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What to Know About Trauma with Lindsay Poelman [episode 111]

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If you work with humans, you work with trauma. There’s no avoiding it- as most of us have experienced some kind of trauma in our lives. That’s why it is important for us to talk about trauma and understand trauma.

On today’s episode I’m talking with trauma-informed life coach Lindsay Poelman about what all of us should know about trauma and how we can improve our life by understanding trauma better.

Lindsay Poelman is a Facilitator for Trauma-Informed Coaches. Lindsay has worked with women in trauma for over 5 years and she now trains coaches to do the same—so that they too can provide the deep and safe healing possible for clients across the board who have experienced trauma.

She currently runs an Advanced Relationship Trauma Certification Program for Coaches with a curriculum she put together with a Trauma Therapist. Lindsay has a vision of the whole world being trauma-informed in order to better support personal healing.

On this episode we dive into how understanding the nervous system AND our trauma goes hand in hand. We discuss the benefit of understanding how both our mindset AND our body plays into burnout, overwhelm, self judgment, and shame- learn to work WITH our Body, not Master it. 

We discuss how thoughts are informers not errors. By better understanding our thoughts, we can better understand our trauma and be informed on how to improve our mindset and situation.

Lindsay explains the purpose and importance of having a trauma-informed mindset and all the benefits we can bring into our life by understanding our traumas.

With Lindsay’s experience and expert background knowledge and experience with trauma, she gives a professional perspective on trauma, our responses to trauma and the benefits of having a trauma-informed mindset.

This episode is full of information and actionable tips that will help improve your life and understand trauma. You do not want to miss it!

Key points we discuss about trauma:

  • How to better understand trauma and the role it plays in our lives
  • Why it’s important to understand trauma and process your own trauma
  • What a trauma-informed mindset is and why it is important
  • Actionable tips to help you process and better understand trauma
  • How understanding trauma can help you personally and in every other aspect of your life

Resources mentioned:

Related episodes and blog posts:

Connect with Kelsey:

Read the transcript for episode 111, What to Know About Trauma with Lindsay Poelman:

Kelsey  0:00

You are listening to episode number 110 of wife, teacher, mommy the podcast get to know your nervous system with Lea Davidson. If you ever feel like you’re anxious all the time or you’ve been listening to the podcast and you’re trying to change your thoughts, but you’re having a hard time with it, it could be that your nervous system is dysregulated today we’re helping you get to know your nervous system, why you should get to know your nervous system, how it works and how this knowledge can help you in every aspect of your life including helping the children that you teach.


Unknown Speaker  0:45

Teacher mommy, they have gone.


Kelsey  1:10

Welcome to wife, teacher, mommy the podcast. I’m Kelsey Sorenson, a former elementary teacher and current homeschool mom. And even though I’ve been a resource creator since 2014, I’ve realized that printables alone aren’t all you need in order to thrive as a teacher or homeschool parent. That’s why I also created this show and got certified as a life coach to help you finally kick burnout to the curb and feel competent with whatever challenges come your way. With the right mindset strategies and new teaching inspiration, you’re going to be well on your way to your best teacher life. Now let’s go.


