Surrounded by Uncertainty? It is Time to Control the Controllables!!!

Times of uncertainty can weigh on us all pretty heavily and we are definitely in the midst of some pretty uncertain times! Between abrupt changes to schools schedules and routines due to positive COVID-19 cases, the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the 2020 Presidential Election, questions about Holiday plans (Thanksgiving is near), and cancellations or delays of athletics at the youth, high school, and collegiate levels – it can feel as though we are in the middle of a tornado of negativity or perceived negativity. How can we remain productive, positive, and on course during moments of chaos and questions marks???

Control…The…Controllables!

Controlling the controllable – a simple concept that can be difficult to action. Here are a few hints to help mitigate the distractions caused by stress, negativity, or any other influence standing in the way of you and your best self!

  1. Feeling Down or Low? Coach yourself to pause and take a step back to really evaluate what is in your control and what is out of your control. The uncontrollables (i.e. “Am I doing school at school or at home?” or “Will our winter sport season actually be played?”) are just that – out of your control. Try your best to put up the barrier and focus on being as prepared as you can for the situation, even though you don’t know if/when/where it will take place!
  2. Find a Small Smile! Faking positivity is not the right answer; however, finding something (hobby, a conversation, fun board game, cooking, exercising) that can bring even the smallest amount of joy to you is a HUGE step towards minimizing the impact the negative uncontrollables can have on you. The first step (picking up your instrument or phone, breaking out the board game, or starting your Mise En Place (yeah – I occasionally watch the Food Network) is the hardest. But once you start, you will find the second, third, and subsequent steps to be a bit easier for you!
  3. Bring a Smile to Someone Else! Rake a neighbors leaves, volunteer at a local soup kitchen, donate non-perishable food to a local food pantry, or help with chores around the house. There are usually two results when we do something positive for someone else: (A) they will feel thankful and good about what you did for them and (B) you will feel good about doing good for someone else!
  4. Fresh Air Boosts the Spirit! Be safe, follow local health protocol, and find time to GET OUTSIDE!!! A walk or jog, a round of golf, or talking to a neighbor outside – lace up the sneakers, open the door, and spend a few minutes outdoors; you will feel great afterwards!
  5. Trouble Coming Up with Ideas? Check in with your local Parks and Recreation department or Youth and Family Services organization to learn about their offerings for community members. These groups have worked tremendously hard to support their communities by organizing new, unique, and exciting activities for their community members. Take advantage of their efforts by trying out a new offering; you never know, you may discover a new hobby!
  6. Read or Listen! Grab an uplifting book or put on your favorite party music and get lost in it! Not a great singer or dancer…yeah, neither am I. Blare the music and have your own personal dance/sing-off – if your moves are anything like mine, you will find plenty of laughter!
  7. Reflect – take a few seconds or as long as you’d like to think about something positive! It could be a past experience or something/someone you love. Take a moment to appreciate who and what you have; it’s a heckuva lot more uplifting than thinking about what you don’t have!