Meaningful Check-Ins: What’s your High, Low, and Buffalo?

I’ve spent some time these past few weeks reflecting on the special things that mean the most to me ~ trying to find hope in the positive, especially when things feel a bit overwhelming. I have found peace in my moments of gratitude ~ recognizing that the positive of this crisis is that many of us are spending quality time at home with those we love. For some, it’s given us some time to really slow down. We are not rushing here and there and everywhere. It has given us time to pause and be thoughtful in our actions. We are only leaving our homes if it’s absolutely necessary. This has really taken us back to our roots and helps us to re-evaluate what’s really important in our lives. As I reflect on all of this, I realize that it’s more important than ever to be checking in with each other, in a more meaningful way, as much as possible, both within our homes and remotely, with those you hold dear and close to your heart. 

So, what is your “High, Low, and Buffalo” and how does this fit into having meaningful check-ins with those you love? We have talked about this many times in our adult groups at some of our program sites. Some site locations do it regularly, while others use it periodically. In the adult groups that I facilitate, we usually use it as part of our opening circle ~ as a way to share with the group how we are doing. With the High being something you want to share that is a highlight from the last couple of weeks or maybe something you, your children, or your family have/has been successful with. The Low is something that has been challenging for you, your children, or your family. Lastly, the Buffalo can be just about anything, yet often tends to be something that could provide some comic relief ~ something silly, something random, or something that doesn’t really fall into a particular category, yet you think it will help you or others to know or to say it out loud.

I encourage all of you to see how you can fit in “What’s Your High, Low and Buffalo” into your daily or weekly lives, so that you can have some more meaningful and focused check-ins with those you love. For children, you can suggest to them, “Let’s play the High, Low, and Buffalo game.” You could do this once (or twice) weekly or daily each evening ~ maybe at dinner time or an hour before bedtime. This can be a time to see and hear what your children and family members are reflecting on from their day or their week. If you are doing this daily, you can let your children know that the High might be the best (or easiest) part of your day (or week), the Low could be the worst (or hardest) part of your day (or week), and the Buffalo could be something that made you laugh today (or this week). For grieving families, it can be hard to decipher each day (and week) how each member of the family is doing. It is especially difficult right now, as we are also out of our normal routines ~ doing things differently than we normally would be with home-schooling, working at home, financial stressors, lack of structure, etc. This type of check-in or game can help to focus our conversations in a meaningful and succinct way. It can also give great insight into what things you, your children, and other family members are finding helpful and what parts of the day are really hard. At first, this may be a hard activity for some, yet with time you may notice that you, your children, and other family members look forward to sharing it all and can’t wait for the next time you play. Celebrate the Highs, acknowledge and support each other in the Lows, and remember to include some self-care laughter in your Buffalos. Who is ready to join me in a game of “What’s Your High, Low, and Buffalo?” 

Sending Warm Thoughts and Big Hugs,

Jennifer Buell Haskamp, LMSW

Clinical Coordinator

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