Tag Archives: meditation

In The Waiting

Orange mid-century sofa set in front of a brightly colored painted mural, showing a ship on top of rolling ocean waves. Tag: prayer waiting

Photo by Dan Gold

Taking a break this week from our Self-Care Strategies for Fear series, to just be with the ever-shifting emotions I’m feeling as we navigate the election here in the United States. We’ll be back with part 6 next week. If you want support for being with your emotions this week, check out part 4.

For now – a prayer for the waiting, for anyone who needs it.

Presence of Love,

Please be with me today.

Soothe my nerves and help me to be gentle with myself. 

Give me focus and purpose –
even one so inconsequential as washing a dish or a window with care.

Give me the courage to feel what’s mine to feel,
to stay with myself and in my body
through the waves of emotion.
Remind me that feelings always have an end.

Give me hope in humanity,
in the miraculous and unexpected,
in my own ability to handle hard things.

Thank you for every bit of joy and comfort I find today.
May I receive it fully and use it to fuel my own pursuits of love and justice.

With love and gratitude,

xo, Breana

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.

Watch your mouth! How the stories you tell may be making you miserable.

Young woman with long brown braid, eyebrows raised, eyes wide, covering her own mouth with her hands

Today I want to talk about the stories we tell, how they actually serve to get us more stuck where we don’t want to be, and 3 steps you can take to gain traction toward thoughts, feelings, and outcomes you actually want.

Do you ever find yourself telling a story that doesn’t even feel good to tell? Maybe you’re talking to a friend over coffee, a cashier in the checkout line, or your partner during dinner. You feel compelled to describe in vivid detail what was said and done to you, in what ways your totally appropriate desires were thwarted, and all the reasons why you’re right? And when you’re done with the story, you feel all worked up, you feel more sure of your rightness than ever, but at the very same time you feel like crap.

Retelling these stories only serve to spin our tires and get us more deeply stuck in the mud. Not only do they lock us into our position, but they spin muck all over everyone within earshot (or eyeshot) of us. You’re not any closer to a resolution that FEELS good to you, and those you love who have listened to your saga feel like they were just vomited on. This is a lose/lose scenario.

Click here for the ASL Interpreted version of this broadcast

Watch your mouth! How the stories you tell may be making you m…

Watch your mouth! How the stories you tell may be making you miserable.
ASL interpreted: https://youtu.be/RkOBffwnWv0

Join me for Emotions & Oils A to Z, a journey through using essential oils to learn from and move through your emotions: instagram.com/brighterfocus

#selfcarerevolution #burnoutprooflife #oilcoach #itstartswithme #radicalresponsibility #essentialoils #meditation #emotionsandoilsatoz

Posted by Brea Hall on Sunday, October 8, 2017

3 Steps to Getting Traction

  1. Use your oils. Essential oils are a fantastic tool to help us uncover the underlying message of an emotion and allow it to move through more quickly. Here’s a protocol for setting down the story:

1 drop each

  • Lemongrass on the back of the neck
    • A powerful cleanser of emotional energy
    • Helps to release limiting beliefs
  • Eucalyptus across the forehead
    • Helps reveal patterns of thinking that lead to feel un-well
    • Encourages taking full responsibility for your well-being
  • Cardamom on top of head
    • Helps regain self control and mental clarity when frustrated with others
    • A great oil to use when you’re angry
    • Helps to stop blaming others
    • Asks us to take personal ownership and responsibility for our feelings
    • Leads to feeling more peace, calm and emotional freedom
  • Lavender on heart (center of breastbone, at the nipple line)
    • Aids in self-expression
    • Addresses deep fear of being seen and heard
    • You may believe it’s not safe to express yourself–this fear of rejection paralyzes your true voice
  • Frankincense on solar plexus (where ribs meet a few inches above belly button)
    • Reveals deceptions and false truths
    • Invites us to let go of lower vibrations and negativity
    • Helps us break down the walls from the mind and heart
    • Connects the soul with its inner light and reveals truth
  • Balance on soles of feet
    • Like the trees it’s made from, helps you come down from your overactive mind, into your roots
    • Gives stability and inner strength
  1. Meditate. Put on comfortable clothes, sit in a comfortable spot, close your eyes and breathe–ideally for 15 minutes each day. The goal of meditation is not to be without thought. The practice is to come back to your breath and stillness, without judgement, each time the mind gets distracted. When you give your nervous system this experience on a consistent basis, you may start to notice more peace, more patience, and more happiness seeping into your life. There are great resources to help you start a meditation practice: I love Abraham’s Vortex meditations, which you can find on youtube. School of Self has a great visual breathing meditationHeadspace and Calm are 2 great apps. 
  1. Get curious. Now that you’re in this calm, centered place, hold space for yourself to explore. Think of this like holding space for a friend or a child to process and learn, or how a coach would hold space for a client–asking open-ended questions and sitting in empathy. It’s great to journal as you do this, so you can look back on what you’ve learned. Some questions to consider:
    • What am I feeling?
    • What am I thinking or doing that’s causing these feelings?
    • What is my responsibility in this situation?
    • What is the guidance from my higher self or higher power?
    • Some resources I love for asking helpful questions are

As you begin to make your relationship with yourself a nurturing, loving and wise one, you are more able to interact with the world around you from a more nurturing, loving and wise place.

