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Three Steps to Cope With the Chaos

Understandably, this is a difficult time for many people. Even if you or a loved one hasn’t been directly impacted by Coronavirus, you’re likely still dealing with canceled events, sudden changes and a world filled with new priorities. Not only is this shift frustrating, but the sense of chaos it brings can also lead to overwhelming anxiety and stress.

If that’s where you are right now, I want you to know that I know exactly how you feel. There have been a lot of times in my life where I felt like my world got flipped upside down without warning. But because of those experiences, I learned how to live – and thrive – in the chaos. 

I shared this on my Instagram stories over the weekend, but with everything that’s going on right now I want to share my tips again for anyone who feels like they’re surrounded by uncertainty.

​One of the reasons that chaos is so challenging is because it upsets our normal daily routines. Most of us aren’t following our usual schedules right now and that lack of structure plays a major factor in the discomfort we feel.

While we can’t just hit reset on our routines, here are three things you can do to help you feel like things are a little more normal again.

1. Identify the part of your routine you miss the most right now.

Can I be honest for a sec? I don’t miss every part of my daily routine… For one, I’ve cut out over two hours of commuting to work each day and I can’t complain about that. Being able to spend more time with my dog is also pretty great and I’ve saved a lot of money on gas + food!

But think about the part of your routine you miss the most. What’s the first thing you would do right now if you were told all of the madness was over? I can’t wait to see my family, go on vacation, grab brunch with my best friends and get back on stage! I’ve already picked out the outfit I’ll wear at my first speaking engagement when things are back in action and I can practically sense the energy buzzing from the audience already.

What about you? What do you really miss right now? Before we can address it, we have to pinpoint exactly what it is.

2. Figure out why that part of your routine is so important to you.

I’ve had to cancel several speaking engagements due to the virus. The day before one of them was originally scheduled to take place, I sat at the desk chair in my home office and cried my eyes out. It felt really unimportant and selfish in the grand scheme of things, until I realized it wasn’t just the speaking engagement that I was missing – it was the feeling that speaking to an audience gives me.

I have such a special place in my heart for speaking to college students because I had some of the most difficult experiences of my own life while I was in college. I struggled to learn how to deal with the loss of my older brother and other family members while I was away… and if you throw in a few other plot twists, it all took a pretty big toll on my mental health.

I hope that sharing my story of overcoming rock bottom is inspiring to students everywhere, but I realized the most important person that it inspires is me. Every time I speak about the hard parts of my story, I remind myself just how strong I am and just how far I have come.

If you’re someone who is missing the gym as part of your routine, it’s actually pretty similar. While there are a lot of physical benefits of exercising, we don’t talk about the emotional benefits quite as much. 

Have you ever been in a workout class or training session and you hit your breaking point? I’ve definitely stopped and said “Okay, I’m done…” But then a song comes on in the gym, or your trainer encourages you to keep going, or some motivational quote (maybe #StopHalfAssinIt?) pops into your head and you keep going.

That’s because  the gym is often a place where people can push their brain through mental hurdles and dig deep to work through other challenging parts of their lives.

Figuring out WHY you miss this part of your routine is really important, so don’t skip this step!

3. Find another outlet that allows you to recreate the same feeling that part of your routine gives you.

Don’t recreate the wheel by trying to add 17 new things into your routine right now. You have already identified that you miss the gym. You know the reason you miss it is because it empowers you to feel like you can push through more than you ever thought you could. So now all we have to do is recreate that feeling in a new way.

If we’re sticking with the gym example, try coming up with a list of other things that give you that same empowered feeling. Is it…

– The people you follow on Instagram?
– A bad-ass playlist during your workout?
– FaceTiming an accountability partner from your workout class?

For me, I know that I can’t get on stage and speak to college students right now. But I can’t just say “Oh well, I’ll have to wait this out until the fall.” I have to find a new way to fill that void. Make sense?

I know it feels like our routines – and the world – are constantly changing right now and guess what? It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and confused by that. But remember that there are still parts of your life that you can control.

You can find calm in the chaos; you can still plan for your future even though you don’t have all the answers yet; you can choose to stop half-assin’ it.

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