Tag Archives: interpreters

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

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November 2020 at Burnout Proof Academy

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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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

 

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

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

Pull the Weeds | Self-Care Strategies for Fear part 5

This is part 5 in a series on Self-Care Strategies for Fear. You can find part 1 here, part 2 herepart 3 here, and part 4 here.

painting with black, red, and white smears with the quote "All war belongs on paper" by byron "katie" reid Tag: reappraisal self-care strategies

Image by Jolenee Born

Thoughts can grow like weeds

In our minds, unchecked thoughts can grow like weeds. It’s so easy for them to be constantly playing in the background, orchestrating and puppeteering our decisions and behaviors, rarely questioned or examined…flying under the radar. 

Try this experiment now: take your attention from reading these words and turn it toward your mind. Become aware of your thoughts – the steady narration that’s happening in your mind. What’s it saying? 

All of the ideas and beliefs you’ve soaked up since childhood are still operating today in the depths of your psyche as your operating system. Many of them are flat-out lies. This inner narration is programmed by your operating system. As you bring your attention to your inner narration, you have the opportunity to uncover your own operating system and the beliefs that undergird it.

Some of mine that I’ve discovered over the years:

“I’m annoying. No one wants to listen to me.”

“People who are angry are dangerous.”

“Any noise in the night is definitely someone breaking into our house.”

“No one will ever really understand me.”

“Prioritizing myself and my own needs is selfish.” 

 

Reappraisal Self-Care Strategies for Fear

blurry black and white picture of a person wearing a shirt with a fuzzy collar holding head, closing eyes, and screaming Tag: reappraisal self-care strategies

Photo by Callum Skelton

Thoughts, running wild and unchecked in our minds, are tricky and cunning – but thoughts on paper are lifeless and still. Getting these thoughts out of your head and onto the page is one of the best ways to weed your garden.

Once they’re on the page, ask them some questions. In mental health coaching we call this “reappraisal.” This is an opportunity to look again at something you took to be 100% true without really questioning it – or – at something you learned during a different time in your life when this belief helped to keep you safe, but maybe now is outdated and not as useful.

Ask:

“Is it 100% true?”
“Whose yard am I in?”
“How do I feel when I’m believing this thought?”
Name the emotions and sensations.

You can tell a weed based on its effects on your life. Weeds zap our energy. They contribute to us feeling disempowered, anxious, depressed, and unmotivated. Examining the truth of these thoughts and their effects on your body, mind, and spirit is a major step toward cleaning up your garden and freeing up your energy.

Questioning our thoughts and re-appraising their usefulness and truth can be difficult, especially if the beliefs were planted long ago or have trauma associated with them. Be very, very gentle with yourself as you do this work, and reach out for support if you feel scared, overwhelmed, or stuck. Having a neutral and steady person with you as you weed your garden can be so helpful. 

Resources for working with your thoughts

  1. How to Deal with Anxiety from The News – NPR Life Kit
  2. The Work of Byron Katie
  3. Get it Off: What to do when your work gets stuck to you – Burnout Proof Academy course
  4. All or Nothing Thinking – The Life Coach School Podcast episode #325 
  5. The Calling – Greatest Hits log exercise – Rha Goddess

Tiny Action

This activity comes from Burnout Proof Bootcamp

Create a note on your phone titled ‘Thoughts’ or something more creative! If you prefer pen and paper, grab a 3×5 card or pocket journal to carry around with you this week. 

When you notice a thought that accompanies stressful feelings (like the kind we talked about last week), make a note of the thought word-for-word – as if you’re narrating. At the end of the day, your list might look like this:

screenshot of iphone screen notes app with black background and white text: Thoughts Maybe she didn't hear me? Maybe I wasn't clear? This is my opportunity for connection with her I have to take it. She needs me. She might not be OK without me. I can put off what I need for just a minute. I don't want her needs to seem unimportant to me. She doesn't care about my needs. I've taught her not to care about my needs. This is my fault. I feel so stuck. I want to be able to do this on my own but I'm scared. Something bad might happen. But I shouldn't need someone to do this for me. I have so much to do this week. I'm already tired and the week has barely started. Tag: reappraisal self-care strategies

Next week: Plant new seeds

Once you’ve pulled the weeds, don’t leave bare ground to erode or to become re-infested with weeds. Next week we’ll look at how to identify and intentionally cultivate the helpful thoughts.

Reflection

Let us know in the comments:

What helps you become aware of unhelpful thoughts?

cluster of bright blue flowers with a purple center with blurred background of greenish-brown grass Tag: reappraisal self-care strategies

Photo by Selma Rizvić

Tend Your Feelings | Self-Care Strategies for Fear part 4

This is part 4 in a series on Self-Care Strategies for Fear. You can find part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 here.

Tiger laying on the ground with stars above its head. Six circles of varying colors with words inside: Text: Emotional Regulation 101 @seerutkchawla, Name it, Accept it is happening, Pause, breathe, delay response, Self-soothe, Be curious, compassionate, honest, Allow it to run it's course, Tag: tend feelings self-care strategies

Emotional Regulation 101 @seerutkchawla

Tending Feelings Self-Care Strategies for Fear

As you’re spending time in your garden, you’ll notice uncomfortable emotions. This might be one reason you struggle to make time for yourself.

Emotions can be very inconvenient, downright painful, and at times excruciating. 

Emotions are also called feelings, because we feel them in our bodies. Feeling things in our bodies is something that Americans in general, and white Americans 🙋 in particular, often avoid. This avoidance of feeling our feelings is at the root of many of our distraction-techniques and addictions.  

How emotions relate to burnout

The first warning light that signaled my burnout was physical pain. I was unable to sleep, run, play with my kids, do yoga, or even brush my teeth without shooting, aching, burning pain in my wrist, arm, shoulder, neck, and head. I tried all the typical physical healing modalities I had access to: supplements, physical therapy, diet, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture treatments. 

It wasn’t until I explored my experience of the pain with my own coach, that I began to uncover the years of emotions that were just sitting in my internal waiting room – begging to be heard. Together in that safe container of support, we made space for guilt, anger, sadness, regret, feelings of unworthiness, fear, and finally hope, joy, pleasure, and love. 

Emily and Amelia Nagoski wrote a whole, amazing book on this subject. They say, “Emotions are tunnels. If you go all the way through them, you get to the light at the end. Exhaustion happens when we get stuck in an emotion.”

Let that sink in.

Blue, green, yellow, brown, purple background with a heart shaped gray key at the top. Text: The stress itself will kill you faster than the stressor will - unless you do something to complete the stress response cycle. While you're managing the day's stressors, your body is managing the day's stress. It's absolutely essential to your well-being that you give your body the resources it needs to complete the stress response cycles that have been activated. Quote by Emily and Amelia Nagoski. Authors, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. Unlocking Us: Podcast with Brene Brown. Tag: tend feelings self-care strategies

Quote by Emily and Amelia Nagoski @brenebrown

Exhaustion happens when we get stuck in an emotion. 

Emotional exhaustion is one of the hallmarks of burnout, according to Herbert J. Freudenberger who coined his definition in 1974. Emotional exhaustion is described as, “fatigue that comes from caring too much for too long.” 

Of the three components of burnout, emotional exhaustion is the one most strongly linked to negative impacts on health, our relationships, and our work – especially for women or those aligned with feminine cultural norms. 

Every word of this Brene Brown podcast episode with the Nagoskis describes so beautifully how emotional exhaustion contributes to burnout and what to do about it. This is required listening or reading for every interpreter!
Burnout and How to Complete the Stress Cycle

Feelings always end

white wave crashing onto black rocks beside a mountain with blue sky behind it. Tag: tend feelings self-care strategies

Photo by Jana Sabeth

 When emotions are stored up without acknowledgment or space to be felt, they must get our attention in other ways. It can be so scary to allow these feelings to move through you. It can feel as if they’ll never leave or they’ll consume us – but I’m here to tell you: 

They always end.

