Free Tolerance for Uncertainty workbook

I’ve had this pdf stored on my desktop for 6 months. Stockpiling is one of my go-to ways of feeling resourced, which is ironic, really, because a pile of books, canned goods, and self-help tools isn’t really as helpful as one sentence digested, one poem memorized and turned into a chant you can repeat to yourself as you walk in the woods, as one friend’s phone number committed to memory so your fingers can dial it without thinking, as one workbook exercise spun into a messy journal post, as one candle burning on your dining room table to remind you that these are the darkest days of the year, and this year has felt particularly dark on so many levels, and it will pass, it will pass, but stop stockpiling and start breathing.

So. I’ve clicked it open and realized that, as simplistic as the exercises seem, just sitting down with one, sitting down with my family and talking through one, is probably more helpful than just… you know… storing it for a future crisis.

As the workbook author, clinical psychologist Sachiko Nagasawa says, “I am experiencing anxiety related to all the unknowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. We like stability, routine, and a sense of control over our environments and experience tremendous stress when there are disruptions in our normal lives. …

May I interject to comment? Even clinically trained mental health professionals are finding these current circumstances anxiety-inducing. These current circumstances are anxiety-inducing. If you are feeling this way, you’re not failing! You’re paying attention. And you’re not alone.

“The current pandemic is an opportunity to learn new skills to accept your feelings, tolerate distress and move forward with grace despite not knowing what lies ahead.”

You can download it here, from the author, Dr Sachiko Nagasawa of Bay Psychology in Ontario, who is offering it as a free resource to support everyone who is struggling and still trying your best. Her request is that you acknowledge this gift by engaging in one random act of kindness.

Below, we’re sharing the suggestions from chapter one: Understanding Emotional Distress.

I particularly appreciate the opening quote from Eckhart Tolle: “Stress is caused be being here and wanting to be there.” I mean, hello, is this not the most universal experience right now?

thinking about getting this laminated so i can literally use it as a daily checklist… DANCE PARTY CHECK!
what i love about this worksheet is the idea that we need to write out the specific ways we’re going to take care of ourselves, as part of the to-do list. if you’re having trouble thinking of something to put in the box (as i did… uh, mental blank), refer back to the previous page – and get specific. the first to-do on your list could be “make breakfast hash and eat by candlelight”, then the second could be “take photo of breakfast hash and send to friend with a text that i’m thinking of them because…”
my meditation teacher Susan Reifer has said that it can be extra empowering to express gratitude for something that you had agency over… ie “i’m thankful that i went to bed last night and put my ipad away instead of scrolling, so i got a good night sleep.”
just want to call out something i learned this week from local wellness teacher natalie rousseau that this is a season of rest, this dark season between samhain/halloween and winter solstice, is the darkest ebb of the year, and it’s very natural to feel fatigue… and it’s not something to feel frustrated at… it’s natural, the entire natural world is falling into a deep sleep, is stripping away, and going quiet, and entering the dark… nourish it, nurture it, honour it.
this idea of “acting impulsively to escape our uncomfortable emotions” is literally what social media looks like to me these days – people expressing things on impulse, when perhaps they would be better off pausing, logging off, breathing, and trying to explore their discomfort, their feeling…

If you try some of these tools, let us know if any land for you…

2 thoughts on “Free Tolerance for Uncertainty workbook

    • Lisa Richardson says:

      An absolute pleasure. When I originally saw it, I thought, Oh that checklist is a bit simple. 5 things to be grateful for, blah blah. When I revisited it 6 months later, I was like, OMG this is the best thing I’ve ever seen. LOL. A little humbler, a little worse for wear, a little more open to the good medicine in simple things.

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