see that love is fierce and mighty and will do what unprocessed pain cannot. It's the time to tend to our hurt. Yes, it's always the time to make space to tend to our hurt. This tending to is a non-negotiable because it gives us access to our wisdom. As we clear our hurt and tend to our wounds we make space to see a path forward. This is the time for you to use your voice. It's the time to allow your heart to open. It's the time to stand firmly or to stand shaking until your roots grow. It's the time to stop waiting for perfect. The time to do what you haven't done. The time to give more than you've ever given. It's up to you because it's up to all of us. It's time. Now. From today’s newsletter. Link in profile to sign up. It goes out every Monday.

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October Workshops | Burnout Proof Academy Self-Care CEUs

Happy October, dear one,

How’s your self-care holding up? If you’re like most of us, it’s probably been pretty rough this year – but it’s not too late to get some support and turn it around! 

Image: Rainbow colored geometric background. Small heart in the center. Text: Burnout Proof Academy. Online. Self-Paced. Self-Care CEUs for Sign Language Interpreters. burnoutproof.me. Tag: october workshops self-care ceus


Here are the
Burnout Proof Academy workshops + online courses available this month:


Interpretek. Interpretek is an approved RID sponsor for Continuing Education Activities. This General Studies program is offered for 0.2 CEUs at the Little/None Content knowledge level. RIC. ACET. @brighterfocus
Self-Care for Stressful Times – Our Saturday School LIVE workshop this month, worth 0.2 GS CEUs, is happening live October 24th 10:00 am – 12:00 pm pacific and will be available as a self-paced online course after that. We’ll use the Learning Zone Model to help you understand how your brain responds to stress, how to create rest and comfort during stress, and how to grow through stressful times.

 

Interpretek. Interpretek is an approved RID sponsor for Continuing Education Activities. This General Studies program is offered for 1.5 CEUs at the Little/None Content knowledge level. RIC. ACET. @brighterfocus
Burnout Proof Bootcamp – Fall session kicks off October 7th with a LIVE support session. Earn 1.5 GS CEUs in this 6-week self-paced online course that takes you deep into the causes of burnout and the resilience of self-care habits .

 

 

Interpretek. 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. RIC. ACET. @brighterfocus

 

Burnout Proof 101 – A one-hour intro to the Burnout Proof principles. This workshop was recorded September 30th, 2020, and is now available as a self-paced online course worth 0.1 GS CEUs.

 

 

Interpretek. Interpretek is an approved RID sponsor for Continuing Education Activities. This General Studies program is offered for 0.5 CEUs at the Little/None Content knowledge level. RIC. ACET. @brighterfocus
Put On Your Raincoat: Energetic Protection for Sign Language Interpreters – solidify your mindfulness habit with this 3-hour online workshop and 7-day 15-minute mindfulness practice, worth 0.5 GS CEUs.

 

 

Interpretek. Interpretek is an approved RID sponsor for Continuing Education Activities. This General Studies program is offered for 0.3 CEUs at the Little/None Content knowledge level. RIC. ACET. @brighterfocus

 

Make Time for You: A 7-Day Self-Care Reset for Sign Language Interpreters – build your self-care habit in 5 minutes a day, worth 0.3 GS CEUs. This is a great place to start if you’re feeling overwhelmed! 

 

 


Mark your calendars: a sneak peek for November

November’s Saturday School live workshop will be on Creating Healthy Boundaries, and is scheduled for November 21st 10:00 am – 12:00 pm pacific. Sign up for my weekly love notes email and be the first to find out about new workshops!

Self-care isn’t just for yourself

10% of all profit from Burnout Proof Academy courses goes directly to The Loveland Foundation – Therapy Fund for Black Women and Girls. May our self-care support the self-care of others.

I hope to see you soon! Please hit ‘reply’ with any questions, and as always – especially right now – take good care of your precious self. 

