Handling Chaos

Self-Imposed Chaos: I Need Some F’n Zen

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

My life is anything but ordinary. Since becoming a full-time writer in 2013, I’ve had to deal with an inordinate amount of chaos. However, a large portion of it is my own doing. So, why do I subject myself to stress?

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea. It’s simply a part of who I am, I suppose. And it’s probably why I choose to remain single at the moment. I don’t think it would be fair to subject someone to the chaotic whirlwind of my life.

Half the time, I don’t want it, either.

On the upside, as chaotic as things can get sometimes, at least I don’t have to deal with drama on a regular basis. Things are just…chaotic.

Why the “Self-Imposed” Chaos?

So, when I say, “self-imposed,” it’s because the havoc that I normally face is the direct result of a decision I have made. Those decisions are usually made to address the needs and concerns of others.

I’m often putting my own needs and wants aside to usually help someone along, whether they be friends or clients.

Then, there are those impulsive decisions I make because I believe I can handle the pressure. For instance, I have five blogs, three YouTube channels, writing two books simultaneously, manage a podcast, and have several clients each month all with varying needs and wants.

I tend to pile too much onto my plate.

Let’s not forget the decisions I make at home that increase the chaos. For example:

  • giving up my office so a friend has a place to stay
  • taking care of a bearded dragon because my daughters wanted it
  • having a piano take up my dining room because my oldest wanted one
  • having a house full of cats because I rescued their momma from being abandoned while she was pregnant.

And this is just the tip of an incredibly large iceberg. A lot of people don’t even know what’s under the surface as I play my cards close to my chest.

The chaos that reigns isn’t always because the universe is sending crap my way. It’s not because some unseen force is testing my will. It’s mostly my own doing.

How I Deal with the Chaos

Everyone has chaos in their life in one form or another. And everyone has their own breaking point. Some people are simply better at handling high-stress environments than others.

So, how do I deal with the barrage of stress I deal with on a daily basis?

Meditating in Silence

Perhaps one of the more effective methods of dealing with the chaos is through meditation. But I don’t just sit cross-legged on the floor and hum to myself.

I find that turning off the lights in the bathroom, tucking a towel under the door, and sitting in a hot shower is incredibly therapeutic. It’s kind of like creating a sensory deprivation chamber.

The only sound I can hear is that of running water hitting my body. And with no light, it accentuates the experience.

Don’t get me wrong, there are nights when I’ll meditate before bed while listening to certain music through headphones. But the shower is usually my go-to on especially rough days.

Walking…a Lot

Another effective method of dealing with chaos is through walking. In fact, there is plenty of evidence that demonstrates how walking is great to improve mood and cognitive functionality.

Not to mention it’s an easy way to burn carbs and fat if you’re trying to lose weight.

While walking, I have time to analyze problems, think of ideas, or simply become enthralled by music or nature. In any event, I quite enjoy a nice, 20-minute walk several times throughout the day.

In fact, I often come up with my best ideas, blog topics, and storylines while walking around my backyard.

Vegging Out with Certain Games

There are some games that work exponentially well to sidetrack my thoughts. Usually, it’s any game that has a building mechanic.

For example, I can easily get lost in Minecraft or when building an underwater base in Subnautica. I played Fallout 4 for more than 700 hours before I actually beat the game because I love crafting so much.

Part of this is because I have a semblance of control while playing a video game in a world where it feels like I have very little. Plus, it gives me a chance to really express creativity.

I’m not big on gratuitous violence unless I’m writing it. So, sometimes a calm atmosphere where nothing is really expected is a nice getaway.

Being Open to Taking More Days Off

It wasn’t until recently that I started forcing myself to take days off. And as this post is published, I am several hours into my trip to spend time with family in Utah.

Even just taking a single day when I don’t even look at my phone has been influential in dealing with chaos.

No clients. No Blogs. No videos. Just me relaxing while doing absolutely nothing.

This was perhaps one of the hardest things for me to get into the habit of doing. Often when I take a day off, I feel like I am wasting time as I could be working on one of my many projects.

But I have to say, taking time off has been very influential in my success lately. It’s a lot easier to deal with various issues if you’re more relaxed when they happen.

Sticking to Specific “Work” Schedules

Setting up my many projects in Asana has been a game-changer over the years. Although I don’t get to stick to the schedules all the time thanks to the sheer amount of chaos throughout the week, the blocks of time have helped.

In Asana, I can set up specific blocks of time throughout the day to manage the many projects and clients I have. As long as I don’t get sucked into YouTube, I do pretty well at managing my time.

Lately, I’ve been scheduling everything from client work to exercise routines. Mostly because I have a tenancy to forget things like workouts and eating breakfast.

This includes setting time aside to work on my books, 20 minutes of vigorous house cleaning, and any project that needs to be done on that particular day.

Taking Time for Myself

Setting aside having a day off, a great stress reliever when dealing with chaos is making sure I have some me time. This includes getting lost in the games I mentioned earlier. However, it goes a bit further than Minecraft.

When I am taking time for myself, I’ll leave my phone in my room and sit somewhere outside. Usually, I’ll relax with a glass of wine and watch the sunset, when it’s not 20 degrees.

Or, I’ll sit on the beanbag chair in the living room when no one else is here and listen to the water fountain.

My point is that taking time for yourself without interruption can be great for the mind and soul. This is why I won’t bother taking my phone with me. I need my own little moment of zen.

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Not All Chaos is Self-Imposed

Not all of the chaos in my life is of my own doing. Sometimes it does feel like the universe tosses things at me just to see my reaction. And over the years, I’ve had to deal with some major atrocities.

Yet, I’ve managed to take it all with poise and grace while keeping myself together. And a glass of Drambieu doesn’t hurt once in a while, either.

Part of this is because I know that all situations in life are temporary.

The bad things you might be going through now will not last forever. In fact, a lot of them will be over before you go to bed tonight. It often depends on how much you bask in those situations.

This includes the good and bad things that happen in life.

Some of the things that have made me such a success over the years are my ability to adapt and persevere. Because in many cases, it’s how you handle negative situations that will dictate those successes.

As long as you have methods to help you de-stress and handle the chaos, you’ll find it easier to see the positive moments.

Being a Full-Time Writer Isn’t Easy

A lot of people think that I just sit at a desk all day and slap at a keyboard. While that’s true to an extent, it takes more than just being able to type fast to be a successful writer.

My brain is constantly running and processing everything from topical information to the various elements of SEO writing. To some degree, we have to be psychologists and figure out why people click and read certain topics.

And in truth, it can be incredibly exhausting.

This is especially true when a client dumps a new project in your lap at the last moment while expecting you to work some magic within minutes.

Does this content answer an important question? Will a visitor feel satiated after reading the post? Do I need an image here or there? What latent semantic terms do I need?

Where is this plot going?

When you have your fingers in so many pies, the chaos can feel overwhelming at times. Being a full-time writer can be a fulfilling career path. But it can also be rife with a variety of trials and tribulations.

Sometimes, all of your hard work is appreciated by a handful of people. And then sometimes something you create goes viral. Being a writer in any capacity is a wild rollercoaster ride.

Nonetheless, I don’t know if I would want to do anything else.

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How Do You Deal with Chaos?

As I said earlier, everyone has a different degree of handling stress. Still, we all have coping mechanisms aside from copious amounts of alcohol.

It’s all a matter of finding something that works best for you.

What kinds of things do you do to calm yourself when the world gets too chaotic?

Michael Brockbank
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