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Cultivating Resilience Practice 4: Healthy Boundaries

Red and white "Do Not Enter" Sign posted on a road

Editor’s Note:

Bold Blind Beauty is thrilled to share with you snippets from Becky Andrews’ new book “Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal.” Adversity strengthens and builds resilience; Becky will share weekly practices to help us become more resilient. ~Steph

When we learn how to become resilient, we learn how to embrace the beautifully broad spectrum of the human experience. 

~Jaeda Dewalt

This quote strikes me each time I read it with the depth of its meaning. To cultivate our resilience takes us to a place of beauty, connection, and a deeper human experience. Thanks for joining me in this journey of cultivating our resilience. I think of it as a muscle that we are called upon to strengthen throughout our lives. Certainly, now in this time of added collective challenges and losses we are experiencing the call to cultivate our resilience.  

Let’s review our cultivating resilience practices thus far.

And now, we are on to Practice Four: Setting Healthy Boundaries

Surround yourself with people who are supportive to you in your journey.

There is a universal need:  to feel I am of worth, my feelings matter and someone really cares about me. When we feel understood, validated, and cared for it fuels our ability to be resilient.  

What is a boundary? It is the limits we set with others and for ourselves of what is okay and not okay for us. Unhealthy boundaries involve a disregard for your own and others’ values, wants, needs, and limits. Setting boundaries can be challenging at times. This quote by Brene Brown reminds me of the kindness of clear boundaries both for ourselves and others.    

“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment “ 

~Brene Brown

Healthy Boundaries are important anytime. When we are experiencing challenging times they are essential.  Boundaries are about giving and receiving. When you need help, it’s also okay to ask for it. When you have support and ask for it, it’s a proactive and prosocial behavior. And, as you are able to you are also able to offer help as you can.  

A few questions to reflect upon as you look at your boundaries.  

What do you want to say yes to? What boundaries do you need to put in place to put these yes’ into place? Is there something you need to say no to in order to create space for the yes? These are some questions to reflect upon as we look at boundaries.  

This is a helpful guide on boundaries from Dr. Dana Gionta:

10 Ways to Build and Preserve Better Boundaries

  1. Name your limits. You can’t set good boundaries if you’re unsure of where you stand.
  2. Tune into your feelings.
  3. Be Direct.
  4. Give yourself permission.
  5. Practice self-awareness. Boundaries are about honing into your feelings and honoring them.
  6. Consider your past and present.
  7. Make self-care a priority.
  8. Seek support.
  9. Be assertive. 
  10. Start small.

Another list that I find to be very helpful in giving ourselves permission to establish the boundaries we need is the Assertive Rights list. 

Assertive Rights:

  • I have the right to be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect at all times.
  • I have the right to make my own decisions about the course of my life.
  • I have the right to have dreams — and to work toward making these dreams come true.
  • I have the right to feel good about myself as a person and as a woman.
  • I have the right to choose who will be my friends, whom I will spend time with, and whom I will confide in.
  • I have the right to make mistakes.
  • I have the right to change my mind.  
  • I have the right to be happy.
  • I have the right to ask for what I want.
  • I have the right to follow my own values and standards.
  • I have the right to express all of my feelings, both positive and negative.
  • I have the right to say no.
  • I have the right to determine my own priorities.
  • I have the right not to be responsible for other’s behavior, actions, feelings, or problems.
  • I have the right to my own needs for personal space and time.
  • I have the right to be in a nonabrasive environment.
  • I have the right to change and grow.
  • I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others.
  • I have the right to be uniquely myself.

Taken from A Women’s Workbook: Mary Ellen Copeland, M.A., M.S & Maxine Harris, PhD

Perhaps you are wondering. Yes, these are good but how do boundaries help us in our cultivation of resilience? They are so important! If we have not created the space to honor ourselves – our emotions – our boundaries with kindness and compassion… it is hard to become transformed from our challenges. We are continued to be stretched.

There is much we cannot control. Identifying our boundaries and what we need to put in place for healthy relationships and healthy boundaries is in our control each day. It’s not easy. It is courageous and can take a lot of work. It is worth it. It is resilient.    

I would love to hear your comments about this important topic.

