A Chat with Heart - with Christina Martin

Christel Seeberger: Sensory Friendly Solutions, accessibility matters, and relaxed performances!

February 06, 2022 Christina Martin / Christel Seeberger Season 1 Episode 7
A Chat with Heart - with Christina Martin
Christel Seeberger: Sensory Friendly Solutions, accessibility matters, and relaxed performances!
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Working in health care as an Occupational Therapist for over 25 years, Christel Seeberger saw how sensory sensitivity and sensory overload caused people to feel overwhelmed and anxious.

It made people feel isolated and alone. They stopped doing what was meaningful and important in their daily lives. Families ceased doing things together.  Mature adults stopped travelling.  People even avoided going out in their local communities. School became a place of stress for children, youth and adults. Workplaces became intolerable and workers left the workforce.

With adult-onset hearing loss, Christel understands these problems personally; she also experiences sensory sensitivity and sensory overload.

Christel Seeberger founded Sensory Friendly Solutions in 2016 to make sensory-friendly solutions readily available to people, businesses and organizations.

Sensory Friendly Solutions exists to help you; people, businesses and organizations, to find the sensory-friendly solutions you want and need, and to empower yourself with knowledge and awareness to change, and together, we make the world more sensory-friendly, accessible and inclusive. 

Check out the Sensory Friendly Solutions Podcast

Support the show

Support the podcast by joining Christina's Patreon community.

Christina Martin  00:02

(Theme song - Talk About It - playing in background) Welcome to A Chat with Heart Podcast. I'm your host, Christina Martin. I'm here to guide us on this journey of heartfelt and uncensored conversations with friends I've met while touring my music in Europe and across North America, and people who have life experience that I genuinely believe we can all learn from. Our personal stories have great power to heal, influence, and inspire. All we have to do is show up for the conversation. 

 

Theme Song - Talk About It  00:31

If we just talk about it, we can shine a light, we can break a dark day. If we just talk about it, we can cut away, we can make a brighter day.

 

Christina Martin  00:53

Hey, wow, another storm weekend here in Nova Scotia. I don't know if you can hear it, but, right now is freezing rain. And it's sort of slapping up against the window behind me. And I have come to realize that it is nearly impossible to make plans this winter. I think we've had three or four winter storms on weekends and tried to make plans with friends and had to reschedule. I mean is that basically everybody else's experience out there? Everybody seems to be getting this Omicron virus or some other illness. And, you know, nobody wants to hang out with each other. Any symptoms of cold, flu-like symptoms so. It's been really hard to make plans. I feel very lucky to have my best friend Dale here in the house. So like, I never feel lonely. But, I really feel for any of you out there that live alone during this pandemic, and are just craving friendship, call the heartbeat hotline, the number is at the end of this episode. And if anything, you can ask me a question, strike up a conversation, and then I'll try and answer it, directly address your question in a future episode, because we're going to do a lot of them. And hey, I would love to help make you feel a little less lonely. So, this episode goes out to all the occupational therapists listening out there. I actually have three patrons signed up on my Patreon that are occupational therapists. And there might be more. Shout out to Liz, Haley, and Julie. I was thinking about you all throughout the production of this episode. Okay, so I've been getting this question a lot - why do you care about accessibility? And I mean, the simple answer is, I would like people to feel welcome and invited to my shows. And then once they show up, I would like them to be able to safely experience and enjoy, you know, listening to my music. I wasn't doing my part to let people into the party. That bothered me and I wanted to do better. I don't consider myself an activist or a leader by any means. But, I am someone who was chosen to admit that I was kind of clueless in a lot of ways to the barriers that some of my audience might have been experiencing when trying to access my music and my live events or my online events. So, I'm trying to do better. And I've learned that it's this ongoing process. It's not an overnight change. And I've enlisted the support of others who have experience with accessibility to help me along my own journey. And one of my mentors is my guest today. It's been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to work closely with Christel Seeberger, who founded Sensory Friendly Solutions in 2016, to help people, businesses, and organizations discover sensory friendly solutions for daily life. So, Christel has been educating me on my journey to make my online and in-person events, sensory friendly and accessible to more people. Christel worked in healthcare for more than 25 years, helping people with sensory sensitivity who experience sensory overload. To be completely honest, I think when you hear accessible venue, oftentimes, you know, the only thing that comes to mind is whether or not there's a ramp at a venue to get into the entrance, the main entrance and, you know, maybe accessible bathrooms. In the past, I really didn't think too much about any of the other barriers for someone wanting to experience my event. I didn't think about providing a live audio description. I didn't consider anybody who might have light sensitivity. I didn't think about other physical obstacles to safely getting inside the room. I didn't consider offering a space for someone who might want to take a break from the crowds due to sensory sensitivity. I didn't even think about alt text. I'm still figuring out alt text. If you've ever had a chance to read my alt text on Instagram or Facebook, I didn't consider live captions or transcripts or, you know, closed captions, what those were and what that meant to my audience. The exciting news is, and I can say this from experience now, when you start asking these questions, you then can move on to trying to answer them and finding solutions that will help you connect with more people. You know, I'm curious, if you are listening, and you have your own business, or you're running events, what of your experience has been like, on your own journey to becoming more accessible and inclusive? My experience has been met with new friendships, new knowledge. Yes, I've made mistakes. I've learned you don't always get it right the first time. But, I can feel that my purpose as a creator is becoming more meaningful. When Kat Germain produced my first audio described music video last year, and she and Christel Seeberger, my guest today, and Milena Khazanavicius, they sent it out to all of their contacts, news that we were doing a video premiere event and that we had an audio described video. All of a sudden, I had more people that were able to experience my music, the video collaboration, and my vision that we try so hard to get out there and share with the world. And today, I'm just really so pleased to share this Chat with Heart and an expert chat with my friend, Christel Seeberger.

