How To Stay Calm Amid Chaos
Am I spontaneous? Nope? Do I thrive on rituals and habits and routine? You know it. Have I learned how to stay calm admid chaos? For the most part, yes. There are times when I appear outwardly calm but my belly is roiling. I deal with that by removing myself from the chaotic person or situation and then work to calm myself.
Plan ahead: Sure, you can’t plan for everything. I didn’t plan for breast cancer – who would? I was thrown for a loop and my life was chaos for a time, but I eventually got back to routines – what breast cancer survivors call “the new normal.” I despise that phrase because it reminds me of all I have lost, but there it is. I have a calendar. I write a to do list. I use time blocking so I know what is coming up and so I can plan.
Don’t multitask: If you focus on one task at a time you will be more present and you can potentially stay out of chaotic thinking. Choose a task, focus on it. When you’re done or when your time blocked section is up, move onto the next task.
Be flexible: I know. I know. It sounds like I am contradicting myself and I am… kind of, but not really. I learned that you can’t plan for everything life will throw your way. I now build flexibility into my daily and weekly schedule. I don’t plan my day down to the minute, like I did in the past. I have time each hour and at the end and beginning of each day to deal with items I hadn’t planned for. Sure, having my schedule messed with causes me a level of stress, but knowing I have built in a buffer helps alleviate that.
Look at the big picture: There is the phrase, “don’t sweat the small stuff” that I am certain you’ve heard before. I know it’s not easy to brush somethings off and what is a “small stuff” to me is a “not so small stuff” to you, right? Set your priorities. Work on those and this might help you roll with the “small stuff.”
Just breathe: There are times, in today’s political climate that I want to jump in and comment on a post I’ve seen on Facebook. I get angry when I hear something on the radio or read something in the paper. I have learned to embrace the Serenity Prayer and breathe. Pay attention to your shoulders – are they hiked up around your ears because you’re so tense? Make note of that and focus on relaxing them.
Try to find the positive: It is so easy to look out the window and think, “Gack I hate the rain!” It is raining here in NY today BUT this time of year it is usually frigid and snowing. I can turn the weather around and think, “Better rain than snow!” It’s a little thing, but it can certainly change your attitude and your outlook. Believe me I was not always a positive person. In fact I loved to bitch and complain; it’s not something I am proud of, but it’s what I did. Now, having survived cancer (five years cancer free, yay me!) I know how shitty things can get so I always look for the positive.
What are your steps for rising above chaotic situations? I'd love to know!
If you find yourself in a state of overwhelm, send me an email Robbi AT RobbiHess DOT COM and let me know what is overwhelming you. Schedule a thirty minute Conquer the Overwhelm session and let's see if you can move past it!