How am I right now? What do I need right now to be prepared for this assignment? Showing up to an assignment with all of our activation means that we are not regulated enough to handle another layer of stress. Lisa outlines the importance of checking in with ourselves and tips to help us avoid shutting down, going numb, and experiencing vicarious trauma.
Lisa Dion, LPC, RPT-S
Lisa Dion is an international teacher, creator of Synergetic Play Therapy, founder and President of the Synergetic Play Therapy Institute, and host of the Lessons from the Playroom podcast. She is the 2015 recipient of the Association for Play Therapy’s Professional Education and Training Award of Excellence and the author of Aggression in Play Therapy: A Neurobiological Approach for Integrating Intensity. Lisa is also a Master Certified Demartini Method Facilitator providing education and support to individuals and organizations worldwide.
Ludmila Golovine is President/CEO of MasterWord Services, Inc., a global language solutions company. As a language professional, Golovine knows first-hand how interpreting, especially in the healthcare, social services, education, and legal arenas, may present challenges such as stress, anxiety, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. For the past 10 years, she has applied her skills as a Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and a Trained Demartini Method Facilitator to tirelessly help promote health and wellness to those in the language services industry.
Thank you for connecting. Lisa the question that we have today is, was it important to manage your emotions and knowing that we are possibly about to start helping with a challenging, interpreting encounter? What can we do before it to prepare ourselves and what can we do after, so that we’re ready to help the next person and be at our best?
Learning how to manage the intensity and the activation that we’re experiencing right now in our bodies because of all the stress and the scary things and the threats that we’re perceiving around us regularly right now with the Coronavirus is truly one of the most important things that we need to be doing right now for, for self care. And this is also true before and after we have calls. If we are still going into the hospital and facilitating a process there, know what do we need to do to get ourselves ready before that? What do we then do with our nervous systems afterwards?
So the very first thing to do is, before you get on a call, it’s important that you check in with yourself that you pause and you ask yourself this, this question. How am I right now? What I notice is happening in my body. What do I need right now, so that I can stay connected to myself so that I can be prepared and regulate through the intensity? If we miss this step, we have a high probability of just showing up for the call, or showing up at the hospital, and we have all of our activation and it’s just walking in with us. And then we’re not regulated enough to then handle a whole other level of stress and nervous system activation that we’re gonna feel from everybody else. And so we’re already setting ourselves up for an experience of too much and likely what will end up happening is that you will find that you won’t be able to facilitate the process very well or you’ll get through it and then you’ll feel exhausted afterwards. Or you’ll find yourself at the end the day feeling really irritable, wanting to shut down, wanting to zone out, not wanting to engage with other people in your life because you’re nervous system it just couldn’t take. It was just too much throughout the day. So before you go in, to, to a call before you head into the hospital, I want you to stop. I want you to pause. I want you to ask yourself, how am I doing right now? And I want you to take the answer that comes up really seriously and give yourself permission to do something about it.
So the second question would be, what does my body need? That’s different than what do I need? It’s what does my body need? Does my body need to move right now? Does my body need to stretch? Do I need to get something to eat? Do I need to get, um, a cup of cold water? Do I need to lay on the floor for five minutes and just do some deep breathing? Do I need to just, just able to say out loud, wow, I’m having a really hard time. This is a really challenging day. Like what, what does your body need? And listen to it and give yourself permission for 30 seconds, maybe a minute, but at minimum 30 seconds And give your body what it’s asking for.
So start there as you then head into the call. Make sure that you are regulating during the call, that you are actively regulating your nervous system and keeping yourself centered and grounded, which I’ll remind does not mean calm. It just means that you’re connected with whatever you’re experiencing inside. And then when you finish that call or when you leave the hospital, I want you to ask yourself again. how am I doing? How is my body doing? Which is the more important question. And then what does my body need right now? And don’t blow past that answer. Really stop and listen. Your body is speaking to you. If you ignore it, you’re going to build up, build up, build up intensity and the stress response in your own physiology. And you will feel at over time, you will start to shut down, numb out. You actually set yourself up even more for getting sick for, you know, compassion, fatigue and vicarious trauma down the road. But so it’s really important that you stay attentive to what your, what your body needs.
So take care of yourself before, during and after, and keep that rhythm going throughout your day. Remember, the question is, in this moment, what does my body need? And then give it to yourself for at least 30 seconds. It’s self love, it’s self-care. It’s exactly what needs to happen right now to help you get from here to there.