 

Christina Martin  06:44

I'm very curious about pivotal experiences in people's lives. You know, why they end up being the person that they are doing the thing that they're doing. So, I would love to hear some examples for you of your life. What were some of those things that led you to be an occupational therapist, and then to start Sensory Friendly Solutions on top of that? Occupational therapist sounds to me like somebody you would go to if you were in an occupation, and you hated it, and you needed help. 

 

Christel Seeberger  07:22

Not quite.

 

Christina Martin  07:24

Or is the definition of an occupational therapist, somebody who, when you have like, you know, you want to set up the ergonomical setup in your office that you would go to? Yeah, yeah, no, I mean.

 

Christel Seeberger  07:39

We do that too. Yeah. We do all those things.

 

Christina Martin  07:40

Yeah, okay. What else do you all do?

 

Christel Seeberger  07:43

Poorly names for fashion, which I've been explaining for over 25 years. Makes me laugh.

 

Christina Martin  07:49

One more. One more time.

 

Christel Seeberger  07:51

It continues to evolve. Actually, it's a wonderful profession. Many people are attracted to healthcare, we're looking for ways to help people. And for me, occupational therapy  was the right fit because it taught me, it gave me tools to help people but, also to help people in different ways. So, it's not just helping the physical difficulty and it's not just helping the mental health difficulty. It's not just helping that the cognitive or the thinking difficulty, that it really, it puts everything together, which is why I think it becomes complicated to explain. Because as an occupational therapist, we work with anyone from a neonates, a little premature baby in the neonatal ICU, to older adults, elderly clients, seniors. My oldest client, who I love dearly, and miss to this day with a 106 years old.

 

Christina Martin  09:00

Wow.

 

