Category Archives: Self Care

Give yourself permission

white woman with curly short brown hair holding a prescription bottle. tag: give yourself permission I just got a prescription for sleeping pills.

I’ve resisted this for so long. After years (a lifetime?) of disturbed sleep, waking to terrifying images that either aren’t real or are in the past, and trying to find and fix the ‘root cause’ – usually some version of believing I’m not doing enough, healed enough, evolved enough, haven’t processed enough. 

I’m ready to feel better and to not make it mean I’ve failed. 

Being a 2 on the enneagram, I’m stubbornly and persistently resistant to my own human-ness. To having needs. It leaves me feeling self-righteous, disappointed, and exhausted.

When I confessed my sleep-struggles today, my doctor peered over her mask compassionately and said, “Breana, you deserve to feel well-rested.”

Her words landed in my middle, cracking my resistant armor and seeping through like warm pudding.

I do deserve to feel well-rested.

This doesn’t preclude my desire to get to the root, to give care and attention to past trauma or current grief. This is not an either/or. 

Believing I have to choose between sleeping better or attending to my mental and emotional well-being is a lie. I can have both. And I can choose better sleep while or even before getting to the bottom of what’s keeping me awake. 

As a mental health coach I know that so many caring people feel trapped by this false choice. Parents, caregivers, and people in relational professions often struggle to prioritize their own needs. Oppression and any sense of ‘other’ness can make it even harder.

Do you relate to this struggle? 
What do you believe you have to choose between?

Let me know below. Together we can reclaim permission to care about how we feel.

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

2020 Reflection: Gratitude and Grief

woman with brown hair sitting on bed with white blanket wearing a white shirt with red and orange flowers holding both hands to her heart Tag: 2020 reflection gratitude grief

Photo by Fa Barboza

Annual Reflection

The time has come to do your annual reflection. You’ve got a few hours blocked, drinks and whatever you’ll need to stay comfortable and focused as you move through the materials you gathered.

If you want a recap on the materials to gather, start here.

As you begin your reflection, I’ve created a template that you can use.

Enroll for free in this Annual Reflection course, and then you can you can save or print your Reflection Guide template here.

Gratitude and Grief

woman holding a yellow, heart shaped leaf with orange nail polish in the forefront of the picture and woman's head and trees are blurred in the background Tag: 2020 reflection gratitude grief

Photo by Jakob Owens

When you consider reflecting back over 2020, what feelings and sensations arise in your body?

Take time to notice and check in with your body this week – noticing the sensations and just observing them or moving as they call you to move. 

 

Reflecting on this intense year will likely bring up stuff for us. Part of this process is to meet what comes up – starting now – from a place of gentleness and curiosity. 

Essential oils to support reflection

Plants and elements from nature can support our emotional processing. Here’s an oil protocol to ground and center you, that encourages reflection and movement of stagnant energy. You can apply it daily during your reflection period.

person standing on the beach with the water reflecting the mountains in the distance and the blue and yellow sky "Reflect, balance | soles of feet, cardomom + arborvitae | navel, cypress | heart + foreheard, lime | solar plexus, vetiver | inside wrists, douglas fir + peppermint | back of neck, frankincense | top of head, cup hands and inhale" Tag: 2020 reflection gratitude grief

Balance – grounds your energy and spirit in your body, allowing you to access greater intuition and supporting you as you process emotions.

Cardamom – calls difficult emotions out of hiding, allowing you to move, feel, and process them to completion.

Arborvitae – brings extra support and grace to your vulnerability.

Cypress – stirs up stagnant energy and encourages movement.

Lime – eases pain, helps you connect to gratitude within Life’s lessons. 

Vetiver – helps you get in tune with your deepest emotions and desires.

Douglas Fir – calls in the wisdom and support of the generations who came before you.

Peppermint – infuses the process with clarity and playfulness.

Frankincense – opens you to divine wisdom, guidance, and truth.

Review

In order to cull all of the memories, milestones, themes and lessons from the past year, I first go back and do a month-by-month review. 

Monthly Play-by-Play: Milestones, Important Events, Memories, Themes

Using your calendar, journals, notes, and photos, rewind to January. Put yourself back in that month, as gently as possible, and remember what you experienced.

open calendar on desk with gold candles, flowers, brown straw hat, pen and marker, white sheet Tag: 2020 reflection gratitude grief

Photo by Estee Janssens

 

On your Reflection Guide under the section titled “Monthly Play-by-Play”, make notes about each month. 

