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  • Writer's pictureJordanna Spaulding

With Love and Gratitude <3

Feel Awesome Doing Awesome Things That Bring Joy To Your Everyday Life

With Love and Gratitude

Every year, I look back at the reasons I started COMPASS. When I think about how many families I have had the pleasure to work with, I am grateful. I love witnessing the success stories of our students, who have beaten the odds, even when other programs have said he/she would never be able to do that. These are the stories I live for. When I read feedback on how COMPASS has changed your life and your family's lives because of the effectiveness of the programming, the instructors, and the community, I am grateful. I am filled with love and gratitude because you have trusted me with your children and together we have witnessed magic. For that, I will always be grateful.

As I write to you, I am thinking about you, your family, and your friends. The smiles, laughs, hugs, and kisses that we experienced in this past month have been, well, better than ever before. They all feel so needed. Social and physical contact are two of our most humane requirements to feel accepted and loved. Both lead to increased mental health status, self-worth, and confidence.

Just in Time for the Holidays

I want to start this holiday season by wishing you joy in the weeks to come. You may start to find yourself in social situations with people you haven’t seen in over a year, or at group parties and events that once would have been comfortable and common, but now seem overstimulating and overwhelming.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I was set to spend two days with my family. This was with three generations of people that have barely spent much time together in person over the past two years. In a room together, we would be mixing personalities and energies and I knew I would feel anxious and overwhelmed. When I am feeling overwhelmed, my executive functioning skills are compromised. I struggle with expressive language and communication skills. I struggle with completing tasks in order, which affects my ability to prioritize and complete tasks. My head starts to spin and I can become introverted, even though I am a relatively outgoing person. Consequently, I tend to be impulsive and dysregulated. I'm off and need to find ways to get back in balance.

2 Ways to Consider Self-Regulation

Self-Regulation on the Defense

I think about my own behaviors frequently because it helps me to mindfully identify why I am acting, feeling, and speaking a certain way. All behaviors are a consequence of a need to communicate. What is the function of my behavior? What is my body/ mind/ soul trying to tell me?

Listen closely. All of your answers are within your heart and mind.

Self-Regulation on the Offense

Historically, I would arrive with ambitious thoughts of how amazing and perfect the days to come would be. I would be thinking, "this is going to be the best Thanksgiving yet."

I’m so excited to get to spend this time with my family; so pumped and highly energized to eat, okay games and relax. l get to sit by the fire and hangout with the people I love. Walking into this without a plan to take time for myself, is setting myself up for failure without a plan to manage the stimulation of having everyone together.

This year I feel like I am another step closer to getting it right.

I went in with a plan. I anticipated my feelings, triggers and previous reactions. I set myself up for success with a plan.

This year I planned some time for self-reflection. I anticipated I would need to take two breaks on Thanksgiving Day. I planned for a morning session and an afternoon session. To start the day, I joined a family member at yoga. That gave me time to feel productive because I was doing something good for myself. The yoga class also helped to put my mind in a relaxed place, where I have the most awareness of my feelings.

Just before the day started ramping up and more dinner guests would arrive, I went for a 5K run with Boomie. Throughout the run, I kept reminding myself of how lucky I am to be able to breathe, to sustain a run, and to have my body strong enough to take me on the journey. How lucky I am to have the family I do. To have COMPASS and to be doing exactly what I want to be doing every day. The run gave me time to think in gratitude and focus on what I am grateful for this year.

The run reset my heart and focus. I used the yoga class and later the run to find balance with my executive functioning skills. Subsequently, I was more in control and emotionally centered.

Take Away: Habits Around Self-Regulating Offensively.

Go into it with a plan for breaks.

Go into it with a plan when you are triggered.

Go into it when you need to excuse yourself.

With Love and Gratitude,




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