Okay, so today, I am really excited to be starting a new interview series here on the podcast, you’re going to be hearing some more interviews than you usually hear, you’ll still be getting solo episodes for me, but here’s what’s going down. You may or may not know that I am currently working on writing a book, which I’m super excited about. And I feel like I know so much about the self coaching model and cognitive behavioral therapy and self help in general and personal development. Like that’s something I’ve been really diving into over the years. But I want my book to be a super well rounded book with tons of tools that you can utilize and apply to your life. And I want it to be science backed and not only want to know like, oh, this, like I’ve just done this, this works. But one of the why I want the research behind it, and all of that. And for that reason, I’ve been doing lots of research and reading tons of books, I’ve been looking at studies. So I can make sure that this book is science backed has all the great information that you need to thrive in teaching and in life, like it’s not going to be like any other book that you’ve seen out there, it’s really going to be something special. I’m really excited about it. But another idea that my editor John, my teacher goals had is to interview some other experts to see what extra depth and tools they could add to the book. And I just loved that idea. Because I know that while I know a lot about some things, there are people who know a lot more about other things, right. And we can all learn so much from each other. So I am looking for incredible guests who can bring more to this who I can have both on the podcast and use what they have to share within my book as well. So you’re really kind of getting a sneak peek at the book by listening to these episodes. And I feel like this book has been like doing another whole certification and coaching. I’m here for it. I’m loving it. So we’re going to be doing these interviews gonna be airing them here on the podcast, some incredible guests hand selected by me. Like I said, they’ll be a good preview to the book. And as we get closer to the release of the book, I’m going to continue keeping you updated on the progress and how it’s going and giving you a little sneak peeks. And I will let you know as soon as pre orders are available pre orders mean a lot to authors. And if you’ve been enjoying this podcast, I would love for you to follow along. And if you’ve been learning anything from this podcast, the book is going to just really take it to the next level. So I would love for you to stay tuned and have it on your radar and I would appreciate the support when that book comes out. We’ll make sure to include so many bonuses for those who preorder that more than cover the cost of the book. So it’s going to be really fun. Stay tuned. So the first guest for this interview series could not be any more exciting. I’m interviewing the one and only Lea Davidson and she is a fellow certified coach through the Life Coach School, but she is also an expert in the nervous system. I knew that I loved what Leah had to offer as soon as I saw her on stage at the Life Coach School mastermind at the beginning of September which is kind of like a professional development for life coaches just like teachers we continue to get professional development for our license. This is kind of like that for for life coaches. I want to make sure that we keep our skills sharp that I’m giving you the best possible information here on the podcast and with my members as I coach them inside wife, teacher mommy club, make sure we’re giving you the best and all of us coaches want to make sure that we are doing that. Leah was chosen as one of the experts to teach about the nervous system, and speak at that mastermind. And she talks all about how the self coaching model that I’ve talked a lot about on the podcast and understanding our nervous system and how the blend of those two together is so beautiful, and how you can understanding your nervous system will help allow you to know how to use the model when to use the model, and when to do other things first, so really excited for this interview. And the one thing I love about Leah because I’ve learned about the nervous system before I’ve learned amazing things through my amazing one on one life coach, Lizzie Langston, who’s also been on the podcast and she’s actually going to be part of our winter educating rejuvenate event, super exciting, and other books and coaches I’ve learned from but what I love about Leah specifically is the way that she explains things like she really reminds me of what we do as teachers like how we are able to come up with like analogies and stories to help explain things. So I love how she does that. You will see that here on this interview. And really I’m just so excited to dive in with this interview so you can learn all about your nervous system. So let’s start with her official bio and then we will get into the interview. So here’s a little bit about Lea. Lea Davidson is a certified life coach, professional resilience coach and consultant. She is also a registered speech language pathologist and has spent over two decades working in the area of traumatic brain injury. She is also certified in pain, reprocessing therapy EFT and breathwork. As the host of the building resilience podcast and the creator of the advanced training for nervous system resilience, Leah focuses on helping people to learn to befriend their nervous system, manage their mindset and cultivate resilience. She is passionate about teaching others how to resolve and prevent burnout, stress and compassion fatigue. Leah lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her husband, Rob, and they have a blended family with five children. She loves to learn and grow, hike, read, travel and spend time with friends and family. Okay, so let’s kick it off our interview with Leah Davidson. Okay, welcome, Leah, I am so excited to have you on wife, teacher, mommy, the podcast today. Thank you so much for taking the time to be here.


Leah  7:13

I am so excited to be here and to talk with you. Thank you for having me on.


Kelsey  7:18

Yes, I am thrilled to have you I saw your presentation at the Life Coach School mastermind. And for those of you listening that is kind of like a professional development, but for life coaches where we really kind of refine our skills in coaching, but also our own personal development. Because just like I tell you about how when you help yourself that’s helping your students, your children, that’s what we do as well. We want to make sure that we are regulated, which we’ll talk about before we help you. So Leah is an expert in the nervous system. And she talked all about that mastermind. And I was just like, I need to have her on the podcast. So thank you for coming.


Leah  7:59

Well, I’m excited to talk all about nervous system with you. I can talk all day long about it. So you might have Yeah, sometimes.


Kelsey  8:06

Oh, well, I just can’t wait to hear all of it. And I’m really excited to because we’re having this on the podcast and everything. But then my publisher, so I’m writing a book. And I know I mentioned this to you too, when I emailed you, they wanted me to interview some other experts that like you know, put in the book like who they are and everything. So we’ll get to include some of this in there as well. So it’s kind of a little mini preview to that. Okay, so first, before we dive into content and the nervous system and all of that, can you introduce yourself and explain your background and what you do and how you got into all of this?


Leah  8:39

Sure, absolutely. So my name is Lia Davidson, and I am a life coach and I was trained to the Life Coach School. And that’s where you saw me at mastermind. But I am also a speech language pathologist. And that’s where sort of my journey started. I’ve been a speech pathologist for 25 years. And I think probably a lot of your audience will be like, oh, one of my kids did speech pathologists for their hours or so. Like, I was not a school speech pathologist. So I didn’t work with kids and I don’t work with kids. I work with people who have experienced traumatic brain injuries. And so that’s sort of where my introduction to everything brain neuroplasticity nervous system started. I my role as a speech pathologist is to work with people on their cognitive communication skills. So that’s essentially how cognition and communication come together. So how does your memory and your attention your executive function skills, impact your reading your writing, your listening, your social skills, and so forth? So part of my role is to help people in their rehabilitation after they’ve experienced trauma, to use different strategies. And at the time, I was working with people and just noticing Gee, it’s really hard for people to learn new cognitive strategies. And so I start Just looking into more tools, how can I brought in my toolbox, and I came across life coaching probably about 10 years ago or so, and started really integrating mindset work eventually became certified with Life Coach School. But that’s still less than enough. And I started going even deeper, and developing a greater understanding of the nervous system. And as I was learning about the nervous system, I sort of realized, Oh, I’ve always known about the nervous system, I’ve always been integrating it, I just didn’t know that this is what it was called. I didn’t know exactly how it functioned. And I just started using a lot more tools to help people understand their nervous system become more regulated. And that’s where I think I’d say the magic sort of happened where there’s a crossroad, between mindset and nervous system and cognitive skills. And I just broaden my reach started working with people who had a lot of stress, anxiety, burnout, not necessarily with brain injuries, but just life in general. And so a snowball effect, I ended up developing a training, advanced training and nervous system resilience, where I help people do a deep dive into their nervous system, either for themselves personally, or if they work with coaches, or if they work with their helping professionals, how to do that with our clients. So that’s where I’m at now. And I love talking about the nervous system. Such