  • What milestones did you cross?
  • What important events took place?
  • What memories do you have?
  • What themes were you working on or learning about?
  • What losses did you experience?
  • What did you celebrate?
  • What did you learn?

Stay with yourself

As you recall these memories, your nervous system will respond in kind. Let it.

Notice the emotions and sensations that are stirred in you. Breathe with them. Move with them. Cry with them. Laugh with them. Shake with them. 

Be gentle and patient with yourself as you do the work of completing the stress cycle. This is a key practice in moving away from burnout.

If you want support in being with these emotions, please reach out to me.

Highlights

man holding black framed glasses in the forefront with the man and background blurred Tag: 2020 reflection gratitude grief

Photo by Nathan Dumlao

Once you’ve made notes on each month of the past year, you’re ready to reflect on the year as a whole.

On your Reflection Guide, consider the highlights of the year. 

  • What were the most important events of the whole year?
  • What were the major milestones?
  • What themes emerged and played out over the course of the year?
  • What were the main lessons?

Favorites

Now let yourself have some fun, recalling all of your favorites from the last year. Use the template categories to inspire your reminiscing, and add categories of your own!

Takeaways

Spend some time reflecting on, synthesizing, and summarizing your takeaways from the past year.

  • What are you ready to forgive yourself for?
  • What are you thankful for?
  • What are you grieving?
  • What will you leave in 2020?
  • What are you welcoming into your life in 2021?

Closing Ceremony

Congratulations!! You’ve completed your annual reflection. 

You may feel many emotions after taking in your year as a whole. Closure, grief, gratitude, and sadness are all common. Completing a closing ceremony can help you to honor and embody all that you’ve reflected on.

There’s no right or wrong way to do a closing ceremony, so let yourself get creative. It can be as simple or as complex as you want! 

The goal is to allow the energy from your reflections to manifest or be expressed tangibly.

Some ideas to inspire you:

  • Write on pieces of paper all that you’re grieving, forgiving, or wanting to leave behind, and then burn them in a fire.
  • Use flying wish paper to release your lessons or desires.
  • Summarize your lessons on a 3×5 card and place it on your altar.
  • Create something with the energy and emotions you’re feeling: a dance, a poem, a painting, a hat, a cake…
  • Donate your time or money to an organization whose mission aligns with one of your lessons, griefs, or gratitudes.

Hello 2021

In the coming weeks I’ll begin my visioning for 2021, and look forward to sharing that process with you as well!

For now, I’m sending you so much love as you look back over your year. May we all be extra gentle with ourselves through this process. 

woman standing on the outside of a blue guard rail holding both hands out while she looks out at the blue ocean Tag: 2020 reflection gratitude grief

Photo by Nathan Dumlao

So much love,
Brea

Healthy Boundaries: Walk Yourself Home

gray rock mountain range with green pine tries, pink sky, and sun rays in top right corner with quote from Brene Brown "Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others." Tag: healthy boundaries self-care

Healthy boundaries can be hard to identify and maintain. Here’s one concept that can help.


dark blue background fading to light blue "healthy boundaries for interpreters november 21, 2020 10:00 am - noon pacific burnout proof academy online self care ceus to register: burnoutproof.me" Tag: healthy boundaries self-care

 

We’ll be diving further into Healthy Boundaries this weekend in our LIVE Saturday School workshop on November 21st, 2020.
Check it out and register here to join us!

 


Let’s start with a really tangible definition for the often nebulous concept of ‘boundaries’:

A boundary is a property line, as defined by Dr. Henry Cloud. 

aerial view of blue rectangle tennis court with 2 people playing tennis with a green border around the tennis court and a fence around the court Tag: healthy boundaries self-care

Photo by Rodrigo Kugnharski

The boundary tells you who controls the property, who has freedom and choices over the property, and who is responsible for the property.

Now let’s take that definition into the realm of our everyday lives, and pair it with a concept that can help us decipher our property lines.

 

 

Types of property

The property that boundaries are helpful for include:

  • Emotional – your feelings
  • Material – your things
  • Mental – your thoughts, ideas, and beliefs
  • Physical – your body
  • Time and Energy – your time and energy

 

Who owns the property?

According to Byron Katie, there are three kinds of ‘business’ in the universe. I like to think of this as ‘Who owns the property?’

  1. Mine
  2. Yours
  3. The Rest (aka: God/Goddess/Universe/life/reality’s – pick the descriptor you resonate with)

I like to think of these three kinds of ‘business’ as three separate yards – like three pieces of property. 

