So here we are.

When I mapped out my vision for 2020 it never included the words “global pandemic”. Life has an interesting way of throwing the unexpected at you, doesn’t it? And while we often can’t control what happens in life, we always get to control how we respond to what happens.

Including global pandemics.

While none of us knows the exact impact COVID-19 will ultimately have, there is one thing I do know for certain…

I need the very best version of me to show up. And at a time of vast uncertainty, the one certainty is I get to decide how I will respond.

And so do you.

In times of crisis and uncertainty some of the first things to change are structure and routine. With an unexpected upheaval we initially are trying to simply understand what just happened. Often we shift into a defensive posture, retreating and playing small until things get back to what we would consider to be normal.

For me, structure and routine are essential right now. Having structure and routine and the discipline to maintain them provides me with a sense of control at a time where so much is outside of my control. It creates a sense of stability, creates positive momentum, it changes my energy, and it empowers me emotionally.

There are several key areas of my life I habitually focus on, and they are especially important at this time. These areas are the ones I know need to remain structured if I am going to do more than just get through what we are all going through. Again, I need my best self to show up, for me, for my family, for my company, and for my community.

SLEEP – I am maintaining my usual sleep habit. I function best with seven hours of sleep per night. Sure, there is a temptation to stay up later than usual simply because maybe now I can. But maintaining my existing sleep time and wake time is helping my body and brain maintain their usual rhythm which adds to my own inner sense of control.

FOOD – God knows I’ve had more than my share of Oreos, Chips Ahoy, and donuts over the years. I know now really isn’t the time for them. Their bad fats and refined sugars can provide an initial jolt of “comfort”, but the spike in sugar and fat intake have often adversely impacted my mood. For me, at this time the one thing I am truly craving is a sense of stability and control and the foods I consume will play an important role in achieving my desired state. They always do. I’m continuing preparing foods in advance including lean proteins, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables which do serve to keep me more balanced. And by prepping them in advance I’m less likely to gravitate to the prepackaged “comfort” foods which, ironically, will only make me uncomfortable.

EMOTIONAL/SPIRITUAL – Well before I had ever heard of COVID-19 I had developed my own daily prayer and mindfulness practice. Prayer and meditation have become important pillars of my overall wellness, and with such uncertainty and upheaval happening outside of me this practice helps me find some stability and peace within me. I continue to be diligent about maintaining my daily routine, sitting in silence in mediation and prayer as I always do. The centering I find in this process again helps me be the best pro-active version of me which is exactly who need to be. Especially at this time.

MOVEMENT – Sometimes the biggest challenge I face when it comes to exercising is simply getting started. And the heaviness of what we are experience right now could be a perfect excuse for me to not move. But I’m not going to let that happen. Each morning I rise and maintain my existing morning exercise routine. This discipline creates a sense of accomplishment and normalcy which is a critical component of the mindset I need in order to be my very best.

I’ve simply decided that I will not let the events happening outside of me impact the things I get to control. Sleeping, eating, mindfulness, and movement are all fully under my control.

The key component in all of these areas comes down to one word. Discipline. While peak performance is something I strive for during “normal” times, my peak performance is absolutely critical right now. Because my family and friends and community all need the best version of me to show up. And I would guess your family and friends and community would greatly benefit from the best version of you right now as well.

We all need the best version of you right now!

What daily habits and routines do you currently have which can provide you with a sense of stability during these rather unstable times? What new daily habits and routines can you create which can provide you with a sense of stability during these rather unstable times?

Let’s not be defined by what this virus has done to us. Let’s be defined by how we chose to respond.

photo credit: Sean Stratton via Unsplash

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