United Front: System Safety Plan Course

Course Content

Total learning: 16 lessons

Toolbox Brainstorm: Crew Equipment Review

APPR Section: Developing a Wellness Toolbox | brainstorm alongside your safety plan, use scrap paper

Every day the ship’s crew checks that their tools are stowed exactly where expected. When weathering a storm in the dark of night, you have no way to see your way to the things you need: you must know precisely where every tool is stowed and every rope is lashed. Not only that, it’s not a good time to find out your favorite knife is dull, a rope has frayed beyond usefulness, or that a sail in need of repair was neglected too long.

Every ship that’s going to set out to sea must be provisioned, and inventoried. The crew, especially the officers, is selected for their depth and bredth of skills and knowledge and if there’s a skill lacking then they seek out someone who has it.  After all once you’re out of port, your life depends on having enough food, drink, skills, sailors, and the right tools and complement of officers to make sure that y’all reach the other side.

Even on your plural “Ship” — y’all need to know what you have to work with, to keep things going well, and in times of trouble.  Skills, attitudes, behaviors, interests, values, ethics, passions, drives, curiosities, hobbies, talents, dreams, goals, projects, emotional tools, mental tools, physicality, etc. There’s no end to what y’all could have (or develop) that could help your ship sail off on adventures in the future.

The first step will be to brainstorm and catalogue your ship & crew’s resources. The main idea is to list the things y’all all use or do to help yourselves feel better when y’all are having a hard time. But y’all can get very creative and write things down that y’all have never tried before, that might help. An air of curiosity and creativity can help a lot in this exercise.

Go for writing down even the totally obvious things like things y’all already do every day when y’all feel well.  In fact, those are likely to be the things that y’all use from this list first, so make sure to include them.  This could end up being a really long list — especially as there’s so many of you.  But it makes the other exercises easier and even seeing a large list of things that help y’all feel good or better can help your mood.

Please Manage Your Spoons

Note that while y’all eventually want the list to be exhaustive, y’all never have to allow it to be exhausting. Y’all can do this in many sessions, or say “that’s good enough for now” and move on. Y’all will come up with more ideas eventually, and y’all can add them to the list. It’s a living document. Y’all may never be “done” tweaking or re-creating it. That’s half the point — it needs to be a current playbook, not a perfect playbook.  Y’all are trying to describe an evolving process (your system); y’all won’t be done with it. So don’t worry about being perfect and getting absolutely everything down.

And if y’all don’t know each other well enough yet don’t worry about it. Write your answers. They can write their answers later, too.

Brainstorm Assignment

Start to catalogue things y’all already do or might do that: 

  • help y’all stay well or feel better or stay in a good mood
  • y’all would like to try; things y’all have heard may help
  • affirm your& crew’s strengths, abilities, talents, positive qualities, interests
  • utilize skills that help y’all get well
  • your shipmates find enjoyable, are passionate about
  • affirm your internal goodwill, compassion, trust
  • connect y’all with each other (meetings, collaborations)
  • bring y’all more into the Here & Now
  • accomplish shared passions or purposes amongst shipmates
  • highlight inner world assets; tools, structures, mechanisms, people, friends, allies
  • ameliorate your& pain, boredome, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, agitation
  • encourage headmates who handle adverse conditions better to front
  • things that inspire you

It may help to run down a list of your crew or shipmates and catalogue things they like to do. Some more questions that might help your brainstorm (individual or collective answers are OK):

  • How do you express your creativity?
  • What do you like to discuss or research?
  • What type of music do you enjoy?
  • What types of rewards do you give yourselves?
  • What do you find fun or funny?
  • What are you interested in or enthusiastic about?
  • What do you want to do again?
  • How do you comfort yourselves? (stims, motivations)
  • What projects do you enjoy?
  • Where do you like to go?
  • Who do you like to talk to or spend time with?
  • How do you spend time with your pets?
  • What types of natural environments do you like?
  • What causes do you stand for?

Some may have things in common (i.e. sing, sculpt, swim). Y’all could also take note of the things y’all already happen to do through the day. Don’t forget routine items of self-care for your system and body. Y’all can ask friends, family, etc. for ideas about what they know y’all already do and consider them for y’all’s list. Some items should be entirely portable and so-called easy, like breathing exercises, and some may be things that are infrequent or require external resources like getting a massage.

Here’s some of the singular government document suggestions; ideas for your list might be:

  • eating three healthy meals a day
  • drinking plenty of water
  • getting to bed by 10:00 pm (or at a good regular time for y’all)
  • doing something y’all enjoy — like playing a musical instrument, watching a favorite TV show, knitting, or reading a good book
  • exercising
  • doing a relaxation exercise
  • writing in your& journal
  • talking to a friend on the telephone
  • taking medications
  • taking vitamins and other food supplements

In terms of plural reality we would add things like:

  • having an internal party
  • hugging your& headmates (or perhaps a particularly hugable headmate)
  • reading your system kids a story
  • stimming (pick y’all’s favorite stim) like rocking
  • a ship’s crew meeting

So as y’all can see, you can list anything & everything whether mundane or singular external-world-centric, or absolutely positively plural like inner world amusement park trips and re-painting your internal safety space or doing inner-world art projects and hanging them in an inner-world art gallery. Anything goes.  

Using Your List

Y’all will be using this list as a reference while working on the remaining exercisses in y’all’s safety plan, so doing this work up-front is very helpful for the remainder of the process.  Y’all want to look at the list and go wow, we came up with a lot more than we thought we would! Or basically as they put it in the guidelines “an abundance of ideas” so that y’all have a good bit of fodder for several exercises yet to come.

They also say one should feel “positive and hopeful” when looking at your& list.

We crossed off items from the big brainstorm as we poured them into other topics; also cross off or erase items that no longer work for y’all or things that are one-time and y’all have accomplished.