Christel Seeberger  09:01

Yeah, it was a gift for me to work with her. And someone I will always remember. And so again, any age, and someone I'll say with any type of difficulty that is stopping them from doing what's important in their daily life - important, meaningful, that let's them do what they want to do in life. And so you know, with a child that can be you know, school is very important and learning and development. And there can be lots of barriers to that because of some underlying physical problem or some underlying mental health problem, or some underlying cognitive problem and sometimes that comes with an actual diagnosis, but, sometimes not, right. There's lots of reasons why someone might not be able to do what they want to do. You gave the wonderful example Christina, you think of occupational therapist and doing ergonomics at work. And absolutely, that's a part of what we do. I will confirm to you, although you can't see virtually, I have a really good ergonomic setup of my home office, my two desks, my two laptops, and all the screens. Perfect ergonomic position, absolutely for myself. And then you know, as an example, I give the example of I worked with, you know, a client who was 106. And I worked with her actually on her mobility. She was no longer able to walk. So, I helped her actually get a wheelchair that was a perfect fit for her. And she could move herself around. She was living in a nursing home, could move herself around that nursing home with greater speeds than anyone could walk. So, that was a phenomenal experience. And wonderful for her, the day she was able to get out to the gardens outside. Yeah, so occupational therapy is difficult to explain sometimes, because we work with so many different people. Occupational therapy has really informed what I do. And I said this at Sensory Friendly Solutions. So, little longevity in my career, and have worked with quite a diverse client groups, have worked with folks in home, school aged children, worked in nursing home, worked in summer camps, worked in hospital settings, all the settings I've just about worked in. And I had a large private practice that was multi city and multidisciplinary. And essentially, a couple of things sort of converged at once. One was the realization that we were working with different client groups as an example, a lot of autistic children, right, and their families, and their parents, and their schools. Doing a lot of work with veterans, who were experiencing PTSD, and mild traumatic brain injury. Doing a lot more work with adults, and some difficulties after concussion, post concussion. And then, a lot of emerging work also around adults with anxiety. And one of the common threads through all of that was this just difficulty in a world that's busy, noisy, and bright, and increasingly busy, noisy and bright. And I kind of went, you know what, this isn't a problem just for one group of people. But, it's a more and more common problem for lots of people for lots of different underlying reasons. And the crystallizing moment, no pun intended there was, so I have adult onset hearing loss. And I now use the hearing aids and some assistive devices in daily life. I always say these, like my hearing aids and my little microphone, I'm like, it's the third most expensive thing I own. That's like my house, my car, and these really fancy assistive technology. And I'm like, that's not affordable to most people. Really fortunate to be able to, you know, buy really good, good quality, hearing aids. And yet, they don't solve the problem for me. There's still places that I go, there's places in fact, I won't go and things I won't do, because I can't participate when I get there, right. Or it's too exhausting. Yes, maybe I can hear in the environment, right. But, it's absolutely exhausting for me to do that, or I can hear and not participate, or not engage and not enjoy. Someone like me with hearing loss is very, is different than the experience of an autistic child and their experience. And it's different than an experience of a veteran with PTSD or traumatic brain injury and their sensory experience in an environment. There are some common threads. And there are some common solutions that help more than just me. They help a large and growing community of people. And so I really found it Sensory Friendly Solutions to go you know, what, how do we solve this problem? How do we get those solutions out there, adopted, understood by more people because it helps, what used to be maybe a hidden community of people that are now saying, I want a sensory friendly experience when I go somewhere. How do I help make that happen?

 

Christina Martin  14:28

What's something you wish more people understood about you?

 

Christel Seeberger  14:32

In the context, sometimes what I'm doing with Sensory Friendly Solutions, I think the light I'm trying to shine, sometimes there's an expectation that because I'm the founder of this business, that the light I'm trying to shine is on me as a person or my personal experience with disability which absolutely informs what I'm doing, or that it's about my practice as an occupational therapist, which absolutely informs what I'm doing at Sensory Friendly Solutions. It's not called Sensory Friendly Problems. It's called Sensory Friendly Solutions. And the solutions are not just mine to give. There's a whole rich community of people who are also trying to bring solutions to life. And that it's not about me, it's about we, right. And that's just something I wish people knew.

 

Christina Martin  15:34

Well, now more people will because we're getting to know you a little bit better. How is the pandemic changed how you do your work? And what are some of the, I guess highlights of, you know, what you've learned in terms of solutions?

 

Christel Seeberger  15:51

One of the things that was interesting at the start of the pandemic are business model, if you will, around Sensory Friendly Solutions was very much around what we thought was around - okay, people are traveling, and when they go to different places, there is a new or exacerbated problem with their sensory experience, right. Going somewhere else, and being worried about sensory overload or something being too busy, too noisy, too bright. And it was interesting, at the beginning of the pandemic, I thought, will there be a need at a hall for anything to be sensory friendly? Because the pandemic very much changed Travel. No travel to limited travel. And, the pandemic, you know, brings with it and we've actually had some people, I'll give an example, Neptune theatre and Halifax, Nova Scotia, who offer sensory friendly performances. And in returning to theater productions and performances, they sort of said, oh, you know what, because of physical or social distancing, that actually lends itself a little bit to be more sensory friendly, right, because of a limited number of people and that distance there. However, so I thought, well, you know, maybe this is not going to be a problem anymore for people what we're trying to solve. So, we've really looked at that and done some deeper dives, and talked a lot to people and just sort of observe what's happening and done some surveys and some work. And in fact, one of the things that we noticed has been reported is COVID-19, has in many ways brought, say more sensory overload. If you can imagine, especially at the beginning, we're a little accustomed to it now, but not necessarily so much. It's really still not habit. Going to a grocery store, you're wearing masks, and where am I supposed to stand? Am I far enough away from the other shoppers? Am I following the arrows on the floor or the sign? So, there's less noise because there's fewer people, but actually, the masks and the barriers cause a problem. There's more visual signage, there's more sensory stimuli. And you're in this heightened state of a little bit of anxiety because you're really wanting to follow the rules and maintain that distance. And because we're spending so much more time alone, in our homes, going out where there's other people, the first time one of the periods where we were allowed to eat out at a restaurant, or one of the times I had with with my team took them out for a meal together so we could be together and I just had this moment of going, how do you act in a restaurant. Like I just sort of had to coach myself through this is the sensory experience in a restaurant and a conversation with other people. I miss how this goes. Sensory overload in some ways been exacerbated by COVID, not solved, which surprised me a little bit.

