Facing the New, New Normal

Facing the New, New Normal

In the first month of self-isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic, I heard myself say, “I can’t wait to go back to normal!”. In the second month, I realized I had no idea what “normal” even was anymore. As I start the third month, with businesses gradually opening up, it’s been so long since I’ve lived my “normal” daily routine, I’m anxious about facing the change again.

Perhaps you’ve heard that it takes an average of 21 days to form a new habit. That idea comes from a book, “Psycho-Cybernetics” published in 1960 by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. In 2009, a new study showed it actually takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.

It got me thinking-if I start from March 13th (which is the day it started for us), and count the days until today, I get the magic number 58. In our state (MN), the Governor has issued a stay-at-home order until May 18th. If everything opened on May 18th, the number of days we’ve been in self-isolation is 61. So, if you consider the study I mentioned above, we will be just 5 days shy of the 66 days it takes for new behaviors to become automatic.

My next thought was, “Great-I’ve finally gotten to a certain level of comfort with my self-isolation routine and now I’m going to go through the discomfort of figuring out my new normal post-pandemic!”

Ugh.

What will the new normal after Covid-19 look like and how will it affect your personal safety? You will have to establish new baselines in the establishments you patronize, you will need to adjust your readings of body language, and you will need to establish new boundaries for yourself and your loved ones.

Let’s talk about the first item, establishing new baselines. A baseline is what you would normally expect to observe in your environment. For example, the baseline of a coffee shop may be the smell of fresh brewed coffee, a low-level of sound as people are working quietly, and looking around, you would see tables of people reading, working on their laptops, or talking in small groups. What is the new baseline going to look like post-pandemic? For coffee shops, probably not a whole lot of difference. The tables may be more spread out with less available seating. If there are groups of two or more people, some of those people might be wearing masks. Be curious about whatever environment you’re in to establish the new baseline, so you can easily spot the anomaly or something that doesn’t fit.

The second item, adjusting your readings of body language. It makes me think of a funny meme I saw the other day:

 

Before Covid-19, it was very unusual to see people covering their faces with masks, unless they were concealing their identity while committing a crime. Now, a lot of people are wearing masks as well as the criminals. Being able to read body language, is more important than ever. What are they doing with their hands? Does the individual keep touching their pocket or reaching their arm around to their lower back? Those are signs that the individual could be concealing something. Maybe they just stole an item and they want to make sure it hasn’t fallen out of the hiding spot, or maybe they have a weapon and they keep touching it to make sure it’s easily accessible. If you weren’t a people-watcher before Covid-19, consider this your opportunity to start a new hobby.

Lastly, what will your new physical and emotional boundaries be and how will you enforce them? If you are a hugger like me, I need to consider that it may not be as socially acceptable. Even handshakes may be something that will only be allowed after vigorous use of hand-sanitizer. If your personal bubble was 2’ before Covid-19, it has probably increased to 6’. If there’s someone else bagging fresh avocados in the produce area and you have the ingredients for guacamole on your shopping list, you’ll probably wait patiently for the other person to be finished before picking and bagging your avocados. Decide what you are comfortable with BEFORE you go back out after all the stores re-open. Run through mental scenarios on how you will enforce those boundaries and what you will do if a boundary is crossed.

Setting your emotional boundaries will be crucial to your mental health as you re-enter your community. When I first went into self-isolation back in March, I crashed hard emotionally in week 2. I was overwhelmed with having my two kids home with me, I was sad to watch my business stall, and the confusion of information changing daily was unsettling. I continued to try and spread positivity, but my emotional tank was empty, and I was hurting myself trying to give something I didn’t have. As businesses and individuals adjust to re-opening protocols, give yourself plenty of space to decide what you’re comfortable with. If you’re not sure about going back to eating inside restaurants or attending a gathering of more than 10 people, don’t let others force you or make you feel bad about your decisions. Do what is best for you and decide how you will respond to invites. On the flip side, refrain from passing judgement or shaming those who are the first through the door of their favorite restaurant.

As you look forward and contemplate your new normal, take the time to listen to your intuition, and make decisions based on what’s best for you and your loved ones. You got this.