About The Author:

Image is described in the body of the post.
Becky Andrews

Becky Andrews is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Small Business Owner – Resilient Solutions, Inc, and founder of the Daring to Own Your Story ™ Retreats. She is also the author of Look up, move forward – her memoir of Losing her eyesight and finding her vision.  

You can follow her at:

Workbook: 

Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal will be out Fall 2020. Email Becky at becky.lpc@gmail.com to be on the waiting list or preorder.

Image Descriptions:

  • Header: Red and white “Do Not Enter” sign posted on a roadside.
  • Becky is sitting on outdoor steps next to her guide dog, Georgie, a gorgeous yellow lab. 

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CoVid-19 TOTD #3

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HEALTH & WELLNESS

Here at Bold Blind Beauty, our goal is for you to enjoy life, and be well while doing it. During CoVid-19 we want to assist you with that, so here is our CoVid-19 Tip Of The Day. 

CoVid-19 Tip Of The Day #3

By Cheryl Minnette

By now you may have heard that the coronavirus also known as CoVid-19, is able to survive longer in a colder climate. With the warm weather closing in, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Although we are still learning about this new strain of coronavirus, this is what studies have found so far:

CoVid-19 is able to live for up to 28 days
in a refrigerated environment.

What does this mean for us as we buy our groceries and bring them home, placing them in our refrigerators? That is a great question, so here is the answer.

All grocery items brought into the home
should be externally sanitized,
prior to storing.
Especially items to be refrigerated.

This can easily be accomplished by using a virus disinfecting cloth, such as Clorox disinfecting wipes. Wiping down the exterior of all packaging will assist in ensuring that the virus is removed. When using, be sure to follow the manufacturers’ instructions. 

As always, our first concern at Bold Blind Beauty during this global pandemic is the safety of all. If this information is helpful to you, please let us know in a comment below.

Image Description:

Scrabble cubes spelling out the word “Precaution” on a black background.

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Cultivating Resilience Practice 3: Strengths

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Editor’s Note: Bold Blind Beauty is thrilled to share with you snippets from Becky Andrews’ new book “Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal.” Adversity strengthens and builds resilience; Becky will share weekly practices to help us become more resilient. ~Steph

Practice Three:  Utilizing YOUR Strengths in your resilience.  Being authentically you.  

Checking in as we share practice three of cultivating your resilience. I hope you are giving yourself permission to feel (practice one.) Then, practice two to offer ourselves self-compassion and nurturing through our challenges. We could spend so much time sharing further about these two practices. However, for the sake of space, we will go on. (If you want, join me for our course — to learn more!  Details below.)   

We will introduce our third practice today. This practice is about being authentic to you and your strengths. It is about utilizing the strengths that YOU possess in your resilient plan. We all have strengths that can help us navigate the challenging times. Strength focus affirms our potential and it resonates with our authentic self. Sometimes when we are in the midst of that difficult time we may not recognize these strengths. They are there and unique to us. Take a pause and reflect on your Character Strengths. 

The 24 character strengths are: 

Appreciation of Beauty, Spirituality, Gratitude, Hope, Forgiveness, Humility, Prudence, Self-regulation, Citizenship, Fairness, Leadership, Love, Kindness, Social Intelligence, Bravery, Persistence, Integrity, Vitality, Creativity, Curiosity, Open-mindedness, Love of Learning, Perspective, and Humor. 

You may recognize your top strengths from this list and how they have helped you in a time of challenge. There is an excellent, free test: the VIA Character Strengths to understand what your strengths are:  www.viacharacter.org. After taking this test, your Signature Strengths (your top five) will be identified. Dr. Ryan Niemiec explains in his book: The Strengths-Based Workbook for Stress Relief, “Character strengths are the positive parts of your personality that define who you are and help you reach positive outcomes. They make up what is best in you — when you are at your best, your character strengths are right there helping you along the way. When you are suffering – overcome by stress, facing difficult emotions, or lost in an argument – your character strengths can be unleashed.”  

So, let’s take a short break while you go take the free character strength test: www.viacharacter.org (The website has amazing resources and information at a later time you can peruse if you like.) 

Welcome back :)! 

