Wellness Connection

By interpreters for interpreters

MasterWord Services, Your partner for any Interpreting, Translation or Language Access needs.

Interpreters often work in stressful situations, such as medical emergencies or end of life conversation, and many others. In the course of our everyday work, we can be subjected to vicarious trauma and at risk of compassion fatigue. In a collaborative effort with our network of wellness professionals from a variety of backgrounds, the MasterWord team has developed an approach to help  interpreters mitigate the risk of vicarious trauma and reduce the impact of stressors we encounter at work.  

Mind

Body

Nutrition

Tips

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“I can’t meditate!” If you’ve ever said or thought this, this article is for you.

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One of my most valuable yoga lessons came from a beginner class, where the instructor said to all the First-Time Yogis, "When I hear people say, 'I can't do yoga,' I respond by asking, 'Can you breathe? Then you can do yoga.'" The Psychologist Belisa Vranich says the same for meditation. She calls breathing "meditation for those who can't meditate." This New York Times piece simplifies the yogic principle of Pranayama, or breath control, offering a guide to "controlled breathing" that is as complicated as: "Take a deep breath, expanding your belly. Pause. Exhale slowly to the count of five....
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Wellness post

Long hours in front of a computer? Then… you should know this!

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Linguists spend a lot of time in front of a computer, in a car and on their phones. In addition, not all of us have time or energy to work out.  Sometimes we say “Oh, well… It is not a big deal!” Think about it though.  Don’t’ you want to look and feel your best? It is safe to say that the answer is “YES” for most of us. Even a very expensive outfit will not look good if your posture is bad.  Just stop for a second and observe what your posture is like right now. If you are sitting,...
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Taking Off: Three Benefits of Traveling

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As interpreters and translators, we are exposed to a variety of life situations. If you have been in this profession long enough, perhaps you have encountered specific cases in which you have felt extreme happiness and fulfillment about the job you do. I certainly have. However, I am sure that you have also lived through other experiences that have shaken you to the core. Interpreting end-of-life discussions, interpreting or translating the reports of rape victims, and re-telling the stories of refugees can bring a heavy toll in your overall well-being. These situations can cause compassion fatigue or vicarious trauma. If...
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Struggling with energy and mental clarity after lunch?

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Dr. Daniel G. Amen found “… that eliminating all simple carbohydrates at lunch (sugar, white bread or other products made from white flour such as bagels and white pasta, potatoes, and rice) can make a dramatic difference in energy and focus in the afternoon. An additional benefit of skipping sugar and simple carbohydrates at lunch is that most people do not feel hunger until dinnertime.”  He recommends eating lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and food rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as large cold water fish, walnuts, Brazil nuts, olive oil, and canola oil. Skip sugar and simple carbohydrates and don't...
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How Stress Affects our Bodies [Infographic]

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In times of “stress”, there is a cascade of neurological and hormonal messages that occur that prepare the body to react, bypassing rational thought. Sharpened mental focus Liberation of fat and glucose for fuel (delivered efficiently by excited cardiovascular system) Increased heart rate, blood pressure Slowed digestive processes (we don’t need it right now) Increased perspiration (to cool working muscles) Activated immune system (preparing to heal wounds) Decreased blood flow to the skin (reducing blood loss if we are injured) Increased muscle tone and quickened responses (to react quickly) Increased breathing Sharpened vision
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5 Minute Mini Circuit

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The benefits of physical exercise (link to presentation post) are many. Here’s a quick 5-minute circuit to elevate your heart rate and engage a variety of muscle groups that you can do anywhere! Not enough? Restart the clock and repeat the whole circuit! Side-stepping: Start with your feet together, standing up tall. Take a wide side-step with your right foot, then bring your left foot to meet it. From there, take a wide side-step with your left foot and bring your right foot to meet it. To intensify the activity, add a little jump when bringing the second foot to...
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Say “Ah”

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This practice releases stress and helps you feel more calmness and openness. Whenever you feel the need to release physical and mental tension, take a deep inhalation and exhale slowly and gently while sounding out the syllable “Ah.” This sound creates vibration within your body that eases tension and stress and opens your heart.

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Breath Counting

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Find a quiet place where you can sit or stand without disturbance or physical danger. Lower your eyelids or close your eyes completely. Take three deep breaths and relax your body as you exhale, then begin breathing naturally. When you inhale, keep your mind at ease. When you exhale, say a number in your mind. One, two, three…up to ten. Breathe at an even, comfortable pace. Make each count as long or short as your exhale naturally lasts. It is not necessary to extend your exhalation in order to extend the count. (For step 4, you can simply make a mental note of each...
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