Kelsey  11:29

a wonderful journey. I love hearing like everybody’s story and how they came to what they do. And, and like you mentioned, it was kind of like this natural, like you learned about it. And Eric, wait, I was already doing that, you know, you were able to explain it mastermind, like, and we’ll get into kind of some of the stuff you said there. But I’m just like, oh, like there were things that I had heard before. But the way that you explained it, like, oh, that that clicked a lot more like in just that 25 minute presentation that you did. I love that.


Leah  11:58

I think that comes from the background of being a speech pathologist and comes from the background of working with the clients that I worked with who had experienced injury. So often they had very short attention or difficulty remembering things or language comprehension. And the I worked with people who have brain injuries from like three years old to 95 years old. So it was such a range that I have to come up with analogies and stories and how is this going to be easy for you to remember? How is this going to be easy for you to understand? And when people work with me? Individually, they’re always laughing because I’m constantly thinking like, okay, let’s put it this way. Pretend like you’re skiing pretend like you’re, which is what teachers do, you know, stories and analogies and real world things? Because that’s how we remember it. And and that yep, that’s what I love doing. How can I make this easy for people to integrate into their life easy to teach their family, their kids? easy for them to remember to use it on a daily basis? Yes, I


Kelsey  13:05

love that you do such a good job. Before we really dive in? Can you explain like, what is the nervous system? And why should teachers and the homeschool parents who are listening learn about it? And how does it apply to them?


Leah  13:18

Yeah, well, I think a lot of people like we’ve heard of the nervous system. And we all know we have a nervous system. But everybody’s sort of like, Oh, what is the nervous system? Essentially, the easiest way I like to explain it is it’s how the brain and the body communicate with each other. So the nervous system, it makes up it’s like the pathway of communication. And our nervous system is running behind the scenes, everything that we do, and when I’m referring to the nervous system, it is actually more complex. And it sort of has, you know, umbrella branches out to umbrella branches out, I’m talking about something called the autonomic nervous system, which is what we’re going to be referring to today. And autonomic is what they call it basically means automatic. So what’s happening behind the scenes, and when your nervous system is functioning properly, and it’s healthy, it’s regulating everything you do. Your digestive, your heartbeat, your breathing, your temperature, all these things. Luckily, we don’t have to think about them. We have this amazing system that takes care of everything. But if you think of the things it’s in charge of it’s in charge of our survival. And when it is healthy and working functioning well we have good you know, heart support, breast support, digestive reproduction, all these things work well. But the other job that the nervous system has because it’s responsible for your survival is to take care of your survival. So it is out there constantly looking for anything that is dangerous to you. So I like to say it’s like this giant radar detector or a smoke detector as the example that he used in my presentation and Life Coach School and the smoke detector or this, this radar is basically scanning safety, dangerous safety, dangerous safety, danger. And based on what it scans, and it’s scanning by taking information in from various locations, it’s scanning around you. So it’s looking at sort of all the senses that you have what you see what you hear what you touch, everything external. And then it takes a check of what’s going on inside you. Alright, so Leah’s heart is beating a little bit faster right now. And her stomach is growling a little bit, got a little bit of tension, there must be something going on. And then it’s taking in what’s happening between you and I? Like, is there a connection there? Is there am I picking up good vibes, like my spidey sense, and it takes all these things, and it makes us judgment as to safety or danger. Now, none of this is happening consciously. So it’s not like you’re you have again, imagine if you had to constantly who is that safe, is that dangerous? It just decides for you. And it decides for you by comparing what it’s seeing, by past experiences, past memories, past imprints, is what we talk about. And so if it decides that you’re safe, it kind of is like, alright, she’s safe, she can go off, and it assigns you a state, like a physiological state. But if your danger is get is what gets assigned, it will assign to another state, and it will start trying to protect you. So the nervous system is right behind the scenes. It’s communicating back and forth, from your brain, to your body, taking in all everything that’s going around. And the reason it’s so important for us to understand is because it is driving everything that we do. When it assigns you safety or danger, I like to say it assigns you a flavor of safety or danger. And that flavor permeates everything else that you do. So if you are assigned to danger, your thoughts, your feelings, your actions are all going to be flavored with danger. And so it is important we understand it because not only is it driving what you’re doing as a teacher, as a parent, as a partner, it’s driving what your kids are doing. And your kids are so much younger. But they are just like that their nervous system is being created as we speak. And yours is shaping continues to shape throughout your life as well. So that’s a little bit in a nutshell, I was touching on a whole bunch of things that I kept on thinking, well, I should dive into that or dive into that. So you have some questions. I


