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  • Taking a Break and Finding Your Way Back

    How to Take a Break and Find Your Way Back

    Dissociation is feeling disconnected from your body or what’s going on around you. It can happen when you feel overwhelmed by what you’re experiencing. 

    Here’s what you can do about it: At the beginning of a time when you’ll be facing something difficult, (like talking about your trauma experience, or about losses you’ve gone through as a Third Culture Kid or, hearing about someone else’s hard experience, or watching, reading, or listening to something triggering), choose something to tune into if it gets too much. 

    It’s normal to need a break. Different kinds of breaks are appropriate for different settings, so it’s good to have a set of options to choose from. 

    Practicing ahead gives you confidence and flexibility. 

    • When emotions and memories feel like too much we need a break. 

      • An unplanned break can look like 

        • Spacing out

        • Wandering off

        • Losing track of time

        • Getting distracted / Trouble concentrating

        • Checking your phone

      • A planned break could look like

        • Tuning into your senses’ experience of you (taste, temperature, clothes)

        • Put your focus into your breathing.

        • Leaving the room and cycling back in a couple of minutes (ex: bathroom break).

        • Imagine being somewhere else

        • Chosen time-limited distraction (maybe use a timer)

      • Returning

        • Tune into sense of the room (what you see, what you hear)

        • Tune into voice of the speaker

        • Notice where you are right now – globe, local map, room, seat

        • Notice yourself among us all – we are with you. 

    Practice Activity:  Take time to plan your break

    • Practice your break – Will you gather fidgets, walk out of the room, draw, breathe, imagine being somewhere else? Do it or imagine yourself doing it. 

    • Practice Returning – tune into your body, notice the room, describe to yourself where you are in space and time. Notice who/Who you are with.

    Photo by Alessio Zaccaria on Unsplash