Category Archives: Self Care

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. 

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

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

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

Brain integration has a powerful impact on our interpreting interactions

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

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

Flip-your-lid

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

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

Disintegration is contagious

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

Good news: Integration is also contagious

Integration is like a muscle, and involves several skills.

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

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

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

Self-care strengthens the muscle of brain integration

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

Three resources for integration practice:

  1. Follow me on Instagram – in my story and highlights I share short mindfulness practices
  2. Self-Care Resource Page – links to free and accessible self-care resources to support brain integration
  3. Put On Your Raincoat: Energetic Protection for Sign Language Interpreters – online self-paced workshop worth 0.5 CEUs – includes a 7 day mindfulness practice

I’d love to know:
What helps you flex your brain integration muscle?

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

I want you to know… A love letter for sign language interpreters

sign language interpreter, We can do hard things, Glennon Doyle

~ Glennon Doyle

Dear sign language interpreter,

I’m writing you today, because I really want to be able to give you a hug.

I want to look you in the eyes and tell you that it’s gonna be ok.
That we’re in this together. That we can do hard things.

I want you to know
that even though you may be in isolation all alone,
or an essential worker who has to choose between safety and duty,
or confined to your home with stir-crazy children and work to do,
or checking long-overdue tasks off your to-do list,
or paralyzed by fear,
or binging Netflix…

that whatever it is you’re experiencing,
it’s normal. It’s human. It’s okay. 

I want you to know that Burnout Proof Bootcamp is about to begin.
I want you to know that there’s something to look forward to.

I want you to know the joy in coming together with other interpreters,
talking about the hard stuff,
celebrating the good stuff,
and finding accountability within connection.

I want you to know there are many options for payment,
discounts,
payment plans,
sliding-scales,
because it’s so important to me that you have access to support.

I want you to know there’s much flexibility in the timeline to complete this course,
that you can take as long as you need,
that you have access for life,
that you’re not just registering for a workshop, you are gaining a support system.

And so, dear one,

I can’t hug you today,
but if I may make a wish, my wish for you is:

May you find willingness to meet yourself
in the many varied moments and moods of these days.

May you feel hope.
May you feel love.
May you feel joy.
May you feel connection,
in as many creative and curious ways as you can imagine.

May you make it through this season,
not unscathed,
maybe not even unbroken,
may you make it through transformed.

May this pause be an incubator for us all,
a fertile, pressurized, sacred time of death and rebirth,

And may we find each other, arms open wide, on the other side.

So much love.
xo,
b

Self-Care During Scary Times

In many cities here in the U.S., the coronavirus pandemic is beginning to get more real. For my family in Portland, Oregon, the biggest effects so far have been:

  • No toilet paper
  • Kids’ sports cancelled
  • My youngest son, Kiran’s, birthday brunch buffet plan is getting changed (coronavirus buffet? no thank you)
  • I actually broke out an antibacterial wipe and cleaned the doorknobs and light switches (completely out of character)
  • Many honest conversations with my panicky kids about what we know and don’t know

So much is unknown, and that’s understandably scary.

One thing that warms my heart and keeps my faith strong is seeing the support and thoughtfulness that’s already kicking in. At Winco yesterday (the grocery store with no toilet paper), I saw person after person, in the crowded aisles with dwindling supplies, helping others reach what they needed, dividing up the last of products that were almost out (rice and beans were hit hard), making space for all to stand in the long snaking lines. I felt so proud of humanity at that moment.

If you are feeling the effects of stress, illness, closures and cancellations, know that you’re not alone.

  • Keep reaching out. Even with ‘social distancing’, don’t isolate. Get online, find your community, and connect with others – neighborhood groups, common interest groups, the Burnout Proof Collective (our private Facebook community of interpreters working on self-care). Ask a friend to virtual tea over FaceTime or Skype. Get creative. Just keep connecting.
  • Listen to your body. This is a lot to process, and our bodies need our attention. Breathe into discomfort. Be as gentle with your discomfort as you would a scared or hurt child. Make space for your experience, support your immune system and nervous systems, and keep scooching toward comfort. 
  • Make time for you. I know it can be even more difficult to prioritize your needs and take care of yourself during stressful times. Don’t give up! Do what you can, even in the tiniest chunks of time, to attend to your own feelings and needs. I’ll be hosting a free 7-day self-care reset March 23rd – 29th, 2020 and I welcome you to join me. This will be a simple way to make space for yourself and connect with others. You can get more info and register here.

As always, comment below and let me know how you’re doing, how I can support you, and give love & support to each other. The Burnout Proof community is growing and thriving, and it’s because of you. I’m holding a vision of us continuing to show up for ourselves and others during this scary time. Thanks for joining me. 💗

Make Time for You: A 7-Day Self-Care Reset with Brighter Focus. March 23rd - 29th. FREE Click to Register.

Self-Care When You’re Anxious

Three weeks ago I was writing this post, sitting with my Grandma during the final hours of her long, extraordinary life. Since that bittersweet day that we said goodbye to our matriarch, there have been countless opportunities to meet anxiety’s embrace.