Kelsey  17:59

know I like there’s so many different directions, we could go with this. So one thing that happens, so I feel like one popular thing that people talk about a lot is they say, Oh, I was triggered by like this or whatever. So is that that is kind of tied into like the nervous system, right? Because


Leah  18:17

basically what happens is, so our nervous system develops when we are in utero. So and we That’s why our mother’s nervous system is so important to us, because we are sort of feeding from that nervous system, as we continue to be, you know, a newborn, and we have all these experiences. And it’s not just experiences, there’s genetics, there’s other things involved, but essentially, we have these imprints that that affect us. So if I am, you know, in high school, and somebody laughs at me for raising my hand and saying something that gets imprinted. And then years later, I may be in a situation where somebody laughed at me. And I’ll have this like, like a visceral reaction, like, why are they laughing me what’s happening here. And what that is, is it’s like my nervous system picked up scan was like, Oh, this is like the time that happened in high school. And this is what we have to do to protect ourselves. So it’s not a conscious thing. So when we’re triggered, we’re not consciously triggered, we authorize and identify why we’re triggered. We just have this biological reaction and we don’t necessarily know why. And it it just comes on and then the question is what do we do after that? That’s that’s where we are introducing choice later on. Yeah, for sure.


Kelsey  19:46

And so when you were talking about all this you’re talking about like how we scan and then we like maybe think this or whatever so you and I we both have gone through the Life Coach School we we know the model we love the model like I love the model so much. Yeah, As I was kind of thinking about where like the nervous system kind of fits in and everything, it was like, our thoughts, they don’t just come from nowhere, you know. And that is where when you were talking about the imprinting, so what is kind of your thought on like, where exactly like, I’ve talked about the model a lot on the podcast, but haven’t talked as much about the nervous system. And where does that fit in?


Leah  20:21

Yeah, because they do fit beautifully. I love the model too. And sometimes when people talk about nervous system stuff, it’s almost like they’re saying, mindset doesn’t matter. I’m like, Oh, my gosh, no, mindset matters a lot. And mindset is so important. And the model is so important that there’s a couple of challenges when we’re dysregulated. First of all, when we are dysregulated, that’s what we call being triggered. So when you’re triggered and you feel activated, we call it dysregulated. When that happens, one of the things that happens to us is our thinking skills go offline. And it makes logical sense, because if we are in survival mode, we don’t need to have like good critical thinking, compassion and curiosity, like the brains like what we need to survive, let’s just go offline. So it becomes a challenge. When we confront a circumstance, we get triggered. And then what we want to do with the model is we want to help people choose what to think about the circumstance, well, if you are activated, you don’t have your thinking skills, it’s very hard for you to choose what you want to think, Oh, you have to learn how to regulate yourself to bring back your thinking skills. So I like to say to people, if we were going to break down the model, between circumstance and thought, there’s a space, and it’s an invisible space. But in that space lies your nervous system. And so you have the circumstance, that which is your brain is your nervous system is scanning, safety danger, if it determines that the circumstance is safe, then you can go ahead and continue using the model. Because your thinking skills are online, you can continue on. If it scans danger, then it basically says sorry, thinking skills, you got to take a hike. And again, this is not choice, this is this is reality, this is how it works. You’ve got to take a hike, and I’m going to take over right now, which means you don’t have access to your thinking skills, you are going to be responding and reacting. That’s why a lot of times people were like, I don’t know, I didn’t think I just I just did this, because they truly aren’t thinking they can’t think so I put the nervous system, right in between the circumstance and the thought. And if we can get regulated, then the model works beautifully. If we can’t get regulated, then all that means is we have a couple of extra steps that we need to take to regulate ourselves, bring our thinking skills, I call it our CEO, bring our CEO back online. Once the CEO once we’re regulated the CEO, now the CEO can sit down and say okay, now how do we want to think about this? What do we want to do? So that’s how I marry the two. And I think they they do go beautifully together? I


Kelsey  23:24

think so too. And you had like that flow chart that you shared, that was just like perfect, like, Am I safe, go to the model. By not the you know, we need to regulate,


Leah  23:34

regulate yourself, and it’s not a big deal. And and I think it’s, it’s a helpful way to look at things because I know that a lot of my clients that I work with, will beat themselves up. If they feel that, well, I don’t even know what I’m thinking. Or I just like the feelings come out of nowhere, or I’m trying to change the thought I want to change the thought. But I keep coming round back to it. And so they start to think either the model doesn’t work, or they have some type of weakness. I’m just not smart enough. I’m not I guess I’m so broken. I’m not able to do it. And when we introduced the nervous system is just like, hey, No, nothing’s gone wrong. This is just your nervous system. And you need to learn how to befriend it, how to work with it, and then your thinking skills will come back. We’ll still all have challenges because we all do. But for so many of my clients, it’s such a relief to know oh, there is a nervous system to consider. And sometimes she is the one that is taking Oh,


Kelsey  24:36

yeah. And to just understand that that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with you. Right? You know


