How to Thrive in the Midst of Chaos
The world around you is spinning out of your control. You have two choices: let the chaos unravel you or use the uncertainty as fuel to succeed. If you are interested in not simply surviving, but thriving, during chaotic times, you need a toolbox of strategies at hand. Learn how to thrive in the midst of chaos by maintaining a routine, coping with stress, and learning to accept your circumstances.
Building and Keeping a Routine
Sleep and rise at consistent times.Structure is an important ingredient for maintaining balance in life, particularly in chaotic times. While you may not be able to control various circumstances, you can control your bed time. Aim to wake up and go to sleep at the same times each day.
- A regular sleep schedule helps your body fight stress and anxiety. Getting to bed at a decent hour and waking up early ensures that you feel well-rested and capable to face whatever the day throws your way.
- Strive to get 7 to 9 hours for maximum benefits. Shut off those electronics an hour before bed to help you unwind. Making your bedroom comfortable by lowering the temperature and the lights will also help you get good quality sleep.
Maintain a balanced diet.Your diet is yet another tool you can use to give you fuel to take on life’s unexpected trials. Eating well gives you energy, a great mood, and improved cognitive skills to handle stressful situations. Make sure you eat nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day.
- Give yourself the best chance of selecting healthy foods by preparing ahead. Use your Sunday or another convenient day to prep home-cooked meals for the week ahead. Include fruits and vegetables rich in stress-relieving antioxidants and high-fiber carbs like sweet potatoes. Avoid processed foods loaded with salt and sugar. Stay away from caffeine, too.
Schedule in relaxation and fun.When things are chaotic you can re-center yourself and reduce stress by setting aside to do things that are enjoyable. Whether it’s 10 minutes in the morning when you first wake up, or an hour at night before bed, take some time for you.
- Activities for relaxation may include gentle exercise like yoga, meditation, or simply going for a walk in the woods.
- Activities for fun might consist of having a movie marathon with your best pal, engaging in a hobby like painting or bowling, or reading the latest science fiction thriller.
Do something daily to move you closer towards your goals.Chaos can make you lose site of the big picture and feel like your entire life is spiraling out of control. Take back the reigns by committing to goal achievement in spite of any uncertainty present in your life. Plus, adding a goal-oriented activity into your daily routine can help you feel more positive about your future.
- Look at your major life goals and pick one small task you can do daily to help you reach them.For example, if you have been hoping to lose 50 pounds, don’t focus on the end result. Instead pay attention to what you can do each day to get there. For instance, you can eat a healthy breakfast or exercise for 30 minutes each day.
- Set small goals for yourself as well. For example, instead of focusing on running one mile without stopping, you might focus on running for one minute without stopping. Then, increase the goals by 30 second increments each time you achieve one.
Managing Life Stress
Take breaks.Chaos can make you believe that if you only work harder, you can bring everything back into harmony. However, becoming a workaholic will only add to the stress you’re feeling. Take a step back from work or obligations to get some perspective. Doing so can relieve stress and give you the mental boost you need to problem-solve your way out of chaos.
- Make sure to set aside plenty of time for self-care as well. For example, you might set aside 30 minute every night to take a bubble bath, meditate, or do an evening yoga routine. You can also do little things to treat yourself, such as getting yourself a special coffee drink, going for a walk in nature, or getting a massage.
Break large tasks down into manageable chunks.A key to thriving in chaos is in the small actions you take throughout your day. Large projects or goals can seem impossible and intimidating if you view them from start to finish. However, tearing them down into smaller, controllable parts enables you to feel more capable of completing them.
- For instance, if you are trying to plan a fundraiser, separate the event into various sections. These may include volunteers, marketing, t-shirts, and sponsors. You might delegate each section to a different team to help you coordinate each part.
Lean on your support network.A great way to find the peace of mind to excel during in the face of chaos is by turning to your support system. Thinking you can manage on your own will lead to you feeling isolated and overwhelmed. Instead ask for help or support if you need it.
- Go to a friend and say, “I am working on this school project. Do you think you could give me a hand?” Or, merely ask for support: “There’s a lot happening at home with my parents separating. Is it okay if I hang at your house for a while to get some distance from everything?”
Focus on the here and now with mindfulness.Use your thoughts to transform chaos into calm. Mindfulness is an excellent practice to start when life seems unpredictable. It can help you stop fretting about past mistakes and quell worries about the future by focusing your attention on the present moment. Mindfulness seems like a challenging practice at first glance, but, in reality, it can be implemented right away and used at any time.
- Get the most benefits by practicing mindfulness every day. To start, set aside a few moments to sit without distractions. Take some deep, cleansing breaths. Observe the present moment. What sounds do you hear? Smells? Sights? Keep your focus on the moment as it is. When competing thoughts come into your mind just let them roll away without judgment. Continue breathing and observing the present moment.
- You can incorporate mindfulness into a range of daily activities such as eating, driving, walking, or showering.
Let go of perfectionism.One character trait that can prevent you from thriving in the midst of chaos is believing that you need to do things perfectly. Trying to reach perfection in your job, your appearance, your relationship, or any other aspect of life wastes time that could be dedicated to accomplishing other goals. It also leads to procrastination; because if you’re worried you’ll never be good enough, you’re unlikely to get started.
- Aim to be more flexible in your standards, and you’ll find that you have more time for what’s important in your life. Ask yourself “What level of imperfection am I willing to tolerate?” when doing a task. Then, try to come up with some realistic standards that allow you to still get the job done.
Develop a gratitude practice.Expressing gratefulness for the positives in your life is a significant habit to adopt all the time. Yet, it can be especially practical during times of chaos. Practicing gratitude can help you shift your focus to the good things happening in your life, and help you obtain greater acceptance for those that are negative or unpredictable.
- Strive to write down or create a log in your phone three things that you are grateful for each night before you go to sleep. These can vary widely, from shelter to live in to a person like your best friend. Do this practice daily to start recognizing how fortunate you are.
Turn to your spirituality.If you have faith in a higher power, deepening your spiritual connection can be beneficial during chaotic periods in your life. How you enhance your spiritual side will depend on your unique beliefs.
- For some, spiritual practices may relate to organized religion with rituals such as attending worship services or praying. For others, spirituality involves connecting with their inner selves through yoga, chanting or meditation. Still, for others, they can connect with their spirituality by spending time in nature. Do what works for you.
See a counselor.If, despite your best efforts, chaos in your life causes chronic stress, anxiety or depression, you should see a professional. Talking to a therapist, particularly one who has training in cognitive-behavioral therapy, can help you identify characteristics that are preventing you from thriving and build coping skills to more effectively manage chaos in life.
Video: How to Thrive in the Midst of Difficult Circumstances
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