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That Time of Year

That Time of Year

During the Holiday season, I start to feel like I’ve lost my marbles. The to-do list grows a million miles long. It seems we always need to be somewhere, by a certain time, with a certain food item…oh, and what are we going to do with the dog?

If I don’t take the time to think through what needs to happen and by when, it sucks for everyone. It can be exhausting and panic inducing.

You know the saying…

I look out at least a week in advance, to plan what needs to get done. I figure out my daily tasks, so I can be home when the kids get off the bus. As the other saying goes, “if you want something done, ask a busy person”.

Because I have a clear picture in my head of what I need to do and by when, last-minute surprises don’t phase me. Can I bring dessert instead of a side dish? Sure! I’ll pick up Christine’s cheesecake. (This is a real thing and yes, her cheesecakes are the BEST)

If I DON’T have a plan in place, those last-minute surprises catch me off guard.

If I’m scrambling during the day to get things done and the phone rings, I send it straight to voicemail (sorry-no time to talk!). Inevitably, I forget to listen to the message until much later.

What?!? Now I need to bring dessert?! Ugh! Guess I’m making another trip into town tomorrow.

By not having a plan for the day, taking time to run to the store only adds stress. Great, now I have MORE on my to-do list.

Instead of being relaxed and enjoying the season, I’ve turned in to the crazy lady driving down the road.  I’m stressed and distracted, not present and aware of my surroundings.

Sound familiar? Or am I the only crazy lady? 

What does this have to do with situational awareness?

Let’s switch the words around a little bit.

If I don’t take the time to think through what needs to happen and by when, it sucks for everyone. It can be exhausting and panic inducing.

If I don’t take the time to think about what I would do if I was attacked, I won’t be able to protect myself and loved ones. The feeling of helplessness is exhausting and panic inducing.

I look out at least a week in advance, to plan what needs to get done. I figure out my daily tasks, so I can be home when the kids get off the bus.

When I read a story about a woman being attacked, I take a moment to imagine the situation happening to me. What would I do? How would I fight back? What would I do if he had a weapon? What if I had my kids with me?

Because I have a clear picture in my head of what I need to do and by when, last-minute surprises don’t phase me.

Because I’ve thought about what I would do in an attack, I’m confident I won’t freeze. I know I will do x, y, z and fight back with everything I’ve got.

Mental preparedness not only helps manage stress in daily life, it helps you have confidence in your personal safety skills.

The Diamond Arrow Group has a simple mission, to teach women situational awareness & self-defense using their natural skills. Why? Because you should have the confidence to live life on your own terms. Being mentally prepared with a plan to fight back against an attacker is key to building your confidence.

Don’t let the craziness of the Holidays overwelm you. Don’t want walk around with tunnel vision because you’re stressed about your to-do list. Take some time tonight to make a plan for the week. What do you need to get done, in the next few days, so you can be present and enjoy the moments with those you love?

“Wherever you are, be all there.”

-Jim Elliot

Did you hear that?

Did you hear that?

Observe Your Surroundings

What is the first thing you think of when I say, “observe your surroundings”? I’m going to guess you thought about looking around and using your sense of sight to SEE what’s in your space. What if I told you your sight was already being influenced by another one of your senses?

That’s right, your sense of sight is secondary most of the time because you might hear something before you see it.

If you took an informal poll of your friends, most of them would rather lose their hearing instead of their vision. But your hearing capabilities evolved from its survival advantage. You hear things before you see them, especially at night or in the dark. Your hearing influences every other perception you have.

You’re surrounded by noises every day. But just like with sight, your ears can be listening to tons of sounds in your environment, without your brain really hearing them; your antennae are always up, but they don’t always send a signal to pay attention. Such signals only register in your conscious awareness when they’re particularly important (as in when you hear your name said at a noisy party), or when they break the usual pattern/tone/rhythm that your brain expects (like a scream, crash, explosion, or someone is talking in a strange or suspicious way).

You can tune into more sounds than you usually hear by “perking up” your ears, concentrating, and trying to distinguish and pull out noises you’re usually “ear-blind” to.

 

How can you practice hearing more than you usually do?

1. The next time you arrive to a meeting at a coffee shop early, instead of getting on your phone to check social media, try closing your eyes or looking down and see how many different sounds you can hear.

2. When you are in a social setting, see if you can pick out a specific voice or noise amongst all the other sounds around you.

3. If you hear a noise (and you’re in a safe setting), trying to guess what made the noise before turning to look and see what it was.

Moms have a tendency to really excel at these exercises because they’re used to hearing the cupboard door to the snacks open when it’s not supposed to or pick out their kid screaming “mom!” on a playground with other screaming kids, but anyone can improve their hearing skills.

Start by taking 5 minutes sometime today to stop and really listen to the noises going on around you. Who or what is making the sound? Is it a happy, sad or mad sound?  Are any of the sounds something you should pay more attention to?

“And in English you have this wonderful difference between listening and hearing, and that you can hear without listening and you can listen and not hear.” -Daniel Barenboim