Leah  24:41

what, in fact, that is biologically what is supposed to happen. You are perfectly right on track. The only thing we don’t know is that we aren’t completely aware of what imprints we have had throughout our life. And that’s where trauma comes Then, that many times people have had experiences at a young age where they were not capable, they did not have the resources to respond. And so they get stuck in a dysregulated state or they, they do things to adapt, but they’re not helpful things down the road, you know, things like people pleasing, when you’re a little kid, if you have an experience, where you like brilliantly think, Oh, if I just please mom, then this is what happens. It’s brilliant when you’re little. But as you continue growing up, and all of a sudden, you’re pleasing, like every single person around you. And it’s, it’s really a response that you have automatically, you never consider your own self, it can become problematic. But really, it was just an adaptation, it was a response that you had, and it was a nervous system response. And so you can learn how to unlearn it, and you’re not broken, and you’re not weak, and you know, there’s no moral failing. It’s just like, that’s how your nervous system adapted and coped, and we think it, but nothing different now.


Kelsey  26:15

So how do we do that? How do we get to know our nervous system and befriend it, and then you know, do what you were just saying, like, check, make the change, or whatever? Well, the


Leah  26:24

first thing is awareness that you have a nervous system to it. And that that really, truly is the first thing. So the way I like to explain the nervous system is when we talk about safety and danger, I label it like you’re on certain teams. If your nervous system senses safety, it sends you to sort of a home base, I call it team resilient because it’s in that space, where you can use your thinking skills, you’re connected with people you can be curious have compassion and patience and intuition. All those good things happen when you’re regulated. When your nervous system senses danger, the first line of defense that it’s going to go to is is going to start to get you activated. So you can start to feel activated. Now for many people, they may define it as like, oh, I start to stress out. Okay, so what does that mean? Well, my heart starts pumping, maybe get a little flash a little sweaty, I have to go to the bathroom, some people feel a lot of tension, I feel the anxiety rising. And what that is, is you’re entering into a state of hyper arousal because your nervous system thinks I’m in danger. And of course, what am I going to do, if I’m going to be in danger, there’s two options, I’m going to try to fight the danger, or I’m going to try to get the heck out of there, I’m going to try to flee the danger. And both that fight or flight, it’s an energy of activation. So I call it you’re on Team hyper. When you’re on Team hyper, you feel the energy, there’s an excess amount of energy. So that’s how you can know that you’re dysregulated is you start to feel this extra energy, this Aniki there’s a little bit flavored with danger. Like, it just can be slightly nuanced, but you just feel like, ah, sometimes you may want to scream, you’re getting irritated. Maybe you’re super defensive, maybe you’re very conflictual. These are all signs that you are dysregulated. And you’re on Team hyper. That’s the first place you go. Now, if your nervous system senses that, oh my gosh, not only you’re in danger, you are in extreme life threat. Or if you’ve spent so much time in danger, essentially your nervous system is like listen, I’m exhausted, I’ve been fighting and fleeing for so long and nothing is happening. We have to conserve energy, or we’re going to die. So it’s one of those things either right away, it’s like you’re gonna die, or you’re so activated. And what it will do is it will drop you down into a state of conservation. It’s still a protective state is trying to look out for you. But it is a state where there’s more of a Hypo arousal, meaning that things are slower. There’s this flavor of helpless and hopeless and sadness, and I call it team hypo. So your nervous system dysregulation can start to feel like that slowness, that exhaustion, that’s where burnout lives when people feel like I am so burnt out. I’m exhausted, I can’t do these things. You’re in dysregulation as well. So I always work with people to the first thing we want to do is we want to get a picture of what’s it like being you like, do you notice do you get easily activated? Do you sometimes feel at the end? The day that you’re completely shut down. And again, there’s nothing wrong with you, this is just the way your nervous system response. And you will always go up and down. It’s not the goal of a healthy nervous system is not to always stay in that team resilient that home. The goal of a healthy nervous system is to respond appropriately, depending on what is put in front. Like, if there is some danger, I need to be active. But I need to, if I am grieving over something, I need to come down and be in more of a collapse state a shutdown state. So we want to be able to move easily up and down. But we first have to, you know, just learn and accept where do I tend to go I talk about it in terms, like, if my home state is where I want to be in team resilient, where’s my second home, like where’s my vacation? It doesn’t mean I’ve never visited a team hypo. But it means that that I naturally will go to Team hyper. And I have little like things that as I have learned about myself and watch, there’s little things that give me indicators that are going there. So for example, when I start to get a little bit sarcastic, I’m like, I’m having you know, I’m not I’m not full out irritated, I’m just got that sarcasm, I’m like, Okay, I’m sort of like in that yellow light stage where I’m about to hit red. And so you just start learning that, okay, Leah, you’re you need to do something to take a break, you need to look at what what can I do to calm myself down? What can I do to feel a little bit better, and to step away and do those things. So that’s the first step is getting to know what your your landscape is, is what I call it. The next thing that I just want to also mention is that that middle zone of safety, where I call it, the team resilient, that zone will change its size. And for some people, they have a very, very wide size, like it’s, it’s it’s big, and which is good, which means that they’re able to sort of tolerate a lot of ups and downs in life and not really get very frazzled, that you’ll see some people like they’re just like, you know, like, I can take it or leave it and or sometimes, they will just handle something in a way that you’re like, well, they handle that. And they seem to be able to still keep their thinking skills online. And that has, they sort of have a very wide zone of resilience. But other people, their zone is much, much more narrow. And so then something small can happen. And it will just completely tip them over the now the size of our zone is dependent on a ton of different things. There’s personality factors, there’s genetics, but more importantly, there’s like our exposure to trauma from our past or from our present. There’s different adversities, there’s relationship challenges, there’s just everyday fatigue, all these things will change what the sizes of our zone of resilience, which means if we, you know, have experienced a lot of trauma, if we have some chronic illness, so we’re in a lot of pain, if maybe we haven’t slept for ages, because with a sick child, our zone is going to be very small, which means it’s not going to take much before we get tipped into Team hyper or team hypo. And again, this is normal, like our zones will change. But for some people, they’ve been stuck for a long time with a very narrow zone. And so all as we need to work with them to help them widen that space, widen their tolerance widen that zone so that they don’t so quickly tip into dysregulation. Yeah. So