 

Just like a wave, crashing on shore, feelings have a beginning, a crescendo, and a receding conclusion. The more willing and intentional we are about giving them space and ways to move, the less backlog we incur, and the more clear, present, and grounded we can be – even through our experience of them.

This Saturday, October 24th, 2020, I’ll be teaching a specific practice for completing the stress cycle and allowing emotions to move through that you can be doing throughout your day. Check out Self-Care for Stressful Times and join us!

Lean on your boundaries

When you first begin feeling your feelings, put some supports and boundaries in place to make it feel safer. Play music that helps you access the feelings that are coming up. Try this song for sadness. This one for anger. This one for disappointment. Make a whole playlist of your own. 

Keep a comfort object nearby – a pillow, soft blanket, or an essential oil. Juniper is especially helpful for fear. Set a timer, and when it goes off switch to an activity that feels comforting and safe.

Reach out to a professional – a therapist, a coach, a spiritual guide. Get support in place so that you can feel free to explore this messy, roiling mass that is our unprocessed emotions.

We’ll be talking more about ways to honor our own boundaries and to build trust with ourselves in the November Burnout Proof Saturday School workshop: Healthy Boundaries for Interpreters. Register to join us here.

Commit to staying with yourself

It can be really scary to feel some of these feelings, or you might not feel anything at all. Whatever you find here as you explore your emotions is a-okay. The most important thing is to stay with yourself. This means:

Don’t judge yourself or your experience.
Be willing to be uncomfortable.
Prioritize time and space for yourself – even if it’s just 5 minutes.
Notice that you’re still here when the feelings pass.
Allow yourself to feel proud of this scary accomplishment.

Resources for Feeling Your Feelings

  1. Burnout and How to Complete the Stress Cycle – Brene Brown with Emily and Amelia Nagoski
  2. The Dark Side of The Light Chasers: Reclaiming Your Power, Creativity, Brilliance, and Dreams – Debbie Ford
  3. 16-Second Stress-Relief for Sign Language Interpreters – Brighter Focus blog 
  4. Trying to Control Your Emotions Might Be the Problem, Not the Solution – Lyra Health blog
  5. Get right with your darkness – Mama Gena blog
  6. Understanding Your Sadness  – Michelle D’Avella YouTube
  7. The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in The Healing of Trauma – Bessel Van Der Kolk

Tiny Action for This Week

Set a timer for 5 minutes and be with your feelings. Maybe you have a certain situation you want to focus on to inspire the feelings, or maybe they’re already simmering at the surface. Just give them space and keep breathing through them.

This may be in your bedroom or bathroom, with the door locked, in your parked car, or outside while walking or running. 

Let us know in the comments:
What helps you access and process your emotions?

9 different colored circles with text inside surrounding a quote in the middle: You might know I'm stressed if... 1. i'm lost in my feelings. i'm twisty and can't get out. 2. i'm lashing out, confronting, protecting fiercely. 3. I'm shutting down, going numb. 4. i'm trying to earn love and acceptance. 5. i'm acting recklessly, i'm moving fast, filling the void. 6. I'm doing and doing, i'm running in circles. 7. i'm taking control. i'm acting in anger. 8. i'm withdrawing, i'm quiet, i can't be reached. 9. i'm anxious, i'm saying things i don't mean. Tag: tend feelings self-care strategies

@keeleyshawart

Next Week – Pull the Weeds

In part 5 next week we’ll explore ways to identify the weeds in our thinking patterns and how to work with them when we find them. Because our thoughts feed our emotions, pulling the weeds helps to reduce how often we go through our stress cycle. 

