Tag Archives: self-care

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.

Embracing the Darkness

Hello dear ones,

The darkest month of the year is upon us.

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

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

And so we ask, and wait, and listen…

What am I grieving?

What am I afraid of?

What am I longing for?

What pain or discomfort do I resist?

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

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

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

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

xo, Breana


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

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

Self-Care When You’re Anxious

Three weeks ago I was writing this post, sitting with my Grandma during the final hours of her long, extraordinary life. Since that bittersweet day that we said goodbye to our matriarch, there have been countless opportunities to meet anxiety’s embrace.

Isn’t that the case everyday? Not just during the extreme moments, but in everyday life there is so much outside of our control, and there are some circumstances that trigger me to fight harder against some circumstances than others. All the while, Life seems to keep gifting me with just the right packages to highlight my own personal triggers and issues.

For as long as I can remember anxiety has been a constant companion. Being a vigilant Virgo, and the daughter of a vigilant Virgo, I am a first rate worry-wart. The way that anxiety grips my body and mind when I’m in its clutches is unmistakable – and yet, for much of my life I didn’t have a name for it.

People experience many different sensations with anxiety, some of them might be:

-Muscle tension
-Rapid heartbeat
-Irritability
-Shallow breathing
-Recurrent thoughts
-Trouble sleeping
-Restlessness
-Panic attacks

When we’re experiencing anxiety, it’s important to know it’s not just an emotional experience or a physical one – it’s a mind and body phenomenon. It can be helpful to attend to both.

First address the body

What you’re feeling in your body when you’re anxious is the result of your fight or flight response. When your brain interprets information as dangerous, it sends a message to your body to act on in order to keep you safe. This floods the body with chemicals, which we feel as emotions and physical responses. Addressing the body is like giving first aid. You can do this by:

First put one hand on your heart and one on your belly and take a deep breath.

Tune inward – give your full attention to yourself, as you would to a friend who’s hurting.

List any sensations you notice. It’s helpful to list them on paper, as this depersonalizes the emotions just a bit, but listing them silently in your head works if necessary.

Give your brain a steady flow of oxygen – which is the fastest route out of fight or flight and back into the thinking part of your brain. An easy way to do this is by “square breathing” – Count your breathing evenly 4 in, hold the breath for 4 counts, breathe out for 4, and then hold for 4 again. Repeat for 4 cycles.

Square Breathing. 4 in - Hold for 4 - 4 out - Hold for 4.

Leah Brock, LMSW. Michigan Health.

Essential Oils 

The next way to address the body and soothe the fight or flight response is to reach for your oils. Essential oils directly affect the amygdala – the flight or fight part of brain – helping to calm the central nervous system. Some oils to try:

Pressure Points

By gently applying pressure to certain points on the body you can stimulate the parasympathetic response to help your body calm down. Here are some points you can use in conjunction with your oils:

  • Hall of Impression – or third eye – on your forehead, between your eyebrows
  • Union Valley – between thumb and first finger – do not use this point during pregnancy until you’re ready to stimulate labor.
  • Base of skull

Address the mind

Often thoughts or fears are behind anxiety. Our brains love to concoct fears of “what if?…”, stories about what others think or feel about us,  and imagined catastrophies of the future.

As you tend to your mind, grab a pen and paper and freewrite-style make a list of everything on your mind – the fears, the worries, the catastrophies, the imagined judgements.

Once it’s safely on the paper (things are less scary when you bring them into the light and pin them down in ink), start by asking the question:

Can I know that this is absolutely true?

Sit with yourself, in an exercise of presence, as you give attention to your body’s signals and your mind’s stories. As you stretch the edges of what you’re able to hold, a surprising transformation begins to unfold. You deepen and strengthen the relationship you have with yourself – the love, trust and care you give to this one precious person you get to spend your life with – and that is what self-care is about.

