April Jeppson: Be prepared for the jabs if you need them

Published 8:45 pm Friday, April 21, 2023

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Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

I recently attended a self defense class. It was a basic overview of what to look for and how to respond in order to keep yourself safe. Walk with your eyes up, surveying the area. Have a buddy with you when at all possible. Make sure you park in a well-lit area. Tell someone where you are going, before you head out for that run. If you need to listen to music while you are running in the park, use only one ear bud so you can still hear the world around you. Then we practiced jabbing, punching and even proper kicking techniques.

April Jeppson

This class was only two hours, but by the end my voice was sore, and I had worked up a good sweat. The instructor said the goal isn’t to win a fight — the goal is to get away. Or better yet, avoid getting yourself into a situation where these skills are needed.

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I’ve gone to enough trainings, or perhaps it was on an episode of “Oprah,” but I’d heard that before. All those cool jabs, kicks and yells — you don’t want to actually have to use them. Ever. Yet we were encouraged to practice them often so our bodies would naturally know what to do if the situation ever presented itself.

In the real world, we live our lives. We wake up, go to work, do the dishes, take a kid to practice. We essentially do the same things day in and day out. We literally just lived through a pandemic — a worldwide emergency situation, where most of us were put in difficult situations we had never encountered before. Situations that frankly I never thought I’d have to go through.

Leave your house as little as possible. Go grocery shopping as little as possible. A toilet paper shortage. A socialization shortage. Having previously lived on a very tight budget, I was kind of prepared for some of it. I already had food storage (and extra toilet paper) because I was prepared for a short emergency. What if my husband got into an accident, and we were without income for a period of time? What could I do today to be better set up for that?

What I was not prepared for was the toll this would take on my mental health. In hindsight, I should have maintained an exercise routine, daily reading and a few minutes of meditation. Forced myself to get outside daily and pick up the phone and talk to more people. However, I was not prepared, and although I do all of these things, I didn’t do them consistently enough to have the impact I needed on my mental health.

When your life is good, you don’t realize how important it is to have good health or money in the bank. It’s not until you have to recover from an illness, that you realize how nice it is to have healed up quickly. Or it’s not until your dishwasher breaks that you understand how comforting it is to have money saved up.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are other areas of my life where I’m going to try and be more mindful. I need to select one or two areas and slowly work on them. Hopefully I’ll never have to go through another pandemic or super tight budget situation, but just like those punches I’m suppose to practice, it’s good to be ready just in case.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.