 “We don’t grow when things are easy. We grow when we face challenges.”

-Unknown

 

So, What Now?

So, What Now?

You may or may not have noticed, I missed the last blog email. I’m not even sure I can use the word “missed”. I didn’t forget I had a blog to write, I simply couldn’t focus the energy on sitting down to write it. I’m guessing you may be chuckling to yourself right now, saying,

“Yea, I hear you Kelly. I’ve struggled to focus energies on doing things I used to do too”.

Today marks exactly one month since my kids’ school sent home suggested learning objectives on a Friday in case there wouldn’t be school the following week. It was one month ago that we walked to a neighbor’s house so the kids could play together outside, while the other mom and I talked. I remember us not being overly concerned about what a potential Covid19 response would be in our area. Maybe the school district would close for a week or two. Maybe we would be forced to take a mini staycation. That wouldn’t be so bad, would it?

That Sunday night, we received the pre-recorded phone call letting us know that schools would be closing for the next two weeks due to Covid19 and to help teachers prepare for online learning. That was the start of life as I knew it, being completely flipped on its head.

Monday brought the flurry of emails canceling situational awareness presentations and day-long trainings. Only four days earlier, I had looked at the month ahead and felt excitement for all the opportunities to help people see skills they already possessed, in a new way. To help each of them feel more confident in their ability to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. I felt like my company was finally turning a corner and gaining momentum. At the beginning of the year, I had participated in a vision board workshop and 2020 was going to be the year of growth. My word for the year was “mighty”.

Watching that momentum disappear in a matter of hours didn’t make me feel very mighty.

I’m guessing you probably have a similar story about how the pandemic shutdown affected you.

Loss. Uncertainty. Anger. Frustration. Helplessness.

Those first two weeks of shutdown were a rollercoaster of emotions for me. When my calendar reminder popped up to tell me that I had a blog to write, I dismissed it. What the hell was I going to write about when most people were stuck at home? I didn’t want to pretend that nothing was different in the world. I didn’t want to put on a fake smile and act as if my life was humming along as usual. I also wasn’t mentally in a place to process what I was going through.

Every day brought new information, new protocols, new restrictions, new challenges. I needed every ounce of energy focused on my family and establishing a new routine so my kids could feel safe and secure. I needed to figure out how to let the fires of DAG go down to hot embers without letting them go completely out. I needed to figure out how to support my husband, who is upper administration in law enforcement, while he was trying to figure out how to keep the officers safe and healthy, so they could keep citizens safe. Because a lot of those citizens were now on the front lines. Keeping grocery shelves stocked, figuring out how to reorganize the healthcare system to prepare for a potential spike in Covid19 cases, driving thousands of miles to keep the supply chain going with the increased demand for goods, and small business owners desperately trying to shift their model over night in order to save their livelihoods.

Everyone was affected.  It was overwhelming.

I realized the airplane passenger safety briefing applied now more than ever. Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.

I had to figure out how to take care of myself so I could help take care of others. Suddenly, my own words on how to become more situationally aware had another parallel in my life.

When I made that mental switch, I wasn’t back to the full strength, kickass Kelly overnight. I had to set up small, daily habits and commit to doing them every day.

I made a list of 5 things I would do every morning to help me get in a better head space.

  • Read my daily, faith-based message
  • Write down 5 things I was grateful for
  • Look at my vision board
  • Choose 1 thing I would accomplish for the day
  • Spend 7 minutes meditating

These were all things that were simple for me. They didn’t take a lot of time. Which is very important right now with 8 and 7-year-old boys’ home with me every day (did I mention EVERY DAY?!).

My mental health improved, and the emotional rollercoaster went from Six Flags level down to County Fair level.

When you start focusing on your personal safety skills, it’s important to start with small daily habits and commit to doing them. It’s not about only looking for a threat. It’s about being curious about your environment and noticing the things in it.

Pick ONE THING to look for today. Maybe it’s noticing all the different animals in your yard (squirrels, birds, rabbits, deer, fox, etc.) It doesn’t matter if you live in the city or in the country.  Tomorrow, pick something new to look for. Maybe it’s going for a walk and doing the Heart Hunters challenge (a Facebook group now over 800k members strong).

