Acronyms are everywhere, especially in the world of texting. BTW, IMO, LOL, SMH, OMG, and my personal favorite, WTF, are quick and easy ways to get a message across. There are acronyms in the business world, in the medical industry, and we even use them to teach children new concepts.
But did you know there are a few acronyms to help you through difficult situations?
As a reminder, an acronym is an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words. I can’t take credit for the acronyms I’m sharing. I had a great team of therapists while treated in an intensive outpatient program for PPD, and they shared them. Game Changers, if you ask me. So, let’s break them down.
HALT is used to check in with yourself.
H -Am I hungry?
A -Am I anxious?
L -Am I lonely?
T –Am I tired?
Let’s be real … getting mad about the dishes in the sink or the clothes on the floor isn’t really about the mess. While incredibly annoying, your anger is likely because you’ve pushed other emotions aside, and the mess is the last straw. Been there!
I can say from experience, most of the time, I’m hungry or anxious. I found myself irritated mid-morning at work (back when we actually went to work). After doing some self-reflection, I noticed I wasn’t really annoyed by the meeting or my colleague; I was hungry! I started keeping snacks in my office, and the hulk inside me slowly shrunk.
I use HALT with my oldest child all the time. She is usually tired or hungry, and the time to stop and reflect gives us both time to reset. So, when emotions rise, HALT, access the situation, and yourself and then do something to meet one of your basic needs.
HARD is used in conversations, specifically difficult ones.
No one likes an awkward conversation with a family member. While it might seem easier to ignore comments or completely flip out on that person, I encourage you to respond, but respectfully. Don’t shrink yourself.
So how do you address dear old Aunt Sally when she makes a backhanded comment about formula feeding your baby? As tempting as it might be to tell her to mind her darn business (it’s what would be running through my head), it won’t solve anything. Instead, try using the HARD method and responding like this: “Aunt Sally, my baby is fed and healthy. Breast-feeding versus formula feeding is a personal decision, and I made the best decision for myself and my baby.” Mic drop.
Fear is an emotion caused by a belief in danger. The problem is it can also be self-created.
Imagine you’re on a hike and you encounter a bear. Fear will likely kick in, and in that case, it’s valid. Self-created fear resembles fear of being lonely, fear of the dark, fear of failure, or rejection. When we let emotion run rampant in our head, it can seem real and cause worry, but there is no threat of immediate danger.
When you feel worried, examine why you feel that way before you go down a rabbit hole. Being prepared for certain situations is one thing but allowing fear to take over is another. For example, maybe you’re fearful of being judged by your family or your spouse’s, mainly because you’ll see them over the holidays. Tackling FEAR means pausing, acknowledging the emotions, and moving forward with positive self-talk and action. Before seeing family, surround yourself with someone that builds your confidence, like a best friend. Keep in mind that you are unique and own that notion if you feel judged and acknowledge that you can’t control someone else’s thoughts or feelings, only how you react.
There are so many emotions that come along with the holiday season. No matter what feelings you have, remember to take care of yourself. And most importantly, remember there is light at the end of the tunnel, and the dumpster fire of 2020 will soon be over. Cheers!