For Us: A Love Note for Struggling Parents

I wrote this for myself, to lovingly and boldly address the part of me that sometimes believes I’m not doing a good enough job as a mother. May it feed the soothing voice in you and help to turn down the volume on your own worries.

xo, Breana

Right now is a particularly challenging time in your parenting journey, and that’s ok. Your kids are growing a lot – transitioning through adolescence into adulthood. This is new for all of you, you are all learning how to meet this new time in your lives, to grow and expand into it. Sometimes you’re at a loss — you feel scared and helpless and like you’re messing it all up — and that’s ok. It’s better than ok, it’s perfect. This is your brain, working to create new connections. Growing and evolving, pressed to its edge and actively working out new creative solutions. This is your heart, opening and expanding, becoming bigger and even more able to hold all that Life presents you.

Even while things are scary and hard, may there be parts of your parenting that you feel good about and love. May you love how lighthearted you can be with your kids, and how much fun you are able to have together. May you like how much you enjoy them and care about them deeply as people. May you appreciate your practice of seeing them as they truly are. May you acknowledge the example you set for your kids of consistently moving toward what feels better, listening to your heart and following where it leads. May you find something new everyday to love about yourself as a parent.

May you know that even while you’re scared or hurting, it’s your birthright to cultivate a space of peace inside, to know you’re doing your absolute best in every moment, and to trust that you can set down the reigns of your vigilance so that you may rest and care for yourself. You get to be human along this journey of parenting, and you get to allow your kids to be human, too. You are all fumbling forward together, learning, growing, messing up, and being people on this earth together.

Sometimes it feels so overwhelming and big, but for now, in this moment, you can do this. You can handle the unknown, the fumbling through, the worry that calls you back to presence. You can love your children fiercely, and enjoy your life and take care of yourself — even when you’re not guaranteed that they are safe or happy.

May you be willing to meet all of this. May you be willing to feel the pain of stretching and growing. May you be willing to walk yourself through right now. May you be willing to remember to let go of what you can’t control. May you be willing to catch yourself doing it wrong and course-correct. May you be willing to get better at letting things be what they are. May you be willing to learn through daily practice to take nothing personally. May you be willing to show up in love for and with them, over and over, knowing there are no guarantees. May you be willing to fall in love with the process of parenting — this journey of a lifetime. May you be willing to let them fall, let them feel the weight of their actions and to be there to love them as they deal with the consequences.

These moments can feel gut-wrenching, and you know other parents on planet earth sometimes experience circumstances with their kids that push them to their very edge. It’s ok for you to have this experience too. You’re just one more human being to know this particular painful circumstance, and you’re in good company. May you be willing to feel your oneness with all kinds of people all over the planet having this experience on different levels. You can feel compassion for them. May you flip that and extend it to yourself.

May you consider how you’re feeling now to be a part of your guidance system. Worry and guilt do not serve, and yet they call us to look at the pain — to not ignore it…to take action to relieve it. May you know that this experience serves you, that it is perfectly orchestrated for your evolution and you can trust it. May you see all of the ways that Life has carried you through so far, and know it just keeps getting better and better, the more you open and trust.

And so, may you just be in this moment — feel breath fill you with life, and smile with the joy and gratitude for getting to know these amazing beings so intimately. With appreciation for the ways Life constructs the perfect lessons to draw you toward the next right step on your unique path. And with trust that you can endure, survive, thrive-through, open-to, learn-to-love any experience Life brings.


*This piece was born out of a homework assignment given by the brilliant Jaya The Trust Coach, taken from her Expansion! class. If you’re in a time of life where you feel pressed to your edge, her wisdom and guidance can help you return to the truth of yourself and this loving universe.

“Help, I’m Sick!” Using essential oils during flu season

The same day I received my first doTERRA package in the mail, in November of 2015, I got knocked on my ass with the flu. Just like the NyQuil commercial, I was a sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy-headed feverish mess.

I knew next to nothing about essential oils–just hopeful that they would ease some of my pain from years of VRS interpreting (and they did!)–but I thought they couldn’t hurt. That flu was the best test of their powers, and by the time I had recovered I was singing their praises. They didn’t cure my illness magic-style, but they did ease the pain, help me breathe, quiet my throbbing head, and let me get enough rest that my body could do its job fighting and get me back on my feet again.

