Pandemonium Day…the day to celebrate chaos and disorder. The day that is meant to encourage you to look at all of the uncertainty in life – the changes, the upheavals, all of it – and celebrate it. Don’t stress over the chaos…learn to look at it a different way.

With that in mind, I thought that today I would talk about living in chaos. Because let’s be honest…if you have kids (even just one) your life is somewhat chaotic at least some of the time. Add more kids into that, and a significant other, work, friends, other family…you are bound to be living in some sort of chaos. So, let’s dive in.

Chaos

When you look up this word in the dictionary it is defined as “complete disorder and confusion”. I know that we all like to think that we have it together, but let’s be honest, many of us experience different periods of the day where we are engrossed in complete disorder or walking around in confusion. It happened to me just this morning.

I walked into the kitchen to get my coffee, P and T were running around asking for milk so I tended to them. By the time they both had their milk and were somewhat calm I was on my way back to my bedroom to get ready…without my coffee. I sat down to put on my makeup and suddenly felt confused when I reached for my coffee and it wasn’t there…where was it? Didn’t I just go get it?

Creating Chaos

Believe it or not, sometimes we actively, yet unconsciously and unintentionally, create the chaos that we live in. For some, it’s simply someone’s story. You know the people. The ones that everything seems to happen to. They always have the failed experience; their stories are always a “woe is me” one. They are always the victim.

Sometimes the chaos is created by needing to be the “fixer” in every situation. Think about it…fixers need something to fix. So sometimes they create the chaos and disorder in order to swoop in and fix the situation.

Then there can be times when chaos is created because you simply don’t believe there is any choice to the situation. You’d like to stop the confusion and disorder, but it just seems to happen. There’s really nothing you can do about it.

Are you currently living in chaos?

Diane Sieg, a former emergency room nurse suggests looking at the following questions. Try to answer them honestly:

  1. Do you say “I don’t know why I am so tired” more than once a week, day, or hour?
  2. Would you be embarrassed to have your boss ride in your car today?
  3. Do you tend to underestimate how long things take – by half or more?
  4. Do you frequently pay late fees on credit cards, mortgage payments, or library books?
  5. Have you had more than one “accident” in the last 30 days, like spilling red wine, shrinking a dry-clean only cashmere sweater or a just a little fender bender?
  6. Are you struggling with your sleep or weight?
  7. Do you have trouble finding things like your car keys, your glasses, or your children?
  8. Do you ruminate about your financial situation?
  9. Are you overdue for the dentist, ob-gyn, or your driver’s license?
  10. Do you find yourself saying?, “When things slow down, I’m going to…exercise, get more sleep, take better care of myself…”

According to Diane, if you answered yes to any of the above you are experiencing some level of chaos on your life.

What to do about the chaos

Ultimately, in order to live a less chaotic life you want to first acknowledge the chaos. You need to be able to see that there is in fact disorder and confusion occurring in your life. Here’s where the concept of mindfulness can be very helpful.

Stop yourself, look at the situation at hand and accept what is happening. Take a moment, count to 5 and then examine what is being presented. That simple 5-count can really help you approach the situation in a calmer, more focused manner.

Embrace the chaos. The more you fight it, the harder it will be to manage. The more you approach it in a disorganized, chicken-with-your-head-cut-off way, the longer it will take to resolve and the more exhausted you will become.

Life happens. You cannot control everything all of the time. But you can control the way that you deal with the challenges presented to you. Sometimes just knowing that things are out of your control can be calming, empowering and transformative.

Calming the Chaos

The concept of calming the chaos really has a lot to do with you and how you will approach a situation. First, no one is perfect…so don’t try for perfection. I’ve spoken before about how we want to tell our kids that we don’t need them to be perfect but we do need them to try their best. The same goes for you. Try your best, and if it’s not perfect, that’s ok.

Look at what’s on your schedule and what you’re planning to do. Are ALL of those events/activities necessary? Or do you just have a bad case of FOMO? Its ok not to do everything…take your time and really enjoy what you’re participating in rather than running around trying to do it all. Its those meaningful moments that will make us more appreciative and happier in the end.

Finally, and I think most importantly, self-care is not selfish. You need to make sure that you are taking time for YOU. Try to take some time each day (even if it’s 5-10 minutes) to do something for you. Step away from the chaos, breathe, examine the day and then return to your life. That small step back can and will do wonders for you. 😊