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Is your inner control freak freaking out?

Are you feeling less in control these days?

Who isn’t?

Like many of you, we are under a “stay-at-home” order. Even if you are not under an order, you are likely practicing “social distancing.”

Along with being “stuck at home” comes feelings of not being in control. It is acutely aware to all of us.

The truth is that we have very little control over things all the time. We just don’t dwell on it on a regular basis. Our brain is focused elsewhere the majority of the time. Right now, our brains tend to go to the lack of control.

And we worry about this lack of control. And we can get carried away with this.

What can you do?

Acknowledge the situation

Acknowledge that you are not in control of what is happening outside yourself. Allow yourself to consider what is happening around you. Allow yourself to actually go to the negative space. (You may be going there already, so give yourself permission.) When you go there, remember that this is not the current reality for you. It’s what you imagine could happen.

Be present

Come back to your present reality and for an equal amount of time, allow yourself to go to a positive space. Are you healthy now? What skills do you have to rely on in this situation? For example, are you resilient? Have you gotten through difficult situations successfully before? Are you using safe practices in this crisis?

Practice gratitude

Having a gratitude practice is important all the time. It’s essential now. It makes a difference in your outlook every day. Take time every day to reflect on what you have in your life.

Limit your news intake

Stay informed, but don’t live and breathe the news. Limit the time you spend staying up-to-date. A quick review in the morning and evening, maybe a press conference. That’s enough to keep you informed. You don’t need to read every heartbreaking story there is. And, you don’t need to follow people on social media who tend to focus on the drama.

Understand what you can control

You still have the power to control lots of little things in your life, so make a list of them. For me, the list includes

            The food that I eat. I was already sticking to whole foods and eating gluten-free and dairy-free because that lifestyle makes me feel better. It’s a diet that builds my immunity. Important all the time. So much so, now.

            Moving my body. I have been exercising through my FASTer Way to Fat Loss program for more than 18 months. I know when I move my body, I feel better. So I keep at the exercise program. I also am walking outside with one of my neighbors. We each hug our side of the street. And, I’m taking more walks with my husband and dog. In addition to the physical movement, it helps the psyche. (If you would like a free week’s worth of exercises, you can get it here.)

            How I spend my time. Because I work from home, I already had a structure in place. I felt a bit off last week and told my clients I think I was mentally on spring break. Once I realized that I was in better control of my time by following my calendar. It made a difference.

            Finding a way to contribute. For me that has included making masks for family members and friends.

Creating. That’s what we do as creatives. If you find it hard, try something in a different media. Step outside your comfort zone and take a class. It doesn’t matter if you are making “good” art. It matters that you are “doing” art.

            Staying connected. My sisters and I check in every day. I walk with my friend each morning. I’ve had a few zoom lunches with friends. I know how valuable those connections are, how they support me, and I find time to keep up with them.

            Finding ways to influence my own individual circumstances. I run a business, as do most of you who read this blog. I can’t control everything, but I control what I do in a particular situation. Am I reactive or creative? (Do you know the same letters are in those two words?) I choose to be creative. I ask this question: How can I remain in control and serve my customers?

Remembering the Serenity Prayer.

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr

I like the idea of looking at what you can do. With so much that is out of your control, it’s nice to find what you can control.

It’s your turn!

What can you control now?

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