 

Christina Martin  19:03

Surprised me as well. You know, even having to perform from home, I was surprised at my heightened sensory overload when it came to setting up and getting ready to do the live events and worrying about what could go wrong. When you perform live on stage, once you're on stage and you are doing your thing, it's pretty straightforward. But, for online events, there are multiple things to keep in mind. And if you want to be engaged with people in the same way or some kind of way as you would be in a live setting, you know there's even more to consider and think about and keep in mind and be doing with your hands aside from just singing your songs. And so, I've found it and still find it quite overwhelming at times. Of course, I try not to led on, kind of be pro. So, it's been great for business. Congratulations.

 

Christel Seeberger  20:01

Oh, it's still a problem, Christina. And I think, you know, it's interesting you say that. It's still a problem. Sensory experience and the difference that COVID has brought is still a problem in-person. And still brings challenges with it virtually. And, you know, I've been fortunate to attend both virtual and in-person. Yay, we got an in-person event.

 

Christina Martin  20:25

We did get an in-person event in Fredericton. And you, thank you so much to you and Elaine for coming out.

 

Christel Seeberger  20:31

That was lovely. But, it's so interesting, you say that - just your perspective as a performer. And that's something you talked a little earlier, Christina, about our discovery at Sensory Friendly Solutions, and my discovery, working with people and just bringing people together is really discovering more about solutions together and about problems. We had an opportunity last summer where some occupational therapy students from Dalhousie University did a virtual remote placement with Sensory Friendly Solutions and talked extensively to you. And that was such an interesting piece that you shared, and we discovered with that is their sensory friendly for the audience, but also, what makes the performer comfortable on stage. I say that sensory experience for you as the artist, and it's not something that we had really thought of. We thought about, okay, we're setting the audience up for success so that they can enjoy music and experience this, but, also really thinking about, you know, what is important to you. And that was a huge shift, right, and just part of this learning together. And that, you know, making changes, and it is. We all have different sensory preferences. We have this little blog post, I think we called it "Sensory preferences - Yours, Mine, and Ours", because they are all different. And how do we, you know, how do we make that a successful, wonderful performance for you just as much as it is for the audience.

 

Christina Martin  22:10

Yes, I've always been sensitive to audio quality. Obviously, the quality of what I'm seeing on a stage is important to me. So, I assume that's going to be a priority for the audience. But, so I do use myself as a gauge because I do care about quality and comfort. And I won't go out to certain situations, if I don't feel comfortable. And I think that has to do with sensory sensitivities that I've had my whole life that I've really only become much more aware of through working with you and kind of thought, oh, well like there's a name for this. But, when I look out at my audience, I want to see and feel that they're comfortable. And then when I look around the stage, I want to feel comfortable. I want to kind of imagine what they're looking at. And I just want that to feel like, you know, depending on the type of show, like if it's a cozy, intimate, relaxed setting, I want them to feel like they're in my living room, and we're having a conversation. If it's a bigger rock show, obviously, it's a little bit different. And, you know, my requirements change and adapt as well. And maybe there's more lights and whatnot. But, I want them to feel what I'm, you know, striving for. In your experience, what would be one of the biggest challenges to presenting what you'd like to bring, your solutions that you'd like to bring to communities or to businesses? Do you still come up against lack of awareness? It's understanding?

