Claudi’s lowdown on stress…

Out for a walk in the woods of Vienna

Hi everyone, students, colleagues, friends and fellow travelers! Glad to be back with you blogging again!

Recently several people have asked me about stress and how to manage it. Totally great topic and so key to my work; also kind of important on my travels, because travel can be stressful and fun at the same time.

So here it goes …. For those among you passing through the translation & interpreting dimension for the first time, let me tell you: STRESS is definitely part of the job! As translators we juggle extremely urgent deadlines all the time (I need it yesterday) and as conference interpreters we live with stage fright and high-pressure situations, having to be stress-resistant to the max. Some of the stories you’ve heard about interpreters suffering from nervous breakdowns and translators being burnt out after a couple of years are real! You can’t avoid stress in this line of work, but you can learn to find a balance.

One of my first mentor friends let me in on her “big head” theory, when I first started out in this business. Here it goes: Since we use our heads a great deal in our work (thinking and concentrating to the power of 10) our heads tend to “get big,” unless we do something completely different that does not involve the same part(s) of our brain. I don’t mean getting a big head in terms of ego here (although can happen to some people as well ;-). I mean a big head as in it feeling really heavy, getting headaches or suffering from sore/ stiff neck? That’s “big head syndrome.” How do you avoid it? By regularly enjoying any kind of physical or creative activity that does not involve those parts of the brain used for work. Exercise (walking, biking, horseback riding, gardening, whatever you like), regular creative activity that you enjoy (painting, photography, basket weaving, whatever you else you like)… you pick what you love to do! How often? As often as you need it for your head to stay a normal size. Pretty simple, right?

My second tip for you today is something I learned from my yogi soul mate, aka husband. It’s called: breathe! Proper breathing (into your belly) all the time, but especially to manage stage fright, works wonders let me tell you. It helps you function at a heightened level of keen awareness, keeps you grounded and reduces tension in your body, thus reducing stress. You can read up on breathing techniques online or enrol in a class to learn from a teacher. 

Try what works for you and let me know, how you’re doing! Always love to receive comments from my readers, so don’t be shy!

On that note, time to sign off for today and go for a walk myself!

Your Traveling Translator


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