Until then, take such good care of your precious self.

October Workshops | Burnout Proof Academy Self-Care CEUs

Happy October, dear one,

How’s your self-care holding up? If you’re like most of us, it’s probably been pretty rough this year – but it’s not too late to get some support and turn it around! 

Image: Rainbow colored geometric background. Small heart in the center. Text: Burnout Proof Academy. Online. Self-Paced. Self-Care CEUs for Sign Language Interpreters. burnoutproof.me. Tag: october workshops self-care ceus


Here are the
Burnout Proof Academy workshops + online courses available this month:


Interpretek. Interpretek is an approved RID sponsor for Continuing Education Activities. This General Studies program is offered for 0.2 CEUs at the Little/None Content knowledge level. RIC. ACET. @brighterfocus
Self-Care for Stressful Times – Our Saturday School LIVE workshop this month, worth 0.2 GS CEUs, is happening live October 24th 10:00 am – 12:00 pm pacific and will be available as a self-paced online course after that. We’ll use the Learning Zone Model to help you understand how your brain responds to stress, how to create rest and comfort during stress, and how to grow through stressful times.

 

Interpretek. Interpretek is an approved RID sponsor for Continuing Education Activities. This General Studies program is offered for 1.5 CEUs at the Little/None Content knowledge level. RIC. ACET. @brighterfocus
Burnout Proof Bootcamp – Fall session kicks off October 7th with a LIVE support session. Earn 1.5 GS CEUs in this 6-week self-paced online course that takes you deep into the causes of burnout and the resilience of self-care habits .

 

 

Interpretek. Interpretek is an approved RID sponsor for Continuing Education Activities. This General Studies program is offered for 0.1 CEUs at the Little/None Content knowledge level. RIC. ACET. @brighterfocus

 

Burnout Proof 101 – A one-hour intro to the Burnout Proof principles. This workshop was recorded September 30th, 2020, and is now available as a self-paced online course worth 0.1 GS CEUs.

 

 

Interpretek. Interpretek is an approved RID sponsor for Continuing Education Activities. This General Studies program is offered for 0.5 CEUs at the Little/None Content knowledge level. RIC. ACET. @brighterfocus
Put On Your Raincoat: Energetic Protection for Sign Language Interpreters – solidify your mindfulness habit with this 3-hour online workshop and 7-day 15-minute mindfulness practice, worth 0.5 GS CEUs.

 

 

Interpretek. Interpretek is an approved RID sponsor for Continuing Education Activities. This General Studies program is offered for 0.3 CEUs at the Little/None Content knowledge level. RIC. ACET. @brighterfocus

 

Make Time for You: A 7-Day Self-Care Reset for Sign Language Interpreters – build your self-care habit in 5 minutes a day, worth 0.3 GS CEUs. This is a great place to start if you’re feeling overwhelmed! 

 

 


Mark your calendars: a sneak peek for November

November’s Saturday School live workshop will be on Creating Healthy Boundaries, and is scheduled for November 21st 10:00 am – 12:00 pm pacific. Sign up for my weekly love notes email and be the first to find out about new workshops!

Self-care isn’t just for yourself

10% of all profit from Burnout Proof Academy courses goes directly to The Loveland Foundation – Therapy Fund for Black Women and Girls. May our self-care support the self-care of others.

I hope to see you soon! Please hit ‘reply’ with any questions, and as always – especially right now – take good care of your precious self. 

Image: pink and purple background. Text: I find myself being much more forgiving of my own shortcomings while I navigate the uncharted territory of working from home and doing VRI. I'm discovering new boundaries I want to set almost every day, which has become increasingly important now that I'm working from home. All in all, I am so glad I took this when I did, because I fear, with all the uncertainty in this moment, I would be a mess otherwise. - 2020 Burnout Proof Bootcamp Graduate @brighterfocus Tag: october workshops self-care ceus

Learn to Love ‘No’: Healthy Boundaries for Interpreters

Red background, stenciled and distressed lettering in yellow, "No". Tags: healthy boundaries interpreters

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

“No” is a complete sentence.

