When Life Feels Like Chaos, Choose Joy

The world has shifted on its axis.  Everything seems to be turned upside down.  We are living apart, yet also coming together in new innovative ways.  It is understandable to feel overwhelmed and out of control in these uncertain times, but when everything around seems in chaos, we have tools from within that help us navigate these murky waters.

Stay Connected-Online platforms like Zoom and FaceTime have allowed us to stay connected as we stay apart, but these are not our only options. This is the perfect time to reach out to an old friend that you’ve lost contact with over the years and catch up. Write a handwritten letter to someone you care about (and thank your mail carrier too!). Another way to stay connected is by disconnecting from our digital devices and spending some time getting to know yourself again. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so take time to fill yours first.

Sleep Well - It can be difficult to sleep if you go to bed stressed, but giving yourself time to unwind can help. Set aside 20 minutes every night to do some pray, meditate, journal, read, or just dream. Turn off your screens and contemplate on all the blessings you have; keep that list in your head when things get wonky. 

Don't be Fodonga - this is a term I'd never heard, but the instant I heard it, I knew what it meant. Hair, nails, extensions, eyelashes and many other pampering services have come to a halt, but "getting cute" doesn't have to. Get up, dress up, try a new hairstyle, wear the dress you bought for an event and didn't get to wear. Accessorize! Have a photo shoot!

Experience Joy - It is easy to just coast through this time, one day blending into the next. Instead, challenge yourself to notice what parts of your daily routine you find joy in and be present for them. Is it the way your coffee beans smell as you grind them or the sound of the coffee dripping into the pot? Is it your midday walk after your dog was begging for attention for what feels like the 40th time today? The sound of the birds chirping in the morning? The frog calls at night? Notice what brings you joy and revel in these moments.

Be Kind to Yourself - Give yourself grace. People may try telling you how you are supposed to feel in this moment, but remember that every emotion is valid. Let yourself feel them and don’t get down on yourself for doing so. This is the perfect time to practice some self-love and self-care - put on a happy song and dance, sleep in a little, write a love letter to yourself, remind yourself that you are enough just as you are. Whatever it may be, take this time to celebrate yourself.

Be Kind to Others - You never know what the people around you might be experiencing in their lives, but your actions can have a strong impact on them. Do you have access to the outdoors? Write a kind message on the ground for a stranger to see. Smile and wave to everyone you pass. We are all craving social interaction and this small gesture could seriously brighten someone’s day. Think about the things someone could do to brighten your day and try to do that for someone else.

My greatest hope is that we will emerge from this time a more caring society - one where people look out for their neighbors and continue to foster connections between one another. We’ll continue to get through this the best way we know how: together and one day at a time.

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