One of the benefits that I get from working in mental health is personal transformation. While it is true that I have seen my share of death, divorce and destruction (over the years), I have witnessed great acts of accomplishment. Nothing compares to seeing a client find their personal power. I really dig that!
During this time of isolation, due to COVID-19, I am seeing so many people assuming that they have no power. When in fact, it is quite the opposite. Yes, many of us are on lockdown. Yes, many of us may be scared of the uncertainty of the future. But, now is the time to tap into your personal power. Now is the time to align with a power position. Because there is always, always something you can do to improve your situation.
I like the analogy of hiking. There is a protocol you should use if you get lost while on a hike. I like to teach the law of 3. My wife and I used to be avid hikers before her many surgeries. Not only were we properly prepared when we hiked (proper gear, knew the terrain, weather forecast and potential dangers- such as poisonous snakes etc.), we knew the law of 3.
The law of 3 is this:
1. You can go 3 minutes without air.
2. You can go 3 hours without shelter (in hostile environments).
3. You can go for 3 days without water.
4. You can go 3 weeks without food.
Knowing the law of 3’s, you are forced to prioritize. This is where your power lies. If you’re hiking and you get lost, knowing the power of 3’s will help you focus on what matters most. The same principle applies to your life right now. As I have been taking on more clients during COVID-19, this is exactly what I am teaching. Let’s triage where they are and what they have. By doing so, it gives them direction, and action items often build confidence.
As for COVID-19 triage, let’s do it quickly right now. What are the basics:
1. Are you physically healthy?
2. Is the state of your mental health good?
If the answer is yes to the above questions, you have some time to make a plan. If you answered no to either question, that would be your first priority. Act now!
Let’s move onto phase two of triage:
1. Do you have a roof over your head tonight?
2. Do you have food and water today?
Repeat the above process.
Let’s close with phase 3 now:
1. Do you have money to pay the bills for a few weeks?
2. Do you have a job to go back to?
Phase one is your critical needs. If your health is rapidly declining, you’ll have a hard time meeting the needs of phase two. Phase two is about stability. While they are very important, it’s a rung down on the triage ladder. And lastly, there is phase 3. This phase is where many derive a great deal of stress. Without money and a job to go back to, this can cause many to feel sick and depressed. But just like the law of 3’s, it’s a lower rung because your basic needs are met (at least for the day). If this is where you currently are, now is the time to take every advantage to try and improve your situation.
I understand that there are many scenarios that are affecting people. This article is intended to help one focus on where to start. Just as being lost on a hike, the first thought is, am I okay for the minute? Moving on to, am I safe tonight? And finishing up with the next couple of days and a few weeks out. Apply that to your COVID-19 experience. Phase one- are you okay now? Phase two- are you okay for the next couple of days? Phase 3- when do my resources run out?
These are challenging times, and there are no easy answers. But, your power will increase with action. Whatever you need to do to improve your situation, do it. Calling community service centers, doubling up with family, seeking the help of professionals, to sending out resumes. Do it without delay. Action gives us some control, in an out of control situation. Because there is always, always something you can do to improve your situation. That is how you create a power position.