Do you remember dreaming of snow days as a child? I’d cross my fingers in hopes that school would be cancelled. Snow day. These two beautiful words evoke excitement and anticipation, with the thought of an unstructured and unsupervised day laying ahead. Even as we grow older, the freedom associated with snow days persists. Some of us might make a last-minute rush to the grocery store to stock up on storm chips. Others might curl up on the couch for Netflix marathons.
Although I know that heavy snowfalls will precipitate massive cancellations in my client schedule, I have to confess… a part of me gets excited. I’ll have a whole day of no structure, and little supervision. What kind of trouble can I get myself into, I wonder?
Okay, I know I’ll end up using this time to catch up on overdue work. But it’s incredibly satisfying knowing that I don’t have to.
At Landing Strong, we recognize that snow days aren’t as much fun for everyone. Driving in such conditions is stressful. For those of you in first responder roles, we acknowledge that you are putting your coats on as we are coming home and taking ours off. For this, we thank you.
Snow days are a reminder that the emotional meaning of current events is coloured by the lens of past experiences. What might be positive for one person could be alarming or stressful to another. Trauma is like that too.
Trauma isn’t about what happens to us, rather, it’s the personal meaning of the event in the context of our lives that’s important.
That’s why we can’t judge others’ reactions to things when they differ from ours. We haven’t walked in their shoes, or seen things through the lens of their experiences. By seeking to understand, we diminish the aloneness of their experience.
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong