My Strategy for Facing Change: Adapt, Learn, Survive

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by Dagmar Munn |

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mindfulness, adapt, future

Social distancing? Shelter in place? For many like me who live with ALS, the recent COVID-19 guidelines to “stay home” and “work from home” are what we already do! Every. Single. Day.

Getting out and about for a quick trip to the grocery store or a meal at a local restaurant are welcome breaks in my week. Now, even those options have disappeared. Not only for me but for just about everyone in the town where I live.

Suddenly, our normal, productive, and familiar routines have changed. And from what I read on social media, not everyone is comfortable with their new normal.

When I was diagnosed with ALS, I created a strategy to help me cope and develop resilience to handle future changes. It’s served me well these past 10 years, and I’m sharing it with you below. My strategy uses the letters A-L-S:

A = Adapt

Take time to reflect on what changed and acknowledge your feelings about that change. Then identify who can help you or what you will need to make accommodations to live with the change and continue your daily activities.

For example, look to the TV news anchors who continue to provide news reports while adapting to being unable to come into the station. They’re on location or at home and rely on Skype and phone interviews. I’m sure they aren’t happy with the situation, but they are continuing on.

L = Learn

It takes time for our body and brain to learn a new daily routine or habit. So monitor your expectations and notice when things go well.

To support the challenges of coping with change, practice self-care. This includes eating right, getting enough sleep and exercise, and following medication regimens.

My self-care now includes limiting my exposure to daily news. A constant barrage of news alerts on COVID-19 made me feel unsettled. Less time still gives me essential information without the stress.

S = Survive

It is essential to know your daily and life goals and stay committed to them.

I use a daily planner to break down my tasks and projects. Looking ahead, I try to troubleshoot and use creative thinking to solve potential snags.

Also, practice the art of going with the flow. This means avoiding “all-or-none” thinking and being willing to try new ways of doing and thinking.

My A-L-S strategy helped me face my health crisis. Hopefully, this same strategy will help you face yours. Because I believe that together we can adapt, learn, and survive the challenges of COVID-19.


Note: ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ALS News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.


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