Reports show record-high stress levels and wellbeing concerns for individual’s stemming from the pandemic. Pandemic related trauma, whether it be losing a job, a home, or even a loved one, will continue to impact not only those directly affected but also those witnessing events as bystanders.
How do Language Professionals, who may witness such trauma, equip themselves to continue vital work without sacrificing their own care? And how can Language Service Providers provide support for Language Professionals through such turbulent times?
In a panel discussion hosted by MasterWord, the Wellness Connection 2022 webinar “examines the heart from a physical, emotional, and spiritual lens, and explores how science and spirituality both give us tools for healing from stress and heartbreak.” Dr. Chaoul
The panel of diverse professional perspectives included Ludmila Golovine, CEO of MasterWord Services, Dr. Alejandro Chaoul, Director of the Mind Body Spirit Institute at the Jung Center of Houston, Juanita Campbell Rasmus – pastor, author, and speaker, and Mauricio Obón Dent MD, Cardiology Director at Hospital Metropolitano in San Jose, Costa Rica. They brought to the discussion real-world experience helping those in trauma-facing professions learn to care for others while maintaining their own health.
During the event, the panel reviewed three facets of the heart:
- The heart is physical. Science shows that long term stress causes considerable damage to the most vital organ in our body.
- The heart is spiritual. Meditation and prayer can connect us to our heart center, leaving us grounded, focused, and recentered.
- The heart is our emotional center. Our emotions affect our physical health. Overwhelming sadness, anger, joy, and grief can all be felt in our heart and chest.
Practical strategies to help us process emotions experienced while witnessing trauma
Interpreters often bear witness to (and absorb) deep grief when interpreting for refugees, crime victims, medical patients, and traumatized children.
The panel suggest the following strategies to help process such emotions:
- Accept all the hurt emotions we encounter to begin to process them. Welcome and accept these emotions into our bodies. Once we acknowledge these emotions, we can begin to process them.
- Work through feelings alone or with others. Whether we talk it through with someone we trust, keep a journal, meditate, give ourselves permission and grace to feel every feeling is key to expanding our hearts.
- Give yourself space and time. In giving our feelings the space they deserve, we minimize stress. Negative emotions build up and our bodies keep the score. Letting anything fester or build up will only increase stress and its long-term negative effects. When we allow our feelings to come and go, we create more space to foster positive emotions that lead to growth.
- Find ways to enjoy your life, with gratitude. If anger or sadness has taken up valuable real estate in our heart, we leave little room for gratitude and joy. Processing our feelings in a way that helps us heal will transforms us into more self-compassionate and loving global citizens.
How can leadership help interpreters at LSPs?
Leadership can increase connection points between interpreters and mentors (both freelancer and staff), encourage and enable work-life balance, and provide tools and training for coping with unexpected traumatic experiences.
Language Professionals can use various strategies to help manage emotions when witnessing traumatic events. Looking at the heart in both physical and emotional perspectives will help to process emotions and help you to heal.
MasterWord helps companies to operate globally in whatever language that may be. We are the fastest growing woman-owned LSP in the world, having spent the last 30 years growing the reach and impact of Fortune 500 companies and public institutions across energy and engineering, healthcare, life sciences, government, technology, insurance, finance, and education.
Upcoming webinar for Language Professionals: Trauma Informed Interpreting, 16 November 2022
Interpreters often facilitate communication for vulnerable populations, including those who have experienced trauma. How can you more effectively provide language access to those who have experienced trauma? Join us in exploring the answer from the interpreter’s perspective and strategies for navigating what can be challenging situations.