Image: pink and purple background. Text: I find myself being much more forgiving of my own shortcomings while I navigate the uncharted territory of working from home and doing VRI. I'm discovering new boundaries I want to set almost every day, which has become increasingly important now that I'm working from home. All in all, I am so glad I took this when I did, because I fear, with all the uncertainty in this moment, I would be a mess otherwise. - 2020 Burnout Proof Bootcamp Graduate @brighterfocus Tag: october workshops self-care ceus

Learn to Love ‘No’: Healthy Boundaries for Interpreters

Red background, stenciled and distressed lettering in yellow, "No". Tags: healthy boundaries interpreters

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

“No” is a complete sentence.

What do you think about that? Do you actually believe it? As a hard-core people pleaser, I thought it was total BS. I’ve had a difficult history with this tiny two-letter sentence. Every time I wanted to use it, I’d feel such a rush of guilt, pressure, and fear that I’d say ‘yes’ instead, just to avoid those feelings.

I’d think:

‘What if I upset the person I’m saying ‘no’ to?’
‘What if they don’t like me anymore? What if they think I’m inconsiderate, lazy, mean. Or what if they think that I don’t like them?!”
‘Is there any way that I could do this thing they’re asking me to do?’

I’d do anything to avoid saying ‘no,’ at the expense of my health, peace of mind, and even my relationship with the other person. Yes – even my relationships were at stake. Because, like any good people-pleaser, I was an expert at resentment. I would say ‘yes,’ to avoid saying ‘no,’ and then I would be so upset with myself that it would bleed into our relationship – I’d be upset with them by proxy.

As I became aware of the effects my unwillingness to say ‘no’ was having, there’s something that helped this lesson to sink in.

When you say “no” to one thing, you’re saying “yes” to something else.
When you say “yes” to one thing, you’re saying “no” to something else.

Ahh…now things started to get interesting! There are two sides to this coin – a relationship between what I choose to give my time and energy to and what I don’t.

I began to see that I was always saying ‘no’ to something! Just, sometimes I wasn’t aware of it. And you know what I think about awareness…it’s the first magic-key to everything we want.

Dark wall background with white neon sign, "YES YES". Tags: healthy boundaries interpreters

Photo by Michèle Eckert on Unsplash

Start with ‘Yes’

Saying ‘no’ is a bazillion times easier when you’re clear on what you’re saying ‘yes’ to instead. Know your top priorities. Identify your values or guiding principles.

If you’ve already identified that one of your core values is ‘family’, and you get a job request at the same time that your child has a special dance performance, it’s easier to know which to say ‘yes’ to (the dance performance!).

If your focus for the month is on improving your organizational systems for your business, and you come across a parenting conference that sparks your interest, you can check with your current priorities to know that the parenting conference can wait until next year. You’re saying ‘yes’ to sticking with your organizational focus.

Ask for Time

Jiu jitsu is one of my favorite sports. One of the reasons is because being good at it doesn’t rely on strength or size. Practitioners who excel are masters at using natural forces of gravity and leverage to assist their bodies in subduing their opponents.

Background half pink, half blue, with an old fashioned alarm clock in the middle. Tags: healthy boundaries interpreters

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

Here’s a jiu jitsu move for learning to love ‘no’:
Ask for time to consider the request.

Practice these phrases:

“Let me think about it.”
“Let me check in with my  priorities/needs/calendar.”
“I’ll get back to you.”

And don’t forget your love or kind regard for the person to whom you’re speaking! Put these phrases together with your genuine feelings, and you become a master at communicating your boundaries in a way that actually strengthens relationships.

“Thanks so much for the invitation! Let me check in with my priorities for that week and I’ll get back to you tomorrow. Does that sound ok?”

Take action

Here’s something you can do today to baby-step your way toward learning to love no:
Download the “Hell, YES!” Checklist, and use it to help you tune into your inner “YES.”
Comment below to share what you use it for and how it goes.

Reflection

Grab your journal and reflect:

  • What, in the last week, did you want to say ‘no’ to, but didn’t?
  • When you think of that moment that you wanted to say ‘no’, what feelings and sensations were you having in your body?
  • What did you actually want to say ‘yes’ to, in that situation?
  • If you had a ‘do-over’, what would you rather have said?

