Picturing A Plan

Last year I wrote about an approach to help manage challenging situations that I’d been introduced to – it had as its acronym: STOP. I created a drawing to go with it to help me and my support team remember it.
While I found the approach useful, as someone with tics who’s been told to “stop” a lot in the course of my life, the acronym didn’t feel quite right, so I’ve created an alternative version – SAFE!

A digital drawing of a landscape with a blue sky and tree tops. The bottom edge is made up of tree tops of varying shades of green and brown. A red, hot air balloon with the word safe in capital letters flies in the centre of the sky. Four clouds float in each corner – with a description of an action written in cursive. The text reads as follows: SAFE – a plan for when things feel challenging Slow-down as much as you can. Slow your breathing, your body, and your thoughts Accept and describe what you’re feeling Focus on your choices – the routes out of the situation, or the feelings that you’re experiencing Exit the situation by your chosen route

I find it useful having a simple visual plan with an acronym to make remembering it easier.

My friend Will recently reminded about my old PURR plan which I developed a few years ago to help my support team know what to do if my tics intensified. He said he carried the card with it on for ages and still knows it by heart all these years on. Inspired by this conversation I slightly tweaked the original plan and created a Monkey inspired drawing to go with it.

A digital drawing with a strong mustard yellow background and the shapes of 4 black cats. Two of the cats are sitting up, another is curled in a ball and the fourth cat is sitting down. The cats are identical in size and colour and that each have a green sparkly collar. The cats have text on them that reads as follows: PURR – a plan for the support team when tics intensify Protect by moving hard or sharp objects out of the way, provide padding or protective clothing Understand that tics and impulsive behaviours are not chosen Redirect the conversation and refocus attention Recovery time for both the person with tics and those providing support

On a roll I thought about other times I might need a plan and so I created a tool to help me move on from negative situations or thoughts – I called it Dave

A digital drawing of a night sky, at the bottom right of the image is three blocks of high-rise flats with the lights on. There is a silhouette of three trees at the bottom let of the image. IN between two of the trees is a small grey lamppost. Capital letters spell out the word DAVE with each letter corresponding to the following text: DAVE – a plan for when you need to move on Distract yourself from any unhelpful thoughts – this could involve having a conversation, undertaking a physical activity or counting backwards. Allow yourself to refocus Voice ideas for positive things you can do next Enjoy any new phase or activity

In case they are useful to you or someone you know they can be download here.

Feel free to use any which work for you. You might want to try making your own plans too. For me, just knowing I’ve got a plan makes a positive difference to how confident I feel.

If you have plans or approaches that work for you, please do share them in the comments section below.

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