STOP THINK DO
I’m going to share with you the best tool in my personal & professional hypermobility toolbox. Let me introduce you to your new best friend: STOP-THINK-DO.
Stop-Think-Do is the best friend your bendy-body will ever have, you just have to remember to open your tool box in everything you do. Everything.
What is STOP-THINK-DO?
It is your sensible brain. Your wise mind. It’s your risk assessor; your friend that’s there to look after you. The sober friend when everyone else has been drinking! Let me explain.
Stop-Think-Do was born out of many, many, many stupid, thoughtless injuries that I inflicted on myself over the years. My physio will attest to the crazy number of them that have occurred even in the last 10 years that she has been treating me. I created the Stop-Think-Do motto when she said to me “next time you go to do something stupid, please call me first”.
That “call me before you do something stupid” comment came after I decided that it would be totally fine for me, ‘late-20-something-year-old-10-surgeries-behind-me’ me, to do jumps onto my bottom on the trampoline (to my credit, I was showing a child how to do it in the course of a therapy session, however, it was a terrible idea!). Just picture it, jelly being dropped onto a bouncy surface. Splat, bounce up, repeat splat = can’t move. Let’s just say I may as well have had a car accident because I had the most epic whiplash imaginable. FROM JUMPING ON A TRAMPOLINE.
Amusingly, every stupid thing I do now, is rated by my physio against the trampoline incident. “What did you do? Was it a trampoline moment?”….
That “call me before you do something stupid” comment actually got me thinking – do I KNOW that I’m about to do something stupid? Really? And I realised that when I’m not being mindful, when I’m just in the flow of everyday life and not in risk-assessment mode, I am not always aware that I’m about to cause my own demise.
Thankfully I AM learning, albeit slowly. In all other areas of my life, I would consider myself a fast learner; I’ve even written that in job applications!! However when it comes to this stuff, I’m slow.
In order to prevent physical mayhem on a trip to the USA with my even more bendy friend, resident blogger Jo Berry, we implemented STOP-THINK-DO on an epic & international scale. It worked most of the time…. most of the time – look nothing is foolproof, (and we were two fools, at times. A girl has gotta have some fun right?)
What does STOP-THINK-DO mean?
It’s more of a framework really….
STOP – Before you start, or as soon as you remember thereafter.
THINK – Use your head to save your body:
- Should I be doing this at all?
- If yes, how should I do it to minimize injury?
- Can I do this another way?
- What joints am I using, which ones do I need to protect, or which stabilizing muscles do I need to switch on to do this more safely?
- Am I going to go into my hypermobile range/hyperextension to do this?
DO – only if you have worked out the best way for you to do the task IF YOU SHOULD BE DOING IT AT ALL.
I added this bit later…
Deal with it! – if you choose to do it and it ends badly, be ready to deal with the consequences….
To implement this effectively, we really need to practice being mindful. Being aware of what we are doing, and how are bodies are feeling… and using our thinking, wise-brain to evaluate the situation before jumping in headfirst. It’s hard to balance situation evaluation with being overly anxious and cautious… I know!
I feel that this STOP-THINK-DO is a bit like a muscle – the more we use it, the stronger it should get. And the more we know ourselves and our limitations, the easier it is to quickly assess the risk in the situation and make a sensible decision.
So if you’re new to this whole bendy-body-thing, give yourself some time to learn what your limits are; to know what is risky and what’s OK… and know that at times, you’re going to make decisions that are less than ideal (just hopefully not too often!).
We might be bendy, but we are still human, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
Have you used this method? How’d it turn out for you? Let us know!
Michelle is a Senior Occupational Therapist working solely with adults with hypermobility and related conditions. Michelle is the owner of Hypermobility Connect, an online platform for people with hypermobility to connect with resources, health professionals & each other. Michelle practices OT in her private practice and provides education to health professionals relating to hypermobility conditions.