Kelsey  34:07

how do we do that? Like if we’re like, Okay, I think I want to widen my zone. What do we do? Yeah.


Leah  34:13

So a lot of people, the first thing is they’ll say, Okay, I’ve identified that I’ve been living in team hyper. That’s, that’s a really common thing for people to say, I’m not even sure I’ve ever been in the home place I think I’ve been. And so they quickly want to know, how do I get from HyperX to get home? Or how do I go from hypo to come back up? And I just give the analogy that will think that like you’re moving, you’ve decided you want to move you no longer want to live in your vacation home and team hyper. So you pack up all your boxes, you pack up everything you call the movers. They come they load everything up, and then they say to you, okay, where do we want us to deliver this stuff to? And you’re like, oh, I have no idea. I just know why. I want to leave here. And that’s what a lot of people are saying, well, like, tell me what to do how to get out of this situation? Well, the first thing is you have to create a home, you have to create that home space, you have to have that address. And it’s not as hard as you think it is. It just requires like, small, little changes. We start with doing things like what will allow you to feel safe, and to reduce things like stress levels. And it comes down to some basic pillars, like we look at, what’s your sleep, like? What’s your nutrition? Like? What’s your movement? Like? What are your relationships? And do you get enough sunlight, those are sort of the five key pillars, that we always start with that those are the fundamentals, you aren’t going to be able to build a home if you’re not sleeping, if you’re not eating properly, if you’re not exercising, and within reason, because I know a lot of your listeners, you know, your parents, and generally, you know, we spend what, how many decades not sleeping, my kids are young adults. And I have to tell you, I smell like because now I’m waking up about different things, I’m not going to take care of kids during the night, but I’m still waking up. So it’s within reason we want to get a good amount of sleep. Movement is crucial. Movement is something that we need to be doing on a daily basis to help reduce the stress levels, because we know that stress will shrink our zone. So how do we widen your zone, we need to get rid of stress. And one of the best ways to do that is to making sure that we’re getting that movement, connected with people, having people that we have relationships with, that includes a relationship with ourself, a relationship with a higher power, or relationship with other people or relationship with the world around us. And that’s where we start looking at self care. And we look at, you know, connecting with nature, we look at having opportunities for you know, higher power, higher purpose, maybe it’s going to come in the form of worship or prayer. These are all things that will help widen our zone. And then you know, nutrition are we taking care of hydration, getting as much nutrition as as we can. There’s lots of discussion, as to you know, is this diet or that diet, we just want to make sure that we’re fueling ourselves and that we have enough fuel to carry us throughout the day. When we have those basics, then we can get more specific. And one of the best ways to help us is to start focusing on our breath. Because our breath is a very quick way that we can move through all the different zones, Team resilience, hyper team hypo. So there’s different breath exercises that you can do if you’re in team resilient, you are going to want to become sort of more conscious of your breathing, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re slowing your breathing down, we tend to over breathe. So just working on you know doing simple things like box breathing, breathe in for four holes for for breathe out for four holes for four, we’re just going to be doing things that will help us create feelings of safety just by breathing and keeping ourselves grounded grounding exercises, things like that. And then of course, if we’re say on Team HyperX, we’re gonna want to bring our breathing, down regulate, and we do that thing on exhalation. But if we’re on Team hypo, we may want to up regulate, so we will focus on inhalation. So there’s different things we can do with our breath. Our breath is something that our nervous system takes care of. But it’s also the only function that we have that we can also deliberately take care of Oh, yeah. Oh, taking care of our breath. And learning about breathing is one of the best things that we can do to help us with our nervous system. And then there’s a ton of other things, but that sort of gives you a sample. As


Kelsey  39:25

I said, it’s a great starting point. Yeah, point


Leah  39:28

and it’s not like looking at it like oh, wow, those are things I’ve never heard of. Sometimes we just need to know that we’re on the right track. And this is the why behind. You know, I don’t want to just do movement because I know it’s good for my body. It’s good for calorie burning. I want to do it because it’s good for my nervous system. Yeah, that’s why I want to do it as well. Yeah,


Kelsey  39:53

and most people probably don’t know that. Like they don’t know the connection between like exercise or just even movement as you say. Like it can just Going for a walk or you know, playing with your kids or like, you know,


Leah  40:04

well plays another one. Yeah, play, I just we just weren’t talked, we had a whole session in my training all about play. And so the assignment that everybody has to go out is to go out and find ways to play, play can be really hard for a lot of people, if they’ve spent a good portion of their life in a dysregulated, state dysregulation is not somewhere where we do a lot of play. But if you can engage in more play, whether it be with your kids or on your own, that is something else that you can do to widen your zone of resilience, to create that home, create safety, because your nervous system is like, Well, if she’s playing, she must be safe. And so we want to keep doing all those things that send the message of safety is going to help us grow our zone of resilience.