Isn’t that the case everyday? Not just during the extreme moments, but in everyday life there is so much outside of our control, and there are some circumstances that trigger me to fight harder against some circumstances than others. All the while, Life seems to keep gifting me with just the right packages to highlight my own personal triggers and issues.

For as long as I can remember anxiety has been a constant companion. Being a vigilant Virgo, and the daughter of a vigilant Virgo, I am a first rate worry-wart. The way that anxiety grips my body and mind when I’m in its clutches is unmistakable – and yet, for much of my life I didn’t have a name for it.

People experience many different sensations with anxiety, some of them might be:

-Muscle tension
-Rapid heartbeat
-Irritability
-Shallow breathing
-Recurrent thoughts
-Trouble sleeping
-Restlessness
-Panic attacks

When we’re experiencing anxiety, it’s important to know it’s not just an emotional experience or a physical one – it’s a mind and body phenomenon. It can be helpful to attend to both.

First address the body

What you’re feeling in your body when you’re anxious is the result of your fight or flight response. When your brain interprets information as dangerous, it sends a message to your body to act on in order to keep you safe. This floods the body with chemicals, which we feel as emotions and physical responses. Addressing the body is like giving first aid. You can do this by:

First put one hand on your heart and one on your belly and take a deep breath.

Tune inward – give your full attention to yourself, as you would to a friend who’s hurting.

List any sensations you notice. It’s helpful to list them on paper, as this depersonalizes the emotions just a bit, but listing them silently in your head works if necessary.

Give your brain a steady flow of oxygen – which is the fastest route out of fight or flight and back into the thinking part of your brain. An easy way to do this is by “square breathing” – Count your breathing evenly 4 in, hold the breath for 4 counts, breathe out for 4, and then hold for 4 again. Repeat for 4 cycles.

Square Breathing. 4 in - Hold for 4 - 4 out - Hold for 4.

Leah Brock, LMSW. Michigan Health.

Essential Oils 

The next way to address the body and soothe the fight or flight response is to reach for your oils. Essential oils directly affect the amygdala – the flight or fight part of brain – helping to calm the central nervous system. Some oils to try:

Pressure Points

By gently applying pressure to certain points on the body you can stimulate the parasympathetic response to help your body calm down. Here are some points you can use in conjunction with your oils:

  • Hall of Impression – or third eye – on your forehead, between your eyebrows
  • Union Valley – between thumb and first finger – do not use this point during pregnancy until you’re ready to stimulate labor.
  • Base of skull

Address the mind

Often thoughts or fears are behind anxiety. Our brains love to concoct fears of “what if?…”, stories about what others think or feel about us,  and imagined catastrophies of the future.

As you tend to your mind, grab a pen and paper and freewrite-style make a list of everything on your mind – the fears, the worries, the catastrophies, the imagined judgements.

Once it’s safely on the paper (things are less scary when you bring them into the light and pin them down in ink), start by asking the question:

Can I know that this is absolutely true?

Sit with yourself, in an exercise of presence, as you give attention to your body’s signals and your mind’s stories. As you stretch the edges of what you’re able to hold, a surprising transformation begins to unfold. You deepen and strengthen the relationship you have with yourself – the love, trust and care you give to this one precious person you get to spend your life with – and that is what self-care is about.

For Us: A Love Note for Struggling Parents

I wrote this for myself, to lovingly and boldly address the part of me that sometimes believes I’m not doing a good enough job as a mother. May it feed the soothing voice in you and help to turn down the volume on your own worries.

xo, Breana

Right now is a particularly challenging time in your parenting journey, and that’s ok. Your kids are growing a lot – transitioning through adolescence into adulthood. This is new for all of you, you are all learning how to meet this new time in your lives, to grow and expand into it. Sometimes you’re at a loss — you feel scared and helpless and like you’re messing it all up — and that’s ok. It’s better than ok, it’s perfect. This is your brain, working to create new connections. Growing and evolving, pressed to its edge and actively working out new creative solutions. This is your heart, opening and expanding, becoming bigger and even more able to hold all that Life presents you.

Even while things are scary and hard, may there be parts of your parenting that you feel good about and love. May you love how lighthearted you can be with your kids, and how much fun you are able to have together. May you like how much you enjoy them and care about them deeply as people. May you appreciate your practice of seeing them as they truly are. May you acknowledge the example you set for your kids of consistently moving toward what feels better, listening to your heart and following where it leads. May you find something new everyday to love about yourself as a parent.

May you know that even while you’re scared or hurting, it’s your birthright to cultivate a space of peace inside, to know you’re doing your absolute best in every moment, and to trust that you can set down the reigns of your vigilance so that you may rest and care for yourself. You get to be human along this journey of parenting, and you get to allow your kids to be human, too. You are all fumbling forward together, learning, growing, messing up, and being people on this earth together.