Now, to explain further. Your top five strengths are your signature strengths. These are the strengths that are the most energizing and easiest for you to use. They are the ones we can rely on to help us cultivate our resilience. Dr. Niemiec indicates these are most likely to involve the three E’s  Essential, Energizing, and Effortless.   

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is
not enough, we must do.” 

~Goethe

We can know our strengths, we can understand our strengths and then the real benefits come when we put our strengths to use and utilize them in our resilience plan.  

So, this week choose one of our signature strengths and use it in a new novel way, no matter how small each day.  

Some examples may be – someone shared that one of their Signature Strengths is the appreciation of beauty. So, working from home at this time, she created her workspace as a place of beauty. This increased her resilience at this time and was effortless, energizing, and essential for her. Another example may be if someone’s top strength is the love of learning. This again will fuel them during a challenging time to increase their learning. A client chose to take an online course during this time of increased time of isolation to connect with others and also give himself an opportunity to use that strength of learning. Another client used her top strengths as affirmations for her. “I am grateful. I am a leader. I am kind. I am love. I am fair.” Our signature strengths resonate with us and are grounding even in challenging times.  

There is so much we can do with our strengths. They are within us. They are our guiding force to utilize in challenging times. Remember they are what is energizing, essential, and effortless for us.  

  • Strength spotting. Take a moment to pause and think of your strengths and spot them in you. Notice how you are using them and acknowledge specifically in journaling or sharing with someone you trust. 
  • Strength priming. In preparing for a challenging time – reflect on one of your strengths you can bring into that moment. For example, preparing for that presentation. If gratitude is one of your top strengths, you may find it helpful to prime with the character strength of gratitude and acknowledge to yourself for a moment the sense of gratitude for being there able to deliver this presentation.  
  • Tend to the end. Each evening take note of what went well in the day. Be specific as you reflect on the good things that came about in the day. Then, ask yourself what part you played in that good thing happening and what strength you utilized in this process.  
  • A meditation to help. Pause. Take in a deep breath. I am (fill in with a signature strength). Breathe out visualizing how this character strength will help you in this day.

Cultivate Your Resilience Telehealth Course Info:

Cultivate your resilience, telehealth course, 6 sessions – every other week, beginning Tuesday, June 9th at 6 PM MST, $25 for full course; Group facilitated by Becky Andrews, LCMHC.  Email Becky at becky.lpc@gmail.com to join us. Group limited to 10.  

Summary

As always, our first concern at Bold Blind Beauty during this global pandemic is the safety of all. Leave us a comment with your strengths and how you utilized them this week.  

About The Author:

Image is described in the body of the post.
Becky Andrews

Becky Andrews is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Small Business Owner – Resilient Solutions, Inc, and founder of the Daring to Own Your Story ™ Retreats. She is also the author of Look up, move forward – her memoir of Losing her eyesight and finding her vision.  

You can follow her at:

Workbook: 

Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal will be out Fall 2020. Email Becky at becky.lpc@gmail.com to be on the waiting list or preorder.

Image Descriptions:

  • Header: Multicolored, multi-fonts, word cloud image from http://www.viacharacter.org consists of all the character strengths identified in this post.
  • Becky is sitting on outdoor steps next to her guide dog, Georgie, a gorgeous yellow lab. 
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Being Deaf-Blind During COVID-19

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Editor’s Note:

Here at Bold Blind Beauty our mission to “Improve humanity by changing the way we perceive one another” begins with empathy. Our values rest on the four pillars of P.I.E.R. (Passion, Inclusion, Equity, and Respect). We are passionate about breaking barriers, embracing inclusion, seeing people as individuals, with huge doses of respect. The awesomeness of our world is knowing each of us is unique and our journey through life differs from person to person.

Today, we are pleased to share with you an article written by Casandra Xavier. Casandra will share her perspective on living through the COVID-19 pandemic as a person who is DeafBlind. ~Steph

Being Deaf-Blind During COVID-19

By: Casandra Xavier April 17, 2020

There are going to be challenges for the DeafBlind when it comes to touching objects and people during this pandemic which will feed into additional isolation. Most DeafBlind people experience variations of deafness and blindness. For those who rely completely on touch of persons or things, it would be highly recommended that they keep their hands cleaned and protected at all times as well as their faces. If that is not possible, they would have to avoid people at all costs. When it comes to handling objects; it’s going to be another process of making sure they are able to avoid cross-contamination. I do not believe we would be able to take the new limits of isolation very well. It’s bad enough that we are already isolated within our own DeafBlindness even in large crowds. Some folks are already used to being completely alone while others would have no choice but to adjust. 