 

Christel Seeberger  23:38

Yeah, two things. I think, you know, for me, it is just awareness and understanding or knowledge. You think it's just this small group of people. At least 33% of the population is more prone, or more likely to experience sensory sensitivity or sensory overload, because of over 25 underlying diagnoses, disabilities, disorders, differences, I named a few, autism, hearing loss, you know, PTSD. There are a ton more right, that make people just more likely to go you know, what this environments overwhelming, this environment is not comfortable. So, absolutely, just information and awareness. And I think also, Christina, a little bit of what you shared, and I'm always trying to build tools and resources and solutions and training that informs people and helps them. Again, it's a journey, right. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, right. As you, you know, you sort of experience - what can you do tomorrow that's different, that includes more people? And it doesn't have to be hundred things. It can be one thing. And that one thing is valuable, has impact, and can positively affect change. So, really, dispelling some myths that you have to have, you know, all the answers and all the solutions and all the changes tomorrow. How can we help meet people where they're at, and help them move along that journey to greater accessibility to a more sensory friendly experience to include more people in a way that's right for their environment, their events, their business, their organization.

 

Christina Martin  25:28

I just thought of an example, in the process of us working together and meeting other partners with lived experience. We ran a live event in November at a venue. And I was thinking about the music we would be playing before the event started. And how since we wanted to be mindful of anybody partially sighted, blind, that was coming to the event, I asked one of my partners, Milena Khazanavicius, who was co-hosting at that event on stage with us the whole time, talking about the songs and life and also community and reducing barriers to accessing the arts. And Milena is 100% blind. And so I asked Milena, in your opinion, as people are, attendees are coming into the event, if they're partially sighted or blind, will it be a hindrance to have music playing in the background? Would it be better to have instrumental music? Would it be better to have no music? And she gave me her input. But, little details like that can make a big difference for certain people. So, we chose not to play, love Metallica, but, we just chose not to play that at full volume in the church, as people were walking into our relaxed environment. And you know, at that event, I had people coming in, who came right up to me and said at the beginning, at the merch table, came right up and said, normally, we don't come out to live events because it's too loud for us, we're concerned about that. And then the feedback after, keeping that in mind, was very positive. And so yeah, it just kind of was interesting to me to think about all the different things. And then to open it up for people to give feedback, because we also let people know we want your feedback. We're curious about it, especially when we labeled that show as a relaxed event.

 

Christel Seeberger  27:36

That willingness to try and to listen and to understand and to communicate, right. You also in that performance, were very mindful about communicating what it was and also what it wasn't. And I think, giving people information, any information, be it because I have different sensory preferences or other preferences. Giving people information, lets your audience decide this is a fit for me, or this is not. Many shows are sensory rich, right? And they're intended to be sensory rich, right? 

 

Christina Martin  28:12

Yeah.

 

Christel Seeberger  28:13

But, letting people know what will be there, what will be done, just gives people information, and then the power to choose as opposed to not knowing anything about the location or accommodations that will be made. And then letting them know that they have on voice to give feedback. You talked a little bit earlier about barriers to businesses, organizations, or people adopting accessibility or inclusion or sensory friendliness or all of this together. And that it's okay not to do everything, right for everyone all of the time. Sometimes that's not possible. And sometimes what helps one group of people is not helpful for another group of people. That doesn't mean you can't do anything, right. It's just about finding the solutions that work for yourself as a performer, for the physical environment of the church, what works in this environment, what works for you. And then having an open mind and an open ear to learn from the audience, right? 

 

Christina Martin  29:20

That's right. Yeah.

 

Christel Seeberger  29:21

Letting people know what resonates and what really made it work with them. And what a beautiful gift for people to say, I didn't feel comfortable before but now I am because you made a commitment to making some well communicated changes that made people feel comfortable and could enjoy a beautiful experience. So, we'll give the audience just some concrete tips - what are some things to think about for relaxed Performances. You do want to think about noise level right. And you're like, well, it's music, they need to hear it. Yes! They do. Good quality audio. But, really loud is often a challenge. And so one of the things that you did in the church and one of the things that's recommended for any location where possible is actually to create a quiet space, right, or a chill zone, or a quiet room. And that's because sometimes it's not that like it's too loud in any one moment. But, it's also just the duration, being able to absorb that, and having a place where people can go and just sort of have a bit of a break from. And it's not bad noise, it's wonderful, beautiful music, but, having that option. If you can ever remember a place where you've been where maybe the audio has been crackly or just like a really poor quality and how grating that is. So you know, noise in terms of sensory friendliness is really the most important thing. So, good quality, please. Good quality audio. But, then also tone it down. And where possible, give your audience an ability to have a little break, and come back and enjoy the rest of the show.