What do you think about that? Do you actually believe it? As a hard-core people pleaser, I thought it was total BS. I’ve had a difficult history with this tiny two-letter sentence. Every time I wanted to use it, I’d feel such a rush of guilt, pressure, and fear that I’d say ‘yes’ instead, just to avoid those feelings.

I’d think:

‘What if I upset the person I’m saying ‘no’ to?’
‘What if they don’t like me anymore? What if they think I’m inconsiderate, lazy, mean. Or what if they think that I don’t like them?!”
‘Is there any way that I could do this thing they’re asking me to do?’

I’d do anything to avoid saying ‘no,’ at the expense of my health, peace of mind, and even my relationship with the other person. Yes – even my relationships were at stake. Because, like any good people-pleaser, I was an expert at resentment. I would say ‘yes,’ to avoid saying ‘no,’ and then I would be so upset with myself that it would bleed into our relationship – I’d be upset with them by proxy.

As I became aware of the effects my unwillingness to say ‘no’ was having, there’s something that helped this lesson to sink in.

When you say “no” to one thing, you’re saying “yes” to something else.
When you say “yes” to one thing, you’re saying “no” to something else.

Ahh…now things started to get interesting! There are two sides to this coin – a relationship between what I choose to give my time and energy to and what I don’t.

I began to see that I was always saying ‘no’ to something! Just, sometimes I wasn’t aware of it. And you know what I think about awareness…it’s the first magic-key to everything we want.

Dark wall background with white neon sign, "YES YES". Tags: healthy boundaries interpreters

Photo by Michèle Eckert on Unsplash

Start with ‘Yes’

Saying ‘no’ is a bazillion times easier when you’re clear on what you’re saying ‘yes’ to instead. Know your top priorities. Identify your values or guiding principles.

If you’ve already identified that one of your core values is ‘family’, and you get a job request at the same time that your child has a special dance performance, it’s easier to know which to say ‘yes’ to (the dance performance!).

If your focus for the month is on improving your organizational systems for your business, and you come across a parenting conference that sparks your interest, you can check with your current priorities to know that the parenting conference can wait until next year. You’re saying ‘yes’ to sticking with your organizational focus.

Ask for Time

Jiu jitsu is one of my favorite sports. One of the reasons is because being good at it doesn’t rely on strength or size. Practitioners who excel are masters at using natural forces of gravity and leverage to assist their bodies in subduing their opponents.

Background half pink, half blue, with an old fashioned alarm clock in the middle. Tags: healthy boundaries interpreters

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

Here’s a jiu jitsu move for learning to love ‘no’:
Ask for time to consider the request.

Practice these phrases:

“Let me think about it.”
“Let me check in with my  priorities/needs/calendar.”
“I’ll get back to you.”

And don’t forget your love or kind regard for the person to whom you’re speaking! Put these phrases together with your genuine feelings, and you become a master at communicating your boundaries in a way that actually strengthens relationships.

“Thanks so much for the invitation! Let me check in with my priorities for that week and I’ll get back to you tomorrow. Does that sound ok?”

Take action

Here’s something you can do today to baby-step your way toward learning to love no:
Download the “Hell, YES!” Checklist, and use it to help you tune into your inner “YES.”
Comment below to share what you use it for and how it goes.

Reflection

Grab your journal and reflect:

  • What, in the last week, did you want to say ‘no’ to, but didn’t?
  • When you think of that moment that you wanted to say ‘no’, what feelings and sensations were you having in your body?
  • What did you actually want to say ‘yes’ to, in that situation?
  • If you had a ‘do-over’, what would you rather have said?