Healthy Boundaries for Interpreters

Four resources to deepen your exploration with healthy boundaries:

Nope Hand Lettering On Wood and Glass. Tags: healthy boundaries interpreters

Photo by Daniel Herron on Unsplash

  1. Register for Burnout Proof 101 – A live one-hour webinar workshop exploring boundaries, joy, energy and more. Sept 30th, 2020. 0.1 CEUs.
  2. Self-Care: Thriving in Times of Uncertainty – RID VIEWS Nov 2019 Self-Care column with tips for tending to the body, mind, and heart during stressful times.
  3. Brene Brown’s advice on how to set boundaries – article from Brene Brown on setting boundaries
  4. Boundaries with Brene Brown – YouTube interview with Brene Brown

We are all in this together, dear one, and we need your deepest inner knowing and wisdom engaged as we work to create this equitable new world. Take it one tiny baby-step at a time, and remember I’m here to support you!

Sending so much love today and every day.
xo,
Brea

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 interpreters

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.

Check out the video at the end of this post where I walk you through the process.

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  


Burnout Proof Academy Saturday School Workshops are coming!

Registration is open for Self-Care for Stressful Times!

Join us live for the two-hour workshop on October 24th, 2020 from 10:00 am – noon pacific, or watch the recording and connect with others in our online portal anytime after, for 0.2 GS CEUs.

We’ll use the Learning Zone Model to illustrate how our brains respond to stress, talk about how to create practices of rest and comfort during stress, and how to grow even during stressful times. 


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.

This video guides you through the whole triage care process.
Join us in The Burnout Proof Interpreters Collective Facebook group to catch future livestreams!

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.

This is not business as usual | Self-Care Strategies for Interpreting During a Pandemic

This is not normal. 

Interpreting during a pandemic, especially a VRS shift, is like entering a war zone. People are stressed, frustrated, in pain and completely freaked out – with good reason

Don’t treat your shift or yourself like this is a regular day. It’s not.

This is a triage situation. 

As interpreters, we can’t expect ourselves to be 24/7  enjoying our #quarantinelife, productive, #blessed, #handlingit, checking things off our bucket lists and doing our work like it’s business as usual.

This is not business as usual.“Interpreters are first responders who cannot respond.” - Babetta Popoff Tags: interpreting during a pandemic, covid-19

We are on the front lines, witnessing the lives of many people in crisis on a daily basis

Facilitating communication between people who are calm and connected is hard. Facilitating communication between people who are triggered, afraid, sick and overwhelmed is exponentially harder. It can be helpful to name why this is so hard. Let me offer a suggestion:

It is hard because you care.

Connect to the humanity of it. Seeing another human in pain (fear, frustration, anguish) causes us discomfort. It hurts because we care.

This hurt is compounded by the fact that we’re each personally going through hard things, so witnessing the pain of others lights up and intensifies our own personal pain.

Stress affects brain integration.

ID: 40 year old woman with short brown hair and mulitcolored sweater, pointing to her hand in a "4" handshape, symbolizing the brain as it dis-integrates. Tags: interpreting during a pandemic, brain integration, interpreter, self-care, flip your lid, freak out

Brain Dis-integration

When we’re calm, our brain is in a state of integration where all its parts work together to balance and support the other parts. We’re able to problem solve, understand different perspectives, organize our thoughts, and carry out our plans.

When our pain is lit up – when we’re stressed, overwhelmed, outraged, anxious – our brain’s connections dis-integrate, and we lose our ability to do all of those things. 

This video explains integration and disintegration with a ‘handy’ visual that you may just want to teach everyone you know. When you and those in your life have shared language for what’s happening inside, you can lean on it when times are rough. And boy, are they rough. 

Give yourself triage care whenever you can.

