We’ve all encountered new territory with the onset of COVID-19. There have been so many uncertainties encountered on a day to day, even minute to minute basis. Perhaps you have asked yourself some of these questions… what about my job? My kids’ schooling? How is my family’s health? What about my health? The economy.. How will we recover?
So many thoughts can come whirling upon you in a matter of seconds in a crisis. And if you haven’t felt confused or uncertain, you most certainly will if you turn to social media. And the news is changing more quickly than most of us can keep up with.
So what can a person do to feel more in control of the chaos? Arguably the most important thing to do is develop an internal locus of control — where YOU are in charge of your reality (versus things happening TO you). (Locus simply means a particular position, point, or place. So an individual’s locus of control refers to what they believe to be the particular causes of their experiences and the factors that they attribute to their successes and/or failures.)
Internal Locus Exercises
1. What you are controlling:
Grab a pen and paper — list out ALL the things that you currently have control over. This includes all the little things as well. For instance, on my list I add that I have control over how much water I drink daily… this hydration is going to do many good things for my body (and immune system) and most importantly it’s something simple I can do to be in control. The same could go for the food I eat, how much I move every day, simple stress management like taking a hot bath (or a cold shower).. And what time I go to bed and wake up. Remember that these things you list can and should be SIMPLE things. Through chaos and crisis these simple things provide a solid foundation and remind us that we do have control.
2. What you are grateful for.
Every morning, remind yourself of those things, big and small, that you are grateful for. This act of gratefulness will in itself be a reminder, despite all that may be going on, there is still good surrounding you. It might sound silly, but one of the things I’m grateful for is the ability to get up and make the bed. I have legs and arms that work; I have a bed to make. And when the day ends I have a bed I can crawl back into. Then I start listing off the other things I’m thankful for. Find something in your morning that seems small but you are grateful for it. This can become your daily reminder to list those things you are thankful for.
3. Create & Maintain Healthy Routines
Create and STICK to a Healthy and Productive Routine This might be the most important step to take, if you aren’t already, to develop and feel an internal locus of control. Routine and structure will cut through the chaos going on around us. It provides predictability within the day. Your routine and structure to your day may have had to radically change (work from home, kids at home etc.) so use this as a chance either individually or as a family to create a routine and structure that works. Try to limit screen time and social media to avoid wasting your precious time.
There might be a lot taking place — truly unprecedented. But take these challenging times as an opportunity to develop an internal locus of control. If we do this we can all come out of this stronger together.
Sincerely, Rachel Bradley, EPIC Functional Medicine