Please let me know in the comments how this goes for you, and join me for Emotions and Oils A to Z on Instagram. If you want to spend some more time with self-care, here are some gifts from me to help you do that.

And may you remember: you are worthy of your love and care.

The Oil of Divine Grace Arborvitae ~ Western Red Cedar What’s the easier way? 🌲 Love, support, and connection surrounds us always. Our narrow, limited thinking is the only thing that can cut us off from it. Arborvitae encourages us to stop resisting, trying, and fighting so hard, and instead to open to the creativity, inspiration, support, and grace that is plentiful. 🌲 When you’re feeling rigid, fearful, and desperate for control, apply a drop of Arborvitae to the top of your head. This is a fantastic oil to use during meditation to help you connect to your higher wisdom, and feel your way toward the path of least resistance. 🌲 #arborvitae #emotionsandoilsatoz #oilcoach #empoweredhealth #selfcarerevolution #feelingsguidetofreedom

A post shared by Brea Hall (@brighterfocus) on

Minding My Business: How I’m Making 2017 My Year

I don’t know about you, but right about now I’m more than a little concerned about the state of our country and our world. There are any number of terrifying scenarios that can (and do, sometimes) keep my brain running late into the night. At times the heaviness mounts to a pressure that threatens to crush my little spirit. How can we make a difference?
In these moments, especially, I lean heavily on my self-rescue toolbox. I push the pause button on my fear and I practice what I preach. I take a deep breath and channel Byron Katie: What’s my business? And I start there.
Some may wonder: How does this help? 
Well, let me tell you. When your airplane is going down and your cabin is losing pressure, you just must absolutely put on your own oxygen mask first. There is no way to be a hero, no way to comfort those around you, no way to make one smidge of difference until you are breathing yourself.
And so, here we are. In our plane which some might say is dangerously close to going down….and I’m putting on my mask.
What does that look like? You ask.
I’m happy to tell you.
Getting a Brighter Focus: Self-Rescue Blueprint
 
When I’m in need of a recalibration, this is my jam. There are probably millions of billions of ways to do each of these steps, so that’s where your own unique creativity comes in. Play with them, make it an experiment, and let me know how it goes!
 
  1. Get Quiet
  2. Think Big
  3. Start Small
  4. Give Thanks
Get Quiet
For me, this requires taking intentional space and time, alone, to just breathe and be. I absolutely must by comfy, so you’ll likely find me in slippers, soft pants, and a hoodie. I suggest you do the same. I might be biased.
Bre comfy
Spend some time, in this quiet alone space, with your breath. You might meditate. You might light a candle and sit in the dark. You might lie on your back and stare at the ceiling with your hands on your belly. You might be in a hot epsom salt bath. Whatever it is, just tune in to yourself and relax. Whenever I do this, I’m astonished by how much tension my body carries out of habit; and as soon as I notice it I feel it start to melt away. It is so magical, and so worth the 10 minutes!
During my quiet time I experiment with fun ways to help me get in touch with my spirit and the loving nature of the Universe. Pick one and start there. Some of my favorites right now:
sticky note affirmations
Think Big
 
Once I’m centered in myself and feeling calm and good, I want to take full advantage of the theta waves I’ve produced. I get to work. What to do while in this headspace?
Start Small
 
After getting all creative and big picture, it’s time to break it down. Teeny tiny bite-sized chunks is what we’re going for here. Whatever it is you just thought Big about, come up with the very smallest, very first thing you’ll need to do to scooch toward it.
Ask: What is the very next step?
 
And now, the hard part: Do that. At the very least, make a non-negotiable date in your calendar to get it done.
Give Thanks
 
Sometimes it’s easy to focus on all that didn’t go right, or what we wished we had, or on all that we’ve lost. When we can shift our focus, even just the tiniest bit, to what we do have, what went right, what gifts the challenge brought us, then a magical thing happens. We begin to take control of our own happiness. We transform our reality by changing our take on it. And it feels really fricking good in the moment. So now’s your chance…try it.
Ideas for finding gratitude:
i am only one
This process could take days or weeks, or it could take minutes. If you’re pressed for time, but committed to shifting your energy and effectiveness, make friends with your timer.
Let’s make 2017 the year we did not refuse to do the something that we could do. Will you join me?
 

Got Stress? Try This.

This is the most wonderful time of the year…right?

Jori van der Linde Illustration

Jori van der Linde Illustration

For some, it may be one of the most stressful.

If you’re feeling the pressure this holiday/election/winter/fill-in-the-blank season, here are some out of the ordinary stress-relief suggestions. If you try them, I’d love the full report!

1. Smash away your stress in an anger room.

2. Melt your holiday stress with these adorable animal live cams.

3. Invest in a smart patch that fights stress.

4. Embrace this ‘Less Stress, Greater Choice’ approach.

5. Spend 5 minutes with this neat visual meditation. 

If all else fails….curl up with a soft blanket and Will Farrell.

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