Identify ‘check points’ that remind you to scan your body for tension and breathe deeply into it, allowing it to release and relax. Even 5 second check points throughout the day can do wonders. During a VRS shift some check points could be:

  • During your setup process, just before you log in to take calls
  • While ringing or waiting for a caller to answer
  • While on hold
  • Between calls
  • When you log out for a break
  • When you return from a break
  • At the end of your shift

Make self-care a habit.

During this crisis, as interpreters we must have time and practices built into our lives to care for ourselves – to be able to handle the stress we’re exposed to and experiencing. This includes time to cry and grieve and scream and break down. Time to laugh and connect and time to just let ourselves be

Daily reflective practice allows our nervous systems a chance to decompress and rest, and builds stronger connections toward integration.

You wouldn’t ask your car to keep running without giving it gas. Don’t ask your heart, mind, or body to show up to work without having what it needs.

A daily self-care practice creates stronger connections for brain integration.

As you flex this muscle of integration, over time you will find it easier to stay calm through the hard stuff. When those around you are in disintegration, or when things are tough for you personally, your brain will naturally maintain integration in more and more difficult situations for longer periods of time.

The goal is not to become immune to disintegration, it’s to notice it.

We are human. The ability of our brain to prioritize safety when necessary is a very good thing. The goal then becomes a growing level of consciousness, where we’re able to shorten the time it takes to return to integration when we’re not actually in danger, and where we’re able to be gentle with ourselves and others throughout this messy process of being human.

In this integrated state, we become a true source of support for those around us, and are able to act with more compassion and empathy – for ourselves and others.

May we make this state of integration, compassion, and empathy the new normal. 

It’s a New Month!

 

Sunrise photo of Mt. Hood. "Today is a new day."We are one month into 20-shine-teen (thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert)!

According to US News, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. How’s it going for you? Are you experiencing what you want to experience so far? Do you feel like you’re on track, or like you’re running to catch up?

January in my world has been a mixed bag (ooh, welcome to Life!). Ups and downs and a few loopty-loops later, and here we are in February. Today I’m taking a few minutes to reflect and refresh, savoring this opportunity to begin again.

I’m reminded of the concept of beginner’s mind – in which we are called to meet every moment, every person, every experience, with a knowledge that this is the first and last time we will ever be right here. We can meet this moment as a novice, accepting all that we bring to it, all that has prepared us to meet it, and all that we have yet to learn.

As an example, currently Life is bringing me many parenting lessons. I feel and see the growth that has taken place in me and in my kids over the last year, and at the same time, I’m on the very cutting edge of my own evolution (as are they). I have never been the parent of a 17 year old daughter before…let alone the unique, specific daughter I have today. She has never been this daughter before today. This is our first time! Every day is my very first day parenting this version of my children…learning and adapting to what they need at this stage in their lives. This idea brings me such comfort and willingness to stay curious and keep trying. I’m not expected to know it all or get it perfect!

So on this first day of February, with my to-do list growing by the minute and my kids needing different things than they’ve ever needed before, I’m reminding myself – this is a new month. A fresh opportunity to meet the next 28 days and all they hold with the wonder and curiosity of a child who’s meeting the sand for the first time.

I’d like to share some reminders and questions that are helping me today. Feel free to borrow them for yourself, mix them around, stretch them out, live into them in the way only you can, and let me know how it goes!

  • Begin again. Choose your own periods by which to measure time – 365 is a long stretch. Why not measure by each month, by the lunar cycle, or for very difficult periods of life: by each new day. What feels right to you for this phase of your life?
  • Become a scientist. Get curious, always gathering data and making improvements. Life is not all or nothing, it is often tiny successes here and there that make up a larger shift. When the calendar changes over to a new month, it’s a fantastic time to ask:
    • What worked?
    • What didn’t work?
    • Based on this information: What’s the next thing to do?
  • Be persistent. The trick to achieving what you set out to achieve? Just don’t quit. Photo of the sun breaking through clouds. "Fall down seven times, get up eight. -Japanese Proverb"

__________

Now, dear one, it’s your turn:

What do you do to start a new day or a new month fresh?

