Tag Archives: essential oils

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.

Embracing the Darkness

Hello dear ones,

The darkest month of the year is upon us.

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

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

And so we ask, and wait, and listen…

What am I grieving?

What am I afraid of?

What am I longing for?

What pain or discomfort do I resist?

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

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

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

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

xo, Breana


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

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

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.

“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!!

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

Spring-Clean Your Self-Care

Spring is a time of year for renewal and new beginnings. Whether it’s by planting your garden, decluttering, cleaning house, or just opening up the windows, this time of year beckons us back to life. Around our house, kids can be found playing outdoors in the late evening sun, bags of clothes are being passed on to friends, and the bathroom is getting a deep clean.
spring
After a long dreary winter (especially here in Portland), our psyches & bodies can accumulate just as much dust as our windowsills. This could feel heavy, tired, or like you’re emotionally stuck in quicksand.

Here are 3 easy ways to spring clean your self-care, to blow the dust out of our chimneys, open all the windows, and let the light stream in.

1. Hydrate
A super easy way to help our bodies process and purge the harsh leftovers from our winter indulgences is to up our water intake. You don’t need to drink so much that your bladder feels like it’s going to burst every 5 minutes, just enough to really get things flowing for a few days. When I’m trying to flush my system, I aim to drink enough that I pee every hour. I also like to up the detoxifying effects (and make it super yum) by adding a drop of lemon, lime, or grapefruit essential oil (just make sure it is certified pure!).

2. Take Time for Yourself
Contrary to its name, ‘Me Time’ isn’t selfish, it’s actually one of the most sefless things we can do. As natural givers we are often serving others and helping to meet their needs. In order to do this with authenticity and love, we must be taking care of ourselves regularly. This spring, commit to adding one small act of ‘Me Time’ to your daily routine–and if you don’t already practice it, make it a Morning Ritual.

A Morning Ritual is a bit of time that you devote to your own self-care (and if this is a new concept to you, read this awesome book!). You may do some yoga or stretching, read a passage from an inspirational book, mindfully make a cup of tea, sit quietly in reflection, write in a journal, or any practice that connects you more fully with your own aliveness in the present moment. It can be as little as one minute (seriously), but I promise you will be amazed at what a difference it makes to your day!

A good morning. #affirmations #doterralove #morningritual

A photo posted by @breanacrosshall on

3. Sweat
Any way you do it, movement that raises your heart rate is an excellent way to release the bad stuff we’ve stored up and make more capacity for the good stuff. Start with 5 minute segments: power walk around the block, hula hoop, jump rope, dance to your favorite song, have a horse stance competition with your kids, or plank. The increase in oxygen and blood flow, and the endorphins that exercise releases will turbo charge your next several hours…it’s a better high than coffee!!

Do you have a self-care habit you’d like to share? Please leave it in the comments below!!


If you’re in need of a more serious self-care intervention, check out this post. 

And if your body could use some extra help coming back to life, join me for a free essential oils class (in person or virtual) to learn about my favorite natural way to supercharge my health. Just shoot me a message here and we’ll work out a time to talk!

Hope you feel the vibrancy & aliveness of this magical season!