I wish I could tell you when the self-isolation recommendations will be lifted. I wish I could tell you what your life and daily routine will look like when all businesses can open back up.

It’s just like I wish I could tell you exactly what to look for to prevent you from ever being attacked. It’s how I wish I could tell you exactly which self-defense tool to carry with you at all times.

I can’t. I can’t see into the future. No one can.

Anyone who tells you exactly who or what to look for, or exactly what tool to carry in order to stay safe, is full of shit.

Right now, I simply want you to do whatever you need to do, to stay healthy and to stay safe.

Take care of yourself. Do whatever it is that you need to do, to take care of your loved ones. Don’t let someone else dictate how you should act right now. Give yourself grace and remember that you will get through this.

“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”

-Steve Maraboli

3 Things To Remember During Self-Isolation

3 Things To Remember During Self-Isolation

Today is day 1 of self-isolation with my two kids. I’ve started using the hashtag “#CQday1” to keep a sense of humor about all of this. Being the wife of a law enforcement officer, my husband is required to continue going to work, as long as he’s feeling well. Which means the likelihood of him coming in contact with the virus is above average. Which means myself and our kiddos could become infected. Which means everyone we come in contact with has an increased chance of becoming infected.

As an extrovert, this is going to be a challenging time. As a person who recognizes that my temporary isolation could protect others from becoming infected, it’s a no-brainer.

My normal work routine will be impacted, so I ask for your patience in trying to get ahold of me. If you need to reach me for any reason, the best way will be to send me an email at kelly@thediamondarrowgroup.com. I’ll respond as soon as I can.

Even though my daily focus will be on taking care of my family, I can’t NOT talk about a few things on my mind with our current state of affairs. Here are 3 things I want to mention in regards to your personal safety and situational awareness during this time.

  1. Watch for any neighbors who may be struggling during this time of social isolation.
    • If you have elderly living in your neighborhood, send them an email, give them a call, or leave a note in their mailbox with your contact info and offer to help get any supplies they need. It may be as simple as adding a gallon of milk to your grocery order. You can always leave their item in front of their door in order to maintain the recommended 6′ social distance.
    • They may need to get refills of their medications. They can call their pharmacy with your name and birthday and give approval for you to pick it up. The pharmacy would simply need to ask for your Driver’s License to verify your identity.
  2. If you need to run errands and get supplies, be aware of anyone in your space.
    • When fear and panic take over, people do crazy things. Keep your eyes up and pay attention to your surroundings as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to put up your hand (like you’re signaling for the person to stop) and say out loud, “Can I help you with something?” if someone is getting too close.
  3. Make it a priority to take care of yourself.
    • If you are now working from home AND have your kids at home AND trying to keep up with the latest updates on Covid19 AND trying to figure out what to make for lunch AND making sure your supplies are sufficient, you could be experiencing an immense level of stress and anxiety. (or is it just me???) Give yourself grace! Everyone is dealing with massive changes to their daily routines. Stay calm, focus on what you can control, try to get fresh air (even if that means standing on your front steps for 5 minutes), and do something you enjoy. Maybe you can finally read that book you’ve been neglecting.

Okay, this email got a lot longer than I intended. Ha! As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions relating to personal safety during this unique time. If I don’t have the answer, I’ll do my best to find one it you.

Now…I need to figure out what to make for lunch. Ahhhhh!

You Got This,
Kelly

What If We Flipped The Script?

What If We Flipped The Script?

I just got back from a lovely weekend of relaxation, deep conversation, and lots of laughs with two beautiful souls I’ve been so fortunate to cross paths with. It was exactly what I needed, a mental break from the never-ending to-do list of home projects and the growing (no complaints) opportunities for DAG.

I don’t know if it was the clarity from taking a mental break, the fact that my two friends and I could have real conversations about sensitive topics (with differing views), or that I watched the movie “Bombshell” on the flight home, but my mind was reviewing my personal beliefs and asking hard questions.