What reminders help you inhabit “beginner’s mind”?

2018 – Year in Review

2018 Year in Review. Nine photos in a collage that symbolize Breana's year.

2018 was the year of Breaking Open

What dreams came true – big and small?

  • Got my own apartment!
  • Transitioned to homeschooling Kiran
  • Presented at Street Leverage Live and the Canada VRS Summit
  • Found the love of my life
  • Stopped traveling for work – my family is happier!

What lessons did I learn?

  • How to be with myself through pain so big I didn’t think I could bear it
  • How to be vulnerable and honest with those closest to me, and how magically that opens the door to deeper connection (always a work in progress)
  • I can support myself and my kids on my own

I appreciate 2018 for:

  • Expanding and deepening my well of strength and my sense of what I can handle
  • Bringing me this friendship with Christopher that grew into a deep nourishing love
  • Showing me miracles and magic – the unseen forces at work in the dark times
  • Highlighting our support system and the big love that surrounds us
  • Bringing me closer to Source, feeling more trust and more peace

Quote of the Year:

Most influential book I read:

The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Debbie Ford Debbie Ford quote: "Embracing our dark side gives us a new found freedom to be with the darkness in others. For when I can love all of me, I will love all of you."

Favorite movie of the year:

The Heretic

Most played song:

Clay, Manatee Commune

 

2018 held my highest high and lowest low. So much grief and joy in one year. I am a better parent because of it. A better friend, partner, lover and human. I am grateful…so fucking grateful.

I forgive myself for the debt and the extra weight. I accept it with love and feel better prepared to face it and learn from it and thrive through it in 2019.

Curbing my worry has been one of my biggest challenges. Learning to set healthy boundaries and hold empathy, without trying to control others or the outcome is still a work in progress I look forward to developing more this year.

Let your heart break daily quote by #iamhertribe


This is a tiny part of the New Year transition reflecting and planning that I do. Over the years I’ve used many resources, my favorite of which was the book Your Best Year Yet! — until I discovered Leonie Dawson this year and decided to try her My Shining Year workbooks.

Friends let me tell you: I am in L O V E!

If you don’t have an annual review and dreaming ritual yet, get yourself these workbooks and dive right in. She makes it fun and so effective.

Breana's legs and feet on the couch with a workbook in her lap titled "My Shining Year Life Goals Workbook" by Leonie Dawson


I would love to hear from you in the comments: 

What rituals or practices do you have for closing out one year and embracing the next?

Until next time, dear ones, so much love.

xo, Breana

Morning Routine: If you do nothing else today, do this

What if a five minute daily morning routine could magically make you more patient with your kids, consumers, and self?

In this video I share some ideas for creating and prioritizing this magical practice.

  • Why do a morning routine?
  • Where do I do it?
  • How long does it take?
  • What in the heck do I even do?
  • And a powerful mindset shift to help you make this date with yourself a priority.

You can read an example of a short process for being with yourself through hard emotions, when you find yourself stuck in a story or pattern that you’d like to release–this would make a fantastic morning routine!

I’d love to see you in the discussion, sharing your own tips and struggles! Just click here and join our free Burnout Proof Collective support group for sign language interpreters. I can’t wait to see you there!

xo,
b

PS: This preview photo below is so goofy I just *had* to leave it for you! Enjoy!!!

Watch your mouth! How the stories you tell may be making you miserable.

Young woman with long brown braid, eyebrows raised, eyes wide, covering her own mouth with her hands

Today I want to talk about the stories we tell, how they actually serve to get us more stuck where we don’t want to be, and 3 steps you can take to gain traction toward thoughts, feelings, and outcomes you actually want.

Do you ever find yourself telling a story that doesn’t even feel good to tell? Maybe you’re talking to a friend over coffee, a cashier in the checkout line, or your partner during dinner. You feel compelled to describe in vivid detail what was said and done to you, in what ways your totally appropriate desires were thwarted, and all the reasons why you’re right? And when you’re done with the story, you feel all worked up, you feel more sure of your rightness than ever, but at the very same time you feel like crap.

