“It’s just a lot of mixed messages and honestly…it’s kind of paralyzing.” 

Can you relate to this statement? Hers was one of dozens of messages I received over the last few weeks voicing confusion and frustration with the contradictory narratives offered about how to approach unprecedented and uncertain times. The noise online is more overwhelming than ever right now, which is why it’s so important to step up and take responsibility for your experience.

Here are five beliefs you might be struggling with right now and how you can shift your mindset to maximize this time. 

I’m behind. There’s so many things I should be doing.

Try reframing ‘should’ to ‘could’. There are always things we could be doing. Things on your never ending to-do lists and likely even more things that haven’t even crossed your mind. Take the pressure off by asking, what is the thing I want to be doing?

Should is a term that can subtly translate into “that thing I feel l have to do but don’t want to do.” If you don’t want to do it (and it truly doesn’t need to happen) then just don’t do it. Remember that everyone’s goals are different. We are not in a productivity race. No one is keeping score. 

I should be stronger and more resilient right now. Others have it worse.

Consider that each person’s strengths are different. We all have different responsibilities, different histories, different… everything. You have every right to feel sad, mad, so over it because you’re bored to tears. Or maybe you’re jealous of that bored-out-of-their mind person because you can’t seem to find enough time in the day. Whatever you feel is valid. Ride the wave and accept the feelings for what they are without judgement. You are human. 

After you’ve accepted your true core feelings you can choose to stay there or not. For example if you’re feeling sad, try writing five things you’re thankful for everyday. Feeling mad? Find a spot outside to sit and peacefully meditate. Leave any distractions, media headlines, and angered thoughts behind and just breathe. Your strength and resilience gets to take whatever form you want it to, now and always.

I don’t handle uncertainty very well.

General statements like this hold you back from making changes. Try shifting this to an action-based commitment without judgement, like “I’m learning so much about myself in this time of uncertainty.” Or, “I’m curious about the behavior patterns that have become obvious to me recently.” How can you change this statement and find a positive spin on it? This action might not be easy at first, but the seemingly small pattern change will make all the difference. 

There’s so many mixed messages—am I supposed to be present or productive?

What if you didn’t have to choose? What if this could be a time to slow down? To closely examine what’s important to you, how you want to pivot, and also to prioritize your updated goals? Presence and productivity are not mutually exclusive unless you want them to be.

Is it even worth it when everything is so crazy right now?

You get to decide what’s worth your time, focus, and energy…always. You get to decide what is important right now. Only you can make that “important” thing a priority—if it truly is a priority. Again, that is up to you. 

Are there expectations that you can adjust or let go of? After releasing those expectations, decide how you really want to use this time. There is no wrong answer. How you perceive the world is your reality, and you get to choose the narrative you follow. What can you do to create the experience you want to have right now?

The noise online is more overwhelming than ever right now, which is why it’s so important to step up and take responsibility for your experience. There’s no right or wrong way to feel or execute right now, and all you can really do is claim ownership over how you want to show up—whatever that looks like. Your experience is your own. Don’t be afraid to take the reins.