Mine – My yard contains those pieces of property that I control and am responsible for: what I do, what I say, how I feel*, how I spend my time and energy, my possessions and what I believe.

*Feelings get a little star, because they are by-products of our thoughts, beliefs, and circumstances – not as easily in our control, but nevertheless, still our property. You can read more about getting to know your garden here.

Yours – Your business is what you control and are responsible for. All those same bits of property: emotional, material, mental, physical, time and energy.

Life’s/God’s/reality – This is made up of all the things that are outside of my control and your control. Examples include: the past and the future, as well as elements of the weather, accidents, traffic, etc. 

 

aerial view of a twisty road with cars driving the road and houses and buildings on both sides of the road with green trees scattered throughout Tag: healthy boundaries self-care

Photo by Brandon Nelson

Your map 

With my yard, your yard, and Life’s yard, we’ve basically drawn ourselves a map of our existential ‘neighborhood’. Maps are cool on their own, don’t get me wrong, but the magic comes when we use them to navigate.

Some scenarios where this map comes in handy:

  • When you’re feeling stressed.
  • When you’re afraid someone will be upset with you.
  • When you feel compelled to say ‘yes’ even though you want to say ‘no’.
  • When you’re caught in the mental loop of ‘what if’s – worrying about the future.
  • When you’re upset or angry with someone else.

In any of these not-so-hypothetical cases, you can pull out your map and ask yourself:
Where am I?

woman with blond hair wearing a brown sweater with a blue jean jacket and black pants standing in the middle of the road holding a map with green trees on the side of the road and white fog in the distance Tag: healthy boundaries self-care

Photo by Daniel Gonzalez

Find yourself on the map: “Where am I?”

Let’s use an example from above, and ask this question: “Where am I?”

When I’m afraid you will be upset with me, the property I’m focused on is your feelings – specifically your feelings of being upset with me.

Whose yard do other people’s feelings reside in? Their yard. Their feelings are their responsibility. When I’m trying to take responsibility for them, I’ve left my own yard – walked right off my own property and onto theirs – which leaves no one home to care for me.

Walk yourself home

black background with a yellow heart on top of circle shaped picture of a white picket fence with purple and pink flowers growing on the fence with a white arrow pointing to "walk yourself home @brighterfocus" Tag: healthy boundaries self-care

 

When you’ve found yourself trying to manage someone else’s property, walk yourself back home by asking:

“What’s my business?”

Identify what is in your control, or what is your responsibility, and take action.

 

That could look like:

Do boundaries make me self-centered?

At first glance, boundaries can seem like a way to stop caring about anyone but yourself. 

Let’s just sit with that. If you’re anything like me, that idea brings up a lot of fear about being selfish, putting my needs ahead of others, etc. When I pause, put my hand on my heart, and just feel those feelings of fear and guilt and breathe through them without feeding them more thoughts, they’re usually a lot quieter in 90 seconds or less. 

Here’s the real truth that I invite you to experiment with for yourself, straight from Brene Brown’s research: 

The most compassionate people are absolutely the most boundaried.

Let that sink in.

The more I leave you to your work/business/journey/lessons, and the more I take responsibility for my own work/business/journey/lessons – the more compassion I’m able to have for you and what you’re going through!

Healthy boundaries are the foundation of empathy, authenticity, and accountability – and they’re an integral part of self-care.

For more on staying in your own business and listening to your intuition as an interpreter, check out this RID VIEWS column –  Self-Care: Caring For Ourselves Within a Community.

green pine trees with green and brown grass in the background with a white transparent square including text "compassionate people ask for what they need. they say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. they're compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment. brene brown, rising strong" Tag: healthy boundaries self-care

Healthy Boundaries for Interpreters

I hope you’ll join us November 21st, 2020 for Healthy Boundaries for Interpreters. We’ll explore what healthy boundaries are, what makes them hard to hold, how to tune into your guidance system, and how to communicate your boundaries in a kind and honest way. I can’t wait to spend this time with you!

Get all the info and register here

 

Reflection

Take a few minutes to journal and reflect, and then share with us in the comments:

Describe a time that healthy boundaries – yours or someone else’s – created a space for more compassion.

 

pink heart with pink lines around the heart Tag: healthy boundaries self-care

Want to be notified when new posts come out? Sign up here for my weekly love note.