Kelsey  40:52

I love all of this, Leah, I feel like this is so much good information that all of our listeners are going to love. And so we’ve talked a lot about how we can apply it for ourselves, but also how can we help? Like, let’s say one of our children is dysregulated or we’re a teacher and we have some students who maybe always come dysregulated, maybe they don’t aren’t getting those basic needs met at home? What can we do to help them? Yeah, and I would even


Leah  41:16

say it’s not necessarily that they’re they’re not getting, sometimes it is they’re not getting their needs met. But sometimes, you know, we do have like, we don’t know what their experience was when they were newborns. Sometimes it’s just like the birth order. Or sometimes it’s just that they are in a family where there’s lots of competing demands. And and so they’re not getting not by any fault of the parent, they can have like a most loving, I grew up in an extremely loving family. But I had a sister who had special needs that required a lot of a lot of attention from my parents. And so I learned how to adapt to that. But that’s not necessarily I was so productive. So I just want to mention that because sometimes when we look at kids are dysregulated, we may say something like, oh, what’s wrong with them? Where it could be now they just have like a super loving family, but they’re like one of seven kids. And their nervous system, like their siblings may be fine. But for their nervous system, it they just need a little bit more. So I just like putting things in that framework, for sure. Yeah. But even then thinking of if you are a teacher, one of the things that used to drive me crazy is it’s a common consequence. And I don’t know, my kids are older now. And we’re in Canada, so maybe it’s different. But sometimes the consequence was while you’re not going out for recess, or you’re gonna stay here until your work is done, or would you stop moving around in the classroom and just sit still and get your work done. That can be really, really not just difficult for a kid that’s dysregulated. But we’re removing the way that they’re coping with being probably on Team hyper. So one of the like, the best things is, if you see a kid who’s dysregulated, make sure they’re getting out and they’re having their playtime, have them be the one that is running to the office to drop something off to get that energy. And I know that having a classroom, it’s not always you’re not always able to let people get up and move around. But movement is so important for these kids. So that’s the one piece another piece is just breathing, like teaching the kids in the class, simple breathing exercises, and we don’t have to get all fancy, like there’s, there’s simple ones, like I have done where you just say smell the flower, blow out the candle. That’s it, you just have to smell it the in can say to them, like pretend like you’re your parents blowing out the candles. So there’s like, you know, for candles, there’s something like that. And so it helps them focus on the exhalation. And then as a, as a teacher, you can be doing that breathing to where you start to notice whenever you notice any energy rising in your body, and it could be just like you feel like it’s more anxiety or nervousness. It could be tension, it could be pain. Those are indicators, that’s your body communicating to saying you’re dysregulated you need to do something. So as the teacher breathing, focusing on that inhalation and then exhalation the when I recommend it’s called the physiological sigh. And that’s where you do sort of two quick breaths in and then a longer exhalation. exhalation is what calms it down. But the two quick breaths to quick breaths in, allow you to take in the air and then take in just a little bit extra, and then push it out and it’s something that we very nap Do you think of like yourself with Yeah, buying for a long time or you see a kid, it’s like that. That’s great return to do natural. And so breathing, and then I talk about doing the rag doll. And that’s what I had people do at the Life Coach School is relaxing yourself. All those things are wonderful, though. But we want to always be including safety in everything we do. And one of the things because the brain is constantly, you know, with that nervous system scanning, safety, danger, we want to let our brain and our body and our nervous system know that we are actually safe. We may not always feel safe. But generally, unless unfortunately, you know, and things going on in the world, there are areas of the world where people aren’t physically safe, but the majority of us are safe. So asking ourselves a couple of questions. When am I safe right now? And the answer, the majority of time is going to be yes. And that just first of all, sends sort of like that first line reassurance from the brain to the body, hey, you’re safe, then we’re going to scan our body. And like I said, notice where that energy is? Do you have tension? Do you have pain? Do you have stress? Just notice that? Because that’s your body saying to you? Yep, I don’t feel safe. So am I safe? Yes. But then when you scan the body’s like, I don’t feel safe. And we’re like, okay, it’s okay, I know you don’t feel safe. But what we’re going to do is we’re going to relax your body. And I say, the rag doll where you just literally just let it, let it hang. At one of my clients, she she was teaching it to her kids and her kids had said, Oh, it’s like Toy Story. When all the kids are, you know, they’re when all the toys are talking and having fun. And then somebody’s like Andy’s coming. And they all just dropped to the floor like little by little. That’s essentially what you want to be doing. So you want to have these three components. So if you’re a teacher, or if you’re trying to teach students or if you’re a parent, and you’re trying to teach your kids, we always want to establish safety, like, Hey, you’re safe here. Because that kid who is buzzing all over, maybe he doesn’t feel safe, but you can let him know, or let her know, you’re safe here. I’ve got you, My classroom is safe for you. And then you have all this energy, you feel that energy? Where do you feel it in your body? Do you feel it? Like? Do you feel like you’re gonna explode? Does it feel like you have tension, alright, that’s okay, that’s just your body saying it doesn’t feel safe. But what we’re going to do is we’re going to breathe, or we’re just going to relax our body. So if we want to eliminate stress, if we want to eliminate anxiety, we need to relax our body. It’s virtually impossible. Like try yelling at your kids. When you are completely relaxed in a ragdoll state, you’re not going to be able to do it, the second you yell, you have to add energy to it. So that’s why we walk people through these phases. And as a teacher, you can walk your class through these phases. Everybody’s safe here. Everybody just noticed, where do you feel a tension? Now everybody Andy’s coming, and just relax. And that gets you well, on your way to getting regulated? I