Healthy Boundaries for Interpreters

Four resources to deepen your exploration with healthy boundaries:

Nope Hand Lettering On Wood and Glass. Tags: healthy boundaries interpreters

Photo by Daniel Herron on Unsplash

  1. Register for Burnout Proof 101 – A live one-hour webinar workshop exploring boundaries, joy, energy and more. Sept 30th, 2020. 0.1 CEUs.
  2. Self-Care: Thriving in Times of Uncertainty – RID VIEWS Nov 2019 Self-Care column with tips for tending to the body, mind, and heart during stressful times.
  3. Brene Brown’s advice on how to set boundaries – article from Brene Brown on setting boundaries
  4. Boundaries with Brene Brown – YouTube interview with Brene Brown

We are all in this together, dear one, and we need your deepest inner knowing and wisdom engaged as we work to create this equitable new world. Take it one tiny baby-step at a time, and remember I’m here to support you!

Sending so much love today and every day.
xo,
Brea

16-Second Stress-Relief for Sign Language Interpreters

Where do you hold tension and stress in your body, and what do you do to relieve it?

Image: mural painted in bright colors blue and red, of a man with an open mouth and hands by his face. The photographer's note reads: When we visited Utö, the most outer island of this beautiful archipelago in the place we call Finland, I allowed myself to be guided by the incredible energy of Inca, the daughter of the family we were visiting there. She took me to a series of abandoned bunkers from the times this island was a military strategic point and there I found this graffiti that represent very well the feeling of all that has to do with military, war, conflict and drama. With love from Korpo. Tag: stress-relief interpreters

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

Whether you’re in wildfire land, hurricane territory, or somewhere in between, you’re likely feeling tension and stress in your body.

Tension is energy trapped in the body.

Potential movement that, on its way somewhere else, got stuck. Tension signifies the places in our bodies where we’re resisting reality internally, but not yet moving to act in a helpful, empowering way externally.

Internal resistance opposing external stagnancy can create a fixed mindset, sense of disempowerment, and bodily discomfort. It often feels like we’re gripping something tightly.

Stress-Relief for Interpreters: Move the Body, Free the Energy

Movement can be a powerful tool for healing, when we’re suffering from tension and stress.

This can look like: shaking – parts or all of your body – gently or vigorously, bouncing, dancing, stretching, massaging, scraping, pleasuring, flexing, and so much more.

In order to tend to our tension, we must first know it’s there. Developing mindful awareness in your daily life can help you to become more responsive to your body’s cues so that these spots don’t stay stagnant for so long. 

Breathing is an accessible and easy way to bring gentle movement into areas of tension. Here’s one quick and powerful way to do it, even while interpreting.

Check out the video at the end of this post where I walk you through the process.

Triage Care: The 4×4 One-Breath Body Scan

This practice is a combination of two techniques. Let’s look at each separately first.

Part 1: Square, Box, or 4×4 Breathing

This breathing technique has many names, because it’s just that good. And it’s super-simple. Square Breathing stress-relief for interpreters. Image: solid teal background, white square outline with arrows pointing clockwise and a countdown timer from 4 to 1. Every 4 counts, different words are highlighted. Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out. Hold.

  1. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4.
  2. Hold that breath for a count of 4.
  3. Exhale through your nose or mouth for a count of 4.
  4. Hold empty for a count of 4.

That’s it. 

Practice this a few times, syncing your breathing pattern with the visual, and you’ve got it. As a side note, notice how your body feels after a few cycles of this breath.

Part 2: Body Scan

Typically the body scan is taught as a longer relaxation experience – and it’s fantastic as that. When my kids were little, they would ask me to guide them through this as they prepared for sleep. A good body scan can take 10 minutes+ to go through, and can leave you feeling as soft as warm putty when you’re done. It goes like this:

  • Get centered and grounded. Feel your connection to the surface beneath you. Feel it holding and supporting you. 
  • Bring your awareness to the top of your head, feel your scalp, forehead, face, jaw, ears, and back of head. Notice any area of tension and let it relax. Don’t force, just allow.
  • Slowly move your awareness down your body to each part, one after the other – noticing any tension and allowing it to release – until you get to your toes.