Plant New Seeds | Self-Care Strategies for Fear part 6

Over the course of this series on self-care strategies for fear, we’ve:

  1. Become aware of and named our fears in part 1
  2. Separated the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in part 2.
  3. Spent time enjoying ourselves in part 3.
  4. Tended our feelings in part 4.
  5. Pulled the weeds of unhelpful thoughts in part 5.

Let’s round out our gardening metaphor by planting new seeds in the fertile soil!

black soil with 2 green sprouts with red stems coming out of the ground Tag: affirmations self-care strategies

photo by Daniel Hajdacki

Once you’ve made space in your garden by pulling the weeds, it’s time to plant new seeds. New seeds are the thoughts and beliefs that you want to cultivate, that will serve you and help you to be your best. You can identify these thoughts by the way they make you feel: empowered, at peace, and motivated.

Affirmations

Creating affirmations is one way to plant new seeds of helpful thoughts.

After identifying the unhelpful weed and pulling it, ask yourself:

“What’s a more empowering, kind, and true version of this story? What else might be going on here?”

Let’s take this unhelpful thought as an example: 

“She doesn’t care about my needs.”

I notice that when I think this thought I feel sad, rejected, unimportant, and hurt. Not helpful in aligning me with my values of connection and curiosity. I feel shut down and withdrawn – rather than connected or curious.

So I ask myself, “What’s a more empowering, kind, and true version of this story? What else might be going on here?’ I like to use my journal for these questions, and just free write whatever comes to mind. You could also talk this through with a friend or therapist, or simply think about it throughout the day.

What else might be going on here?

In this scenario where I’m believing “She doesn’t care about my needs,” what else might be going on here is that she might be really focused on her own needs. I’m believing that she should be taking care of my needs – which on second glance I don’t actually agree with. A truer statement might be that I support her in taking care of her own needs, and I support me in taking care of mine.

This makes me curious about how I actually may not have been taking care of my own needs. I’ve been upset that she wasn’t caring for my needs, when in reality I was the one who was prioritizing her needs over my own.

The new seed 

yellow sunflower with black center and blue sky in the background Tag: affirmations self-care strategies

photo by David Travis

A more helpful thought could be:
“I care about my needs,” or “I’m responsible for caring about my own needs.”

Check in with feelings

After identifying new seeds to plant, check out what feelings they spark. 

When I think these new thoughts: “I care about my needs,” and “I’m responsible for caring about my own needs,” I feel a softening inside. I feel myself turn back toward myself, instead of being so focused on what the other person isn’t giving me. 

I highly recommend printing out a list of feeling words for reference as you do this work.

When I think these new thoughts, I feel more calm, relieved, open-hearted, and curious. I feel more connected to myself, and I actually feel more connected to the other person as well.

Plant the seed  

snow capped mountain peaks with a orange, pink, and red sunset behind the mountains with white text "i care about my needs" Tag: affirmations self-care strategies

a lock screen reminder you can save on your phone

Planting the seed of this new helpful thought means installing it into your operating system, so that it can grow and flourish. This takes time and exposure. Reminders can be helpful!

I’m such a fan of sticky notes and lock screen reminders. 

Sticky notes can go on your computer monitor, bathroom mirror, nightstand, kitchen cupboard, dashboard of your car, or anywhere else you spend time during the day.

A lock screen reminder is easy to create for your smartphone using an app like Word Swag or Canva.

Whatever will help you keep your new thought top-of-mind so it can grow roots and take hold.

Why isn’t my seed taking hold? 

light brown twisted tree root with dark brown pine straw in the background Tag: affirmations self-care strategies

photo by Atanas Dzhingarov

Sometimes a new thought is too much of a stretch for our psyche to believe.

If you read your affirmation or new helpful thought, and you feel emotions or sensations like doubt, resistance, or skepticism, those emotions need tending before your new seed will take root.

Return to part 4 and give space and compassion to these emotions. Sometimes they just need to be witnessed, and they will dissipate on their own. Other times you may want to create a helpful thought that is more believable.

For example, if I felt skeptical when I thought, “I care about my needs,” that may simply not be true yet. 

First, I would sit with the emotions that come up. I may feel sad that I haven’t cared about my own needs in the past. I might feel distrustful that I can be counted on to care about my own needs. I may feel doubtful that I can even figure out what my own needs are. 

Just naming and witnessing these feelings is powerful. Placing a hand on your chest and imagining what you would say to a friend who was feeling these things can help you find compassion for yourself.

If at this point I decide that I want to find a new thought that’s more accessible or believable, I might play around with a few. Try them on and see how they feel! Some alternate, less-of-a-stretch thoughts might be:

  • I’m curious about my needs.
  • I’m willing to practice caring about my needs.
  • I’m willing to have needs.