 

Christina Martin  31:15

Yeah. We let our audience know at one particular event that this is a relaxed event. And I think once the relaxed event becomes maybe more, you know, common term used for an event and people know what that means. We explained in the introduction to the event that meant that they were free to get up and walk around, which isn't something that you know, I was aware of, or was an option, you know, it was like "well get in your seat and you stay in your seat". And some people cannot sit for an hour comfortably. They might have some underlying pains or some other form of anxiety where it's really soothing to get up and maybe move to remove yourself from you know, an area where there's a lot of people. So, we designated chill zone as, followed your recommendations. I told them where it was, had volunteers that were trained guided assistance, volunteers, that could assist if anybody needed help to get to the chill zone during the event. And although I didn't notice anybody actually getting up and walking there, it was more I think just letting people know, that was an option. I think that it actually, you know, saying that we were running a relaxed event and explaining what that meant, in our event description made some people feel more comfortable to come out. What if some of the shows can't be for some reason sensory friendly? I guess, I would just put "this one is not for everyone".

 

Christel Seeberger  32:53

And I think what we're really giving you here is the skills, the ability to embrace this. It's about empowering you to invite and engage an audience to come and enjoy your music wherever that is possible. And you know, and I absolutely understand some things are meant to be sensory rich, right.

 

Christina Martin  33:23

Like I mean, I might have strobe lights.

 

Christel Seeberger  33:25

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And so you should.

 

Christina Martin  33:30

I see. I see what you're saying.

 

Christel Seeberger  33:32

The Christina Martin World Tour, you know, might have some features of that. However, giving you the ability to include more people in your audience in a way that fits the venue and the performance. And I think that those are really important features for our audience and our listeners to understand. When I choose to go to a particular, whatever I choose to go and do something that's important in my daily life, be it a musical performance or something else, it really is about giving the information that lets me go "yeah, this is a fit. Or no, this isn't a fit".

 

Christina Martin  34:14

Becoming a sensory friendly performer, a certified one, gives me an advantage. Having those tools, I can decide how and when exactly what the type of event is. I can do more events that are open to everybody. There still might be some shows that let's say for example, we love doing house concerts and they may not all be accessible venues. I can think of some pretty cool venues we've played in caverns and basements in Switzerland and, you know, it would break my heart to not perform those. But, maybe in addition to playing, you know that venue there's another venue in the area. Once I meet, you know, have a demand for my music and if I know that, you know, people want to hear us and also letting us know, I want to come to that event, but, you know, I couldn't get in which I realized I don't really want to put on the attendee, but it does help. Like that feedback does let me know who's out there, who wants to hear my music. And it triggers me to make a change more immediately to that particular region that oh, I need to play an event that is open to more people, more communities. I'm very excited about becoming the world's first sensory friendly certified performer. I mean, what do I... Is there a prize? I'm just kidding. Is there a uniform?

 

Christel Seeberger  35:53

Oh, I don't know.

 

Christel Seeberger  35:55

Oh, you want a sword? Okay. I'm not used to producing events, Christina. So, I'll have to learn a little bit from you. But, I'm thinking we need a live event here. 

 

Christina Martin  35:55

Official hoodie? A sword?

 

Christina Martin  36:15

Definitely. Oh, that'd be fun. 

 

Christel Seeberger  36:19

Night is not the right word. I'm trying to think of, but I'm like, okay, yeah.

 

Christina Martin  36:25

That would be fun. And we won't have strobe lights and pyrotechnics at that event. 

 

Heartbeat Hotline  36:33

(Theme song - Talk About It - playing in background) Welcome to the Heartbeat Hotline 1-902-669-4769. I'm the host of A Chat with Heart podcast, Christina Martin, and I'm so excited you called. Leave me your question, suggestion for the podcast, or a comment about this episode. Please be aware your message may be used on the podcast and social media. Tell me your name, where you're calling from. And it's also fine, if you want to remain anonymous. Thanks for listening. Have a great fucking day!