Kelsey  48:24

love that. Okay, we have gone through so much great information today. So just to kind of sum it up. So we talked about like the nervous system, what it is, how it applies to the model. I don’t know, we went through so much like, is there anything you want to add? Like, how do I even go over all this? I mean, the


Leah  48:42

main thing is we want to we, we have innate needs to feel safety, to be safe. And that’s what our nervous system it needs to know that we are safe. And if we aren’t safe, then it’s a good thing that we’re activated because then we need to do something to get ourselves to safety. We don’t ever want to try to convince somebody who’s in, you know, an abusive situation or a war situation. Oh, just relax and let it know. There’s a reason why your nervous system must respond. Right? You’re in danger. But the majority of time our nervous system still reacts like it’s in danger. And we’re not our nervous system doesn’t know the difference between a real threat and a perceived threat. And we need to just help to say okay, this is not a real threat. You are totally safe. Yeah, you can relax your body your CEO can come in your CEO makes the assessment my check this out. You’re totally safe here. Like stamp of approval. Let’s keep going. So we need to continue on to do that. We need to be inviting as much safety into our lives and as much safety into our kids lives as possible. They need to know that they’re safe and we need to provide them those moments and opportunities where they can identify safety in their life.


Kelsey  50:06

Love it. Thank you, Leah, you did a much better job at like, I mean, I guess you’re the one who like shared all of it. So I’m like, Wait, what did I just hear? Like?


Leah  50:16

her nervous system was having this reaction of information overload and that’s what happens. Right, then you’re thinking it’s harder to think. Yeah. Yeah. So


Kelsey  50:24

good, Leah. Okay, so if our listeners want to hear more from you, if they’re like, oh, wow, this is like really good. I want to learn more, where can they find you like your podcast, your training, coaching any anything.


Leah  50:37

I have a podcast and it’s called building resilience. And so that is where you’ll hear a lot of these things. My website is Lia Davidson life And I’m on Instagram and Facebook at Lea Davidson life coaching. I also I have a free video series. It’s called 30 seconds, a solution to burnout. And even though I talk about it burnout, essentially what I do is I explain the nervous system and it goes through those three steps of Am I safe, do I feel safe, relax the body because that’s essentially one of the most important things that we can do for our nervous system so you can get that video series. And yeah, I have my training, advanced training and nervous system resilience, which I love doing that are next cohort comes out in January. And that’s it.


Kelsey  51:27

So fun. Thank you, Leah. We’ll talk soon everybody bye.


Thank you for listening to wife teacher mommy the podcast. If you enjoyed our time together, be sure to hit subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. And if you’re ready to take the next step, I’d love for you to join me face to face of my next free virtual mindset masterclass. In this masterclass, I’ll share my full story of how it transformed my teacher overwhelm and anxiety into balance, authenticity and a true understanding of myself. And the best news, it will work for you to I’ll break down my five step framework share inspiring stories that will help shift your mindset and you’ll even get to see life coaching in action. You’ll get a free resource and a special opportunity just for joining us and you won’t be able to get this anywhere else. Did I mentioned this masterclass is free, you’ve got nothing to lose. All you need to do is sign up, add it to your calendar and commit to showing up live. Go to wife teacher to sign up or head to the link in the show notes. I will see you at the master class.

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Being an educator is beyond a full-time job. Whether you’re a teacher or a homeschool parent, the everyday to-do list is endless. Between lesson planning, grading, meetings, and actually teaching, it probably feels impossible to show up for your students without dropping the ball in other areas of your life.

Wife Teacher Mommy: The Podcast is the show that will bring you the teacher tips, practical strategies, and inspiration that you need to relieve the stress and overwhelm of your day-to-day. Your host, Kelsey Sorenson, is a former teacher and substitute turned homeschool mom. Tune in weekly to hear Kelsey and her guests cheer you on and help you thrive as a wife, teacher, and mommy. Because with a little support and community, you can do it all. For access to every single Wife Teacher Mommy resource, join the club at

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