Thursday, March 7, 2013

Survival Kit

Once upon a time I worked for a non-profit that was pursuing national accreditation. I was responsible for coordinating everything and everyone across two agencies in different states to make that happen.

As we moved closer to "crunch time," I decided to make a survival kit for each member of our leadership team. I don't remember how many envelopes there were, but there were several and each one had a treat of some sort: a comic, some gum, a note of encouragement, money for a can of soda, something from our reward system, etc. The staff could pull an envelope any time they needed a break or a reward for their work. I'm sure there were some who didn't care and never opened an envelope, but others seemed to enjoy the fun and surprise. I know I did, and I made the thing in the first place.

Recently I have been struggling emotionally. I don't know what it's from - delayed grief/depression, the consequence of two summers full of work (one dealing with Dad's estate and one working at school) without a break, the winter blahs, or some combination - but it's been a daily struggle. And frankly, March is too busy for me this year to deal with a daily struggle to just get out of bed.

This "survival kit" idea came back to me as I was reading a book about creativity. When I put the memory of those long-ago survival kits together with how I was feeling, I started to get excited about creating a countdown to spring break that might make the next few weeks tolerable. So, I made this:

This is my Countdown to Spring Break Survival Kit. I started it this past Monday and I have enough envelopes to open one a day until Good Friday, which is the first official day of Spring Break. 

I made each envelope by cutting down some of my favorite 12x12 scrapbook papers to 8x10 and then folding them to 8x5 and gluing the sides together. I didn't seal the tops, so I can use them again.

Then I took some resume paper and cut them into 4 squares (5.5x4.25) and I wrote a blessing or note of encouragement on each one. The blessings were either scriptural blessings (the "May God..." passages from the New Testament, like Romans 15:13) or blessings from Max Lucado's piece on blessings

On the back side of those blessings, I wrote a task. Here are some examples:
  • Schedule a one hour date with yourself - take a nap, listen to headphones, write - be alone for awhile and take a break
  • Research something you have been wondering about - grad school, vacation spot, etc.
  • Read a chapter from a book you have wanted to read for awhile
  • Read a chapter from your favorite book
  • Write out your to do list. Then tear it up and take the day off.
  • Write about your earliest memories for 30 minutes
  • Order a treat for yourself from Amazon that will deliver after Spring Break - extend the joy beyond these 26 days

Frankly, I had more ideas of tasks than I used. If I ever want/need to do this again, I could try some different things. I also included some cash to buy myself lunch a couple times and I put a candy bar or a gift card in a couple of the envelopes instead of a task.

I had my husband actually load the envelopes for me and put them in order on his own, except for the final envelope which I planned myself. That way, I have NO IDEA what each envelope holds. 

I am hopeful this will add some joy and fun to the next few weeks of hard work and anticipation of a much needed break.  

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