Is that really what you think Kelly, or is it what you’ve been told to believe?

Why do you think that?

What if you looked at things from a different perspective?

Typing that seems silly. I’m almost 40 years old and I’m asking myself if my opinions are truly mine???

In my journey to learn all that I can about situational awareness, I’ve had to study a lot of trainings for law enforcement and military personal and think,

“How can I translate this valuable information so the everyday person, especially women, understands it and can apply it in their own lives, regarding personal safety?”

I’m constantly absorbing, evaluating, challenging, and questioning current beliefs and views on personal safety to figure out how to apply them to my own experiences as a woman.

I guess you could say I’m challenging the current status quo of self-defense with the realities of being a woman.

This morning, as I was getting back into my daily routine and the beginning of the work week, I found myself thinking about a quote I had shared on the DAG social media pages last week.

The post saw a fair amount of comments and views. It’s a sad reality that we don’t consciously think about in my opinion. It’s one of those, holy shit- that’s true, type of things.

As I thought about that quote, I realized I could flip the script and switch “woman” to “man”, and wondered if it had an equally impactful truth.

 

Again, holy shit- is that true?

In transparency, after I thought it, I wanted to immediately dismiss it. I know so many great guys, there’s no way this could possibly be true.

But, if the first quote is true, then is my reversed quote true?

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

-Sir Isaac Newton

It may be a stretch, comparing assault to the laws of motion, but it makes sense to me right now. If every woman has a story that relates to assault, doesn’t that mean that every man has a story too? Again-I’m not saying EVERY man is a predator. If it makes it more palatable, take out the assault part and think about a guy who crosses boundaries.

If you’re a guy reading this and you’re fired up because you adamantly detest men who prey on women, who disregard boundaries, who say or do things that cross the line of being offensive to women, let me be the first to say, THANK YOU! The world needs good men like you. We need you to keep doing the work to make a difference in women’s safety.

AND, please look honestly at the friends, family, and acquaintances in your life and ask yourself if any woman has ever made a comment about one of them being “creepy”. Have you ever found yourself shocked to hear that female friends in your life can’t stand being alone with a certain guy? Have you been surprised to learn that women in your social circle literally have an understanding or code word for dealing with a certain guy? For example, if this guy has been drinking, they all know to watch and make sure no female is left alone in his presence.

Ladies, I’m curious to hear your thoughts and opinions. What do you think?

Gentlemen, if you’re still reading this, I truly want to know what you think. Whether you agree or completely disagree, I welcome your feedback.

“Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change.”

-Barbara Mikulski

Self-Defense Tool Breakdown

Self-Defense Tool Breakdown

What Self-Defense Tool is Right For You?

The best answer- it depends on YOU.

When I’m talking to women about their personal safety, I get asked all the time…

“Do you recommend Mace? I’m so worried I’ll accidentally spray myself!”

“I like to walk/run outdoors by myself, would a personal alarm work for me?”

“I’ve been hearing people talk about tactical flashlights, how will that help me?”

I thought I would put together two-part video series to go over the different features of the self-defense tools I carry and sell in The Diamond Arrow Group online store.

Watch PART 1 

Watch PART 2 

I can’t stress enough, if you don’t feel comfortable using the tool you select, it’s not the right tool for you. If you have an alarm, test it out. If you have a Mace spray, go outside and see the type of spray pattern it has. You need to be comfortable with whatever you have and know how to use it BEFORE you find yourself in a situation.

Thanks for watching!

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Make sure to subscribe to our NEW The Diamond Arrow Group YouTube channel!

What is Situational Awareness Anyway?

What is Situational Awareness Anyway?

Growing up, I thought it was so cool when people could “read” people and know what they were thinking or what they were going to do, before they did it. I believed it was all Hollywood special effects or a skill only super-secret CIA spies had. I didn’t know it was a skill all women are born with.

Have you heard,

“You need to be more aware of your surroundings!”

Which made you look at the person and say,

“Aware of what?”

“What am I looking for?”

“If I DO see something, what should I do?”

“And then what?”

“And then what?!?”