Retelling these stories only serve to spin our tires and get us more deeply stuck in the mud. Not only do they lock us into our position, but they spin muck all over everyone within earshot (or eyeshot) of us. You’re not any closer to a resolution that FEELS good to you, and those you love who have listened to your saga feel like they were just vomited on. This is a lose/lose scenario.

Click here for the ASL Interpreted version of this broadcast

Watch your mouth! How the stories you tell may be making you m…

Watch your mouth! How the stories you tell may be making you miserable.
ASL interpreted: https://youtu.be/RkOBffwnWv0

Join me for Emotions & Oils A to Z, a journey through using essential oils to learn from and move through your emotions: instagram.com/brighterfocus

#selfcarerevolution #burnoutprooflife #oilcoach #itstartswithme #radicalresponsibility #essentialoils #meditation #emotionsandoilsatoz

Posted by Brea Hall on Sunday, October 8, 2017

3 Steps to Getting Traction

  1. Use your oils. Essential oils are a fantastic tool to help us uncover the underlying message of an emotion and allow it to move through more quickly. Here’s a protocol for setting down the story:

1 drop each

  • Lemongrass on the back of the neck
    • A powerful cleanser of emotional energy
    • Helps to release limiting beliefs
  • Eucalyptus across the forehead
    • Helps reveal patterns of thinking that lead to feel un-well
    • Encourages taking full responsibility for your well-being
  • Cardamom on top of head
    • Helps regain self control and mental clarity when frustrated with others
    • A great oil to use when you’re angry
    • Helps to stop blaming others
    • Asks us to take personal ownership and responsibility for our feelings
    • Leads to feeling more peace, calm and emotional freedom
  • Lavender on heart (center of breastbone, at the nipple line)
    • Aids in self-expression
    • Addresses deep fear of being seen and heard
    • You may believe it’s not safe to express yourself–this fear of rejection paralyzes your true voice
  • Frankincense on solar plexus (where ribs meet a few inches above belly button)
    • Reveals deceptions and false truths
    • Invites us to let go of lower vibrations and negativity
    • Helps us break down the walls from the mind and heart
    • Connects the soul with its inner light and reveals truth
  • Balance on soles of feet
    • Like the trees it’s made from, helps you come down from your overactive mind, into your roots
    • Gives stability and inner strength
  1. Meditate. Put on comfortable clothes, sit in a comfortable spot, close your eyes and breathe–ideally for 15 minutes each day. The goal of meditation is not to be without thought. The practice is to come back to your breath and stillness, without judgement, each time the mind gets distracted. When you give your nervous system this experience on a consistent basis, you may start to notice more peace, more patience, and more happiness seeping into your life. There are great resources to help you start a meditation practice: I love Abraham’s Vortex meditations, which you can find on youtube. School of Self has a great visual breathing meditationHeadspace and Calm are 2 great apps. 
  1. Get curious. Now that you’re in this calm, centered place, hold space for yourself to explore. Think of this like holding space for a friend or a child to process and learn, or how a coach would hold space for a client–asking open-ended questions and sitting in empathy. It’s great to journal as you do this, so you can look back on what you’ve learned. Some questions to consider:
    • What am I feeling?
    • What am I thinking or doing that’s causing these feelings?
    • What is my responsibility in this situation?
    • What is the guidance from my higher self or higher power?
    • Some resources I love for asking helpful questions are

As you begin to make your relationship with yourself a nurturing, loving and wise one, you are more able to interact with the world around you from a more nurturing, loving and wise place.

Please let me know in the comments how this goes for you, and join me for Emotions and Oils A to Z on Instagram. If you want to spend some more time with self-care, here are some gifts from me to help you do that.

And may you remember: you are worthy of your love and care.

