Tag Archives: fear

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.

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.

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

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

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

Self-Care Strategies for Fear part 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

… your crystals, yoga mat, and a Redwood.

… your bible, running shoes, and hot tub.

… your puppy dog, pillow, and ukulele.

YOU GET TO DECIDE!

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Small Doable Action for This Week

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

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

Image by Thought Catalog

Let us know in the comments:

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

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

Sneak Peek: Be With Your Feelings – part 4

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

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

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

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

A post shared by Michelle D'Avella (@pushingbeauty) on

Your Garden: Self-Care Strategies for Fear part 2

This is part 2 in an ongoing series on Self-Care Strategies for Fear. 

You can find part 1 here.

Thank you to everyone who’s reached out to share your fears and how they’re affecting you. This is deep, scary work, and doing it with others can add a bit of comfort and grounding to the process. Keep reaching out!

Ok, are you ready for part 2? This piece is short, but sets the stage for the work we’re going to do over the next few weeks. Let’s dive in!

Cognitive Behavioral Self-Care Strategies for Fear

Garden, sunflowers, cabin, mountains, fog, Switzerland. Tag: cognitive behavioral self-care strategies

Photo by Miguel Cortes

Your Garden

Imagine your insides as a garden. I know it’s weird, but humor me. We want to create a visual representation of your inner world, so that you can more easily attend to it.

Thrilling view of sunflowers. Tag: cognitive behavioral self-care strategies

Photo by www.krstojevtic.com

Your garden lies within the fenced confines of a yard that is your very own. This outdoor space can look however you choose: it may have a beautifully manicured grape arbor, trellised veggies, rows of flowers, pea gravel and statues, or a wide expanse of lawn. This space is yours, and only you decide how it is maintained.

Soil + Seeds: Thoughts

Dirty hands cupping brown soil.Tag: cognitive behavioral self-care strategies

Photo by Gabriel Jimenez

 

Within your garden, your mind is the soil – the rich, fertile, nourishing medium that cultivates life. 

Your thoughts are the seeds carried through on the wind – some tumbling away and out of your garden, some finding a hold in the ground of your mind. Some of these seeds you grab, sow in the ground on purpose, water, and tend to – these are your beliefs.

 

 

 

Buds, Blooms, and Thorns: Emotions

pink flower in a green field with grass Tag: cognitive behavioral self-care strategies

Photo by Stella de Smit

Your emotions spring forth based on how situations and circumstances interact with your thoughts and beliefs. Emotions are a byproduct of our circumstances filtered through our beliefs.

These emotions are like the buds, blooms, and thorns of those seeds you planted in the ground. The emotions themselves are worthy of holding space for and feeling, but they also serve a purpose. They are like flag posts signaling to us that there’s a thought operating below the surface. 

When an emotion feels uncomfortable – like sadness, jealousy, fear, and anger often do – we can ask ourselves: 

What thought is driving this feeling?

 

 The Fruit: Behavior

The last feature of our garden that we’ll look at today is behavior. 

Behavior – what you say and do or have the urge to do – is like the fruit of the plants in your garden. Our thoughts stimulate our emotions, which in turn drive us to act.

little red strawberry on brown wood table ALT TEXT: Tag: cognitive behavioral self-care strategies

Photo by Erwan Hesry

The more mindfully aware we are of the thoughts we’re planting and tending, and the emotions and sensations we’re experiencing, the better chance we have for our actions to be aligned with our values and intentions. On the other hand, if we’re not conscious of our thoughts and beliefs and haven’t chosen them intentionally, we may end up acting in ways that we regret.

Resources for supporting yourself as you get to know your garden

Image: tan background with a light tan sliver of a moon. Text: morganharpernichols. Listen. Listen to the way your heart beats and has continued to beat through the wild of all you have been through proving that there is still much more to you, and you survived much more than you ever thought you would be able to. mhn. Tag: cognitive behavioral self-care strategies.

@morganharpernichols on instagram

 

  1. Self-Care Quickie: Brain Integration | Self-Care Strategies for Interpreters
  2. This is not business as usual | Self-Care Strategies for Interpreting During a Pandemic  
  3. Exploring your inner continent | Kristen Kalp
  4. Caring for Ourselves in Community | RID VIEWS Self-Care Column
  5. Step Into the Clearing | Morgan Harper Nichols

Baby-Step: Reflection

This week, spend some time with your journal and explore the features of your own garden.

garden with flowers, green plants, green vegetables in a raised bed Tag: cognitive behavioral self-care strategies

Photo by Markus Spiske

Prompts to get you started:

Do you tend to be more aware of your thoughts, emotions + physical sensations, or actions? What helps you notice them?

Once you’ve identified your dominant feature, you can go forward or backward around the triangle to learn more about the others:

What thoughts do you have when you’re feeling (example emotions – substitute what’s relevant for you) sad, angry, frustrated, or jealous?

What emotions and physical sensations do you feel when you’re having these thoughts?

How do you act, what do you do, say, or want to do, when you’re thinking these thoughts or feeling these emotions?

In the moment that you’re feeling upset, this three-point check can be useful:

the cognitive triangle of thoughts, behavior, emotions Tag: cognitive behavioral self-care strategies

What am I thinking?
What am I feeling?
What am I doing?