 

Sarah  37:14

Hi, Christina, it's one of your little heartbeat. It's Sarah calling. And it was so cool to have ran into you and Dale on the trail the other day, when the geese were flying overhead, in January. And it's always such an honor to be in your presence. I always find that you make me feel special when I'm around you. And I think you did that for Lucy, on the podcast with her. And you do that for children. And I know that you and Lucy talked about that, how important it is to get them. And I always feel that, that is really important. And I wish that happens for you. Even though it may not have happened for you in your childhood, it happens for you now, the way you do that for other people. And if I was to ask for something more in the podcast, it would be what do you do when your buttons are pushed? Or maybe when somebody else goes into some sort of reaction? And how do you go from there? I know that you do so much great work to be in the present moment and to be conscious. Way to go. Great life to you and Dale. Bye for now.

 

Christina Martin  38:37

Sarah, you're so awesome. Thank you for calling the Heartbeat Hotline. I love it. And I'm definitely going to answer your question, right now. What do I do when my buttons are pushed? I personally get really quiet and kind of take it in. But, I quickly start thinking about how I can set a boundary in a kind and compassionate way, which might mean speaking my truth. Like, "I think this might not be the best time to have this discussion. If it's important to you, let's pick it up in an email or in another day. But, I'm just not in the right frame of mind to have this conversation right now". You know, that could be one way I deal with it. Or in the moment, it's sort of hard sometimes to act the way you would like to. So, sometimes I have to process what's actually happening. Like I've had people say inappropriate things to me before but, not really process it until maybe the next day or weeks later, or even years later. So, if you have to see that person again, and you're expecting, you know, you're preparing for your buttons to be pushed, I would say a little bit of prep is a good thing. And practicing setting your boundaries and communicating them clearly and calmly and with compassion. So, if somebody is pushing your buttons repeatedly, they've just might not be aware that those are your buttons. Who knows where they came from, or what communication skills they've learned that have worked for them in the past. And they might learn from you explaining to them very clearly, like, you know, I'm really sensitive about that thing. So, I would prefer we either not talk about it, or maybe you're feeling taken advantage of, which is a big one for me. It's my least favorite thing. And I've learned how to set boundaries when it comes to that when I start to feel like, you know, this doesn't feel fair for me, or I feel like I am being taken advantage of, then I have to stand up for myself. And by standing up for myself, that doesn't mean coming at somebody with anger. It just means clearly outlining to them what I need to feel safe and respected. And that can be in an email. I find it's easier for me sometimes to communicate difficult things and boundaries in emails. And after a while you get so good at it. You can do it on the phone or you can even do it in-person. Sometimes Sarah, I find I just need to remove myself from the situation of ever having to be around a certain person after I've tried my best to be respectful. But, I would be happy to have that chat with you in person or on our walk in the woods, Sarah. That's a great question. And I wish you all the best in setting your boundaries and remaining the compassionate person that you are and staying calm and not taking on the negative energy and vibrations that are thrown your way. You're so sweet, Sarah. 

 

Christina Martin  41:52

A Chat with Heart - produced and written by me, Christina Martin. Co-produced and engineered by Dale Murray. Check out Dale's website dalemurray.ca. The podcast theme song Talk About It, was written by me and recorded by Dale Murray. You can find it on all the places you stream music. Production plans for this podcast and Season One are supported by the Province of Nova Scotia's Women in Business Implementation Fund, and the Creative Industries Fund. Special thanks to Terrence Taylor, for mentoring me on hosting this podcast and really digging deep with me on my production plans for season one, which let's be honest, Terrence, ended up being more like well needed psychotherapy for me. To Christel Seeberger at Sensory Friendly Solutions, thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me learn how to be a more inclusive, accessible, and sensory friendly human. Visit my Patreon page to become a monthly or yearly supporter of this podcast and my music endeavors. If you're new to Patreon, it's a membership platform that helps creators get paid. Sign up at patreon.com/ChristinaMartin. For this to be a massive success and reach seven billion people, I need you to share, rate, leave a review, and subscribe to A Chat with Heart on all the places you listen to podcasts. Wishing you, my little heartbeats, a great day.

Greetings from Christina
What is Occupational Therapy?
What's something you wish more people knew about you?
How has the pandemic changed your work with Sensory Friendly Solutions?
Christina's perspective as a performer.
Awareness and understanding for sensory sensitivities.
Finding the solutions that work for your event, and being open to feedback.
What is a relaxed event?
Becoming a certified sensory friendly performer.
Heartbeat Hotline
Sarah Witney - Heartbeat Hotline Message
Podcast Credits