As you’re all aware, 2020 has been a true rollercoaster emotionally, politically, and environmentally. And, with so much mixed information and constant crisis, it’s pretty safe to say that the election will bring out the best and worst in our country’s population. For some it’ll be easier to roll with the punches than for others. Those of marginalized communities will be hit hardest if things turn darker that day and that includes the majority of us who have worked together.
While some will have another human or pet present to lean into, there will be those of us living alone and isolated due to COVID that will have to weather the outcomes on our own. Even our support people will need supports after a while and we don’t want to take those caring gestures for granted. For those I haven’t worked with in a while, I hope you don’t mind this letter as I still hold you in my thoughts. It’s time to dust off some old skill sets while being open to new ones!
I’m writing to remind ALL of us (myself included) to begin working on what a solid Resiliency Kit would look like. It can literally be a cardboard box in the corner of the living room or something virtual if that’s more your style.
1) Let’s start with making a list of “who”. Who is available (and has the capacity) to be someone you can text/call/Zoom or physically sit with? If they’re not able, who is next in line? For whom can YOU be on a support list for? Sharing the load is key, in my opinion, to prevent even the most privileged and stable of our networks to not burn out.
2) Medications – if you have specific meds that have been prescribed for panic/anxiety or depression, etc. do you need any refills? If so, go! Please be mindful of only taking the dosage that’s been prescribed for you by your providers. If you need referrals or are hesitant using the phone, let me know and I’ll help advocate for you to get in ASAP.
3) What beverages are comforting? Tea, coffee, seltzers, juice – will you need to watch blood sugar levels or caffeine intake? If you haven’t refilled those ice trays or restocked your tea selection in a while, now’s the time.
4) Snacks! You know what you should/shouldn’t eat. Choose things that feel comforting but won’t cause feelings of guilt or digestive pains. Are they shelf stable or should you add them to the grocery list closer to November? Also, think about easy/fast meals. We can even make large batches of things now and put them up in the freezer.
5) Textures – soft, warm, heavy, cool, scented… what feels great to have wrapped around you or underneath you? I highly recommend a weighted blanket if you’re the type that needs the big bear hug to calm. Get your hoodies laundered and your favorite socks matched up, too.
6) Gather distractions that count. Many of you have heard me talk about the difference between Zoning Out and Checking Out. Aim for Zoning Out because I don’t want to lose anyone to dissociation if we can help it. Nor do we want to become numb for too long. A solid distractible activity is perfectly fine to help de-escalate and turn off intrusive thoughts.
· Playing cards and/or board games
· Video games
· Netflix queue filled
· Music (& headphones?)
· Crosswords, Wordsearches, jigsaw puzzles, etc
· Art supplies
· A journal or notebook
· Meditation apps pre-downloaded and ready
· If you’ve done DBT jot down which methods were most helpful
7) If you’re still reading, hear me out on this one. It might sound silly but write a letter or a card to your future self & put that in the kit. What would be something hopeful and supportive that future you would like to hear? Perhaps it’s mantras, a pep talk, or a little cartoon to make yourself smile.
Some additional ideas:
· If you need physical activity to burn off stress – what will be available, easy to get to, and realistic in expectations? Do you need to write it down and put that note in the kit?
· A Phone Tree of who calls who to check-in… remember to share it with everyone on it (do you have everyone’s phone number?)
· If you share a home with others that are significantly different in political/social views, how can you create a safe-space within your home?
· Find humor wherever you can.