 

 

 

 

 

An important note: 

We are observing, noticing, and increasing awareness here. Remember, a key component of mindful awareness is paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, without judgement.

As you bring your awareness to your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, notice any judgement of yourself that comes up. It’s helpful to make a note of this too!

Self-Care Strategies for Fear: Part 3

Next week we’ll talk about what to do in this lovely garden of yours, to enjoy it, get to know it, and work with it. You can read part 3 here.

Be so gentle with yourself this week, dear one, and remember that you have a whole community of precious people here to support you in taking better care of your precious self. Reach out to me privately here, or join in our community in the Burnout Proof Interpreters Collective. I look forward to connecting with you more deeply as we continue to explore self-care strategies for fear.

tiny pink heart with lines radiating from it Tag: cognitive behavioral self-care strategies

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

My Biggest Fear | Self-Care Strategies for Fear part 1

 

Wood wall background. Older teen with pink hair, long lashes and purple eyeshadow, younger teen with shaggy brown hair, middle-age man with backwards hat and sunglasses, middle-age woman with short curly hair, and young teen with shaggy brown hair - all smiling. Tag: fear self-care strategies

My family and I, on my 43rd birthday

My kids are my achilles heel. If you want to bring me to my knees, distract me, or hold me hostage – mess with my kids. When they are hurting, it stirs up every anxiety and fear in me. A couple of years ago, one of the three was having a particularly rough time and subsequently, I was a wreck.

There are multiple versions of every story. Different details, different perspectives, different angles, different altitudes – that, if we consider them, completely transform the story.

From heartbreak to miracle.
From depths of hell to merciful heaven.
From worst possible scenario, to amazing luck.

This rough time of my child’s, when now viewed through the wise lens of hindsight, was such a major catalyst for the growth of our whole family. It has brought us closer together, it has developed a depth and a maturity in the one who went through it, and it’s carved a wider valley for love and joy in me. This perspective, the one of hope, gratitude, and growth as opposed to catastrophe and loss, fills me with peace and upholds the dignity of my child and their experience. It feels empowering.

But while we were in the thick of it all? It was a terrifying nightmare that threatened to eat us alive. I wasn’t sure my precious kid would make it. I wasn’t sure I would either. I wasn’t sure of anything, and that unsureness allowed space for my wildest fears and most heartbreaking regrets to take up residence in my mind. They grew and grew and smothered me with thorny tentacles from every direction. It was hard to ever feel safe while living in this nightmare.

Monster in the clouds. Tag: fear self-care strategies

Photo by Michael Weidner on Unsplash

Fear is often at the core of our disempowering stories. When our thinking brain is hijacked by our reptilian brain, the worst-case scenarios take root in our thoughts, gathering energy and mass, igniting anxiety and stealing our joy.

So much energy is spent trying to escape the feeling of fear, that we often don’t allow ourselves the compassion and understanding we need while experiencing it. It’s like we’re running so frantically to get away, when that scared part of ourselves really needs us to stop and give it a hug.

Mindful awareness can be that hug we need. According to Lyra Health, mindful awareness means paying attention on purpose in the present moment without judgement. It helps us to cultivate a space for ourselves to just BE – without having to fix, change, perform, or DO.

When we shine the compassionate light of mindful awareness on the noxious weeds of our fears, we can see they’re not absolute truths. The light shines through in places. Holes can be easily poked through. There are gaps in logic and structure. What once seemed to be an impenetrable wall of sharp thorns and certain death, is now illuminated at the source to reveal a few vulnerable stalks. We then have the opportunity to pull them out by the root, and to plant and nurture the empowering seeds of truth.

Fear Self-Care Strategies: Resources for Working with Fear

  1. Self-Care for Stressful Times – 0.2 GS CEUs – Burnout Proof Academy Saturday School Series – October 24th, 2020 10 am – 12 pm PT
  2. Embrace and Learn from Your Fear of Failure – Lyra Health blog
  3. The Power of Vulnerability – Brené Brown TED Talk
  4. Embracing the Darkness – Brighter Focus blog

Baby Step: Take Action

Choose one of the resources above, set your timer for 5 minutes, and dive in! Working with your fears doesn’t have to be a long drawn-out process. Break it down into tiny doable pieces to prevent overwhelm and practice holding loving boundaries with yourself. This is one of the keys to being Burnout Proof.

Reflection

Over the next several weeks we’ll be exploring this process of identifying our thoughts, feeling our feelings, and cultivating more empowering and truthful beliefs.

Image of a tall brick building with fire escape stairs. Large poster on the side of the building reads, "How are you really?" Tag: fear self-care strategies

Photo by Finn on Unsplash

I’d love to know what your experience of fear is like and any questions you have about being with it or working with it. Leave a comment below or drop me a line and let me know:

What keeps you awake at night?
What does fear feel like in your body?
What do you typically do when you’re feeling scared, worried, or anxious?
What would you like to know about working with your fear?

Ok dear one, thanks so much for being on this journey with me. Until next time, take good care of your precious self.

With love,
Brea

This is part 1 in an ongoing series on Self-Care Strategies for Fear.
You can find part 2 here.