When you land on a new thought that feels believable and helpful, then create your reminders and start rehearsing this new thought every chance you get!

brown tree trunk with green vines wrapping around trunk with a red ribbon tied around the trunk with green leaves and other trees in the background Tag: affirmations self-care strategies

photo by Douglas Hawkins

The gardening process

Pulling weeds and growing new plants is an ongoing process. Tending to our thoughts as we tend to a garden over time culminates in rich, fertile soil and a vibrant ecosystem of diverse, healthy life. It’s a moment-by-moment process that requires patience, persistence, and lots of self-compassion…and it’s so worth it. 

You are so worth it!

Resources for planting new seeds:

  1. 101 Best Louise Hay Affirmations of All Time
  2. Sitting With The Turnarounds – Byron Katie
  3. Watch your mouth! How the stories you tell may be making you miserable – Brighter Focus blog

Tiny Action

Spend 5 minutes with your journal and one weed (unhelpful thought). Make a list of possible new helpful thoughts, and then try each of them on to see which feels best and is most believable.

Once you’ve identified the new seed you want to plant, create a reminder and put it somewhere you’ll see it daily!

Reflection

Let us know in the comments:

What new seed are you planting?

a close up of a field of yellow tulip flowers with green stems and blue sky in the background Tag: affirmations self-care strategies

photo by Sergey Shmidt

 

 

In The Waiting

Orange mid-century sofa set in front of a brightly colored painted mural, showing a ship on top of rolling ocean waves. Tag: prayer waiting

Photo by Dan Gold

Taking a break this week from our Self-Care Strategies for Fear series, to just be with the ever-shifting emotions I’m feeling as we navigate the election here in the United States. We’ll be back with part 6 next week. If you want support for being with your emotions this week, check out part 4.

For now – a prayer for the waiting, for anyone who needs it.

Presence of Love,

Please be with me today.

Soothe my nerves and help me to be gentle with myself. 

Give me focus and purpose –
even one so inconsequential as washing a dish or a window with care.

Give me the courage to feel what’s mine to feel,
to stay with myself and in my body
through the waves of emotion.
Remind me that feelings always have an end.

Give me hope in humanity,
in the miraculous and unexpected,
in my own ability to handle hard things.

Thank you for every bit of joy and comfort I find today.
May I receive it fully and use it to fuel my own pursuits of love and justice.

With love and gratitude,

xo, Breana

November Workshops | Burnout Proof Academy Self-Care CEUs for Sign Language Interpreters

purple, blue, teal background "burnout proof academy online. self-paced. self-care CEUs for sign language interpreters" white heart with dashes around it. burnoutproof.me Tag: november workshops self-care ceus

November 2020 at Burnout Proof Academy

Here are the highlights of what ‘s happening this month at Burnout Proof Academy:

 

blue fading into teal background with light blue and pink words "healthy boundaries for interpreters" Tag: november workshops self-care ceusHealthy Boundaries for Interpreters – 0.2 GS CEUs – Our Saturday School LIVE workshop is happening on November 21st, 2020 from 10 am to noon pacific. Join us to discuss this tricky topic and develop tools to make holding clear, kind, healthy boundaries much easier. Saturday School LIVE workshops are a great opportunity to get to know other interpreters who are struggling with burnout and working on taking better care of themselves!

 

dark purple square with a light purple square inside with pink and white words "self-care for stressful times" Tag: november workshops self-care ceusSelf-Care for Stressful Times – 0.2 GS CEUs – Have you heard this episode of Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us podcast on burnout and completing the stress cycle? Do yourself a favor – listen now, and then register for Self-Care for Stressful Times! You’ll come away with more awareness of your own stress responses, specific supports that help you complete your stress cycle, and a plan for turning these actions into habits. 

 

rainy, foggy window with red and white lights shining through streaks of rain on window with white text "put on your raincoat. energetic protection for sign language interpreters" Tag: november workshops self-care ceus


Put On Your Raincoat: Energetic Protection for Sign Language Interpreters
– 0.5 GS CEUs – Interpreting work is sticky – especially in 2020! In this workshop you’ll create a raincoat to protect yourself from the energetic effects of interpreting work, with practices of self-reflection, self-compassion, and mindfulness. 

 

Check out our full list of courses here + sign up to get email updates and self-care support here.

I look forward to spending time with you soon at Burnout Proof Academy!
With love + bright focus,
Brea

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?

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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.