SURVIVORS AND THRIVERS
The events of the last many months have created survivors and thrivers of each of us. In our own way, we are each learning how to navigate a new world and new systems. We are creating a New Normal. We will not go back to "the way things were," and we will not return to "normal functioning." We will forge our pathway forward into a version of our world that includes shades of the old world, lessons learned from our current experience and brightness of the world that is yet to come.
For many of us, this is not an exciting or pleasant process. Creating a New Normal comes with painful experiences, loss and struggle. Many of us continue to be in that phase of loss and struggle. Each of us are weathering this storm and gaining new skills at our own pace. Be assured that on the other side of this storm, there most certainly is a New Normal with a new way of doing things that our human resiliency and solution-finding nature have allowed us to design and implement.
As you work to thrive in this time of creation, consider the following ideas:
1. FIND YOUR RHYTHM
You have likely already found new schedules and structures that work for you and your family. Continue to hone these schedules and find a rhythm that works for you. Each day might have variations, but you will eventually notice that you are following a pattern and a system that is of you own new creation. Consider writing it down, posting it or putting it in your calendar to further concrete this New Normal.
2. DISTRESS TOLERANCE
A major overhaul of systems and daily life, as we are currently experiencing, can be distressing. As we work hard to create our New Normal, consider the following ideas that https://linehaninstitute.org/dbt/" target="_blank">Dialectical Behavioral Therapy teachers us:
A. TIPP - Temperature Control, Intense Exercise, Paced Breathing, Paired Muscle Relaxation
Temperature - Cool your body down! Crisis and intense emotion can increase the heat in our body. Find an ice cube, splash your face or find some cool air - changing our body temperature can help re-regulate our system and give us an opportunity for fresh perspective.
Intense Exercise - Address your intense emotions with an intense response! Intense exercise could include a short sprint, 10 quick jumping jacks, or fast-paced game of "head-shoulders-knees and toes." Quickly increasing your heart rate will increase the oxygen to the decision-making part of your brain and help to re-regulate your system for a fresh perspective.
Paced-Breathing - Remember your breathing exercises! This can be a simple breathing exercise or a more complicated breathing exercise, depending on the level of focus you can maintain in the moment.
Paired Muscle Relaxation - Practice exerting control over your body by tensing and relaxing different muscle groups as you cause your own body to relax and release.
B. Self- Soothe - Use your five senses to re-regulate and re-focus on things you CAN control and being in the present moment. Pay attention to 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Allow your own body to return to itself and open an opportunity for fresh perspective.
C. Radical Acceptance - We may find that once we have made every intervention available and made as many changes as possible, that we have to sit in the present moment and recognize that it is a product of all that has come before, of all our own efforts and of many things that we cannot control. We may need to choose to radically accept that our present moment exists in its pain and goodness while we survive until we can thrive.
Additional tools for Distress Tolerance can be found here: https://www.sunrisertc.com/distress-tolerance-skills/" target="_blank">SUNRISE: Real Life Change
3. HUNT FOR NEW NORMAL
Beginning training your mind today to hunt for the New Normal. Look around and see what is new that is working and embrace it. Look around for the new things that have been tried that didn't work and leave them on the side of the road. Track successful New Normal by writing it down, sharing with a friend or just choosing to stop and notice.
I know that we are all using every ounce of energy we have left to create and navigate the New Normal. You are finding your systems. You are finding your rhythm. Keep working at it. I have faith in your strength. I have faith in your resilience! We are each making our way to New Normal. Just around the corner, New Normal will be NORMAL.