How to focus when sh*t gets stressful…

I’d be lying if I said the state of the world right now doesn’t have me shook. We don’t know what world we’re going to be in tomorrow, the next hour, the next minute, the next second and it’s terrifyingly stressful. Hard to say life goes on when one segment of the population is bent on destruction to get their money.

That makes it REALLY hard to focus on your daily responsibilities and makes it almost impossible to pursue hobbies, side hustles and goals. I haven’t recorded either of my podcasts in months. That’s how stressful things are right now.

All that said, we still owe it to ourselves to do what we can for ourselves and those around us. It’s a trying process, but you don’t want to leave here with any regrets. This is something I’ve learned as I try to complete much of what is on my vision board, much of which is still in progress and a few things nearing completion. This post is a quick checklist of what I’ve learned and hopefully it’ll help someone else trying to get things done during hard times.

Breathe. That’s Rule “Nombre” Uno, as the Notorious B.I.G. once said (of course it’s numero, but I’m not correcting the greatest rapper of all time, rest his soul). You can’t get anything done if you’re tense. So try to give yourself a few minutes a day and a few seconds at a time to just breathe in, breathe out. You’ll feel a lot less stressed and slightly refreshed.

Write it down. For someone who makes whatever living he can with his words, I’m awful at making lists and journaling. That’s something I’ve been changing in recent months as I prepare to run my first official 5K in September. I’ve had to chart my endurance and distance since I started running again in May and right now I could run a 5K today with minimal stress. All because I’ve kept a chart of my progress.

Self-Care. This is the wave. Please take time out of your day to do something for yourself. Whether it’s something as small a trip to your favorite coffee shop or corner store or something as big as date night (and if you’re anything like me, a night cap!), you have to take some time out for you and you only. If that includes someone else, fine. But for me, watching ESPN 30 for 30s and TVOne Unsung episodes OnDemand makes my life just a little less stressful.

Do what you can. You can’t finish something all in one day. Lord knows it took me almost two years to complete my fourth novella after publishing three in 15 months. So whatever it is you’re working on, you don’t have to finish it all in one day, but it is important to keep plugging away at it until it’s done. If it matters to you and it’s important, find a way.

Be kind to yourself. Last, but certainly not least. We are our harshest critics, as anyone who knows me can attest. It’s not helpful when you’re beating yourself up because you didn’t finish something when you wanted, or you compare yourself to someone else’s progress and life. Run your race in your own lane and pump yourself up while you’re doing it. You have to be your own cheering section first before other people jump on the bandwagon. So write down what you like about yourself, good things you’ve done and that you think you can do and go from there.

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