This practice can take as long as you want it to. It’s especially good during a long break or just before bed. But sometimes we need more frequent and short ways to care for ourselves.

Here’s where the triage care magic is: put them together.

  1. While inhaling through your nose for a count of 4, let your awareness scan your body for areas of tension. As you practice this, the breathing + scanning becomes more automatic – it might feel clunky at first. That’s ok. Over time you’ll get to know the areas where you hold your tension, so you can hone in on them more quickly and easily. When you find those areas of tension, start directing your breath right into them, like a funnel. Find the center of the tension and imagine that you’re filling it like a balloon with healing, supportive oxygen.
  2. Hold that breath, letting the oxygen do its work in each area of tension, for a count of 4.
  3. As you exhale through your nose or mouth for a count of 4, allow each balloon to deflate, carrying with it the tension that was stored in that muscle. 
  4. Hold empty for a count of 4, focusing on the relaxation of each spot.

If you take 4 seconds with each part of the breath, this has taken you 16 seconds.
Can you take 16 seconds to care for yourself a few times today?

Tag: stress-relief interpreters. Image: black circle outline remains static, while inner blue-filled circle expands and contracts in the 4x4 rhythm  


Burnout Proof Academy Saturday School Workshops are coming!

Registration is open for Self-Care for Stressful Times!

Join us live for the two-hour workshop on October 24th, 2020 from 10:00 am – noon pacific, or watch the recording and connect with others in our online portal anytime after, for 0.2 GS CEUs.

We’ll use the Learning Zone Model to illustrate how our brains respond to stress, talk about how to create practices of rest and comfort during stress, and how to grow even during stressful times. 


The Secret to Triage Care

Triage care isn’t helpful if you don’t practice it. This is where your habit-solidifying skill comes in! BJ Fogg, habit-creation researcher and founder of Tiny Habits, teaches a simple three-part approach to making healthy habits more automatic:

Cartoon drawing of a person lying on their stomach on the ground. Thought bubble above first image says "I should really do some exercise.". Second image shows person with arms outstretched to reach a bag labeled "snacks", with a thought bubble above that says, "That'll do." Credit: Gemma Correll Tag: stress-relief interpreters

  1. Make your new habit tiny – 30 seconds or less. Our 16 second one-breath body scan fits the bill!
  2. Anchor it to an existing habit – brainstorm some current habits or things you do daily automatically. For example: turning off the morning alarm, hitting ‘start’ on the coffee maker or teapot, using the restroom, washing your hands, turning on the computer, listening to the phone ring on a VRS call, waiting for a consumer, sitting on hold, brushing your teeth, or pulling up the covers at night. There are a million more. Pick one and use it as a trigger to remind you to do your one-breath body scan. For example: When I push the button to turn on my computer, I do my one-breath body scan.
  3. Celebrate – just like clicker-training a puppy, every time you complete your tiny habit – celebrate! This gives you a cascade of feel-good hormones that rewards your brain and brings you joy, making it more likely that you’ll remember and be willing to practice your habit again.

Celebration Partying GIF By Booksmart Tag: stress-relief interpretersHere’s three resources for practicing triage care and solidifying your new habit:

  1. This is not business as usual | Self-Care Strategies for Interpreting During a Pandemic
  2. Make Time for You – online self-paced course to help you build your self-care habit 5 minutes a day. 0.3 CEUs.
  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.

This video guides you through the whole triage care process.
Join us in The Burnout Proof Interpreters Collective Facebook group to catch future livestreams!

I’d love to know:

In what areas of your body do you hold tension, and what helps you to soothe it?

The equitable world we are creating begins with treating ourselves well. Thanks so much for being here with me, on this journey to taking better care of your precious self.

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.