Sometimes it feels so overwhelming and big, but for now, in this moment, you can do this. You can handle the unknown, the fumbling through, the worry that calls you back to presence. You can love your children fiercely, and enjoy your life and take care of yourself — even when you’re not guaranteed that they are safe or happy.

May you be willing to meet all of this. May you be willing to feel the pain of stretching and growing. May you be willing to walk yourself through right now. May you be willing to remember to let go of what you can’t control. May you be willing to catch yourself doing it wrong and course-correct. May you be willing to get better at letting things be what they are. May you be willing to learn through daily practice to take nothing personally. May you be willing to show up in love for and with them, over and over, knowing there are no guarantees. May you be willing to fall in love with the process of parenting — this journey of a lifetime. May you be willing to let them fall, let them feel the weight of their actions and to be there to love them as they deal with the consequences.

These moments can feel gut-wrenching, and you know other parents on planet earth sometimes experience circumstances with their kids that push them to their very edge. It’s ok for you to have this experience too. You’re just one more human being to know this particular painful circumstance, and you’re in good company. May you be willing to feel your oneness with all kinds of people all over the planet having this experience on different levels. You can feel compassion for them. May you flip that and extend it to yourself.

May you consider how you’re feeling now to be a part of your guidance system. Worry and guilt do not serve, and yet they call us to look at the pain — to not ignore it…to take action to relieve it. May you know that this experience serves you, that it is perfectly orchestrated for your evolution and you can trust it. May you see all of the ways that Life has carried you through so far, and know it just keeps getting better and better, the more you open and trust.

And so, may you just be in this moment — feel breath fill you with life, and smile with the joy and gratitude for getting to know these amazing beings so intimately. With appreciation for the ways Life constructs the perfect lessons to draw you toward the next right step on your unique path. And with trust that you can endure, survive, thrive-through, open-to, learn-to-love any experience Life brings.


*This piece was born out of a homework assignment given by the brilliant Jaya The Trust Coach, taken from her Expansion! class. If you’re in a time of life where you feel pressed to your edge, her wisdom and guidance can help you return to the truth of yourself and this loving universe.

“Help, I’m Sick!” Using essential oils during flu season

The same day I received my first doTERRA package in the mail, in November of 2015, I got knocked on my ass with the flu. Just like the NyQuil commercial, I was a sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy-headed feverish mess.

I knew next to nothing about essential oils–just hopeful that they would ease some of my pain from years of VRS interpreting (and they did!)–but I thought they couldn’t hurt. That flu was the best test of their powers, and by the time I had recovered I was singing their praises. They didn’t cure my illness magic-style, but they did ease the pain, help me breathe, quiet my throbbing head, and let me get enough rest that my body could do its job fighting and get me back on my feet again.

Now, when I help people get their first oils, I’m surprised by what a common story this is — to open your first box of oils just as you’re coming down with a sickness. I get asked all the time:

“How do I use my oils when I’m sick?”

I taught this mini-class on Winter Wellness so that I could share my answers with all of you loves. I outlined my notes below, but watch the whole video (15 minutes) to get the instructions. If the sickies do strike your house, I want you to know what to do and be prepared to handle it!

Using Your Top 10 Oils During Cold & Flu Season
What you need to know

Prevention Is Key

Oils that boost immune function and fight bacteria and viruses:

  • On Guard
  • Melaleuca
  • Oregano
  • Frankincense  

Additional supports for immune system:

  • PB Assist  
  • On Guard Plus softgels

When You’re Sick, Oils Can Ease the Pain

  • Breathe – soothes cough
  • Peppermint – opens airways
  • Lemon – reduces congestion
  • DigestZen – calms upset stomach
  • Deep Blue – soothes body aches and soreness
  • Lavender – calms emotions and sore skin

The Winter Wellness mini-class details how to use each oil — CLICK HERE TO WATCH

 

If you don’t yet have oils in your home and you have a pulse (99.9% of humans and pets should have essential oils in their medicine cabinet) — CLICK HERE to grab a 30-minute spot on my calendar. I promise you a zero-pressure conversation focused on your family’s needs. When it’s midnight and your kid wakes you from a peaceful slumber to tell you she puked all over her bed, you’ll be so glad you have them at the ready. Your oils won’t put the sheets in the washing machine for you, but they will soothe her tummy, help her immune system fight off the bug, and help you all get back to sleep — without worrisome ingredients or side effects.

If you want to learn more about using essential oils in your home for first aid, emotional support, personal growth, pain-relief and supporting healthy hormone-balance, follow me on Instagram here. I’m getting ready to re-launch my page with daily education and inspiration, weekly live videos and lots of love and support for you. Please let me know if there are topics you’d like me to cover!

Additional Resources

Here are two fantastic resources if you’re looking for the nerdy low-down on why oils are so darn effective:

Shannon Becker Ph.D. Essential Oils to Prevent the Spread of Flu.
Dr. Dave R. Steuer. Killing Bacteria with Essential Oils.

Stay well, loves!!

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?