Throughout my life, I’ve had to take responsibility for my personal safety without consciously thinking about it. When I get asked what started my fascination with situational awareness, (basically asking if I’ve had something  tragic happen to me), there isn’t one specific event. I’ve had lots of little situations where I knew something wasn’t right. Situations I’ve looked at differently because I’m a woman.

From an early age, girls are told all the things NOT to do, in order to avoid being a victim to the scary boogeyman, who will jump out of the bushes and hurt you. Stranger danger! But here’s what’s wrong with that message…

We tend to have this preconceived notion that an attacker will be a stranger and will dress a certain way. Ted Bundy was considered charming and attractive. He didn’t LOOK like a cold-hearted killer.

What I’ve realized is being situationally aware is simply looking at life skills you already have, in a different way.

Women have unbelievable intuition skills. We notice when a loved one is “off”. We feel the vibe or energy of a place. We have amazing instincts that help us take care of others. We’re traditionally raised to be kind, gentle, caring, and nurturing. We know EXACTLY what our kids need, even before they can talk.

We joke that the term “momma bear” is a sweet way of saying we would rip someone’s head off if they harmed our children or someone we cared about. Why is it so hard to use those skills to keep ourselves safe?

Because there are very few instructors out there who look like us, who have looked at life the same way as us, helping us see those skills in that way.

A great example I use is running outside. If I want to go for a run, I need to think about the time of day and if it’s a public or private route. I tell someone the route I plan to take, I think about what safety tools to carry, and I how I’m going to carry them. If I’m attacked, I need to consider how fast help can arrive. We can do everything to stay safe and still have some creeper try and mess with us.

My husband on the other hand, only has to decide if he wants to go for a run.

Have you taken a self-defense class? Was it with a male instructor? I’m not saying anything against male instructors! I’ve talked to lots of men in the self-defense industry who truly want to help women. But when they teach self-defense, they don’t have the life experiences women have and it can come across like man-splaining. They don’t realize the nuances we think about that have never crossed their mind.

Women are attacked every day. Not only by the boogeyman jumping out of the bushes, but by those we love and trust.

If we bring the conversation out in to the open, it brings light to things that really happen and the way they happen. We need to talk about the behaviors of PEOPLE in general, not just strangers.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the stranger at the park or the creepy uncle, the red-flag behaviors are the same.

Have you read about a woman being attacked and mentally walked through what you would do if you were in the same situation? This isn’t victim blaming and saying, “she should have done this” or “she should have done that”. This is asking yourself, if that situation happened to me, what would I do?

Try practicing right now. What would you do if someone snuck up behind you and put you in a choke hold?

It’s uncomfortable to think about. Your heart might start beating faster, your palms might get sweaty, and you might hold your breath. I want you to do it anyway. Visualize kicking his shins, stomping on the top of his feet, elbowing his sides, biting his arm, scratching his face, poking his eyes, and anything else you could do to fight back.

Wouldn’t you rather go through all of that visualization in a safe environment, than freeze up in an actual attack?

Your body can’t go where your mind hasn’t. In a situation, every second counts. If you’ve mentally gone through a scenario, you will be able to respond quicker if it actually happens.

We all have fears. We feel it when we become first-time moms, in our careers, or in running our own businesses.

What if we changed the perspective on fear? If fear gets you to take action to improve your life, it’s a good thing. If fear of not being able to defend yourself gets to you be more aware of your surroundings, that’s a good thing. If fear of someone breaking into your home gets you to add motion lights to the exterior of your home, that’s a good thing.

I don’t want you to ever stop living the life you want to live, or go the places you want to go, because you don’t have confidence in your personal safety skills.

Learn how to keep yourself and your loved ones safer. Take a self-defense class, figure out what self-defense tool you feel comfortable carrying and actually carry it. If you don’t want to take an in-person class, find something online.  If you have a question, you can email me any time.

Take the first step.

The Diamond Arrow Group exists to help women gain the confidence to move forward and live life on their own terms. I want all women to live their life, exactly the way they want to.

“Fear is your ally. She’s the caring messenger and supportive friend-and she’s always got your back.”

Marie Forleo