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Why Self- Regulation is Key to Healing

May 29, 20245 min read

Let's get started, Jen, just by having you share a little bit of your story and how you help families.

Sure. So I live in New York, central New York, and I am a mom of two.

I recently, just a little over two years ago, got divorced and moved out right when the world shut down. So literally that weekend I moved out and all of a sudden, all of the things that were, were not anymore. I also was a teacher in a public school. I taught music and I overnight had to figure out online teaching, homeschooling my kids and, you know, along with everyone else kind of reinventing a new life because of that opportunity– I Can look back and really see it as an opportunity to reinvent myself– I found a new way that I can really live my mission, which has always been to inspire people to discover their voice. When I was in the classroom teaching music, that was quite literal, but I discovered that there was something else.

For me, there was an inner voice kind of calling that there was something else. And I followed that, that piece of me and it landed me to actually start my own business. And now I serve teachers and school leaders and work with school districts to find their voice and empower them in ways that they can understand how to regain their sense of agency again.

While the work that I'm doing explicitly, isn't changing the institutional systems and the things that are broken within those organizations. What we're doing is focusing on ourselves and when we focus on ourselves, that's when we see all of the external things start to change. So I serve families by serving teachers who then, you know, who, first of all, many of them are parents themselves. And you know, they of course impacted generations of, of kids moving forward. So it's exciting work.


Let's dive in a little bit to your work assisting students and teachers to find their voice as trauma survivors. Many of our listeners. are on that journey themselves finding their voice and finding, rediscovering their sense of agency. So, can you speak to that piece just a little bit?

Sure. I, and I do want to be clear here too, that the work that I do is actually is really geared towards adults, because while our intention is always to help kids and to teach them the things if we ourselves are not well versed in these skills, then we're actually not able to teach them because even though the words that we say might be the right things, the things that we model actually speak so much more loudly than the things that we say.

The thing that I think is most important in finding your voice is understanding the role that self-regulation has to play. So, before we can even get to a point where you are able to say the things you want to say and show up and do the things you want to do, you have to get really comfortable noticing what's happening physically in your body.

Because without self-regulation, we're always in a state of survival. And whether you've gone through big T trauma, little T trauma, your nervous system reacts the same way. The trauma happens inside of you. It's not. Of course, the actual event, it's the feelings that happen and that are remembered in your body and in your system.

So when you're able to really understand how your body and is interplaying with your mind, then start to notice when you're feeling activated and start regulating, that's the first step in actually finding your voice.

What is self-regulation? What are the steps to becoming a self-regulated Individual?

Yes. I'm so glad you asked that. Self-regulation is going from that survival state where your brain is activated.

The part of your brain responsible for that stress response, your amygdala is on. It hasn't evolved much since the days we were hunting and gathering and being chased by bears. So even though it might seem like a harmless interaction, your amygdala still feels like it's being chased by a bear, so that survival state is when we're activated and things happen in our systems, like:
- increased heart rate,
- breathing gets faster
- muscle tension or tightness
- stomach pains
- Sweating

These are all ways that we go into fight, flight, freeze, or fog and when we are in that state, that stress state, there are parts of our brain that aren't functioning anymore because we don't need them when we're being chased by a bear.

So essentially it shuts off things like your prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for executive thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and prioritizing. Things that we probably will need to solve the problem or deal with a situation that's in front of us that's causing us stress. So self-regulation encompasses the tools that we use to bring ourselves from actively feeling as if we're being chased by a bear– survival to safety, where our nervous system is like, all right, we're good. We are so good. So then everything comes back online and you can actually go ahead and do the things that you need to do. So self-regulation happens in the middle.

How can our audience connect with you further? They would like to follow you on social media or connect?

On my website, empowerededucator.com, there is a free resource on there of 10 ways to beat the burnout. Essentially those are 10 Self-regulation techniques that you can use on the fly.

On Social Media, you can find Jen
Facebook community- Empowered Educator Faculty Room
Instagram & Twitter- @jenrafferty_

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Mamahood After Trauma Podcast

Discover a sanctuary for healing and growth in motherhood with the Mamahood After Trauma Podcast hosted by Emily Cleghorn. Dive into candid discussions and practical tips on parenting amidst trauma recovery.

Join Emily and her guests as they navigate the complexities of raising children while prioritizing personal healing. Find solace, strength, and joy in the beautiful chaos of mamahood after trauma.

Rising from the Ashes: Reclaiming Your Life After a Traumatic Childhood

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Healing trauma is like peeling an onion. There are so many different layers that need restoration-- it requires caring for the whole person which can be incredibly overwhelming.
Inside the Mended Mama Academy, it’s not about peeling all the layers at the same time. It’s about allowing you to have the time and space along with the accountability, resources and support you need to peel the layers back 1 by 1 and create sustainable healing.

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At Mamahood After Trauma, we recognize the profound, often silent struggles that accompany maternal mental health. Dealing with maternal trauma adds another layer of complexity to the already demanding journey of mamahood. We see you, and we hear you.

We strive to create a space where you can feel safe and supported, where you can share your feelings without judgment and find the strength to heal at your own pace

At Mamahood After Trauma, you’re not just another client; you’re a person with a story that deserves to be heard and respected. We’re here to offer you the tools and support you need to navigate the challenges of maternal mental health. With the right help, it’s possible to reclaim your well-being and experience the joy of motherhood in a way that feels healthy and fulfilling.

Meet Coach Emily

Emily Cleghorn has a fire burning in her soul to make the world a better place and it’s not hard to see why.

If someone would have told her that she would use her trauma that she was enduring in her childhood to inspire and lift others up, she would have laughed you off.

Emily grew up in beautiful small town Nova Scotia, a place she couldn’t wait to get as far away from as soon as she was old enough to leave home. For her, where she grew up represented a lot of pain, disappointment and unmet promises. It represented a lot of limitation and toxic relationships.

She somehow found a strength deep within her to keep persisting. She was aware of the statistics for kids that grew up in similar situations and she made a decision early on that she was not going to be one of those statistics.

She was going to be different...


For Emily, mamahood has been a journey of learning how to regulate her own nervous system so she could teach her babies to do the same.

It hasn't been easy. That's why she created "Mama Untriggered" Private Podcast Series—a transformative 5-episode journey outlining the steps she took to help her calm her nervous system and reclaim her strength in mamahood that's completely changed the game for her!

It can do the same for you!


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