The Oil of Divine Grace Arborvitae ~ Western Red Cedar What’s the easier way? 🌲 Love, support, and connection surrounds us always. Our narrow, limited thinking is the only thing that can cut us off from it. Arborvitae encourages us to stop resisting, trying, and fighting so hard, and instead to open to the creativity, inspiration, support, and grace that is plentiful. 🌲 When you’re feeling rigid, fearful, and desperate for control, apply a drop of Arborvitae to the top of your head. This is a fantastic oil to use during meditation to help you connect to your higher wisdom, and feel your way toward the path of least resistance. 🌲 #arborvitae #emotionsandoilsatoz #oilcoach #empoweredhealth #selfcarerevolution #feelingsguidetofreedom

A post shared by Brea Hall (@brighterfocus) on

Minding My Business: How I’m Making 2017 My Year

I don’t know about you, but right about now I’m more than a little concerned about the state of our country and our world. There are any number of terrifying scenarios that can (and do, sometimes) keep my brain running late into the night. At times the heaviness mounts to a pressure that threatens to crush my little spirit. How can we make a difference?
In these moments, especially, I lean heavily on my self-rescue toolbox. I push the pause button on my fear and I practice what I preach. I take a deep breath and channel Byron Katie: What’s my business? And I start there.
Some may wonder: How does this help? 
Well, let me tell you. When your airplane is going down and your cabin is losing pressure, you just must absolutely put on your own oxygen mask first. There is no way to be a hero, no way to comfort those around you, no way to make one smidge of difference until you are breathing yourself.
And so, here we are. In our plane which some might say is dangerously close to going down….and I’m putting on my mask.
What does that look like? You ask.
I’m happy to tell you.
Getting a Brighter Focus: Self-Rescue Blueprint
 
When I’m in need of a recalibration, this is my jam. There are probably millions of billions of ways to do each of these steps, so that’s where your own unique creativity comes in. Play with them, make it an experiment, and let me know how it goes!
 
  1. Get Quiet
  2. Think Big
  3. Start Small
  4. Give Thanks
Get Quiet
For me, this requires taking intentional space and time, alone, to just breathe and be. I absolutely must by comfy, so you’ll likely find me in slippers, soft pants, and a hoodie. I suggest you do the same. I might be biased.
Bre comfy
Spend some time, in this quiet alone space, with your breath. You might meditate. You might light a candle and sit in the dark. You might lie on your back and stare at the ceiling with your hands on your belly. You might be in a hot epsom salt bath. Whatever it is, just tune in to yourself and relax. Whenever I do this, I’m astonished by how much tension my body carries out of habit; and as soon as I notice it I feel it start to melt away. It is so magical, and so worth the 10 minutes!
During my quiet time I experiment with fun ways to help me get in touch with my spirit and the loving nature of the Universe. Pick one and start there. Some of my favorites right now:
sticky note affirmations
Think Big
 
Once I’m centered in myself and feeling calm and good, I want to take full advantage of the theta waves I’ve produced. I get to work. What to do while in this headspace?
Start Small
 
After getting all creative and big picture, it’s time to break it down. Teeny tiny bite-sized chunks is what we’re going for here. Whatever it is you just thought Big about, come up with the very smallest, very first thing you’ll need to do to scooch toward it.
Ask: What is the very next step?
 
And now, the hard part: Do that. At the very least, make a non-negotiable date in your calendar to get it done.
Give Thanks
 
Sometimes it’s easy to focus on all that didn’t go right, or what we wished we had, or on all that we’ve lost. When we can shift our focus, even just the tiniest bit, to what we do have, what went right, what gifts the challenge brought us, then a magical thing happens. We begin to take control of our own happiness. We transform our reality by changing our take on it. And it feels really fricking good in the moment. So now’s your chance…try it.
Ideas for finding gratitude:
i am only one
This process could take days or weeks, or it could take minutes. If you’re pressed for time, but committed to shifting your energy and effectiveness, make friends with your timer.
Let’s make 2017 the year we did not refuse to do the something that we could do. Will you join me?