Now, when I help people get their first oils, I’m surprised by what a common story this is — to open your first box of oils just as you’re coming down with a sickness. I get asked all the time:

“How do I use my oils when I’m sick?”

I taught this mini-class on Winter Wellness so that I could share my answers with all of you loves. I outlined my notes below, but watch the whole video (15 minutes) to get the instructions. If the sickies do strike your house, I want you to know what to do and be prepared to handle it!

Using Your Top 10 Oils During Cold & Flu Season
What you need to know

Prevention Is Key

Oils that boost immune function and fight bacteria and viruses:

  • On Guard
  • Melaleuca
  • Oregano
  • Frankincense  

Additional supports for immune system:

  • PB Assist  
  • On Guard Plus softgels

When You’re Sick, Oils Can Ease the Pain

  • Breathe – soothes cough
  • Peppermint – opens airways
  • Lemon – reduces congestion
  • DigestZen – calms upset stomach
  • Deep Blue – soothes body aches and soreness
  • Lavender – calms emotions and sore skin

The Winter Wellness mini-class details how to use each oil — CLICK HERE TO WATCH

 

If you don’t yet have oils in your home and you have a pulse (99.9% of humans and pets should have essential oils in their medicine cabinet) — CLICK HERE to grab a 30-minute spot on my calendar. I promise you a zero-pressure conversation focused on your family’s needs. When it’s midnight and your kid wakes you from a peaceful slumber to tell you she puked all over her bed, you’ll be so glad you have them at the ready. Your oils won’t put the sheets in the washing machine for you, but they will soothe her tummy, help her immune system fight off the bug, and help you all get back to sleep — without worrisome ingredients or side effects.

If you want to learn more about using essential oils in your home for first aid, emotional support, personal growth, pain-relief and supporting healthy hormone-balance, follow me on Instagram here. I’m getting ready to re-launch my page with daily education and inspiration, weekly live videos and lots of love and support for you. Please let me know if there are topics you’d like me to cover!

Additional Resources

Here are two fantastic resources if you’re looking for the nerdy low-down on why oils are so darn effective:

Shannon Becker Ph.D. Essential Oils to Prevent the Spread of Flu.
Dr. Dave R. Steuer. Killing Bacteria with Essential Oils.

Stay well, loves!!

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.

1720_ElfExcited_23

If only CEUs were always this fun to earn…

I have been a staunch zero-makeup wearer and self-proclaimed low-maintenance person for many many years. I think the last time I wore makeup was in the mid-2000s, and it may have been this:
makeup
Not a look I’m ready to resurrect.
So when one of my dearest friends, acclaimed makeup artist and ITP buddy, Meredith De Leon, invited me to be a part of her workshop on using cosmetics as a tool to improve our interpreting work, let’s just say my palms got a little sweaty. I had a flashback to all those years of bad eyeliner and all-the-wrong shades of lipcolor. I wasn’t sure there was any hope for me. But, knowing Meredith, and being the ever-adventurous soul that I am, I decided to give it a go. There was something in me that harbored a tiny speck of hope…maybe I was not a lost cause.
So last week I took her workshop, and I left a changed person. I learned all of the foundational concepts about makeup that I had fumbled through and done without all those years. I brushed up and got some new resources on how to tell if your skincare and cosmetics are actually endangering your health, let alone nourishing the largest organ of your body. And most importantly, my tiny flicker of hope was fanned into a brightly burning flame. I am SO excited to add
this No-Makeup look, to my toolbox as a technique to show up more fully and confidently in life and in work.
I love Meredith’s philosophy that is not about beauty, but rather about bringing forward the best self. Taking the noise away from appearance, and finding integrity–presenting on the outside as you feel on the inside.
I’m feeling so inspired, that as soon as I saw this December offering I wanted to pass it along to you…Another strategy to add to your self-care arsenal!
meredith-workshop

Spring-Clean Your Self-Care

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

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

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

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

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

A good morning. #affirmations #doterralove #morningritual

A photo posted by @breanacrosshall on

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

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


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

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

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