In my experience as a 30yr old Deaf-Blind woman living in Boston, MA, I would not be severely impacted by the new limits of not being able to touch people or objects. I have some vision and hearing remaining and I am used to being forced to navigate around barriers in life. I’ve been fortunate with the ability to find ways around complications as best as possible. If I cannot touch someone for the use of ASL (American Sign Language), I would be able to use “close vision signing” in good lighting. If I cannot touch an object, I would protect my hands with disposable gloves. The coronavirus only forces me to tap into my creative ways for avoiding problems in the long-run. I use various sources of assistive technology for distanced communication. When I want to track my stops on the buses before the outbreak, I would use my braille display with a stop tracking app. The app tracks all stops and routes in real-time as we move. I am able to keep the braille on hand and follow as everything moves. Technology for distanced communication is certainly going to replace touching people and objects for the remainder of this virus and beyond. 

If a DeafBlind person caught COVID 19 and needed to seek medical attention, there is a high chance that there would be a massive communication barrier. All medical staff would have their faces covered by masks and most DeafBlind people read lips if hearing voices are difficult. If someone still has hearing and uses amplification devices, it would be best for medical staff to speak louder and clearly if an interpreter is not going to be available. Medical treatment would be critically slower for all parties.  

As far as programs to assist the DeafBlind, there is a nationwide equipment distribution program known as “ICC” which stands for “ICanConnect” for the DeafBlind. ICC is covered by the FCC which allows anyone living with blindness and deafness to receive distanced communication electronics such as phones and computers and such to communicate with anyone they wish.  

If a deafblind individual needed to visit the hospital for any reason and communication is severely limited, there may be a few workarounds. There are a few apps that are accessible to those who use braille devices. The first app is called, “Ava” and it is a transcription app that translates spoken English into a written format which can be used with a braille display. Ava can be used on both iOS and Android devices. The second app is called, “BuzzCards” from Sorenson VRS for iOS and Android. BuzzCards is basically a communication app that can be used to request or communicate. I use all of the above for different situations. 

I am an assistive technology trainer for the blind and visually impaired in Boston and this pandemic has side-swiped my ability to teach anyone face to face. I currently have to train my students remotely and that is a longer process for both me and my students. I communicate with a variation of methods. I use American Sign Language as well as voice. I read braille and blindness-related technologies. I use a Bluetooth hearing aid that is able to connect to my iPhone for streaming media if needed. I used to be able to use SSPs (Support Service Providers) and ASL interpreters for organized events but I cannot do that anymore because of COVID-19. I now have to strategize around the complete lack of help, completing outdoor tasks take much longer. If I cannot find what I am looking for, I end up going home without it. I leave because I am afraid of someone coming near and possibly spreading the Coronavirus to me without knowing. 

My main concern for the DeafBlind people who end up needing medical attention would be the ability to communicate properly with the medical staff. I fear that the medical staff would not know the best practices for helping DeafBlind. Their faces are covered in masks and they are not able to touch the patient or their electronics to relay any communication back and forth.

It’s hard enough helping someone who is either deaf or blind. If you are Deaf, there may not be an interpreter available or the CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) services may not work properly. If it is a blind person who ends up in the hospital, most staff are strangely uncomfortable with the thought of helping a blind person. The biggest challenge is helping someone who has a combination of blindness and deafness. Honestly, I hope I would not have to visit the hospital because of COVID 19 or during the pandemic. I sincerely hope no DeafBlind person would have to be in the medical facility during this disaster at all.

Final Commentary

Understanding that each of our life’s experiences can be vastly different from another brings us closer to empathy. Remaining open and curious to the idea that every person is unique helps us to be more compassionate with others. This means letting go of our preconceived ideas and respecting differences.

During this unprecedented time, have you considered the challenges people with disabilities might encounter?

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The image is a slip of paper stuck on a corkboard that says “Care = Empathy.”