After the Webinar: Building Resiliency. Q&A with Brenda Dietzman

Webinar presenter Brenda Dietzman answered a number of your questions after her presentation, Building Resiliency: The Dawn of the Mentally Strong Employee. Here are just a few of her responses.


Audience Question: How has COVID changed or escalated the importance of the leaders to be focused on growing resiliency in their organization? 

Brenda Dietzman: It’s two-fold. It is absolutely because we lost some of those external resources that I’ve talked about, you know, being able to, to hang out with friends like we used to, and all that other stuff. So, I think that we’ve unintentionally lost some of those connections, which hurt us in so many ways. Go and watch that TED talk. Oh, my goodness. Kelly McGonigal TED talk really discusses the importance of that connection. So, I think that’s probably the hardest thing. The other thing I want everyone to remember is that your leaders are also very human and they’re feeling lost, they’re in grief right now, just like you are. And an e-mail, a card even, just thanking them or encouraging them or doing something, will go a long way. And if you have suggestions about, you know, training on resiliency and know a lot of your organizations probably have JCH subscriptions, there’s a lot of good talks on resiliency outside of mine, on this, on this platform. I would encourage them to go back and, and intentionally get people to think about those resources and get them to develop them. Because a lot of times just defining things and telling people what to do to make themselves feel better, they’ll actually go out and do it. And if you give the reasons why it’s even more important that might provide motivation for them. So, I think COVID has just devastated all of us in so many ways. I know there’s a lot of organizations out there that have actually lost people, which just breaks my heart, and has left huge holes in organizations, but it’s really important to develop those internal and external resources and being intentional about that. And leaders, if you’re out there listening, absolutely do things that, that give people the education on how to develop those resources to better get through this time.

Host: And certainly, folks, if there’s ever any resources we can help you find here at the Justice Clearinghouse, don’t hesitate to reach out. Definitely want to do whatever we can to help out. I thought this was a great comment from Chris. Chris said, my Fitbit pulse just decreased from 70 to 64, after only five cycles of modified square breathing, the one where the exhalation is much longer than the inhalation.

Brenda Dietzman: Yes, yes, yes, I love that. Thank you. Thank you for bringing doing that and telling everyone how it works. It works. It really does. You can even set a reminder. Just say hey Alexa, remind me every four hours, to do my breathing. Alexa or Siri, whoever will buzz you and do that and it just makes you stop and take a breath and just brings everything down, right? Oh, thanks Chris for sharing that. That makes me happy.



Audience Question: Talking about journaling. Some journalers recommend longhand and some are fine with typing, what do you recommend? What do you think about longhand versus typing? 

Brenda Dietzman: You know, I think part of that might be generational. But, science tells us that if you, if you write it longhand, it’s actually more effective, I’d be interested to see the difference between generations on that. But science does, overall, tell us that. Writing it out, longhand is, is probably the way to do that.


Audience Question: I have clients that are very resistant to all meditations, journaling, and breathing exercises. What can I do to promote this? How did you get into someone, and start changing their mind? 

Brenda Dietzman: Yeah, a lot of it comes down with vernacular, right? So, like, what do we call it? So, meditation, you know, and people from my generation, think of hippies and people smoking dope and with peace necklaces on and things like that. What I really try to do for people who are resistant to that, is I call it different things. So, like body armor for your mind, or, there’s an organization out there called Yoga for First Responders and they don’t use any type of Sanskrit or do any of the hands to the heart or anything like that. If you’re, if you’re a yogi, you know what I’m talking about. It’s all based on using language that we use in the first responder world. So, when you’re in warrior two with your arms straight out, instead of saying, you know, looking at, and I don’t even know the Sanskrit for it. But they say, look at your middle sight which is your middle finger on your hand that you’re looking at, right? And so, they put it all into cop language and make it tougher that way. But, again, I think if you go back to the science, and you teach the science about what it actually does to the body. People can kind of digest that a little bit easier, and they understand the importance and the health benefits of it. If you give them science, instead of just saying, “Oh, it’s going to make you feel good,” will be more effective. I don’t want to say that you do that, but really providing a science and maybe changing how you say it. So instead of journaling you could call it tactical writing. All right, just changing the language does a lot.

Host: Got it. You got to keep things tactical. You see what I just did there?

Brenda Dietzman: Yeah!


Audience Question: Have you found whether or not aromatherapy actually works? 

Brenda Dietzman: Oh, now that’s interesting and something that I haven’t dug into scientifically too much. So that’s a great question. I have a notebook and in that notebook I have a page called Curious. And when somebody asks me a question, or I’m like, Hmm, I wonder why that is, I write that down so I am can look into it later. So that’s going to go on that page, so I can dig into it a little bit more. So, a very good question, I don’t have any science to back it up, so I’m just going to give you my experience. I love tea tree oil. It’s got kind of a unique and very earthy smell to it. If you do any research about forest bathing. Just do a Google search for that and see, because they really do think that essential oils from trees, or the oils from trees, actually can improve your physiology, lower your blood pressure, do all of that good stuff. And there are studies that look at the difference between walking in a forest, as opposed to walking, like on a prairie. So, I love tea tree oil for that reason and sitting on my desk right now, is a bottle of Tangerine essential oil. And I just, I just love the smell of it, it energizes me. But I don’t know a lot of the science behind it. So, I’m just going to tell you what I like.

Host: I did want to share a comment from Tiffany. That when she has employees or colleagues say that, they can’t meditate or I tried it once and it didn’t work. She suggested that they look for guided meditation on YouTube. And I’m sure that there are a lot of those, a lot of those out there.

Brenda Dietzman: There are, and if you go the Pause First website and the link will be on the handout. They’ve got some free resources that include a few guided meditations. So, feel free. And it’s a great person that has a great story and has lived a great story. And does so much good for our first responders. So, yep, absolutely go check them out or go check out YouTube. There’s a lot of good, a lot of good guided meditations out there, good point.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of Building Resiliency: The Dawn of the Mentally Strong Employee.


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