Tag Archives: freedom

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

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Christi Brittain: Interpreter with Bright Focus

Christi Brittain
ASL Interpreter and Artist

Christi Brittain, Interpreter & Artist at Freckles N' Toes

Freckles N’ Toes
christibrittain@yahoo.com

Describe the work or activity that you are passionate about.

I am an artist. I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I used to draw pictures of aliens when I was young. I remember being in summer camp when I was about ten years old and I saw a teenage girl drawing a giant picture of a woman’s eyes. I studied the way that she drew the eyes, fascinated with each little detail. I was determined to draw eyes too. After practicing and practicing I finally got it down. I began drawing eyes on everything, including my aliens. Eventually I ventured into drawing full faces. I would occasionally draw pictures of men and children but I favored drawing portraits of women. I drew images of fictional women as well as portraits of people that I knew and photos from magazines. I also liked to mesh human features with nature.

I recently discovered paint and fell in love with it instantly! I have no idea why it has taken me so long to get my feet wet. After my first painting I knew that I wanted to try to sell my art or at least share it with others. I have wanted to be an artist since I was very young, but always put it on the back burner because of my confidence in my work as well as a fear of not being financially successful. People have been asking me where I got my sudden courage to pursue my dream. After some reflection I’ve realized that it began when I married my amazingly supportive partner last year and then fully bloomed when I finally got the courage to chop my hair off! I know that it sounds a little bit simplified, but it’s true.

Freckles N' Toes PaintingsHow do you feel when you are engaged in it?

I’m a mother of two beautiful girls, a spunky four year old and a giggly four month old. I interpret in the evenings and come home exhausted. When I get home at 11:30pm to a quiet house, I stay up and paint. All of the tough VRS calls, the exhaustion, the teething baby, all goes out the window. I can engage in something that is all my own. It is very freeing and relaxing. The only way that I can describe it is pouring my soul out on paper. It feels similar to when I hear a song and it carries me away to an old feeling or memory. The one problem is that I sometimes paint until 2:00am and then tend to the baby all night. I often get lost in the process and lose track of the time.

Christi Brittain paintingWhat aspect(s) of yourself does it allow you to express?

My art mainly focuses on the empowerment of women as well as the abstract quirky thoughts that I have from time to time. I was raised by a very strong mother and her beautiful lady friends. I also have a group of women that I am very close to. By being there to watch these ladies blossom, and sometimes struggle, I have been inspired and empowered. I incorporate my life experiences as well as theirs into my work.

6 year-old Christi and Mom

6 year-old Christi and Mom

How has this work affected or changed your life?

I feel more centered and connected to those around me. I think that a large part of this is because I get a chance to really relax and unwind during my painting time. It has helped me to stay spiritually connected and it gives me something new to be excited about.

How does it inform your interpreting?

I have more patience and compassion when I am not stressed out. When I come to work I feel more at ease and I’m able to direct my thoughts to ideas for my next painting in between jobs/calls. This helps me to let go of the last job/call and be mentally prepared for the next. I’m also learning new art vocabulary, which is never a bad thing when it comes to interpreting!

Free Your Spirit Freckles N' Toes Painting

Why do you do this work? What’s your motivation for doing it?

I paint because it is fun and it makes me feel amazing.

Which of your values does it represent?

All of them! That is the neat thing about art. I can incorporate anything I want into it.

What advice do you have for someone just beginning to align their work with their heart?

Embrace it! Don’t be scared, just trust the process. As one of my paintings says,

“Believe in Possibility.”

Believe in Possibility Freckles N' Toes Painting

This is the third post in a series on interpreters who are putting their hearts back at the center of their work. To read other stories and get inspired toward the life of your dreams, click here. If you’d like to be featured or know an interpreter who’s doing something great please email me!