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Exactly one year ago today, one of my most courageous clients told me about a new commitment to herself:  for one month, starting May 1st, she would prioritize her health & self-care.  She promised herself she would work out 4x/week, eat clean, and got the courage to start reading some of the books I’d been recommending to her.  The Gifts of Imperfection was first on her list, and one year later, she told me she is still leaning into the messages in that book as she navigates this current Covid-19 crisis.

“I needed a catchphrase and Month of Mayhem worked for me. I hope your other clients will find the courage to shake things up for themselves. It’s only a month after all.” – client

Adhering to her commitment to herself revealed a strength and self-confidence she hadn’t felt in years.  It felt so good, she continued the month of Mayhem for months…to the point that she no longer needed therapy.  All because of a commitment she made to herself.

At the surface, this may seem like an average feat, but you guys, it really wasn’t.  She wasn’t kidding when she said it’d be a month of Mayhem … she dug in to the commitments to herself and reaped the benefits.  She’s still reaping those benefits one full year later.

May 1, 2019 looked way different than May 1, 2020.  As we begin May with the world filled with fear, uncertainty, and stress, I wonder what a Month of Mayhem might look like for you?  Even in the middle of a pandemic, how can you make commitments to yourself that you know will benefit you?  Below, I’ve listed some research-proven wellness ideas of what this Month of Mayhem could look like, in a nice acrostic similar to the type you wrote in second grade.  🙂

M: Manage challenging emotions …

  • … with acceptance, mindfulness, relaxation, soothing and/or pleasurable activities.

O: Omit unhelpful coping strategies …

  • .. like numbing, substance use, rumination/constant worrying, high-risk behavior.

N: Notice and accept anxiety …

  • … rather than fight it

T: Tolerate uncertainty …

  • … it takes practice, but developing a willingness or openness to experience uncertainty without trying to eliminate or control it can be helpful

H: Higher Purpose or cause …

  • How can you stay connected to your higher purpose in life, even in a pandemic?

 

O: Open up …

F: Focus on what’s in your control …

  • … for instance: you control how much news/media you consume, how often you wash your hands, etc.

 

M:  Manage media consumption …

  • … social media may reinforce anxiety and fear, so be mindful of using it to connect with others while social distancing.  Use the news for updates, not as a way to numb by filling your downtime.

A: Acknowledge …

  • … your thoughts, feelings, needs – pay attention to them, and respond with adequate self-care.

Y: You first …

H:  Healthy habits …

  • … exercise, sunlight, eating clean, mindfulness–reframe these basic self-care principles to things you want to do, rather than something you should do.

E: Establish routines …

  •  … come up with a Month of Mayhem routine that supports your mental and physical health.  Thinking of it as an experiment makes it feel less daunting.

M: Maintain connections ..

  • … despite social distancing

If any of the above seem daunting, it may be a sign to reach out to a therapist for help.